Understanding Real Tai Chi Part3August 2, 2008
Becoming one with the universe
The practice of Push Hands is very misleading. On the surface it appears to be a contest between two students, however it is much more than that. Firstly we must maintain our relaxation developed in the form while practicing the push hands form. Second the concentration should be on your center of gravity as you go thru the postures of the push hands form. Third, never use more than 8 oz of strength when trying to push your partner. Fourth, try to feel your partner’s energy and issue your energy when pushing. Upon listening to the instructions I wondered if I would ever get it. This was becoming very complicated indeed. When I asked too many questions, my instructor was quick to say practice, practice and practice some more. That is the only way to make progress.
The next step in our practice was to learn the sword form, and understand how to fence with wooden swords. This is easier said than done. The sword form took another 9-12 months and you cant put a time line on your fencing practice. Swords should be of a specific length depending on your height. Sword work develops the legs while push hands develops the waist. Fencing consists of maintaining contact with your partner’s sword while trying to touch his or her body with your sword. All this while scooting around the practice floor.
Now I was practicing the hand form, the sword form and the push hands form. All this with my body relaxed, centered and grounded and my mind concentrated on my center. No wonder you count your practice in decades not years.
But where is all this going. Is it just a physical practice defined in decades or is there something I am not seeing?
Years into my practice I started to notice some very interesting changes coming about. My body started to feel connected to my mind. My mind felt connected to my breath. My whole way of seeing and experiencing my everyday life started to change. Inner calmness developed and my thoughts started to slow. I started to intuit answers to problems from my center rather from my common sense thought process. I tended to look inside rather than concentrating on what was going on outside. In short my whole psyche experienced great changes that manifested in my everyday life. My quest to become a tai chi master changed into a love of my own practice without any goals. Finally I was satisfied with being who I really was.
Tai Chi like many other internal arts puts on a false face to the casual observer. These internal methods are meant to develop real people. People who live moral and ethical lives based on truthfulness and understanding. People whose parents are proud of them and whose friends look up to them. This is the way to greater consciousness and a link to our spirituality. Don’t be fooled, dig deep and you will discover yourself and become closer to your soul.