Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Tai Chi Chuan - My First Steps

Source of Image
Of all the physical activities and sports in the world, I ended up choosing tai chi as a means of getting my butt off the chair.

My reasons are simple (to me at least):
  1. I hate exercise, always have, probably always will. It makes you sweaty and creates a lot more laundry. Yeah, I hate that too.
  2. I rather liked playing squash, but my schedule no longer makes that an option.
  3. I am not particularly competitive and not many people like that. I would rather conceded a point, if it prevents me or my partner from getting injured. My squash partner and I got along well on that score, because we played purely for fun.
  4. With tai chi I don't need a partner, nor any specific equipment or facilities, and I can do it when it suits me - 4am, or 11pm. And there is no competitiveness involved, only discipline and practice.
And that was the thing that drew me the most: discipline. I may not be competitive, but what I do I want to do well. It took a long time for me to realise that being competitive and being good at something, is not the same thing. Unfortunately, that is the doctrine we grew up with - you can only be good at something, if you are better than everyone else.
Not in my world, not anymore.
I started tai chi lessons on 15 December, and have made the choice to practice at least twice a day. With the exception of Christmas and New Year's Day (because of other obligations) I have kept to this routine.
One thing about tai chi that threw me, was that it looks easier than it is. It is not difficult, but the movements and coordination of hands, feet and body require more focus than I thought it would.
The discipline I mentioned? Yep, so far it worked for me. My course is the Yang style 24 movement short form, and I have reached movement no 4 - the Bent Knee and Twist Step. For some reason this one is a bit more challenging than the first three. Then again I had to practice a lot on the second and third movements too.

Tai chi is sometimes called moving meditation. While I need to focus right now on getting the movements correct, I can understand why. There is just something in these movements that makes me slow down and think.