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Real Tai Chi = Pain, Sweat and Tears | Cultivating the Mind

Martial Arts is like all endeavours have its challenges and one should not avoid struggle. But humans like most animals are built for the struggle and yet seek comfort. The problem is unlike our ancestors we have an abundance of comfort in comparison to them. 2021, does not have the same struggle as medieval Europe covered by the plague.

Tai Chi like all martial arts means there will be a degree of suffering, moments when you want to give up. Just because the movements are slow does not mean it is for the hedonist to prance around. Eating bitter is central to traditional Chinese martial arts.

And in struggling and progressing we learn to cultivate our minds.

Dr Jeffrey M. Schwartz wrote a book, “The Mind & The Brain, Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force”.

In this book, he talks about neuroplasticity, the ability of the brain to rewire throughout life. And of how the mind, which is intangible causing this change. The mind using mental force can rewire the brain.

Concluding that using the mind we can shape our destiny. This is not something new to the ancients and practices like meditation in the East have retained these principles. In the West, there seems to be a renaissance on this.

The process of learning does have discomforts we have to overcome to understand and cultivate our minds. This is an ongoing process, like software that needs constant updating year in and year out. This is where practising and not “being too comfortable” as my Shifu would say.

We cultivate our minds with practices like Tai Chi or any martial art by understanding this struggle and embracing it. It forces us to not just adhere but also to yield and with that comes change and progress. And increase in our willpower.

I am still learning and one thing I have learned is I need to embrace my struggle and circumstances.


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Written by Narcisse Sadi, Tudi (student) of Dr Jeff Lan, certified (by the International Health Qigong Federation) 1stDuan Health Qi Gong and certified (by Dr Jeff Lan) 1st Duan Yang Style (Cheng Man Ching lineage) Tai Chi Chuan Instructor.



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