In Wudang, Tai Chi is a very structured practice which is lead step by step to achieve accomplishments, yet when you ask the student why do you practice Tai Chi? What do you think is the reason?
Tai Chi was meant to learn about oneself, to learn self-cultivation. People believe Tai Chi should be relaxing – which is not entirely true because one needs to learn before one can fully relax. Tai Chi is the complete harmony between Yin and Yang, so we must embrace tension and relaxation evenly to stay in balance. We can all talk very smart, but who has the discipline to stay focused on their training? Ask yourself how much you try to improve today.
When people start off with Wudang training, they see the beautiful clothing and the ideal. But what is real quality in life? The freedom to choose? The ability to do amazing things? No, it is the time to be with yourself without distractions like pain or annoying problems with your body. When we have pain we first have to fix it, not ignore it – accept your situation and change yourself. This is the first step for Taoist life improvement.
Tai Chi is a tool to change the mind and body. Mostly people come to a master to learn the form because they want to have something for their stay, they want to have something for their money. This is the wrong approach – it does not matter if you can do the form or every step. Tai Chi is what you do with yourself inside, the feeling and understanding you have of yourself. When you learn to appreciate your body you will have it easier to hear what you need. First, we need to find quietness and take control of ourselves. People are driven by urges and habits, we need to break the cycle and learn what we really need.
Tai Chi is the connection between body and mind – we follow with our intention and coordinate the movements. This is why we look inside and look at our movements, it closes the connection with our universe. We all have our cosmos – our little earth inside ourselves and it is our responsibility to cultivate and treasure ourselves to have a good quality in life.
Unity is what completes the cycle of life, we coordinate and develop an understanding with every small baby step. The body and mind will focus, be compact and stretch towards our will – we are flexible and so changes our situation. The Dantian is the center of balance, the center of energy and power. Inside the Dantian we remain calm and tranquil from there any direction is possible and we can create our universe.
Tai Chi is something everybody claims to know, but it is not very smart to say that. Even the greatest masters have trouble to explain Tai Chi to make beginners understand. You can read smart words but the understanding and feelings are different. It may take a person 25 years of experience to explain Tai Chi – the experience is developing and there is no master who is not learning from it anymore. It is the bond between student and teacher which helps the master to improve and learn. It is the first and final mission for everybody.
Last words from Master Ziji:
Tai Chi is what we make of it. But when I teach you, Tai Chi, it means that I trust you that you can accomplish your goal – the goal must be clear – the student’s responsibility is that he may never betray the trust of his master. It is the way of the master to show the student what is below the surface, to help understand the true meaning, the essence. If you take this lightly as a student – I will not talk to you again.