I don’t remember the motto I had five years ago when I wrote todays story, but last year my motto was “Always and Never the Same”.Â As I look back for a “Say it Again Saturday” post I found this one. I wrote it 5 years ago almost to the day, and even though I haven’t seen or heard from Koruger in a while, this lesson continues to work for me! Principles don’t really change; but we do, and our understanding of them tend to evolve.Â
Looking good – vs. Being good? Posted first on July 18, 2007Â
My friend and Tai Chi buddy Koruger is visiting us for a few days. Koruger is one of those odd people who just â€œget itâ€ when we talk about Tai Chi. His push hands is really good. Really good. Every time I work with him, it is a great lesson, and loads of fun. So this morning, while thinking about what to write about, Koruger said, â€œwell letâ€™s push a bit and maybe something will come upâ€. Sure enough it wasnâ€™t long, before he told me to relax! Not a new lesson, I always know I need to relax more, as I believe no matter our skill level, we can all can relax just a bit more. But I digress.
Todayâ€™s lesson was about â€œstructureâ€. Koruger was all over the place. He was bent backwards, sideways, forward, even a bit twisty. â€œWhere in your form do you have that postureâ€? I asked in my high handed principled way. (Which, by the way, without the attitude, is a good question to ask yourself as you work toward recognizing your comfort.) â€œHmmmmâ€ he thought… then said, â€œmaybe in the Chen swordâ€ or â€œWu Styleâ€. Of course I donâ€™t study Chen or Wu style and Iâ€™ve been working â€œvery hardâ€ on keeping my head suspended and my body upright as well as staying relaxed!
What Koruger was showing me, is that when you understand the principles well, then you are free to play them. What I was learning was, it is really important to line up inside, what I call my â€œbitsâ€. Dan tien being a huge bit. Ego being another. I found if I keep all my â€œbits in alignmentâ€, then how I look on the outside, doesnâ€™t make much of a difference.
Sam has spoken about â€œworking with the extreme range of movementâ€ in this kind of lesson. Ever keeping in mind that it is best to build a practice from the mid-range. Iâ€™d like to see us all become an experts in comfort first. I have joked that, â€œI don’t really want to know this stuff, I just want to look like I doâ€! I found it very difficult to consciously go into an extreme range of movement, either bent over forward or backwards, because it doesnâ€™t â€œlook goodâ€, I’d rather take the step and call it “investing in loss”. But today I felt it. My inside bits were in order, and so what I looked like on outside didnâ€™t matter. I still had my centre and at times, because of his generosity, I had Korugersâ€™.
Now, this lesson extends into our self esteem, body imagine, and a thousand other issues we bring to the table when we connect with someone else. I love this part of our practice. Lessons that extend into â€œreal lifeâ€ keep me interested in this art like no other study can. And once again, I am reminded that Tai Chi is an internal art. How we harmonize inner and outer is a great koan and like balance, it is something I work towards constantly.
Iâ€™d like to think feeling good on the insides, will be beat looking good on the outsides most every time for me.