I have come across several misconceptions about Tai Chi and Chi Kung over the years – Some people seem to think they are a form of Religion or Cult and some schools may actually give this impression – so much so that some churches will not actually rent their halls to practitioners for fear that it would somehow affect their congregation – or worse still send the people who attend the classes down some evil, satanic path. You may laugh but I have actually known this to happen!!! Yoga seems to be ok though for some strange reason!!! Tai Chi and Chi Kung, if anything, will enhance your beliefs as you get to know and understand yourself better as you tune into your body and clear the mind.
Another misconception about Tai Chi is that it is only for older people – again, nothing could be further from the truth – Tai Chi is a very effective martial art which unfortunately seems to have been forgotten or totally ignored by some of the teachers/schools that are around. Every move has several fighting applications and I have found through teaching them that people have a much better understanding of what they are doing otherwise the whole practice turns into some kind of dance with no meaning whatsoever – I know there will be people who will disagree and I accept that this is my opinion although I know it to be one shared by many others too. Personally I would advise older people to take up Chi Kung to begin with – you will learn techniques that can then be taken into Tai Chi if you wish to go down that path. The forms are much shorter than Tai Chi – the long 108 Step Yang Form is particularly demanding. More people drop out of classes because they cannot remember the movements than for any other reason. Some ask why they cannot just follow the group but that is not the way I teach – I like people to be able to go home and practice getting the full benefits regular practice can bring.
Chi Kung is a powerful healing system bringing a unity of mind, body and spirit but there is one thing that has to be present when practising and that is intention. Sometimes I look around the class and see that intention is totally lacking so energy will just not flow – there is an old expression that says ‘No Yi – No Chi’ and this is very true – your energy is guided by your intention and along with breath/movement coordination and a good relaxed posture (not floppy) it will flow through every muscle/sinew/bone and organ of your body giving that wonderful feeling of ‘Yeah, everything’s ok – all will be well’ – People sometimes ask if I can guarantee they will be cured of certain illnesses – of course I cannot give any guarantee and I certainly would not advise coming off any medication you may have been prescribed but go into it with an open mind and intention – What have you got to lose in ‘giving it a try’? – I have seen some pretty remarkable recoveries or at least remissions take place over the years.
I have studied both Tai Chi and Chi Kung for many years and the benefits they have given me over the years are tremendous – those who read the blog regularly will know how I came through a serious health problem earlier in the year – It was through regular practice of both arts that pulled me through – also I find solace in them when other things in my life are not so good – the last few years haven’t been exactly great but I know that through it all I can find that place within me that says ‘it’s ok, everything will be fine.’ I can’t explain how or why it works I just know that it does!!!
P.S. I, like everyone else get overwhelmed every now and then with events and sometimes this is hard for people to understand, thinking that I should be this ever smiling, happy guru figure – If I were to give this impression without actually feeling it I would give a very false impression of who I am and what I stand for.
I seem to have digressed a little there but sometimes things have to be said.