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Tai Chi – Tournament

October 29, 2011

Well, that’s it.  Two hours of Tai Chi a day, watching video clips, stretching, and going through the movements in my head every night before I go to sleep  all to learn in three weeks a form that, having checked on the internet, apparently normally takes several months. In front of several thousand people, leading the department, in the flagship of the years most important sporting event.

Funny thing is, standing on the other side, it doesn’t really feel like that big an achievement now.  Maybe that’s the way with these things; events can never match expectations.  You expect some seismic change, some shift in the world to recognise the one that’s happened in your gut, but when you look up the world is still turning, people are still people and actually you feel pretty much the same as you did before, anyway.

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You would not have been able to convince me of this six and a half minutes earlier, as I stood towering over the locals sticking out like the proverbial sore thumb, heart pumping against my chest like an angry ferret in a shoe-box, listening to the deafening roar of the crowds and the thundering of the drums, trying to ignore the legions of people snapping my photo and the crowds of thousands not 100 feet away, no doubt all watching the crazy foreigner in the mint green silks.  Nor could you have convinced me of this an hour before that, walking down towards the stadium feeling the drums before I could hear them; the roaring celebrations bouncing around the mountain and hitting me from every direction like a legion of angry banshees.

I’ve been speaking publicly for a living for quite some years now.  I’ve taught martial arts.  I’ve steered and led hundreds of children through activities, given speeches, acted as master of ceremonies, spoken at weddings, trained adults and taught children, even taught others to do the same.  Self confidence is not something I am in short supply of.  Last Saturday, standing quietly amongst everyone and yet on my own, I felt fear like I’ve never felt before.  The crowds hushed.  The dean barked out an order, and un unison we ran on to the field.  A pregnant silence for one, two, three, seconds and then – the music started.

We won, by the way.

I I feel now, one week later, like the first chapter of my time in China has already come to an end.  The tournament is behind me, a memory.  The form is with me, and as long as I keep it alive it will stay.  So what now?  Where next for me?  Well, there is still the matter of the 108-move Tai Chi Quan long form to learn, and the Tai Chi Chien sword form.  This week I’ll be returning to Mr Yin, across the road, in the mornings for more of this in the hopes I can learn it all before I return home next June – no small challenge in itself.

As for the rest, I shall stay true to the philosophies of Taijutsu – remain open, remain formless, accept whatever comes and make it your own.  I can’t wait to see what’s around the corner.

For videos click here

  1. Marc Moor permalink

    Congratulations, it was a big achievement

  2. well done.

    I prefer kung-fu loving to kung-fu fighting.

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