A week or so ago one of the senior students made the comment that something I had been teaching had changed! Yes, that happens, it happens in life, it happens in Tai Chi classes but it can be a bit jarring or even a little frustrating. Was there really change or has there been some new insight?

In my practice of Tai Chi Chuan I can’t remember a change to a form or an exercise that happened just for the sake of change. That’s not how it works. Tai Chi dates back thousands of years and the principles have stayed basically the same–it is our understanding that changes.

In Grandmaster Wu Kuo-Chung’s book, Tao Tai-Chi Health, Grandmaster quotes and explains chapter 14 of the Tao Te Ching this way:

“Hold and use both the ancient Tao and the present knowledge. Knowing the ancient origin is the purpose of Tao.

“In T’ai-chi Ch’uan one should not only know the past experience, but also understand the present knowledge. To neglect either the history of T’ai-chi or the knowledge gained from recent experience is to remain ignorant about T’ai-chi.”

All of your instructors practice and study the Form and the exercises and the principles. You would expect nothing less. As we do, we gain new understandings of principles that previously may have been beyond our practices or our understanding. And then we discuss those new understandings! These discussions don’t lead to Tai Chi by consensus but rather a time for us to dig deep into the principles to help build our practices and to help us better explain those understandings and insights.

Yes, there will always be changes and insights–embrace them! Those changes lead to growth. As we grow, we change–we’re supposed to! See you in class!

Pamela Hultgren
Lead Instructor, Northfield