Monday, December 17, 2012

Tai Chi is hard work

One can "scratch their head" but Tai Chi is hard work.  In the previous blog, you can hear Master Hwa say this as well. Teaching Tai Chi is hard work.  Writing about Tai Chi is hard work.  Those aren't my opinions, those are my experiences, something I have done for a long time (they are not my "feelings"). Here is an example of the importance of hard work in writing about Tai Chi as well as taking personal responsibility for it:  I received one comment from “anonymous” on a recent blog.  This in spite of my written statement that comments signed “anonymous” will be immediately deleted, which I did.  Quite honestly, I don’t even remember what was said.  Writing is indeed hard but my finger on the delete key is like lightning.

As the author of this blog,  publishing comments signed “anonymous” are a difficult thing to do. As I said previously, I have enough difficulties, I do not need anymore. I think of Master Hwa saying "I want to simplify my life".  I am in solidarity with him on that.  If this were not a democratic country or there was some similar scenario that gave birth to burning social issues I could understand and even appreciate "anonymous" authorship.  On the other hand, if I am the author of any comment, much as I do with this blog, I take ownership of what I write.  In other words, I have to stand by my words, I am accountable for them.  Master Hwa has been kind  and pointed this out to me when I have strayed too far afield.  He also signed his name when he told me this.  Now it is my turn as a teacher to pass this "accountability" on to the student or student(s) that write but wish to remain "anonymous". 

It has even been said that anonymity “calls into question the very validity of words without an identifiable author”.   Let us not bring into question here how hiding behind anonymity provides an excuse for bad behavior. Let's skirt the question of how easy it is to remain "anonymous" and how one might wish to avoid the "hard work". Why do you expect a Tai Chi teacher to compromise this or a writer for that matter? Don’t you see that its usage brings problems into what you write? If you tell me who you are, you will be treated as a human being, you will lay claim to your own authenticity and what you say will be treated as having meaning.   You are “anonymous” because you want to remain “private”?  You wish everyone to see it on the internet but you want to remain private?  I wish to have my cake and I want to eat it too.

Some sites will allow you to do this but there also many sites with many good reasons (this one too) for banning and deleting anonymous comments.  A quote by Master Hwa comes to mind:  “ I don’t understand the reasoning (thinking or reasoning ability) of modern day Tai Chi practitioners”.  If you wish privacy and anonymity it only demonstrates confused reasoning.   The better reasoning would be not to participate at all.  This blog, is mine and as with most others are not icons of democratic ideals, due to private ownership and accountability…(this blog is not a democracy, although it is written in a democratic country).  You can quote me for I take ownership.  Much like people cannot come into the house I "own" and do or say what they wish. 

Now on to another subject, that of "opinions" :  In my 10th year of Tai Chi, someone said to me:  “If I practiced Tai Chi as much as you, I’d be a Master by now”.  My now 40 years of Tai Chi has shown me that the oft quoted “practice makes perfect” is a widely held opinion/belief/assumption about not only Tai Chi but things in general and so overused it has become cliché’.    On how truly immaterial and irrelevant the “opinions” about Tai Chi and its practice are,  I can only quote the philosopher Bertrand Russell:   “The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not entirely absurd; indeed in view of the silliness of the majority of mankind, a widespread belief  is more likely to be foolish than sensible.” 

From someone who has experienced Tai Chi for these many 

years, Tai Chi is  not easy, it is hard from beginning to end.  

You can engage in wishful thinking about it, pay lip service to 

doing it and even practice and practice till you drop, but the 

real experience of it will always be different, each and every 

time you do it. 

Engaging Tai Chi with one’s “opinions” at the forefront is like 

trying to press water with a flat iron.  This comes to mind as 

an analogy, which is the way my experience tells me  lots of 

things are. For the most part,  one can never find a flat iron 

and enough water when it is needed, so pressing down a 

beach ball into water may be more apt to one's experience.

If you disagree, you are certainly entitled to your "opinion" but 

unless you are talking 40 years experience, an opinion is just 

that.You can quote me on that, for it is borne of my 

experience and I am pleased to say I own what I say about it. 

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