When I made the decision to start teaching the ancient Taoist practice of Tai Chi, I recalled a memory of the man who had been a great influence on my life.
He told me, ‘Get it right!’
It didn’t matter what it was. Lighting a candle, changing a tyre, doing the form: all things over which I had control, and completely different from watching the sunset, or observing nature over which I had no control.
Then I looked to my reserves:
Bruce Lee the Master, said ‘Go to the basics!’
He was right, wasn’t he?
From Albert Einstein to Mohammed Ali, from expert dancers like my mother who performed with Margot Fonteyn, to the blossoming comics, they have all maintained that the way to skill is by practice, but not just any practice: practice the basics, the stuff you grew up with, master it and you will master everything!
Get it right!
You will see the teacher take a basic step out to the side.
Look at the body: one side remaining still, the other moving a leg, feeling the floor, settling on to it, and finishing up in a stance you cannot be moved.
Listen to the breath, breathing in, settling down in the centre, breathing out.
Feel your legs, twisting outward, knees well apart, feet gripping the floor.
Be aware of the back, tucking the tail under.
Notice your arms, tightening into a fist, relaxing into loose, then holding in an even grip, slightly bent at the elbows, in line with the seam of your trousers.
And the shoulders, slightly inclined forwards, and the neck, going forward and then back, so the whole body is ready, prepared and ready, for the flow of energy up from the earth and out through the arms.
Can you go through the form in this way? Getting it right?
Yes, you can, and yes, you will.
I’m teaching the beginners course, basic Tai Chi, from 11th May to 22nd June, once a week, online, on Wednesday evenings from 6pm.
Each session is going be for an hour with a little bit extra for questions.
I have already circulated it for Beginners, but what about you? Can you take the first step outlined above?
Come along and join in the basics.
Get it right!
Sign up for Tai Chi Beginners – Everybody wants to Get It Right!
And to make sure you do, I will send a recording of the class to everyone who signs up for the whole course (£77).
You can also join by the class, for £12.
I’m Kris Deva North, Senior Teacher of Tai Chi for the Tai Chi Union of Great Britain.