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Timing, coordination and committing to the Tai Chi Dance

September 18, 2012

For a few years I have been asking new students if they have ever taken dance lessons. I ask because learning Tai Chi movement is very similar to learning a dance.

Instead of Cha-Cha, Rumba, Swing or Fox Trot, you learn “forms”, which consist of a series of movements combining walking steps, and changes in potion of body and limbs.

If you have ever danced, you already (or should) know that timing is everything. Without it, your partner has no idea where you are in relation to moving through the routine.

In Tai Chi, you are your only partner, yet the timing is extremely important to gain the full benefit of each movement and to create the flow of the form.  One of the key benefits of Tai Chi movement is the building of coordination, concentration and creating the sense of timing in relation to feeling yourself move throughout each section of a form.

Learning weight distribution, turning, raising and lowering of arms, hand positions, combined with taking steps along with the subtleties of the forms is a learning process, which goes from mechanical to automatic, and becomes a personal artistic statement.

I had a comment from a potential student who said “I can see the idea and I like the movements, but I am not sure it is for me”.  As in dance, this type of movement is not for everybody although it is good for everybody from a health and wellness standpoint.

Many, or I should say most students find the commitment to continually study and improve their capabilities to be to much. You see, it is easy to learn the basics, but takes a true commitment to become proficient.

As my sensei told me years ago when I asked when I would truly know my forms, he replied “when you die you will stop improving”. So you see,  the commitment is not only to the forms, but to yourself, is a lifetime.

Would you willing to go the distance to move better and do the “Tai Chi” Dance as you age?

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