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Modern society perpetuates the illusion that anything can be bought.
This is simply not true.
Marriages are failing, families are broken and good fitness eludes most adults.
Plastic surgery only buys the illusion of youth.
Travelling the world, drinking expensive wine or eating in a fancy restaurant will not produce happiness.
Can money buy: Youth? Love? Compassion? Depth of character? Awareness? Respect? Work/life balance? Grace? Manners? Common sense? Purpose? Integrity? Friends? An open mind? Imagination? Insight? Creativity? Tranquillity? Calm? Stillness? Patience? Happy memories? Elegance? Talent? Wisdom? A sense of humour? Humility? Honour? Selflessness? Clarity? Personality?
'Ability' is one of the things that money really cannot buy.
Culture changes and new technologies are developed continually.
Educational methods alter.
But skills are still taught the same way.
An 'ability' cannot be bought, bullied or faked.
Learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, gourmet cooking, carpentry...etc
These are is the product of time, effort and commitment.
Learn me it
The funny thing about 'ability' is that it humbles everyone.
Nobody can buy skill.
Nobody can learn you it.
There is no red carpet, VIP treatment for rich people.
You must undertake the same journey as everyone else, and all the money in the world will not change this.
It is tempting to think that we know far more than we do.
But this is also naive.
Even a highly qualified university professor knows next to nothing about everything that falls outside their own specific field of expertise.
The Way and It's Power features a simple equation: "if, then".
Apply it to learning taijiquan...
If you pay for a lesson, then you get shown the material.
You get the opportunity to learn, to practice, to acquire the skill.
But nothing more.
If you do the work...
If you go home and practice earnestly every day, then the skills will develop.
See how simple and unconditional the situation is?
There are no shortcuts, no cheats, no scope for fakery.
Your success or failure is your responsibility entirely.
Even the most earnest, caring, helpful teacher cannot imbue you with skill.
To lift an Autumn hare is no sign of great strength;
to see the sun and moon is no sign of sharp sight;
to hear the noise of thunder is no sign of a quick ear.
What the Ancients called a clever fighter is one who not only wins,
but excels in winning with ease.
Hence his victories bring him neither reputation for wisdom nor credit for courage.
He wins his battles by making no mistakes.
Making no mistakes is what establishes the certainty of victory,
for it means conquering an enemy that is already defeated.
2 March 1995
Last updated 18 May 2017