First Steps in a Journey

By Frank Simons

In this lecture you will be beginning your journey into tai chi. Many people discover tai chi and it becomes a lifelong practice. Never lose sight of the first feeling you have during your first class.

Video Presentation
Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong,
Part 2: First Steps in a Journey
Thu, Jun 9, 5:30pm
Meditation Center
Callejón Blanco 4
Free, donations accepted

The best way to be introduced to tai chi is just to try to start moving in its rhythms. Getting started has never been easier, thanks to the simplifications made possible by an approach called tai chi cao, sometimes translated as “calisthenics.” You can think of it as “easy tai chi.” In classic, traditional tai chi training, there wasn’t a lot of feedback from the teacher. If the teacher wanted you to know something, he would tell you. In the meantime, you were expected to go home and practice until you got it right. Old school Chinese martial arts has a tradition that a good, dedicated student must suffer for his art. The actual phrase used is “to eat bitterness.” Westerners need something more structured and personable.

In practicing tai chi, you might be looking for mental benefits and be surprised by the physical changes. Or vice versa. First and foremost, you should be introduced to the enjoyment of tai chi. Practitioners call themselves “players” rather than “students.”  In Chinese, the verb from which “players” comes means “to have fun with.” Having fun is one of the fundamental principles of tai chi. For tai chi players, it is the joy of one’s journey that contributes to the joy of arriving at one’s destination.

This lecture series only touches the tip of the iceberg. Living tai chi as a lifestyle is one of the most intriguing aspects of this art. Perhaps, like following clues on a treasure map, you will discover something to enrich your life.

Here are 10 tips:

1. Keep things simple

2. Let yourself be terrible

3. Knees over toes, elbows over knees

4. Float the head

5. Keep moving

6. Use your imagination

7. Dance like no one is watching

8. Square corners should soon be rounded

9. Check your breathing now and then

10. Have fun

The course is led by David-Dorian Ross, the founder and CEO of Taijifit. He has a BA in Human Movement Studies from San Francisco State University and has trained in China with championship martial arts coaches. Mr. Ross is the host of the PBS series T’ai Chi: Health and Happiness and the author of five books on health and wellness, including Exercising the Soul.

There will be an opportunity for discussion following the video. Presentations of the Center are offered without charge. Donations are gratefully accepted.

 

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