Wednesday, June 15, 2022

More Yi, less Me


Here is an outline of THE big problem in Tai Chi. But in the photo, kudos to Master Stephen Hwa and my student Sifu Tom Kostusiak. I have fond memories of waiting for my turn in 2007. Now to the "ethereal": Over those years and further back, I have met so many "wishful thinkers" telling me what Tai Chi is. One would think we were teaching Grimms Fairy Tales with no exaggeration. If it is not someone with aspirations to be the next Bruce Lee, it flips completely to someone asking "...does Tai Chi allow one to fly the Astral Plane....? Then when a teacher corrects the student's Form and postures, one hears "…this is not what I expected…." Master Stephen Hwa addressed this by saying, "After all, a bad posture will stop internal energy generation and qi flow. No mental state or wishful thinking can overcome that."

I have taught M.D.'s and College Professors, and wishful thinking has no end, even in the stratosphere of advanced College degrees. Even in the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, the author states that there is sometimes a need to "...dispense with the scientific framework of Tai Chi...". There is also a statement that "... rational thinking needs to be turned off and rely on intuition and imagination..." On Page 7, it also says, "...Tai Chi classics say, belief or mind moves internal energy (Qi) and Qi moves the body."
Let's clarify this down to the nitty-gritty. In the photo, there is Yin and Yang to show movement. There is a blurred image of Tom falling with a blurred teacher's leg. The picture shows the teacher's 1/2 body is not moving as well. As I said, Yin is not moving, and Yang is moving. It is also not Master Hwa's belief that he is sweeping Tom's leg; it is his "Yi" or intent on the edge of his right leg to sweep Tom Kostusiak.
Cannot be said too much so to say again; the correct use is that Yi or intent of mind moves the Qi for it is undoubtedly not belief, intuition, or imagination that can get the job done. Master Stephen Hwa addressed this in detail over the years. It boils down to the language, namely the ethereal language, to describe Tai Chi. It boils down to an author saying, "... Part of Tai Chi and other meditative art practice requires turning off rational thinking and tapping into other, less understood processes, like intuition and imagination.."
One cannot say my "belief" or even my "belief" in my palm allowed me to strike the opponent. However, suppose I say my intent to strike with the edge of my hand allowed me to hit the opponent. In that case, there is undoubtedly a better outcome, both literally and figuratively, in the offing.
Significant problems occur and reoccur with this type of thinking and subsequent language, unfortunately permeating modern-day Tai Chi. Stephen Hwa Ph.D. addresses these problems in his book Uncovering the Treasure: Classical Tai Chi's Path to Internal Energy & Health and at
Wayne, Peter M.; Fuerst, Mark L.. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind (Harvard Health Publications) (p. 7). Shambhala Publications. Kindle Edition.

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