Rhythm, Timing, and Intuition

Why is it that sometimes you feel confident, connected, and at ease and other times you get flustered, disoriented and nothing seems to come together?

According to Greek poet Archilocus, “we don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training.”

Now does that mean that every possible situation you go through needs to be practiced, rehearsed, and trained? That seems a little overwhelming!

Instead, when we practice Tai Chi and qigong, we are making the bet that they will infuse the rest of our lives with the calm, centered awareness.

Training to Reveal Your Intuition

Lately, I’ve been questioning how we learn and teach practices that are designed to connect us to our deeper channels of energy, awareness and being.

Are we over-thinking things?

I came across a popular book from the 70s called The Inner Game of Tennis and the author, Tim Gallwey, confirmed my suspicion.

In 1971, while on sabbatical from a career in higher education, I took a job as tennis professional in Seaside, California. While teaching on the court one day, I realized that many of my instructions were being incorporated in the student’s mind as a kind of “command and control” self-dialogue that was significantly interfering with both learning and performance. When I inquired further, I found there was a lot going on in the mind of my tennis students that was preventing true focus of attention.

I then began to explore ways to focus the mind of the player on direct and non-judgmental observation of ball, body, and racquet in a way that would heighten learning, performance, and enjoyment of the process. With this new awareness, amateur tennis players seemed to naturally develop the instincts and physicality of much more experienced players without specific instruction.

His techniques allowed people to bypass their verbal filters, where we normally try to communicate about learning, and tap directly into deeper, more intuitive ways of perceiving and performing.

In the spirit of bypassing your thinking brain, I’d like you to take 5 minutes and watch the video below of Tai Chi Master Cheng Man Ching.

Don’t analyze it.

Use the soundtrack of the video to help you feel the rhythm and timing of his steps.

Then do your form or work on pushes or whatever other practice you enjoy, feeling for the same rhythm.

By the way, I highly recommend you subscribe to Mario Napoli’s Youtube Channel. He posts great archival footage and really interesting training videos of himself and his students.

Let me know how it goes!

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Comments

  1. Bob Hughes says:

    This is an age-old paradox.
    By-pass brain: NADA
    Use brain: NADA
    Use both: sort-a-kinda
    Cheng Man-Ching video: NADA (I’ve viewed it many times before–no secrets revealed)
    Read Frantzis “Opening the Energy Gates of Your Body:” NADA (I’ve read it for 8 years).
    Go through your (Kleiman) “Standing QiGong” audio series on opening energy gates: GREAT!
    (9 20+ minute sessions just following your direction and I can feel gates–some do open)
    I tried the Kleiman audio on others: not so great
    (Everyone over 40 has some rotator cuff damage; so I tried your shoulder audio on 12 seniors this week–not one Ahhhhh! One guy’s shoulder clicked even more.)
    Just sit and meditate: NADA (I’ve done this for 38 years)
    Do Tai Chi and meditate: kinda sorta (I’ve done this for 20 years)
    Do bagua: NADA (I’ve done this for 4 years)

    Conclusion: none.

  2. Always interesting, Bob!

    What I love about this clip specifically is watching his timing in the legs: the loading in the back leg, step with the front foot, and follow-through with the rest of the body.

    What I think I used to see (and what most people focus on!): the contact point in the hands, the force coming through the hands/arms/shoulders and as a result, we tend to respond more like his opponent.

    Re: clicking…usually solved by more lengthening and better rotational movement. Look at the moment just before the click and I’ll be there’s a freeze point.