Having trouble falling asleep? Too worked up over present-day politics? Tired of cute cat/dog videos on You Tube?
Here's the answer to your problems -- a decidedly low-key and almost silent video of me doing the Compact form that we've been learning in my Tai Chi class.
This is how I introduced the video in a post on my Church of the Churchless blog.
As the title of a book says, Feel the fear and do it anyway. So I'm taking that advice and sharing a video I made today of me doing a Tai Chi form.
Watching the video was fear-inducing, or at least anxiety-inducing, because I do my best to avoid looking at myself in the lengthy mirror that's on one wall of the room where I've been taking Tai Chi classes.
But since we've been learning the Compact form -- which lives up to its name by not requiring much space to do it in -- I figured it would be a good opportunity to stick my iPhone on a tripod and make a "selfie video."
Maybe this will turn out to be a shortcut to ego-loss and consequent enlightenment, because I found it interesting (and somewhat disturbing) that how I've been visualizing myself doing the Compact form from the inside of my head is rather different from how my iPhone video shows me.
Which is typical, of course. Our self-image may not bear a lot of resemblance to how others see us.
Anyway, I'm glad that I made the video. After watching my first video attempt, I changed some things in the next attempt. Slowed down some. Corrected a few moves that I got wrong the first time around.
Tai Chi, of course, is founded on Taoist principles such as yin and yang. This is one reason I enjoy Tai Chi so much. It's got a built-in philosophical foundation. But that makes it much more subtle than the hard style (karate, basically) martial arts training I did before Tai Chi.
Yin and yang, soft and hard, alternate throughout a Tai Chi form. This is easier to feel than to see. And it helps explain why, even after 15 years of taking classes three times a week, I still consider myself to be a semi-beginner in Tai Chi. Again, the moves in Tai Chi possess way more subtlety than, say, a karate punch or kick.
And they're performed at a slower pace, which magnifies missteps, stumbles, and such.
I should note that my instructor, Warren Allen, emphasizes the martial/self-defense aspect of Tai Chi to a much greater extent than most Tai Chi teachers, given his extensive background in hard style martial arts before he embraced Tai Chi.
if this video looks less flowing and soft than you'd expect Tai Chi to appear, that's one reason. Another reason is that I have a long ways to go before I'll feel that I've begun to master Tai Chi.
Heck, I'm only 71, a youngster in comparison to the 80 and 90 year-olds who are venerated in the Tai Chi world. (And they started learning Tai Chi at a much earlier age than I did.)