I read about the importance of belief recently and how it can affects one’s learning habits.
So happened a week ago I was telling my student that if he had not believed what I told him about doing Tai Chi using intention he would not be able to do fajing now. He is still not as refined as I like him to be but he has the flavor of the force correct.
Its common that when you tell someone to relax and give up their excess strength to do the movements in a certain way they tend to resist doing so because their logical mind tells them its not possible.
However, Tai Chi is about paradoxes. So if you are overly logical in your approach you will never get it. Luckily quite a number of the things that we want to learn in Tai Chi can be easily explained using physics and better still tried out with a partner. Thus, right away you can see and feel the point of the why of doing for yourself.
I just started with a student. As usual, the first thing I taught was how to stand and relax, then get the balance correct before attempting to move anything else.
After this we moved on to parting the leg. Simple enough. But it was an uphill struggle for the student. He couldn’t keep his mind focused and thus he was unable to control his balance the way I wanted it.
Then when we moved on to turning the body and shifting the weight on one leg the transfer was not clean. He ended up grinding his heel against the ground.
You might think what’s wrong with this?
Well, for one this type of movement is not useful in push hands much less combat applications. It is reminiscent of the mantis trying to stand up to the cart coming its way and getting run over.
A good clean transfer of weight leads to a precise turning of the body out of the way of the opponent such that the opponent is unable to pull back and thus will lose his balance with little help from you. By not using too much strength to overcome the opponent you still have a lot left over for other follow up. Also, if you use too much strength you fail to abide by the principle of using 4 catties to overcome a 1000 pounds.
It takes some belief to abandon that which is familiar and of comfort to us to jump into the sea of Tai Chi. But for those who dare to wet their toes a pot of gold may await at the end.