Play T’ai Chi

Having fun is an important part of learning T’ai Chi.  Indeed, many T’ai Chi practitioners refer to T’ai Chi practice as “playing T’ai Chi” and T’ai Chi participants as “players.”

Kirk Talbot (right) playing Push-Hands with fellow T'ai Chi Player.
Kirk Talbott (right) playing Push-Hands with fellow T’ai Chi Player.

Our goals must extend beyond mastering a series of physical postures. Our group seeks more. We want to integrate T’ai Chi principles and lessons into our daily lives. We want to improve our awareness of ourselves and others and our sense of humor. Having fun is an important part of learning T’ai Chi.

When students learn to take away one or two specific exercises and postures to work on at home, at work, while running errands, etc., progress will happen much more quickly and learning new postures and refinements of postures will come more easily.

Examples of such practice can be:

  1. Shifting the weight back and forth from one leg to the other with feet shoulder width apart while standing at the kitchen counter or in line at the grocery store;
  2. Opening and relaxing the shoulders and holding the head “as if suspended from a string” while walking;
  3. Keeping the wrists in a “fair lady’s” position while typing;
  4. Standing in “Bow Posture” and turning from the waist when sweeping the kitchen, shoveling snow, or hoeing the garden.

Not only will such practice accelerate progress in class, it will also improve the awareness of self.

And through it all, SMILE!  Be aware of yourself smiling,  Smiling is an important part of T’ai Chi!

This article by Gregory McNamee in Encyclopedia Britannica describes Playing T’ai Chi and some practice tips:

Playing T’ai Chi