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Sunday, May 1, 2011

The 80/20 rule

IN the first few years of Kung Fu, a person must jump many hurdles to stay the course. In Kung Fu class, those hurdles are 80% physical and 20% mental. As time goes on this shifts towards more and more mental challenge. However, Tai Chi is the opposite. The majority of the challenge is and always remains weighted to the mental side. Every Tai Chi student will acknowledge this fact, but when they practice they are very often consumed with the details and demands of the physical. When are they going to tackle the mental hurdles? Unless a person works directly on a challenge they will not see long term success.
     When I direct the class to focus on being aware of their surroundings, their own body, their breathing, theiir posture or even something more abstract; the present moment, I can sometimes feel resistance from some of the students. I know that striving to get every detail of the physical movement down would be easier in many ways, but it would not be an internal art. If you are not comfortable pursuing these kinds of concepts, then you will certainly be miserable in my Tai Chi class.
     If you are resistant to doing every form with a focus on the mental state during practice, then you will NEVER achieve anything more than the mastering of the physical moves. If you agreed that 80% of the hurdles are mental, then when are you going to start jumping those hurdles? You can wait until you are an advanced rank and then feel guilty and scared due to your lack of inner mastery, or you can start the very next time you bow and start a tai chi form. Remember this can also apply to external martial art or even Karate forms.
Your choice, your future.

1 comment:

  1. Good morning. I am reading this post once again. For the third time. I just completed my morning practice, and my thoughts were on balancing "properly" so I could achieve depth in Snake Creeps Down. And my thoughts were on "how does this look now?". Maybe reading this post three times will stick it in my consciousness...3rd time's the charm? From TN Elizabeth (AKA TX Elizabeth).