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TV, politics, gossip, newspapers, fashion, advertising and the internet fill our minds with ceaseless trivia. Instead of accomplishing fruitful, clear tasks, the brain is hijacked.
Most people cannot think properly. Their minds are noisy, muddled and lost in confusion.
A chaotic state of mind has a profound effect upon how people live. They do not listen to their own bodies.
Worries, anxieties, opinions, memories, second-guessing, over-analysing, vanities and pride are commonplace. The overtaxed mind struggles to exert control over outside events.
Dullness, stress, distraction and poor attention prevail. Instead of being aware of what is taking place right in front of them, such people are consumed by the orchestra of their own thoughts.
The brain uses 20% of the body's intake of energy. Thoughts use up energy.
Rather than possessing a clean, sharp tool that can be employed at will to perform surgical tasks, most people allow their mind free reign.
Much energy is wasted on matters that have no significance or import.
Consequently, when the time comes to express power skilfully and decisively, the mind flounders because it is tired and only partially conscious.
It is no measure of health
to be well adjusted
to a profoundly sick society.
It is easy to prove every statement made on this page. Sifu Waller learned every tai chi form, drill and exercise within 12 months of commencing training.
Although not common, such focus neatly illustrates what a calm, clear mind is capable of.
Taoism encourages the student to shed their opinions, bias, worries and fears. Pay attention completely to 'being'.
Right here and right now. When nothing else intrudes, you can deal with what is actually taking place.
In Alexander Technique a process takes place where verbal instructions are spoken within the mind. Commands are given: "lengthen" "widen" - usually with regard to a specific part of the body.
No physical action is taken. To accomplish this it is necessary to be aware of what is taking place in your mind and with your body.
Tai chi uses a similar but different method which is thousands of years old. Rather than speaking words in your mind, non-verbal commands are given.
Verbal thoughts are considered to be a kind of tension. Sensitivity, 4 ounces, stickiness, jing and groundpath require the student to provide clear, concise commands to the body.
We are checking our smartphones on
average 221 times a day. Recent research found that 80 percent of
millennials look at their phones upon waking; this addiction is a strong
one. As a result, our cognitive processing has become shallower and we have
become so distracted that we play directly into the hands of the autopilot.
Digital devices are the modern day equivalent of tranquillisers. They instil
a trance-like state almost immediately as they are anchors for our
subconscious to take over.
At first, a student must consciously think an action, feel the effect upon the other person and then adjust relative to the degree of resistance encountered.
This involves acute biofeedback skills. You cannot 'space out' or get lost in your own thoughts. A great deal of concentration is necessary.
Years of practice enable the student to direct their body using neither words nor conscious non-verbal commands.
The whole thing happens unconsciously. This is no different to driving a car with skill.
Often the mind/body synthesis is so fast, complete and skilful that it occurs before you become fully aware of the need.
Speed of thought
A skilled tai chi person has lightning fast reflexes, incredible body skills and a very sharp mind. This is no accident.
The art is an effective, powerful training method providing it is taught authentically and the student commits to the necessary training regime.
A lot of people live most of their lives in a semi-conscious state. They worry about dementia, all the while taking the fast-track route to rapid mental deterioration.
Instead of investing in daily meditation, constructive rest, tai chi practice, qigong, brain work and productive reading, they squander time.
All movements are motivated by mind, not external form.
Most powerful weapon
Imagine actually applying tai chi historically (in combat)? What skills would you need mentally?
Every second counts in combat
You need the ability to evaluate and decide in a split second. Pre-consciously. Switching from one attacker to another without hesitation or doubt.
Handling one person whilst aware of the rest. Spatial awareness, proximity, exposure, vulnerability. Angles of weakness and strength.
Work your mind
See why Sifu Waller wants students to read, meditate and develop the mind? Other martial artists don't even work on the mind. But the mind is the source of skill.
Sifu Waller took postgraduate professional teaching skills and worked on his own mind. This is what he is offering his students.
Every gesture is important.
How we eat, how we put on our clothes, how we wash ourselves, how we go to the
toilet, how we put things away, how we act with other people, family, wife, how
we work - how we are: totally, in every single gesture. You must do not dream
your life away. You must be, completely, in whatever you do.
created 21 May 1994
Last updated 16 June 2023