Yang Chengfu said to his students that he was not a meat hook so they should not hang on to him. In retrospect I should have said to my student after last week’s training that I was not a fish hook so he should not willingly bite the bait and hang himself onto me. This is an inside joke.
Old habits take a long time to get rid of. Every time I add pressure, sometimes even if a bit more my student started to become tense and the hard strength would come out. Why can’t he get rid of it.
Observing him closely it dawned on me why this is so. Though he has changed the way he raised his arms in Beginning Posture remnants of his previous style was still there. That much is obvious.
We worked on correcting this and it was not an easy task exacerbated by the inability to clearly distinguish the parts involved in the count. Instead of being like a chain his arm was more like a bat – rigid, hard and unable to distinguish between hard and soft, substantial and insubstantial.
The remedy was to get the mental process and physical feel correct. He has to feel what mind separated from body, mind leading body was like. Then he has to follow closely the steps to achieve it. This is the easy part except when you cannot control your own mind and thus also fail to control the body. You know its your mind and your body but your inability to gain control makes you feel as if someone else is controlling you instead.
The training of the mind is an important key to achieving non-attachment. Non-attachment is the key to your ability to stop resisting unnecessarily. If you cannot stop resisting then your mind will be stuck. When your mind is stuck your body will have a difficult time relaxing without collapsing, thus with more pressure you will become panicky and resist even harder, paving the way for your own defeat. It is a vicious cycle to retarding your own improvement.
The first step to mastery is when you stop using muscles that do not contribute to doing Tai Chi better. Otherwise, you will become the fish that wants to keep getting caught in the fishhook. To Master Tai Chi Today know what you are doing clearly. If there are secrets they are there in the Tai Chi Classics rather than being in lineages and styles. As you become obsessed with the wrong priorities then the image of Buddha will cause you to be fixated; instead stop hanging onto the image of Buddha; kill him and you will be able to see the road ahead to enlightenment and mastery.
Want to learn Tai Chi in Singapore? At Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style (TaijiKinesis) lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English. Send enquiry today