Facing up to your age can be a bit hard if you have an ego.
Your body is probably not as coordinated as you might imagine and you may not be as fit as you once were.
You may not be overly motivated.

Accept all this.
Fighting against the reality of aging is foolish and pointless.
Just do what you can.

It may take you longer to learn things than you expect... so what?
You are not in competition with anyone.



Hardly anyone is truly dedicated.
For the most earnest of students, the art has become part of their life.
It is a vocation, a calling.


Altered state of consciousness

Taoism and zen study are designed to take you beyond the limits of intelligence.
They do this by encouraging the student to unlearn, to set aside what you think you know.
This involves recognising the drawback of words, concepts, ideas, conventions, habits and thought itself.

By dismantling how your mind perceives reality, you begin to see things in a different way.
You attain an altered state of consciousness.


Hampering yourself

Do not pollute your mind with questions, comparisons, opinions and speculation.

A student is not capable of assessing the skill of the instructor or the art itself.
They see only what they are exposed to (the beginners syllabus) and draw knowledge from their own minds.

Your values and insights are based on your own education, experience and criteria.
Upon what you can see and what you consider to be important.

Given that you do not possess any real skills yourself and have no experience to speak of... are you equipped to make any worthwhile assessment concerning the art?


Tai chi master

A master should have 30-40 years martial arts experience and 30,000 hours of tai chi practice.
They are capable of teaching other instructors.

Why bother learning an internal art?

There is more to life than buying goods, eating, sleeping, drinking alcohol and watching TV.
You are more than this.

The martial arts train body and mind to move in a graceful, precise, functional way.
Strength, flexibility, vitality and good humour typically emerge.
Greater harmony and balance is found.
You look at life a little differently.

The internal arts require the student to explore taoism and zen.
Contemplation, meditation, settled emotions and calmness of mind are all wonderful additions to your life.
Instead of becoming the violent brute people often associate with the martial arts, you become relaxed and comfortable 
with yourself, and with those around you.

How many people are committed?

Out of the internal martial artists who are adhering to the key precepts of their art, and faithfully perpetuating the essence, how many people are training it fully? 
It is not enough to be training the right thing.
You must also practice frequently enough for the skills to emerge, grow and reach fruition.

To do any internal art justice, daily training is necessary.
The amount of time each day required depends upon your own individual skill level.
Essentially, you need to practice what you know.
And the more you know, the more you must practice.

Yang Lu-chun trained his sons so hard that they ran away from home.

Beginners mind?

A new starter is hopeful, idealistic and naive.
They have notions about tai chi that have brought them to the class. They are expecting to find confirmation of these ideas.
Instead of an open mind, the student is searching for something familiar.

The problem with being a new starter is that you know nothing about the art. Nor could you.
The values you attribute to things stem from your own experiences and opinions, not from an understanding of the art itself.
What you see as being skill has no bearing whatsoever upon the reality of the system.

And, if you understand the art... why seek lessons?


Never fight

It is a common mistake for new students to regard taijiquan as 'fighting'. This is a misconception that reflects a conflict-based, competitive mentality. Our training is designed to cure people of their aggression.

In self defence, we have no desire whatsoever to fight. Fighting is when you stand in front of someone and trade blows with them. It is a struggle. Struggling occurs when you try to impose your will and encounter resistance.

In taijiquan, we wish to evade and depart - not struggle.

A taijiquan student merges with the incoming attack and does not fight the assailant. Our skill lies with allowing the assailant to move as he pleases, without blocking the line of force. We redirect that force, and borrow its power for our counter.

There is no fight. A fighter tires himself by contesting the incoming force. This is not the way.


Losing your temper

Losing your temper entails a loss of control.
The emotional reaction to a situation overrides reason and you act in an irrational, hostile, perhaps even violent manner.
Rash, ill-considered action can lead to undesirable consequences.


Businesses seek to make money. They accomplish this in many ways.
One method is 'abstraction'.

Instead of handling money with your hands, you are encouraged to use 'electronic' methods of payment:

  1. Credit card
  2. Debit card
  3. Store card
  4. Standing order
  5. Direct debit
  6. Mobile phone contract
These all serve to distance you from the transaction itself.


Charity & judgement

You often say, "I would give, but only to the deserving."

And who are you that men should rend their bosom and unveil their pride, that you should see their worth naked and their pride unabashed?

(Kahlil Gibran)