On learning process and emotions
A few weeks ago Master Chen Zhonghua mentioned a lot of important issues according Taijiquan and the learning process, and this was the time when he was about to leave the mountain. Meanwhile he is back again.
One out of many important things he pointed out was that we need to become “a-emotional”, or lets say emotionally very stable, if we want to create peng energy and learn Taijiquan.
We should not get dissapointed when at certain times certain things will not work and ether we should get too exited when at other times certain things will work.
I personally think that’s because we cannot judge about good or bad on the learning process of Taijiquan easyly and we are always trapped in our own views, which very likely are opposite of the reality. After some experience in teaching I found that very likely students feel not comfortable or not “good” when they are making progress – it seems that we feel it just the opposite way very often …
Further I thing that in order to get closer to the core principles of Taijiquan, there are several things that might be more or less important than we think they are, and very likely they might even be totally different.
This for us, I think, is not easy to accept and even more difficult to deal and work with.
For me, this issue as an overall thing in learning, seems to become more and more important, and just the past days I did exerience some of these “up and downs” a lot. Today I got an “up” again, and that’s why it is more easy now for me to write about that …
So yesterday for instance my moral was quite low, because the thing we try to learn here seems to be way too far away, just because of basic things I still need to work on. In addition to that Master Chen talked on the table about the issue, that in all his years of teaching so far, there was not one person (? – hope I got that right …) who did succeed to really do what he is talking about all the time …
And when my mind doesn’t totally cheat me now I remember that he said this in 2010 on the table as well.
So emotionally I would say this then was quite challenging – to use a more nice expression. But I did try to remember myself about not to believe what I’m thinking or feeling and instead try to let these feelings calm down and go, and just keep on running. But honestly at that moment I was really afraid of that there might be a point in the future where I would give up …
Today then there was a change again. I was on my way to the place to practice in order to do as many Yilus as possible, thinking that this is the only thing reasonable to do. Also I know that I always did way to less Yilus a day, but then I ran into a nice possibility to push with lots of Chinese guys under the supervision of Master Chen.
There was one concept which started to work a bit more: to reduce the power in the upper body when going in, and with some of the pushhands partners this was quite successfull.
Master Chen did demonstrate very clearly how it feels when he is going in, without a tiny little bit of a push or using any force, and then he did move his waist, arms went sideways and down without the thigh moving – which was one of my problems, my thigh moved.
After I succeded doing this relatively good, this was the perfect situation to remind myself not to get too exited or confident about this “success”, just the same like it was not necessary to be dissapointed the day before.
Don’t link the moves and don’t try to “be smooth”
Something else I’d like to share from todays training: Master Chen reminded us not to link the movements in the form and that there is not such a thing like “beeing smooth”. He actually never uses the word “beeing smooth”, instead he choosed to use the words “moving proportional”.
“Beeing smooth” is only an appearance and and illusion. This he compared to the action of the chain of a bike for instance. Because of every single link of the chain beeing proportional the motion seems to be smooth.
Or another example, a video: there are no smooth movements, there are only single pictures, but they move constantly so that the illusion of a smoothly moving picture is created.
So for the form training this means:
We always should keep the single movements seperated – one move at a time, and don’t link them. And as far as I understood now this also is not changing over the time, it will always be like that, only the outer appearance will change.
So practicing the form will be very different, single seperated moves: tak – tak – tak – … not “smooth”.
In this way, according to my actual understanding, we are able to train seperation of bodyparts and getting able to use them in different directions and so on.
“Beeing connected” is a result and not an instruction
This seems to be strongly related to not moving the bodyparts which needs to be fixed in space, while others are moving.
At this moment I dropped a question about to care or not to care about connections at this moment, also because I’m confrontated with this question a lot when I’m teaching, and the answer was:
Beeing connected is a result, but not an instruction! The instruction is not to move the body, for instance, and when you do this you will be connected when your hand is pushing out. Together with Masters hands-on demonstration this became quite clear.
So far for today. I for myself found another very interessting aspect of Taijiquan, which in my understanding goes along with Buddhists or Daoists ideas when working with the mind: getting a special state of the mind which is stable and even, no matter what.
This I think is very challenging, but also worth to look for, and probably it should not matter if we “get it” or not (in Taijiquan), instead we could keep ourselfs on the path of practice and learn to let go …
All best from the mountain, hope to see you once,