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Exploration of Yang Moves
discussion, analysis and exploration of moves in the Yang Form

You do this... this happens. You do that...


cross handsMy teacher Ray used to say that the only difference between 'good' and 'bad' Tai Chi is that the 'good' knows why he/she does this that or the other - and the 'bad' does not. This does not mean that there be any difference whatsoever in the appearance of the form manifest by the 'good' and the 'bad'; but they should nevertheless themselves be aware that there are similarities and differences in every human being. How could anyone ever claim anyway to know what they are doing if they have no idea why they do it! It is like me claiming to 'know' Winston Churchill because I read about him in a history book; whereas in truth I only know what he did and I can only then hazard a guess as to why and how he achieved the many things he did. I can make assumptions and even content myself with the answers that I give myself, but this acquaintance is utterly superficial and meaningless.

There is a phrase/suggestion in Tai Chi that points towards this theory of 'knowing' a thing and then 'doing' (or being) that thing. It goes: "Practice a posture a thousand times and it becomes Yours".
My job as Instructor is not to tell you 'why' you should do this, that or the other; that is for you to decided and then understand. As instructor I may be able to tell you how to go about your study, but I can't understand it or know it for you! This 'getting to know' comes some time after the committing to memory and when that is - is up to you entirely!

Getting to know any particular posture is more than just remembering and then repeating that pattern or sequence over and over again in exactly the same fashion every time, because every moment in our lives should be appreciated as unique and unrepeatable. NO TWO MOMENTS ARE IDENTICAL.
Stagnation encourages decay, just take a look at water that has for whatever reason remained stagnant for a day or two to confirm this fact for yourself. This by the way is the basis of Feng Shui (the arrangement and placement of objects within an environment to encourage a constant 'flow' of energy) and indeed those words "Feng Shui" translate simply as "Wind and Water".

So, at first, the purpose of this mechanical repeating over and over of postures that you may think you already 'know' is only a means to an end and simply a part of the process of gaining a far deeper knowledge and personal relationship with the form. Compared this to the process that transforms a new acquaintance into a lifelong friend. You should know it like your best friend or your partner, and you would not expect them to behave, be or 'appear' exactly the same forever would you! They will change and you will change. Allow your form to change or adapt, and practice nondiscrimination and patience.

Zen Phrase: "First, there are mountains and there are streams. And then, there are no mountains and there are no streams. And then ... there are mountains and there are streams!"

The 'stages' that one must go through from Beginner to Advanced is simply a matter of time, and in the customary paradoxical way - it is easier to do than to say. To say it, simply so; one 'learns' a sequence one way round ... the way one is taught.

Next, when this is 'remembered' and performed "without thinking" (Wu Shi/No Mind) one should be encouraged to perform that sequence the other way round, that is to say 'left-handed' or mirror image.
When that sequence is likewise remembered and performed that way round - without thinking - one should be encouraged to practice the sequence from last posture to first, first right handed and then left.

So, there is plenty for you to practice isn't there? And you don't need to be 'taught' on each occasion afresh how to do it each way round; the practice is that you learn to adapt [it] yourself.
First you mimic, then you remember, and later you become so well practice in this mimicry that you 'become' what you mimic. You become more real that what you mimic. You mimic yourself, thus you simply "become".

Karmic Law: You do this... this happens. You do that ...

 

 

 
So, at first, the purpose of this mechanical repeating over and over of postures that you may think you already 'know' is only a means to an end and simply a part of the process of gaining a far deeper knowledge and personal relationship with the form. Compared this to the process that transforms a new acquaintance into a lifelong friend.
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