Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


Archive for August, 2015

Tai Chi Chuan – Stop the Struggle

Posted By Tom Daly on August 2nd, 2015

Tai Chi Chuan – Stop the Struggle!

I was amused recently when an elderly student of mine thought that I was so very very clever to figure her out.  But in fact I had not figured her out.

She was being extremely resistant in our weekly private class.  She wanted a class, but she didn’t want to practice or to work in class.  She wanted to sit down.  I kept trying very hard to motivate her to get up and do the work.  It was a frustrating battle.

But I changed.

What did I do?  I gave up the struggle.  If she wanted to sit down for most our class, then I heartily encouraged her to sit down.  No more struggle.  She reinterpreted this to mean that I had miraculously realized that she didn’t want anyone telling her what to do.  This was news to me.  Particularly so since that is mostly what a tai chi teacher does.  I am hoping this phase will pass, but in the mean time, whatever she wants, she gets. And I’m all the happier for it.

This has gotten me to think about what a teacher told me regarding push hands:  “Never struggle.”

This may sound either easy to do, or pointless.  It is neither.  How did you just react?

For me, when faced with a push hands opponent that is not playing by the rules and is tossing me here and there, mostly what I do is fight it off, try this, try that, try ANYTHING to win the game and stop this push from happening.  I can often see what they are doing wrong.  I can see what I am doing wrong.  But I can’t manage to find a solution based on principles: No effort, no force, and no resistance.

From the remove of this keyboard, it’s easy to say the first thing to do is NOT STRUGGLE.  And that usually means getting shoved around.  Which feels like losing the game.  Which feels demeaning.  Am I really this bad at push hands?

But in fact, that teacher was right.  Never struggle.   And it has often been said that if you get pushed, just get pushed.  That is, getting pushed and remaining relaxed is far better than getting pushed and getting harder.

My push hands buddy and I have been playing with those awful pushes.  But the exercise here is to just take 25 or more of those pushes and NOT FIGHT WITH THEM.   Stop the struggle!

What does that feel like?  To just be abused and mangled?

And even if I don’t find the answer to the problem of these pushes, a solution based on tai chi principles, I can say that I will NEVER find the solution as long as I am involved in struggling with the push itself.  Letting them happen will reveal far more than struggling with them.

I’m converted – just feel them for what they are.  Just fully experience this experience.  It is not normally what we want.  But to feel it again and again and again is starting to feel good.  Yes, FUN!  I have some faith that the real solution will present itself.  I don’t even have to look for it.  In fact, I’d suggest that you DON’T look for a solution.  Because at some point the solution will appear – you will see it.  And you don’t have to struggle to get there.

What about struggle outside of tai chi?

Dialogue from The Closer:

Mr. Beavis: “Go Away!!!”

Brenda Lee Johnson (in a strong Southern accent): “I can’t go away Mr. Beavis!!!   There are some things in life that you can’t send packin’, that you have to face up to!

And right NOW!

that THING!

for YOU!

is ME!”

It seems to me there are struggles and there are struggles.  Some struggles are in the realm of manageable.  They are worth the effort.  Because you can see the lay of the land in front of you.  You have a shot at having some success.  There are options worth taking or exploring.  (Brenda above decides to push the envelope and press forward – it was the only ploy at her disposal and this being TV, it worked!)

Then there are struggles where you don’t have a chance, at least not now, not from where you sit.  In cases like this, it may be best to let life take its course and not tie yourself in knots believing that you should be able to change this dilemma, that you should be able to find a positive outcome.  It simply isn’t true.

The deck may be stacked against you.  It may be best to give up entirely.  At least you won’t be adding strain to a difficult situation.  The terms of engagement may not be your terms.  This is NOT fun!

And knowing the difference is a true life skill.  Two options:  To let life take its course, or engage with the problem pointing directly at you.  That is the question!

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