Today is World Taichi (or Taiji) and Qi Gong Day. It is one of those "kumbaya" scenarios where everyone wants to feel good because they are all following a certain practice.
They all assemble together, hoping that they could change the state of the globe. One wonders if it could decrease world hunger and diminish the threat of global warming. . . . Hmmmm!?
Ruminations and Afterthoughts
How many Taiji players do you know, really comprehend the technicalities on how it really works!?
From our observation, the majority of the "Taiji" masses are always concentrating on a few "big picture" technicalities and the final outcome without understanding the true connection between the grand fundamental points.
There are some knowledgeable people who could explain to you on how the fundamentals worked from a ground up perspective. The numerous messengers usually dominate this entire group and delineate the newbies on how it all works from a top down view in terms of the "imaginary results." . . .
Interestingly, a few of them could barely transform their Taiji experience into their daily life on a 24/7 basis. Humorously, they are the salespeople of the group.
The rarity during one's learning of Taiji or any other internal martial arts is to discover the skilled person who could patiently explain to the novices- the connecting "balancing point" between the general perspective and the wide array of specific points with real examples.
The challenge is that the "skilled person" must determine whether it is worth his/her time to explain that "balancing point" to them.
The commonality of the novices is that some of them are studying it for the purpose of finding some level of self-enlightenment.
Some might get lucky in receiving the benefits from practicing it correctly. The rest of them are just saying that it does help them without personally specifying the long-term benefits.
The Assessment Points
In any niche, the ratio between the group of messengers-pseudo specialists are greater than the experts. To filter the competent instructors from the masses of amateurs, assess their skills carefully.
Use their advanced students as the measuring gauge. Study if they are able to integrate the attributes of breathing, balancing and rhythm into their practice. Examine if they can stay "relaxed, grounded, centered, calm and whole" in each and all of their movements. Those two grand perspective are what most "current and future" students have always missed.
Following are other assessment points:
- Are the advanced students able to stay focused on their movement without being distracted?
- Are the advanced students able to practice in isolation?
- Are the advanced students able to utilize their Taiji skills outside of their practice?
The knowledge of knowing what factors to look for, is what the serious Taiji players are focused on.
# The Chief Benefit of Taiji
Building and augmenting the skill of one's mindfulness is the name of the game. The state of mindfulness could enable the desktop strategists to understand certain Chinese strategic classics in a different light.
One could build this unique skill through the practice of integrating the state of relaxation, the state of grounded, the state of centered, the state of calm and the state of being whole through the control of the breath. Regardless of the difficulty, it could be done
The other options to building the skill of mindfulness are: Six Harmonies and Eight Methods System; Aikido; Baguazhang; Xingyiquan, and Yiquan.
It is difficult to learn "real" Taiji in a group setting unless one is interested in the social aspect of the activity. . . . Those who are seriously interested in learning Taiji, should seek a competent instructor who is patiently experienced in teaching them on an one on one basis before ever seeking an expert.
The ultra class experts are usually staying away from the ranked amateurs who have publicized themselves as the true specialists. They isolated themselves from the masses for the purpose of staying focused to their practice to the nth degree. ... In some rare instances, some of these experts usually privately trained their most dedicated students behind the closed doors for the purpose of preserving the essence of the system. ...