Category Archives: Confidence

Exploring the Myth of T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi People are Like Zen Masters or Something

One piece of folklore that most T’ai Chi practitioners relish is the notion of the wise, zen-like Master, who is always in command of his or her emotions. A Master who always lives in the present and has deep philosophical insight into the problems that afflict everyday people. This Master wanders through life like the fictional monk, Kwai Chang Caine, played by David Carradine in the 70’s  TV show, Kung Fu.

Caine is the mythical ‘Zen-Master’ uses martial arts skills to fight off the  bad guys and help others, while maintaining a calm, serene presence at all times.

If you practice T’ai Chi long enough, the myth goes, You too will achieve this kind of enlightened temperament. T’ai Chi practice will make you calm in the most stressful situations. You’ll be able to serenely defeat the bad guys without ever losing your cool or letting your emotions get the best of you.

As much as we all wish this myth was true, unfortunately, it’s not. T’ai Chi people also get upset about silly things, we have arguments, and we feel stress just like everyone else. T’ai Chi practice doesn’t give us any super powers and it doesn’t make us immune to emotional problems or frustrations.

Continue reading Exploring the Myth of T’ai Chi: T’ai Chi People are Like Zen Masters or Something

How to Own your T’ai Chi Form

T’ai Chi is beautiful. There’s nothing quite like watching the grace and power of a talented T’ai Chi practitioners as they effortlessly float from one posture to the next. The strength, flexibility, and dexterity demonstrated can be awe inspiring.

Unfortunately, for most of us, our form doesn’t quite live up to the aesthetics found in a gifted performance.  Try as we might, our bodies just don’t seem to be able to bend or hold the positions the way we’d like them to. It can be terribly discouraging, especially after you’ve spent years studying the art only to see someone much younger, and more limber, easily execute a move that you still have difficulty performing.

But, is a pretty, aesthetically pleasing form really what we should be striving for? Isn’t T’ai Chi designed as a martial art? -As a method for moving vital energy through our body to improve health?

How can we make the T’ai Chi form our own, even when we fail to perform the movements the way we imagine they ought to be done.

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Embracing Confidence: the T’ai Chi Way!

Using the principles of T’ai Chi can help us in a variety of ways during our daily life. One area of life that we can all use a little help with is self-confidence.

Some of us, unfortunately, seem to have no confidence;We’re wishy-washy and easily run over by pushy salespeople, aggressive authority figures (like  parents, bosses, or teachers), and tend to fade away into the crowd rather than stand up and express ourselves confidently to the rest of the world.

Others, try to arm themselves with a sense of ‘False Confidence.’ They outwardly appear strong, brash, and sure of themselves to everyone outside, but in doing so become rigid in their convictions. They stand so hard on their beliefs that they fail to see the value of ideas different from their own. This puts them in constant conflict with those around them and leaves their ego hopelessly bruised when someone has a better idea or wins an argument.

In both cases, the result is the same. They eventually become frustrated and drained of energy.

If you lack confidence, you’ll become slowly frustrated at your inability to speak up for yourself and feel pushed around until the stress of not being able to stand up for yourself becomes too much and you finally explode in a fit of anger.

If you’ve built an inflated sense of False Confidence, you find yourself always arguing your point and in friction with anyone who doesn’t share your particular point of view. Again, this constant struggle eventually leads to frustration and most likely a bitter breaking point.

Either way, these poor confidence strategies leave the person exhausted and stressed out, which is not  a very resourceful way to live.

Luckily, there is a fundamental T’ai Chi principle that provides true, authentic confidence and saves our mental energy, leaving us relaxed and stress free. It’s not a ‘Get Confident Quick’ scheme, like reciting positive affirmations into a mirror, but a real strategy that works even when life gets tough.. Continue reading Embracing Confidence: the T’ai Chi Way!