How Not to Progress

Once upon a time there is a movement in a form that one of my teachers taught me. The way its done seems impossible to do.

I tried and I tried to figure out how to do it but to no avail. The movement is impossible to do given the laws governing balance. After a while I gave up and just did it the way most practitioners would have done it.

Except that was one troubling little fact – my teacher could do it.

So why couldn’t I do it?

What did I miss?

Tried to figure out what it was that I missed? Poured through books. Thought about it a lot. Still couldn’t do it. What was I missing?

My students today are going through a similar learning experience as me. It is common for them to try to figure out how to do something. This is why they could never really get it no matter how much figuring they tried to do.

In learning Tai Chi there are some things you can figure out on your own and there are some things you can never figure out. Yang Chengfu was not kidding when he said that certain things cannot be figured out even after ten lifetimes of learning if the information was not revealed.

In the end I managed to do what I teacher did. And I didn’t need to figure anything out. After a while I just realized that I did not have to crack my head over how my teacher did it. I only have to follow his instructions on how to do it, never mind how it really worked as this was not the issue here. As I would say sometimes when it comes to learning Tai Chi its better to err on the side of stupidity then be overly intelligent.

The answers can be laid before you but if you refuse to look at them and instead choose to follow your own way even though you do not know what that is then it is your decision to impede your progress. There is a reason for knowledge to be transmitted. If you don’t understand what transmission of knowledge means then you are depriving yourself of the full benefit of learning.

Example – my student pinpointed one learning issue correctly when he said he was trying to figure out how to shift his weight the way we do it in order to apply the techniques effectively and efficiently. The point he missed is that he already has the knowledge. One part of the knowledge is in the procedures on how to perform the form.

The other part is waiting to be revealed to him once he makes a breakthrough in certain of the principles he has learned. As my teacher said skill is dependent on time. If you don’t put in enough practice then you will need get it. There is one other factor that my teacher mentioned but I won’t write it here since not many students will believe it today.

LogoHave you cracked the Tai Chi puzzle or are you still in the dark? If you are ready to make good progress by learning instead of figuring things out yourself click here.

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