Don't fight the feeling...
One of the things that puts people of Chinese martial arts is the amount of stance training and people being pedantic about the movements. Since movements relate to applications, why not just teach sparring. Since this is less boring and will interest more people. However, many points are lost here. Masters of the past could see that, we didn't wait for the 21st Century to arrive work that out. But where is the art in it? I have been asked this many times, but the concept of art is not just one thing. To doing anything well, you need good foundations or roots. This takes time and effort, that's what gongfu is about.
Training takes time, effort and energy. Holding stances and keeping postures is hard work. Taiji looks effortless and the perception is that is is easy. In reality it is not the case. Try holding any stance and repeat any sequence and one will understand how uncomfortable it will become. Some might try the macho route and try to use tension to hold up the posture or deny there is any pain or discomfort. This is not good taiji, in fact it's not Taiji at all. In Taiji, we don't do pain, we do discomfort. We work with the discomfort to train endurance, patience, character and softness. Taiji talks about softness, but this is not to say you start off being floppy. But rather that softness is higher level of ability. Little by little, you build it up. Try sensible and realistic targets, rather than over achieve and over a period of time, you will find that you can practice forms effortlessly.
The feeling of discomfort will always be there, but rather than fight it and treat if as your enemy. Treat the sense of discomfort as your friend and work with it. In a way, it is a bit like the Christian concept of making peace with God. Taiji is a spiritual journey in the sense that you are working on making yourself better, using Taiji to improve your fitness and wellbeing. To do this, you have to let go. Whilst going to class is a social experience, some things you have to do one your own, outside class. Taiji is both a martial art, but also an art of living.
Thank you for reading my blog.