|A life less ordinary|
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Modern life is fairly routine. We get up, get showered, go to work, come home, eat, sleep. Then repeat it all over again.
Everyday life can be a little like the movie Groundhog Day. The same things happen day after day - with little variation. People are often bored by their own lives.
To alleviate boredom, it is common to watch TV, browse the web, play with mobile phones, video games or other technological devices. Other people go on holiday a lot or eat out.
Some just get drunk.
Hijacking your mind
Whilst you are paying off your mortgage, raising your kids and financing the car, the media bombard you with examples of 'a better life'. You get to see how rich people live.
They have a bigger house than you, a bigger car, a more lavish lifestyle. TV, movies, gossip and celebrity media foster an atmosphere of resentment, fear, anger, anxiety and envy.
This makes people spend more than they earn, follow trends and try to keep up with the prevailing fashions.
Morpheus: There is a difference between knowing the path and walking the
There is very little adventure for most people in their own lives. No superhero antics, no Jedi Knights, no thrilling capers. It is all pretty mundane.
This is why TV is so escapist and popular; it provides a safe outlet for the bored, restless, apathetic public.
In modern life, people are complacent. They do most things in a half-assed way. Apathy, ignorance and laziness prevail. Being bothered, making an effort, working hard... these are not valued.
Only the rare person is willing to make the best of every opportunity. This is what taijiquan is about.
What's the point?
Once you embrace apathy, it is quite easy to argue that taijiquan is a waste of time. Why bother? It is far easier to do nothing, to just watch TV.
Can't this argument be applied to everything:
Why bother getting out of bed?
Making the bed?
Brushing your teeth?
Flushing the toilet?
Cleaning up after your dog?
Washing the dishes?
Going to work?
There is a world of difference between existing and living.
You can choose to live
Instead of watching other people do exciting things, you can choose to live a little more dangerously yourself. This is one of the reasons why individuals seek out taijiquan practice.
There is risk, challenge, difficulty and hardship. You could be injured, hurt. You will make friends along the way, learn new skills and learn to see the world in a very different way.
Dr Michael Greger (author of How Not To Die) recommends 90 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every day.
The three doctors who wrote The Okinawa Program maintain that tai chi - with its ancient origins and incredible health benefits - is the ideal form of exercise for modern people.
If this sounds like a lot of exercise, why not chop it up into smaller increments spaced throughout the day? How many people watch 90 minutes of TV every day?
Taijiquan fighting method
The world of taijiquan (the martial art) is largely inaccessible to outsiders.
It may be easy enough to attend a few classes, but the real skills and practices are reserved for those few who are willing to endure a long, hard journey.
Not many people ever become skilled and hardly anyone is an expert or a master. Great sacrifice is necessary.
An advanced martial artist gains uncanny skills on the difficult path they have chosen. Their resolve will be tested again and again. There will many setbacks, pitfalls and doubts.
But the rare seeker who embraces the art whole-heartedly will live quite an extraordinary life.
Eat the food
Watching an exciting martial arts movie is akin to watching somebody else eat food. You are just a spectator. An observer. A voyeur. This is a bit lame.
Wouldn't you rather eat the food yourself? Wouldn't you rather be the person with awesome martial arts skills?
Walk the path
Learning taijiquan means setting aside your former life and undertaking a new path.
You will learn many new things:
Taijiquan (supreme ultimate fist)
Theory & principles
Brain work (meditation, awareness, metacognition)
Neigong (whole-body strength)
Jing (whole-body power)
Chin na (seizing)
Shuai jiao (take downs)
What I really like about the class is itís friendly atmosphere with
excellent teaching and a clear
syllabus that means everyone makes progress.
Itís challenging but accessible. Everything is explained to the level you
want and obviously Sifu Waller really demonstrates what is possible in the
A life less ordinary
The training will not be easy. But if you embrace it fully, your life will never be the same again. It will most certainly not be boring.
Whilst your friends and colleagues are watching TV or discussing politics, you will be fighting with multiple assailants, wielding weapons and learning how to use the Tao...
Every day you will follow a way of life uncommon in the modern world. Not quite the same as talking or watching TV?
18 April 2005
Last updated 25 April 2019