Chinese martial arts classics state that “Learning Tai Chi is like rowing a boat against the flow of water: if you do not go forward, you will drift back. Perseverance is the key.”
During the past few weeks, I was helplessly drifting back, moving further and further away from my original motivation… I couldn’t feel any improvement in my Tai Chi practice and it really upset me. I was losing my self-confidence, I was losing hope. I was silent and depressed (one of the reasons why this blog was dead for the last three weeks). I even considered giving up and moving back to Shanghai.
But before taking the step of doing such a stupid thing, I decided to go to my Master and ask him the question: “Is Tai Chi really not suitable for me?”
As I unconsciously expected, Master Fu found the right words to bring motivation back. In a very Chinese diplomatic way, he didn’t say anything about my level, but explained to me in details the whole ongoing process of learning Tai Chi. And he added, “You’re not drifting back, although you may have this feeling.”
What I didn’t expect is that, after that inspirational talk, Master Fu would get back to me and mention something I would never have dared consider. He asked me, “What is your purpose in learning Tai Chi?”
I told him that I want to see how far I can go and if Tai Chi can become not only a daily exercise, but an entire lifestyle. My objective is to reach the stage of being able to feel the internal qi moving, to enjoy the benefit of that amazing feeling of inner peace and balance and share it with others.
To that, Master Fu replied, “One part of Tai Chi is the physical and technical skills. But there is another big part which is the character and spirit. Our Chen style Tai Chi family needs instructors who understand our spirit and the Chinese culture, who have an international background and can speak several languages, and above all, who have the quality of knowing how to talk to people. Only this way we will be able to further widespread the Tai Chi culture.”
Master Fu sounded very enthusiastic at the prospect of having a new female instructor to represent the Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei style Taijiquan, whether it is in Shanghai, in France, or anywhere else in the world. He is willing to coach me – if I confirm that I can commit myself for the next few months – and in return, I could become part of the team, using my “linguistic and human skills”, like he says, to help promoting the school and Tai Chi.
That offer sounds like a very big thing to me right now. My trip to Shanghai next week will probably help me stand back and look at that opportunity from another perspective.