Learned a new term from reading Cultish : The Language of Fanaticism which is “thought terminating cliche” which is a catchphrase meant to use to halt an argument from moving forward.
Examples would be “It is what it is”, “It’s all God’s plan”, “Everything happens for a reason”, and “Don’t think too hard about it”.
In the context of Tai Chi learning if you asked your teacher what why you can’t do a technique properly and his reply is “you are not sung enough” that’s basically a thought terminating cliche.
A non-cultish teacher would explain the why of your inability and how to work on it to get to a point where you can do it. Blaming it on your inability to sung means the teacher has no interest to teach you or he simply does not know how to get you to move forward hence the need to stop your questions from moving forward.
Other thought-terminating cliches would include :-
a) That’s how it is in our style
b) This is what is transmitted by our grandmaster (or master)
c) This is how it was taught traditionally
d) You need to be an advanced student / disciple to be taught this technique / form
e) This is a deadly skill that has been handed down by our ancestors
Reading the part of the book on the fitness industry gave me some interesting insights because in a way the fitness industry is similar to martial arts schools like are set up like a cult. I can think of two schools that I encountered in the 80s that was like that.
The lesson here for those who aspire to have a successful school that can potentially spin off into many branches within and outside the country is to run it like a cult. It does not necessary mean you must do evil, just that people like to be led. They hate to think. They just want to be told what they can get.
If you want to sell your Tai Chi and rip off students with never ending courses to reel them in here’s a few thought-terminating cliches that I modified from those I read about for the likes of SoulCycle, CorePower Yoga, Bikram Yoga, CrossFit etc which can also be used to promote your internal style whichever you are teaching :-
Fajing to the Max
No Chi, No Power
Keep Up the Qi-Power
Feel Your Qi, Release Your Power
Power is where the Dantian is