Welcome to The Palace Guard, the tai chi chuan and martial arts blog for intelligent martial practitioners. As the blog develops, I hope to feature other writers with a fresh take on the martial arts and related subjects. For now, I hope you enjoy my posts: feel free to leave comments, or email me at the address available on the profile.

Monday 21 January 2013

Some thoughts after a blogging break...

Sooner or later everyone needs tai chi, they just don't realise it. The spiritual seeker is searching desperately for enlightenment, but the instructions are maddening: the more you try, the further you are. The warring sides in any scale of argument:they need to co-exist, and they define each other by their struggle, but how can they play without cutting the other down needlessly? The modern world, seeking a way to keep the juicy edge to life, without sinking into heedless hedonism or stultifying escapism.

Tai chi could be all of these, or none.

To say it is merely "balance" is to underestimate its capacity. In the martial arena, we can strike or act from an unbalanced position, in fact we must. An art predicated on being balanced all the time would be of little use. The push slams into the back, the punch swings in from the blindspot: these are the hits that real life doles out.

The rare treasures of tai chi go beyond balance. How many arts teach and hone a sense of touch, and deepen our sense of immersion in things?

The price of course is time, and it is one that few seem willing to pay. We then have to find shorter ways of involving people, but it it difficult. Most people are, quite sensibly, not motivated by the feeling that they will be attacked. Tai chi is spontaneity and flow in the face of adversity, and if adversity isn't at hand, then you will find it at least in training if nowhere else (how lucky we are if that's the case!)

I value the small-time barbarism of our lessons, the fun that is had with elbows hitting jaws and fingers poking throats...it feels so desperately out of step with much of what else happens around us and yet, deliciously, so akin to some of the processes of nature herself, where the delight in conflict is evident.

As ever, I am trying to think if ways to get the art "out there" without succumbing to the hippies. If you can't beat them though...?

I have the idea that Tai chi is good for men, and I mean men particularly, where they can learn to be strong without overt aggression, learn to be flexible without fear of bowing excessively to the feminine, and learn that their urge to play and compete isn't just a redundant vestige of savagery. So I'll push things in that direction and see what bounces back.

Bye for now.