Updated: Mar 11
What are Tai Chi people like? What traits do they share? These are questions that interest me from a purely anthropological perspective as well as a marketing one. Standing in class and looking around me I can make a couple of tenuous assertions. Tai Chi people are philosophical. Tai Chi people have overcome or are overcoming some personal challenges. I would speculate that everyone who sticks with it fits one, if not both of these descriptions. If you get chatting to someone in a Tai Chi class you'll probably find they enjoy exploring ideas. I love a bit of existential waffle but find that most people I know don't share my inclination. Over the years Tai Chi has introduced me to many people who also enjoy esoteric, far out discussion. Many times I've stayed behind, both with my students and with my teacher Mark, talking about all sorts of things. 'Chatting with your little mates were you' my wife says when I eventually roll myself home. I've sometimes thought that those of us who are a bit too cerebral gravitate to Tai Chi to calm down our overactive minds. Tai Chi is well known for its health benefits. I've met many practitioners who have healed themselves of really quite serious ailments and the profound healing that comes from regular practice continues to amaze me. Epilepsy, strokes, Chronic fatigue and broken backs are just a few of the conditions that people I know have used Tai Chi to fix and sometimes
those with the worst problems develop the deepest skills. Often those who are really suffering commit to practice when they discover that it's helping them. If you're in constant pain and Tai Chi is the only thing that stops it you are more likely to practice a lot. Of course, lots of people dip there toe in the water but only a select few continue. If you stick around it's because you're patient. Perhaps you sense that Tai Chi is a practice with such a profound depth that you won't comprehend it just yet. This takes a certain level of perception. Most won't see this and will have a mistaken impression. You need to practice for several years before you really start to feel what's going on. I was never looking for simple calisthenics. I wanted to engage with something powerful and deep. It's never bothered me that I have often not fully understood what it's all about and in fact, I enjoy that. Tai Chi constantly reveals your own imperfections, your own lack of understanding and the occasional oddball finds they like that.