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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Layers of learning

"L" is for Layers

Learning Tai Chi is like building a gourmet chocolate layer cake - those tall creations we see in bakery store windows.  You know the ones, where every layer is similar in flavour, yet different enough in taste and texture to add a subtle complexity to the final product.  The bottom layer is a thick chocolate cake base - dense and sturdy to support the upper layers.  The next layer might be pudding-like, lighter than the cake below, but heavier than the ganache layer above.  The layers get lighter as you move up the cake, until the whole thing is topped off with a luscious whipped cream icing.  Yup, learning Tai Chi is just like that.  You start with the base, learning where to put your hands and feet for each move.  Then you learn the sequence of moves, memorizing them as a complete set.  Next you work on your timing, figuring out how to get the push from your feet to move your hands.  Onto this, you layer your new awareness of your own particular brand of body tension, and your strategies to relax this tension while performing the set.  This is the layer where Tai Chi becomes moving meditation.  This is the layer where emotions will release and bubble to the surface.  This is where you really need to keep things light.  Getting bogged down in emotion gets heavy, putting too much weight on the supporting layers.  So you allow those bubbles to keep rising right up into the air, taking the emotions with them.

Cake legs.
Ganache heart.
Whipped-cream head.

Yup - Tai Chi is just like a chocolate layer cake.

2 comments:

  1. So *that's* why tai chi makes me hungry? (Nice analogy!)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe..... or maybe it's because Tai Chi done well is a lot of hard work!

    ReplyDelete

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