Where have I been?
Apologies as I have been away for a bit. I have been on a staycation in the Lake District. I have been busy and I've not actually had any time off this year (public holidays don't count). For nine months, it has been working, training and teaching. With the coronavirus still at large, it meant I couldn't go back to Hong Kong this year for the Mid-Autumn Festival, which is my favourite Chinese festival. But the situation is no better in Europe, so that wouldn't be an option either. But the UK has plenty to offer and I want to help the local economies.
What have I been doing?
Basically recharging my batteries and getting away for a change of scenery. I'm not somebody who spends time on a sunbed or go to holiday resorts. I love to get up and do something. Usually sightseeing and taking pictures. I've never been to the Lake District and I thought it would be a good time to go. There are plenty of places for hiking and the landscape is just beautiful.
Improving my Taiji
Martial art is like any art or craft, in the sense that you must always seek to improve what you do and how you do it. If you thought that doing your form routines again and again is the key, then you're on the wrong path. Practicing an art is not about mindless repetition. This year, due to the coronavirus, competitions have been cancelled and I needed a new challenge and focus. Hiking would give me that and I have spent some time preparing mentally and physically. I'm not actually new to hiking and I love trekking up the mountains of my native Hong Kong.
I planned a few routes and tried to be realistic with my objectives. Not all of it was easy, but why would I bother if it was? Loughrigg Fell required some scrambling up a side of mountain that was about 50 degrees. Red Screes took about 5 hours and was the highest at 776 m. Even if it was the safer way up and down, it was not without challenges. With peat bogs, hidden streams and uneven surfaces. So what has this got to do with Taiji and martial arts? Well it comes down to practicing mindfulness on the move. Learn to appreciate the dangers and not just the beautiful scenery. Facing challenges, embracing the opportunities and yet be relaxed about it. Hiking is good for building endurance which in turn is good for your general wellbeing. I also feel that seeking inspirations help shape who you are. And then take all of these experiences and add them to your training.
Taiji, like any art, is a personal journey of discovery and not a tick-box exercise. You are not your teacher and your experiences are also going to be different too. This is what makes your practice different from somebody else's and therefore unique. All these things have to be experienced and you can't read it from a book. Moreover, you can't imitate that feel or substance. At the end of the day, your practice doesn't lie.
And where do we go from here?
Well it is back to class and more training. I have some plans and we shall see how the future unfolds. I plan to keep developing myself and my art. I will definitely do more hiking and with the South Downs being about an hours drive, it would be rude not to.
Thank you for ready my blog.
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