Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Unsweetened Coffee

I once worked for a lady who drank Nescafe black without creamer, sugar or milk. The taste sounded awful to me and I cannot imagine why anyone would drink coffee this way.

Fast forward two decades.

Starbucks. Expresso. Two shots. Yes, two shots.

First time I drank Expresso it tasted like medicine. Few more times of it and it didn’t taste so bad after all. Finally, I can understand why the lady boss would drink Nescafe that way. Nothing like a kick from the caffeine mule to wake the mind up. Particularly so in those years when I was learning Wing Chun in Hong Kong and lessons only started around midnight and would go on until dawn. Or those years of learning Tai Chi when morning lessons meant up to 2 hours of listening to talk of principles.

So when my student finally understood the taste of Tai Chi it was easy to explain to him how to use imagery to control the body. For example after the previous lesson he is still trying to get rid of the extra stress on his foot.

It was easy to know why he couldn’t get it. Its because his mind is still attached and fixated to his foot. The more he wanted to get rid of the problem the more it seemed to hang on. I had to let him mull over the problem and put in the practice, good or bad, because then he will have questions and doubts. With doubts its easier to jolt the mind into awakening.

So its back to the very first position but this time a method for not allowing the mind to be fixated. Cause and effect. Cause and effect. I explained the principles in a more detailed manner, adding a few more layers on top of what is already known. After adding this extra information into the practice and what was wrong became correct and the feeling of uncomfortable pressure was …………… gone.

This correctness has many more implications for the mastery of Tai Chi. A small step perhaps but potentially a giant leap once the principle becomes a natural habit.




Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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