Past News Posts
On March 20, 2012 at 14:17
Grandmaster Wong has on occasion referred to me as a "tai chi schollar," recognizing that although I do not "practice" tai chi, I have learned many things "from a distance," as did Yang Lu-Chan, through "spying" upon those who were practicing their tai chi in the Chen Village. What, over the last two decades, have I managed to learn?
I have learned that the worst mistake any tai chi practitioner can make is to compare him or herself to others. In true tai chi, you "compare yourself to yourself." Is my tai chi better than when I first began? In what ways has my tai chi improved since the last time Grandmaster came to teach seminars with us? Comparing yourself to yourself is the only way to true progress.
I have learned, as Grandmaster has taught since first beginning to teach tai chi in San Francisco, to always remember "Where You First Drank the Water." If you do not remember where you first drank the water of tai chi and continue to practice in the lineage and style that has been handed down to you, then, as Grandmaster has said, one day you will end up practicing a style that is no longer the style handed down by Yang Cheng-Fu. And that is why, as a traditional school of tai chi chuan, we pay respect to our past and present masters.
Lastly, I have learned that "scholarship" about tai chi means nothing at all compared to the "practice" of tai chi. A student once asked Grandmaster Wong: "What is the philosophy of tai chi?" The student expected some answer about Taoism or the mysterious energy of chi. Grandmaster answered the question but not with the answer the student might have expected:
"Many people collect tai chi books or videos, but real martial arts is practicing. You can learn a thousand techniques, but it is no good unless you practice them. The philosophy of tai chi is practice."