Tai ChiOn Being a PractitionerTai Chi

By Simu Patti Everett


As you break and enter the kwoon for your lesson, clear your mind and let all the problems and preoccupations of your life fall away. To be able to learn, you must free yourself and find sanctuary in your art. Focus in on each moment of your class and be completely engrossed in your technique. During the lesson, nothing exists beyond the kwoon. Penetrate the moment and live it fully.

Work on the development of the chi flow through physical and mental practices. Vent any pent-up aggressions in a controlled manner. Practice the art for release and self-expression. The technique is not to frustrate you, but to set you free. It is all in your outlook.

Your teacher is your example. Learn by attentiveness and through imitation. Then inject yourself into the technique and it is genuinely yours. Show respect for your instructors. They have dedicated a good deal of time to their own study. By teaching you the art, they are sharing an intimate part of themselves. Receive their teaching with trust. Regardless of your admiration for your instructors, you must always believe that with the teachers' guidance and efforts you will become as adept at the art as they are if you apply yourself. As you stumble through the form for the first time, retain your self respect. Everyone had to begin somewhere.

You must be humble to learn. You have to trust your teacher to nurture your technique in the proper way. Train only in the ways you are shown by your teacher. Do not experiment with ideas from outside sources! Trust that your teacher is not keeping things from you, but keeping you from hurting yourself.

Be self-motivated. Do not make your teacher have to lift your legs and kick your butt all the time. Without having to deal with this burden your teacher can devote her/his time to correcting your technique and expanding your ideas.

Practice positively when you work out. Feel confident. Your teacher will correct your errors. You know and your teacher can sense when you are unsure. No one else must know. If you are confident in class you will be confident in a fighting or self defense situation.

Your body is the vehicle of your art. Keep it healthy and clean. Everything you ingest becomes you and so becomes your art. Do not pollute your body with poor food or harmful drugs. Do not pollute your art. Be meticulous about your body, sculpt it with your art. It will show in your technique.

As you become involved with the art on a daily basis, you will almost always have temporarily strained body part. If you have an injury, talk to your instructor to build your body, not have a temporarily strained body part. You can train around the injury. We are here to train your body, not to drive you into the ground.

Do not misuse the knowledge you gain through the art. It is not a party game. Do not mislead others with what you know. Keep it, it's yours.

Always bring Kung Fu with you. Let it permeate all aspects of your life. Apply it to bring meaning to the most menial and routine tasks. Let it help win all your battles in life. Never put it down for too long.