Short Form Training Final Update

I’m heading home to Boston tomorrow, but I’ve already begun looking through my notes and thinking about what I will personally practice and what I’ll be able to share with my students in classes this coming year. Here are some of my initial thoughts:

How Material is Woven together over a Month:

Day to day we’re looking at really small specific pieces but now going back through my notes, I can start to see different threads that run throughout the duration of the month. It’s almost like you don’t even notice some of the nuances as in the moment, but like we’ll look at something about the legs in Tai Chi from the first day and then we came back to it four or five days later and then we look at it again, and when you actually line up the pieces side by side, what you start to see is that…versus looking at it from like sort of looking at a ball, you look at it from one side and then the next time you look at it from this angle, then you look at it from this angle. And by taking this kind of spherical approach to it, looking at different facets of the subject, you start to develop a sense for the whole. And it’s not the progression that he always teaches and it’s not linear. It’s not one, two, three, four, five. It’s look at it this way, look at it that way and it’s sort of up to you to put the pieces together to create the whole.

Handling Stress on a Whole New Level:

They’re all are these layers to that and progressions that I’ll be able to lay out for my students, but personally for me I think one of the most exciting ones that I’ll be able to bring to people is some really specific technical information about burnout and stress and no, I mean, if you think about Tai Chi in general, that’s kind of what it’s known for. It’s a relaxation practice and it looks calming in that way. Everybody’s first impression of it is that it is gentle and relaxing, but we actually got in much deeper into the technical stuff and the form that actually makes the softness of Tai Chi really work.

So it’s not always contrasted to the couch potato model of relaxation where we live in this culture where we think, okay just go, go, go, go, go 24/7 and when you want to relax, pass out on the couch in front of the TV. So we have these two extremes. Tai chi is sort of an antidote to stress. It works on relaxation but it’s a little more complicated than that. It’s not… relaxation isn’t just a flop. Relaxation has to do much more with your capacity to put energy out and take energy in.

So there’s some really interesting technical stuff in terms of being able to absorb and nourish the body that is really Tai Chi’s strong suit that you’re not going to get in this kind of fast paced go, go, go, very Yang, very revved up kind of mentality. Instead, Tai Chi has a way of building the nervous system and building the body up so that it can rest, absorb and regenerate and we looked at some really specific ways to highlight in the form to make sure that happens for people.

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  1. Peter Ling says:

    Been eading through my notes from the training, and playing with my new form and reflecting on the experience. Really interesting and useful to hear your thoughts :). Cheers

  2. Hey Peter,

    The more I’m going through notes too, the more I think the whole month was like downloading a really powerful piece of software, but now, over the next year or two or however long, training the material is what matters. It’s like actually using the software to do something. You know what I mean? Kind of a daunting feeling, like the work is only just beginning, but also pretty exciting.

  3. Peter Ling says:

    Hey Dan, just seeing your post now.

    Yes I do know what you mean, and it seems to be working across the different arts too. I’m tucking into Bruce’s Hsing-I dvds at the moment. Been working on one of the early exercises on turning on the central channel, happy that I seem to be getting a feel for it. Then realise it’s probably coming because of the time we spent getting it into our tai chi form in the first week 🙂