China 2019 – Day 7, Wednesday, 24th July

More hard training today and after a week I can really feel the basics coming along – although, as with all things, there’s always a long way to go… and there probably always will be, as there’s forever another level you can aspire to and try to attain.

This evening we had an extra lesson – competitive tai chi push hands. Think static wrestling but using the principles of tai chi to try to unbalance your opponent.

Relaxation is key, moving with rather than against your opposition, sinking, yielding – it shouldn’t matter if someone is bigger or stronger than you if you can make your technique good enough (as I said… always another level!)

As with anything, balance is key.

It’s one thing to enjoy an hour wrestling and learning some new techniques, but as a martial artist, we should think on another level. What are we doing this for? Am I really that bothered about whether I can tip someone off their balance point or they can wrest me from mine (my bloody ego is bothered, for sure!).

So other than the martial techniques learnt in our bid to stay balanced when wrestling, we want to keep a balanced perspective on our victories and losses when competing – to the point where we barely see them as such. It’s all learning (and you’re actually going to learn more from 10 losses than 10 victories… but that damn ego again, can you take it!?)

Will you remain balanced in life when you suffer some losses – lose your job, partner leaves you, don’t get promoted, business isn’t going so well – can you keep yourself from spiralling into despair?

How about when things are going well? You’ve got the girl/boy, the car, the promotion, you’re jetting off on holiday left, right, and centre… how are you going to stay balanced then and not get carried away with your lifestyle!?

It’s difficult to keep your balance when a tai chi master, or a 15 stone rugby player, is trying to push and pull you to the ground – it’s also difficult to keep your life in balance when things are going well, or not so well!

There’s always a mirror between training and how it reflects back on your life. At the end of the day, why are you training if not to improve every aspect of your existence?

Principles deep within tai chi theory and practice can keep you from going too far one way, or the other. Too much yin becomes yang, too much yang becomes yin.

Hold the centre and try to keep your balance, whatever you are doing.


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