Being Wrong at Seminars

by 胡歌 on 2017/02/09

Part A

There has seemed to be a pattern for me during Practical Method seminars.

I have observed that there will be a period, generally half of the seminar’s length, during which I hardly know which is my left hand or which is my right hand. This will occur during the first half of the total seminar length. I will forget yilu, movements will come out backwards and inside out, I won’t understand anything that is being demonstrated or described, and I will experience lots of negative emotions, most without clear definition – I don’t even know what I am upset about.

Essentially, my ability to physically perform or to learn is apparently nil.

Then something strange happens. During the second half it all flips. The second half of the seminar I feel emptied out, I can kind of do some stuff, maybe there is something new. I am calm and have some ability to follow instruction. There is little pressure to perform according to standards of perfection or in comparison to others and instead I am willing to work hard for no reason other than to follow the procedure as strictly as possible. Emotionally the investment is strictly on following the procedure.

Part B

I propose that there are four levels or more:
Level 1:
Feeling confident and putting forth a show of positivism or a facade of understanding and competence during the seminar.
Level 2:
Feeling competent and capable during the first half, feeling that you are “handling it”, then being broken by the seminar materials and requirements, followed by feeling terrible during the rest of the seminar as one’s assumptions about one’s ability or position are trashed.
Level 3:
Feeling terrible immediately, getting over it, and then participating without baggage as described in part A.
Level 4:

Part C

I recommend that students get past level 1 as fast as possible and into the shyte asap. If you feel you understand something or have achieved some kind of illumination it is most likely that you have fooled yourself.
It is not your mind, your brain, your thoughts, your beliefs or your self-interest and ego.
The illumination is merely that you can actually do it. Everything else is fake.

John Dropping me with Lu in Iowa


About 胡歌

Practicing Yilu, over and over. Sometimes Erlu.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

vincent den hengst February 9, 2017 at 9:47 am

For me I recognize the difficulty of doing taichi lies in the fact that ‘doing a bit right’ makes me so tired that after my first seminar i stopped asking. What i understand is years of practice and eat sour. it helps myself enjoying the frustrations in my sense. my students are intrigued or dissapointed.


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