I shall continue the review from Chapter 2 Essentials of Mind Approach in Practicing Taijiquan which begins on page 87. This is because the author has stated that this chapter covers the methods of Grandmaster Wang Yongquan and Grandmaster Wei Shuren; a topic that I am familiar with.
2-1 Origin of the Mind Approach (page 87)
The author began by asking how an interested student can enter the world of Tai Chi that uses the mind approach. He wrote that the mind approach is not easy to learn. This is indeed a good point.
From my teaching experience I have found that most students are incapable of following instructions. I can tell them one thing many times but they will keep doing what is habitual and comfortable even if it is wrong and not giving them the desired results.
Learning the mind approach requires a radical leap in faith and the student needs to have a certain amount of trust in the teacher otherwise the student will sabotage his own learning. Based on this I can conclude that one can lead a horse to water but not make it drink. Thus, whether one can master the mind approach really is a matter of fate as my teacher once said to me.
The author mentioned that he practiced the 22-Old Six Routines form for more than 10 years and has entered the world of Tai Chi. However, looking at his photos at the end of the book I have this disquiet feeling. The point I would make is that learning for more than 10 years has nothing to do with one’s ability to attain the skills of the mind approach.
Instead, it is how accurate one is able to master the principles that will make the difference. Thus, it is easy for me to show new students on their first lesson that they already have the skill of the mind approach. The begging question is how to retain the skill once the demonstration is over.
My answer is simple – learn and master the principles and the skill will come back. Some learners think of the mind approach as a skill to be developed. I see it as a skill that is already there waiting to be unlocked with the right key.
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