My dad has practiced Tai Chi for more than 40 years, and I've
been exposed to Tai Chi since I was around 5 years old. I still remember when I
was 12 years old. That was the first time I watched my dad practice Tai Chi in
the living room and thought to myself “Oh, this is cool”.
Now, 15 years later, I realized that I wanted to be cool too
Before I start elaborating on why I want to practice Tai
Chi, there are some disclaimers I’d like to share. I’ve worked as a solicitor
for 3 years (first starting as a trainee solicitor in 2014), so I have limited
time to practice Tai Chi. Secondly and elaborating on the first point, I’m a
total beginner in Tai Chi. I’m useless at practicing the different forms of Tai
Chi, I’m going to embarrass myself, but I’m going to love sharing my journey
with you because I find Tai Chi just so exciting! Lastly, the Tai Chi you’re
going to read here is going to be different to what you find elsewhere. Let me
tell you why.
Dtaichi (or dottaichi) is a philosophy that talks about how
to bring you to enter the doors of Tai Chi (that is, to enter the Tai Chi
state). By adopting a scientific approach and leveraging on my exposures to
both the English and Chinese cultures, I’m here to share with you my unique
viewpoint on Tai Chi
So when I try to answer the question, “Why do I want to
practice Tai Chi?”, the actual statement I’m making is “Why do I want to
practice d Tai Chi”.
Why Practice Tai Chi?
I want to practice d Tai Chi because it is healthy. Right
now, I do about 30 minutes of cardio exercise every day. I’ve been doing this
practically every day since November 2017. That’s doing cardio exercise for 30
minutes a day, for 120 days. And let me tell you cardio exercise is great. My
heart rate gets jacked up, and the increase in
oxygen delivered to my body gives me some sort of coffee-induced-like-high. Once I train my heart muscles up, my heart beats
per minute becomes slower during my resting states, and that's healthy.
With such a healthy exercise option (i.e. Cardio Exercise) already,
why would I still want to practice Tai Chi? Firstly, I find that Tai Chi
is something that helps me deeply relaxed. That’s something cardio exercise cannot. Tai Chi relies on borrowing the earth’s power,
quite literally. For example, Tai Chi uses gravity to increase blood circulation
in our body without needing our muscles to contract. The ATP usage when
practicing Tai Chi is lower than in cardio-exercise. This means that you can
practice Tai Chi when you’re old and frail, unlike cardio exercise (which is
the more advocated form of exercise in Western societies). You can also
practice Tai Chi when you catch a cold. It increases blood circulation and its
very easy to unclog your blocked nose. Trust me, I’ve done this plenty of times
and that’s actually one of the reasons I keep coming back to Tai Chi… I'm a walking sneeze-ball xD
You may know that running or just exercising on the elliptical
machine is very common in today's society. It’s both cheap and easily accessible. But did you
realize that Tai Chi is even cheaper, and even more easily accessible (and practicing Tai Chi is even more common in Chinese societies)? For running, you get some running sneakers, hope that it doesn’t rain outside,
and pray your knee injury doesn’t act up during your run. But with Tai Chi, the
pre-requisite is simply that you are able to stand. The rest
is just to re-calibrate your body to develop body awareness.
One similarity between Tai Chi and cardio exercise is the
fact that you get to know your body better. I’ve been told that once you enter
the doors of Tai Chi, your body functions better. When you practice Tai Chi,
you have develop an increase in stability (both physical stability and mind
stability). You rely on your stable body structure to enable your body to relax.
And by developing your own body awareness, you can experience the Five Point of
Gravity in your body. You know you have entered the doors of Tai Chi (and
experienced its benefits) once you’ve entered the doors of Tai Chi. And this is
the final reason why I want to practice Tai Chi.
I want to see for myself what it means to achieve the Tai
Chi state (where there is an increase in circulation in my body, and bringing
nutrients to the different parts of my body to enable self-healing). I like
this statement because it encompasses both the Buddhist philosophy and the
Taoist philosophy. The Buddhist philosophy states that to reach Nirvana, you
have to experience it for yourself. That’s like Tai Chi. To know what Tai Chi
is, you have to develop body awareness and enter the Tai Chi state and
experience it for yourself. The Taoist philosophy is equally applied to Tai
Chi. We enable our body to follow the laws of nature (e.g. experiencing gravity),
and this in turn allows our body to self-heal.
I find that learning Tai Chi is easy, but mastering Tai Chi
is incredibly hard. Literally the Chinese saying, “Easy Learn, Hard to Master“
It’s like me learning badminton. I’ve learnt how to serve, rally, smash… but my
younger cousin who is only 10 years old still kicks my butt, haha.
Then remind myself that I don’t need to compare my own journey
with others around me (and that I really shouldn’t play badminton ;P).
D · TAI CHI
Here’s a clip on me practicing
Tai Chi. I'm attempting to enter the Tai Chi state because it's a great pre-bedtime ritual, to relax before I go to
bed. The video is pretty horrible to be honest with myself. I did it on a whim, but here's me taking action to remind myself that all I need to do is to compare myself with myself.
And this is a great video because I can't show myself at a worse state xD
[Video in the process of being uploaded to YouTube]