China 2019 – Day 11, Sunday 28th July

So today is Sunday and keeping in with Western traditions I decided to dedicate my day to rest and deep contemplation.

Yeah, right.

Today was dedicated to effortlessly defeating my enemies and slicing them up with a big sword.

Or something like that…

I sleep so badly here (too hot!) but I was up and fully energised ready for my four hours of one to one training with Master Ping today.

The two 2-hour sessions were to be split between pushing hands and learning the broadsword.

Push hands are one of the enduring enigmas of tai chi, how to effortlessly unbalance your opponent whilst remaining stable yourself, all while using relaxed technique and power from the body, not muscular tension. The Chen push hand routines are different to what I am used to but I absolutely love them and the theory runs very deep into tai chi philosophy as well as practicality. Master Ping is – quite literally – a master of the art and it’s very humbling when you realise that there are always more levels to aspire to! Push hands makes your tai chi better and tai chi makes your push hands better.

Part two of both one to one sessions continued my study of the broadsword, again I absolutely loved the technicality of this training and it’s a great workout! We’re nearly through the form and now it’s a case of putting in my 10,000 hours of practice and refinement to make it my own! There are some lovely jumping moves in the sequence and landing down in a low squatting position. Luckily my knees are good these days!

So this evening I begin my 10,000 hours of practice.

Somewhat reassuringly, the quick fix doesn’t work with martial arts and if you want to get good there are no short cuts.

What I do love about it is the simple formula of the more time and effort you put in, the better you get (with a few corrections along the way).

You simply have to put in the hours, the repetition of forms and techniques – over days, months, years…

If you want to get good (at anything!), find excuses to do it, not reasons not to. I don’t buy the don’t have time reason… If you want to do something, you’ll do it. You’ll find time, energy, funds to put towards your passion. You just will.

When training under my first instructor, I had a full time job and was bringing up my daughter, and still managed to train 17/18 hours per week in class. Now that’s possibly extreme and I was on a mission to be an instructor but in a day I’m sure everyone could find time to practice forms and techniques.

It all depends on how much you want it and how good you want to get. But for those who want to be good, very good…train, train, train some more, and when you think you have done enough…yep, do more 😀

Despite scaring many people off, I find something enduringly attractive about an endless pursuit of perfection.

Will I ever perform a perfect tai chi form? No. Will I ever stop trying to perfect it? No. We are all well aware that the journey is the destination – and what a fabulous journey it is!

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