First in a new series of uninhibited and totally unjustified rants on the state of 21st century Tai Chi from the monk in the pot.
If I hear any more of this nonsense I’m going to have withdraw to planet teapot.
DIVISIONS IN THE UNITY
Why is it that the Tai Chi world is still so divided over its martial and health benefits? Why are so many schools or individuals dismissed for choosing one side over the other? Haven't we outgrown this debate yet?
A MARTIAL BACKGROUND
As someone who came to Tai Chi from other martial arts, I initially came looking for the fighting techniques, but I soon discovered that it was a superficial and rather silly search in an age of 'smart' bombs, 'intelligent' warfare, cyber-wars and drone strikes. I found something far more significant than a fighting method. I found something more powerful and deep within the art that had little to do with prowess, speed or explosive energy techniques. I found a deep training in rooting, grounding, yielding, structural strength, breathing, co-ordination and balance that had little to do with competition, it even questioned the notion of what it meant to win in combat. It was an art rich in philosophy and an art that epitomised cultural diversity whilst offering tools to embrace change and evolution.
Tai Chi is such a diverse and historically broad discipline that it’s impossible for it to be all things to all people. Ever since its creation, the art has been evolving, seeking an audience for its many variations. Now, whether your school has still not evolved, whether it has frozen in 19th century China or migrated to other lands, whether your school has chosen to employ Tai Chi in the exclusive field of martial, health, spirituality, environmentalism, politics, growing-sprouts, surfing, stamp-collecting or Cartesian philosophy - hey, that's fine, but it's down to you.
Seems a bit of a shame to me though if your'e still in the 19th century combat mode. Bit like spending years developing callouses on your knuckles in order to gain an 'Iron Fist' only to find yourself getting Tasered in your first fight. At some point, believe me this will happen, you will ask yourself: Is there a more productive way of spending my time? Of all the world's challenges - poverty, housing, climate change, corruption - In my training am I focussing on the real enemy here?
Rant over. As you were. You can go back to the punch bag, the incense stick, the mantra.
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