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Tai Chi Philosophy
the wider culture around tai chi - philosophies, ideas  

The Whitest Black Belt

One begins or takes up a Martial as a White Belt. With training one progresses through a succession of belts graded into certain colours.

If you were to lay all of these belts out in a row and view them in black and white (like on an old colour telly with failing colour) the belts would be seen to go through all of the correct shades of gray - in eight graduations - from white to black.


Yin and Yang can be seen as a Rainbow, with colours that meet at an infinity far beyond our possible perception. Infer Red - Ultra Violet
What we 'see' is little more than a narrow band in the middle.

Therefore, this narrow band represents infinity as we can comprehend it well enough.
No point in trying to comprehend a thing that is, by definition, indefinable and incomprehensible.

cheng man-chingThe belts awarded in martial art might also represent stages of 'character growth' of all diligent Budoka.
This above all other is the purpose of martial art training: Character Growth.
Oft in Tai Chi a net result of this is grace (see picture), serenity and humor (ditto).
That is not the point, they are by-product, that's all.

100% Extra Free !!! Wu Wei.

One begins martial art training as a White Belt. In the relative scale of Yin Yang (the absolute scale is incomprehensible) this can be equated with White, Hot, Bright, Upwards and Outward.
This might be the character of a person when he or she takes up martial art:
Tempestuous, Impulsive, very Apparent and Loud maybe?

Through the shades of gray the diligent Budoka 'cool' in character and moderate (have control) of their behavior.
They Chill!

A Black Belt should be modest and inconspicuous. Not too loud, not too quiet. Just there, doing what is expected.

The Blackest White Belt.

It takes a long to to 'get' a Black Belt.

Just the other day a student (Steve [another story] the Suit) required a quick answer to a question:
"What does a Black belt do that is different from other Grades" ?
I replied: "He is ready to take Responsibility".

A Black Belt to me means that a person is ready to commence serious study and practice
- including teaching or instructing.

A Black Belt Budoka in some of the arts may have the ability to take away human life.
He or She should seek to acquire the ability to give life in equal measure.

The Budoka that takes responsibility accepts that honor with good character and fortitude.
A Black Belt Budoka is ready to begin Giving (or Giving Back).

The journey to Black Belt is simply a trip to the Start Line.
There is no Finish Line beyond that one that we can perceive. That one is called "Death".

It takes a long time to get a Black Belt.
Q. How long is it kept? A. Forever.

A diligent Black Belt Budoka wear their Black Belt as often as they take responsibility.
The sooner they get it, the longer they wear it.
A Black Belt Budoka should, with fortitude and character, take responsibility for every one of their actions and "behave in private as if in public; and behave in public as if in private.

Being A Black Belt Budoka is A Responsibility.

This attitude - in Classic Budo - is not excessive. It is a simple 'everyday' and 'family' code. It is a comprise!
The Warrior Way is less comprising with a personal moral of even greater severity.
That is A Way, but even at it's soars Tai Chi is not a Warrior Way. And it is not the time or place.

There is a time for growth and a time for decay.

Given time, even this 'precious' Black Belt begins to decay or fade.

The longer it is possessed the more it fades until eventually, it becomes white again.

And then ... further decay into nonexistence ... as we perceive it.
... like a candle "going out".

There is a Time and a Place for Everything.
There are No Secrets.

carterThere is a line in "Southpark" (American TV cult cartoon series) :
"There is a time and a place for everything ... and that's College! "

What does Mister Hand mean?

There is a time for growth, and there is a time for decay.
There is a place for growth, and there is a place for decay.

There is no Beginning or End, apart from the incomprehensible one(s).

We should attempt to comprehend what we can, where we can.

My Tai Chi teacher Ray, teaches also self defense for kids and adults.
As far as I understand he does not teach Tai Chi to those under 18 years of age.

If Tai Chi teacher does his/her job well, the Yin aspects of the character of the Budoka will increase or grow.
Yin is Downwards and Inwards, Quiet and Subdued.
College is neither the time or place for this!

But yet again, even all of this is only what we can perceive from here and now. It is actually the case that what these kids find out when they grow up is that the "self defense" that they learnt all those years ago actually really was Tai Chi! The only difference was that they were painting with a different palette; they were doing it fast and now they are doing it slower. The Volume has been turned down! Like the waning of the Winter Moon ... It is still there. You may not see it, but it's still there.

Postscript to Yin Yang Journal One and Two:

I have no authority and do not engage myself in the awarding of belts of any description or colour.
I personally decline to instruct in (the physical - I am happy to 'talk about it' with anyone) Tai Chi to those under 16; and Tai Chi is all that I 'instruct' in. I have tried and I have failed. Anyway, it is pointless.
However, being the nature that I am I must say that I derive most pleasure myself from instructing and practicing Tai Chi with those about 18 - 28. Just right for me! Perhaps this reflects my palette;
where I am in the comprehensible scale.

Confucius did not begin his study of the I Ching till after his eightieth year had passed, believing that until then his acclimate wisdom would be insufficient. The statement "in private as if public" is also attribute to him.

John Lennon's last record released before his death was called "Starting Over".

This entry journal 2: 01.01.01.
Gary Robinson

Related (inspirational) material within:
An Affectionate Word "Finger"



One begins martial art training as a White Belt. In the relative scale of Yin Yang (the absolute scale is incomprehensible) this can be equated with White, Hot, Bright, Upwards and Outward. This might be the character of a person when he or she takes up martial art: Tempestuous, Impulsive, very Apparent and Loud maybe?

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