Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Take Your Time 2

I have written about the need to take your time when learning taiji. It is important to reaffirm this time and again, because I keep seeing fellow students who keep wanting to progress faster. They keep asking others to point out all their mistakes, and when you only tell them one or two same ones, they keep demanding for more. They want to know everything so that they can work on everything at once, thinking they can thus shorten the learning time.

It takes time to learn a skill. But there are many things that we start out not being able to do well. While the fundamentals of taiji are simple (there's only 10 of them), being able to do them is not. It takes time and effort to be able to achieve them.

So if it takes a year of practice to be able to correct a mistake and achieve one fundamental, it will take 10 years to achieve them all.

You can takes things one step at a time, work on one fundamental/mistake at a time, and make one achievement every year until you finally reach your goal at the end of 10 years.

Or you can work on all 10 of them in parallel, make no achievement along the way but at the end of 10 years, finally get them all right at one go. The former gives you a sense of progress along the way. The latter can be difficult to manage (too many things to watch out for each time) and demoralising (no noticeable progress).

My advice (which was actually what my teacher used to tell me) is to work on one thing at a time. And that is what I try to tell my fellow students, but somehow, they want to learn everything at once. They want to know how to improve in all areas at one time. My only fear is that, they may know more, but they won't be able to work on them all at the same time, and end up being frustrated with the lack of progress and end up giving up on taiji.

One step at a time. That's how people got to the top of Mt Everest. That's how people got to the South Pole.

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