Mick Smith, Mascot
I have been doing Tai Chi Chuan with Ric since December 2007. After studying for a short time for the Catholic priesthood, my direction in life changed when I decided to get married. I then studied industrial chemistry and worked in the cement industry for 15 years.
After a life crisis, I developed an interest in meditation. During this time, I was informed about the potential benefits of Tai-Chi. After many years of searching for a Tai-Chi master, I accidentally bumped into Ric at Glebe while he was filming an instructional DVD.
I have now developed a love ofYuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan and have experienced wonderful moments of inner peace and stillness.
master Ric helped heal me of my cold and flu. As we sat in the
crowded cafe` with others sitting at the table chatting away, Master
Ric placed his foot on my foot and proceeded to have his lunch. After
a short time, I noticed my body temperature increase almost like I
was sitting in a sauna. I felt the urge to sit up straighter and I
could feel a very strong Cool Breeze through both hands (which were resting on my lap).
Towards the end of this informal procedure I felt very dizzy. It was
here that Master Ric stopped (he had also just finished his lunch).
Sunday, October 10, 2010 7:57 PM
During the form this Sat. my hands and arms felt much lighter as I glided through the movements, making these upper movements much easier and effortless than normal. I don 't know why this would be although I did put more focus on appreciating and following the Chi energy through the form as a result of my current step that I have been practising over recent weeks. I am quite excited with this as I feel I am making real progress in getting closer to mastering the true Tai Chi that we practise.
Although I still get easily distracted during the dance by people and dogs passing by etc., especially outsiders practising very close to us now who become quite vocal at times, despite all this I am feeling a growing peace and tranquillity throughout the dance. Could this be due to a closer connection to the invisible Chi as a result of my progress? I feel very sure that it is.
I feel very confident now that I've been able to go twelve months without a migraine pharmaceutical drug that I'll now be able to do this for the rest of my life. Of course there were times when I couldn't do Tai Chi movements such as on a bus or at work and it was during these times when I just kept going and lay down when the opportunity arose. But no drugs were taken.
This is a very big
achievement for me, one I thought I would never be able to
Today's lesson was completely different than ever before as Ric stood before us as our "mirror" and instructed us to emulate his movements. The movements were very simple but very slow and continuous. After about 5 minutes of this we were each asked what we experienced during this time. For me my main experience was constantly focusing on Ric's movements. We did this again and the same occurred except this time it all seemed a little easier or effortless. Again this was repeated only this time it appeared my movements were easier and in fact drifting along independently of me which made me panic as I was concerned that I would be moving differently to everyone else, so I came back to my mind to continue the movements wilfully and on purpose using my muscles to do the work.
As we did this exercise again it wasn't long before I experienced this independent flow which required a lot less effort than before only this time I simply relaxed into it. I was very surprised that I had established a "flow" with little effort on my part. This felt rather beautiful, something that I have experienced before but only fleetingly and very rarely and seemed out of my control.
I couldn't wait to try out this "new" effortless way of doing the form at home. The next morning (being a Sunday) I set the timer for 45 minutes, said my usual prayer "I wish - - -" and went about doing the form and allowing as much effortless flow as possible just observing what was happening. As I kept up just observing I felt I was moving too quickly but was very surprised when the timer went off about half way through section 3.This has never happened before (usually I struggle to go the full 45 minutes and quite often finish well before this).
I feel that this has been my greatest achievement since learning Tai-Chi and overshadowed somewhat my successful completion of WOLF.
This was a strange Tai Chi practice with about 5 different seasonal weather changes in the 1.1/2 hour session. Nothing seemed to go "perfectly" and there were a few times when the senior students Miranda and Sharon were caught laughing at the more junior students Ken and myself. Despite our pride being shattered and after much laughter I did experience some delightfully peaceful moments in which I think the "Chi" was experienced.
A group of us at "coffee" afterwards discussed this "Chi" phenomenon and how evasive it is.
Sat 15 Nov 08
Another challenging format again today with very slow repetitions which seemed to go on and on. I felt humbled and quite deficient in ability as I watched with Ken as the more advanced students went through some challenging solo formats and were then judged by the other students for the slightest flaw or idiosyncracy.
Sat 8 Nov 08
I found the different format to be more challenging than normal today. The slower movements needed more effort and concentration on my part and I also found myself becoming disoriented quite often.
However I remembered Ric's statement last week that weight on each foot is constantly changing throughout the form and that the only time the weight is equally distributed on both feet is at the beginning and at the end of the form.
I didn't experience any deep seated peace today unfortunately. I did however learn some subtle changes to parts of the form.
Sat 1 Nov 08
Am feeling more at home with the form and am beginning to observe my body moving .Unfortunately these moments are fleeting but at least they are occurring. I have more work to do on maintaining proper positioning throughout the form as I am still wandering and have to correct this regularly. I also have short periods where I forget what comes next.
Overall I'm noticing a little bit more silence and peace through out the movements.
Sat 25 Oct 08
Am a lot more conscious now of my footwork and weight distribution. This has made an enormous difference to my understanding of the form throughout.
Time is another aspect that is changing for me as I am now noticing that the form feels a lot quicker. Ric advised me that last Saturday's form lasted 53 minutes which is longer than it normally is and yet this felt much shorter than normal.
Sat 18 Oct 08
During the form, I felt the pace changed from slow to a little faster and changed here and there through out....this could have been my imagination though.
I remembered before we started that there is always movement throughout the form and in the words of Ric "You stand still before you begin......you stand still after you finish"
I am having trouble keeping proper position throughout the form and I don 't know what to do about it at this stage. I remember a few weeks ago as we were about to commence the form Ric picked up a twig and broke it in half and placed an "X" where he stood. At the end of the form he finished where the "X" was. I hope to be able to do this one day.
Sat 11 Oct 08
During the form, I felt everyone was about at the same pace and I felt a lot easier going through the movements. I appreciated the movements more as I am becoming more familiar with them. There were times when I felt a lot of peace but these moments were very fleeting unfortunately. Regarding time; I felt that it went very quickly this time compared to six months ago when I felt the form would never end.
The peaceful moments were quite beautiful though.
Sat 4 Oct 08
During the form, I felt it went a lot quicker than usual, possibly because of the rain. Each week, I learn something new. My focus was on thinking about the new moves and thinking about the other moves.
I didn't feel the flow that I had before without so much thinking. I don't know how I can create that flow again. However, I feel that I am making progress every week.