[Path to Mastery 2/26/10 – Wk24 D5 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]
Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:
Freedom comes from within.
Within Free Hand (The un-structured part of the system) we have free movement and free conditioning. Before we can discuss free movement and conditioning, we have to discuss the nature of freedom.
Freedom is a perception. I once heard Wayne Dyer tell this story of a man who was in prison. He had programmed this satellite and he was the only programmer who knew how to operate it. This satellite was too important for the government and thus they imprisoned him so nobody else could get in contact with him. Now something had gone wrong with the satellite and they wanted his help. But he wouldn’t respond to the people who were talking to him. So, one of the agents told him, “If you cooperate with us, we can give you your freedom”. The programmer answered, “You mean you can give me my liberty. I have my freedom. Go away.” This is a powerful illustration that real freedom comes from within, not the outside.
So, why do we talk about this? Because unless you can free your mind your body wont free either. The limit of our body depends that on of our minds.
If I were to ask you to do as many push ups as possible, like most people you would do them until you feel pain in your arms and then stop. If I encouraged you and told you that you could do more, you’d probably pull off a couple more and then feel that you couldn’t do another push up. But if someone put a gun to your head and told you that you had to do more push ups, you’d be able to do a lot more than you ever thought you could. When your life or someone else’s life depends on you then your real limitation will come out. This clearly illustrates that what we perceive to be our limit and our actual limit is far different.
For any martial artists or warrior of any kind the ability to assess reality and handle pain is key. When you are trying to survive, getting distracted in any way, especially by pain can be detrimental. Learning to have a clear and calm mind even when there is pain or discomfort, or other kinds of distraction is very important. This would be true to any situation in life not just martial arts. The ability to stay focused on the goal and not be distracted is fundamental to any success.
You learn how to relax, breath, move, and hold your body so you can calm yourself when there is pain. You learn there is good pain and bad pain. Bad pain damages the body. The good pain used correctly can build you up. You learn that breathing and relaxation can directly influence your pain. Further on you learn that the mind itself can control the pain.
I once heard, “Pain is inevitable, but suffering is a choice”. As you learn how to condition your body through breathing and relaxation work, you learn that pain is a signal and that even though the signal itself is real that suffering is in the mind. When you learn that even if the body suffers the mind doesn’t need to suffer, there is a whole new freedom that comes with this knowledge. You start getting a better understanding of reality and how most of the time our thoughts limit us. You start seeing how much of our lives is limited by our limited thoughts. This is the beginning of a new way of seeing things.
Furthermore, you learn how to taken on life, without having to compromise your own integrity. As you learn to condition through breathing, relaxation, slow and fluid movement, while keeping good structural integrity like your body was meant to be or sometimes in completely compromised positions, you start getting a sense of when your body is natural or not. There is a deep comfort and pleasure of just being. You become more and more sensitive to this deep comfort, and you start moving freely within this total natural self. In this way of moving, there is no haste. At this stage, there is stillness in your movement, and there is movement in your stillness.
History of Tai-Chi Journey up to this point:
Before the blog opened to the public, we covered the single person part of the system.
1. Qi-Gong (Taoist Longevity, White Crane Qi-Gong)
2. Standing Meditation
3. Stepping Meditation
4. 7 Basics
5. Basic Form
6. 30 Form
7. 108 Form
Interactive training after we went public with the blog.
1. 8 Type Pushing Hands (Covered from 2/2 ~ 2/11)
2. San-Shou (Covered from 2/12 ~ 2/15)
3. Ba-Gua.(Covered from 2/16 ~ 2/19)
4. Weapons (Covered on 2/23)
5. Healing System (Covered on 2/24)
6. Introduction (Covered on 2/25)
7. Free moving – conditioning (Covered today)
8. Free hand pushing hand
9. Free hand (2 person drills and multiple person drills)
10. Free hand weapon (2 person drills and multiple person drills)