Sunday, November 11, 2007

Calligraphy and Taiji

I was writing another piece of calligraphy today, and came to realise that calligraphy has similarities to taiji.

What similarity can there be between a martial art, and the fine arts?

The answer is simple. Both of them are art forms, and thus both have similar mental and emotional requirements. For example, you will not write anything good, or be able to practise your taiji movements properly, whenever you are frustrated. Your frustration will show in your moves and your works.

In taiji, you constantly practise to perfect your moves, to make sure that every moves attain the requirements of taijiquan, conform to the principles of taijiquan. In calligraphy, you constantly practise so that each stroke conforms to the principles of the writing style that you are using. Your taiji movements as a whole will look beautiful if they have spirit behind them. Each word you write will look beautiful if you have the same spirit behind them. 和 (peace) must look peaceful, 勇 (brave) must look brave, just like each taiji move must look like how it can be used.

In taiji, your greatest opponent is yourself. Each time you practise, you try to be better than the last, to not make the same mistakes as the last practice. In calligraphy, you are constantly trying to write better each time compared to the last. In both, you learn determination and perseverance even as you strive for perfection.

So are martial arts similar to fine arts? Only in the mind.

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