I’m really enjoying Tai Chi. It’s helping me de-stress and while it is relatively easy to do, physically, I can already feel the changes it is effecting in my body. I can tell I’m losing a little bit of fat and growing some muscle (which is more important for long-term fat loss). My shoulder structure is starting to stick out some and I’m noticing more definition in my arms and legs. It’s always amazed me how easily my body can start changing. It’s just killing the gut that is the hard part.
So, yesterday, I went to my 3rd Tai Chi class and no one else was there so I got a more or less private lesson. I finished learning the Wu Chi Tai Chi form and just repeated it over and over again, first to the left, then to the right, to try to correctly get all the nuances. It’s odd how this martial art requires you to relax as you move very slowly, and as a result, the muscles in movement get stretched and receive a nice workout while the tension dissolves from the rest of your body.
It is very much the antithesis of boxing, where you must learn to tense up sections of your body to take hits and move swiftly to deliver hits. There’s a build up of excitement with boxing and a sort of focused zen when you are in the midst of the fight, where you’re not thinking so much as reacting. In Tai Chi, I find the opposite is occurring. The form must be practiced at a slower speed and you have to actively think about what you are doing in a very focused way, otherwise your body begins reacting to the way it thinks you should be handling the movements, often tensing up in areas where you do not need to be tensing up. But it is a balance, because if you start thinking about what you should not be doing too much, that in itself will trip you up as much as the normal reacting. You have to think, but you have to focus on the right way to do the form without thinking about the wrong way or faulting yourself when you misstep. Now that’s zen.