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


Tai Chi Bit By Bit

Posted By Tom Daly on September 15th, 2017

Tai Chi Bit By Bit

To continue with my language metaphor, learning tai chi is very much like learning a VERY foreign language (as in Chinese, Japanese, Arabic – where there is no English alphabet). I’m studying Arabic.

We learn letters, then groups of letters that make up a word, then words that combine with other words to form meaning, then grammatical rules so that the combinations can be replicated and imitated in other sentences and so forth.

But you have to start from the beginning. Like a letter. Or a shape.  Like imagine learning the paragraph sentence above in another language.

We learn how a letter combines with another letter and how that sounds, and how a movement progresses into the next part of the movement to make a continuous sequence. Then the sound combinations will have meaning, as the movement sequence will have a martial or energetic functioning.

Then grammar kicks in so that you can manipulate those words consistently.

In tai chi, you incorporate principles to the basic movements and combination of movements in order to have an entire posture. A posture in tai chi is the movement from beginning to end of one small section that has one basic function. It makes its own sentence. Each posture has a name but each posture is made up of several letters and even words. But in order to pronounce the letters together correctly, you need principles that cement the beginning and the end into one functioning statement.

We conceptualize the form as having three sections. I might call these paragraphs which contain multiple moves. How you pronounce your moves, connect your moves, improve your grammar, your pronunciation will impact on the meaning of the paragraph.

Some think that once you “know” the paragraph, you can move on. Well, not quite. As you learn nuance, the meaning in the paragraph will change. And as you learn the infinite variable sentences of push hands, you change the meaning of your tai chi form.

“Fire” vs. “fire”.  One is a noun, one is a verb. In that previous sentence, I follow the rules of capital lettering. And if you say the word “fire”, the context will drive the meaning. And even when you choose a meaning through the context, the feeling of that meaning will have infinite variations.

“Through”. “Threw”. “Through”.

I threw the ball.

I am now through.

I went through the tunnel.

Sound and meaning. Context and emotion. Written expertise. All of these are factors in these sentences just like each posture has a context and a meaning depending on the person doing the form.

Your form may be the moves. Or it may be the connection between the moves, or the fullness of each move, or how the fullness in yang part of the move dissolves into the yin part of the move to create an ebb and flow, not just a straight line. Or it may be an expression of a martial arts move or the expression of a body that knows how to fill up and expand and empty to become light and nimble, it may be the folding and unfolding and how the body makes that happen through relaxation, sinking, non-doing.

Some writers are terse, others elaborate. Some have a light touch, others a thickness that needs effort to read. Some love long intricate sentences, others as brief as poetry.  For some the meaning is IN the words, for others, the meaning is what is between the words or what is not stated.

So too your form.

Of course, the kind of learning I’m talking about is not the only way to learn. We actually absorb our native tongue far before we can break it down and understand its internal workings. Some learn tai chi in exactly this way as well.

There is a childlike absorption process in learning both language and tai chi. At first you are learning even though you don’t know you are learning something. The language takes you. Tai chi takes you. Only later can you pull it apart to see what has taken place, hidden in plain sight, to reveal deeper expression. It takes deep reflection on what has taken place in the past to understand this.

Mastery comes when it simply comes out of you without any effort. We don’t construct HOW to say anything after a while. It just appears as you need it. No gaps in execution.

Arabic is difficult and technical, and like my native language I hope it can just flow someday. Like tai chi, it is extraordinarily elegant. And for me, worth the effort.

To find something, ANYTHING that requires this kind of attention is of great value.

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