How can Tai Chi help my daily life? Flow more, Force less

I’ve always wanted to learn about Tai Chi but never found the time. I saw a great deal from TennisOne for a course teaching Tai Chi in relation to tennis. So I thought I would take this as an opportunity to learn Tai Chi while also improving my tennis game.

Continually moving towards your goals is a principle of Cell Your Sole. To do this without overloading myself I like to combine activities and achieve more things with one period of effort. Developing my tennis game through learning Tai Chi makes Tai Chi practical right away.

Tai Chi = Unforced Balance

I’ve heard that Tai Chi is about understanding your body more so you can achieve more physically yet it’s a very relaxed approach using gentle flowing movements. This is the kind of methodology I’m looking for. I need something that:

  • fits into my daily life
  • requires minimal effort: improves me yet doesn’t demand too much.
  • prevents injury
  • improves my day to day activities: Something that is useful every day.

The course is Flow more, force less: Tai Chi Movement and Principles and is provided by Tennis One.

I like Tennis One because it takes me back in time. They aren’t up with current technology but their lessons are timeless. Tai Chi is centuries old and, I hope, as relevant today and tomorrow as yesterday.

The course is a series of lessons available through private youtube videos with downloadable versions you can keep for life if you want.

Finding Neutral

First impressions are really good. Each lesson is exactly what I want. I’ve noticed how most if not all my injuries come from me trying too hard. I push my body beyond what it is comfortable with, often for too long either in matches or practise and generally over days or weeks.
So I’m increasingly interested in the value of small purposeful movements to achieve an end instead of big powerful ones. 

Instead of training just for tennis my philosophy is to use my life to prepare me for tennis and vice versa. So I prefer to use daily tasks like walking my dog, DIY and playing with my son as opportunities to strengthen and train my body so that it is strong enough for tennis.

An easier life

Very much like in Karate Kid when painting a fence laid the foundation for the boys body to understand karate. My life is getting easier and easier as I apply this concept more. I already find that walking my dog is excellent recovery from my intense Tennis matches and sessions. At the same time the walk challenges my body and encourages strong bones, proper use of energy like fats, carbs and protein and other elements like salt a walk also encourages recovery.

Muscles around your body move rhythmically massaging blood and other items to where they need to go. Synovial fluid starts bathing your joints, nourishing them so they can heal and strengthen. The gentle pressure of the walk encourages healing in the correct direction that nature requires.

it seems fantastical to describe healing in this way but it’s how we have evolved. Gentle activity is the most natural state. Being sedentary isn’t so natural. So our bodies have evolved uses for this activity like using the contraction of the lower leg muscles to push blood back up the body into normal circulation. The motion of walking is important in moving food through the digestive system, helping the process along. As an equal and opposite reaction you find that without activity problems develop because the body is no longer getting the support it requires. Bowel problems can start because food isn’t being moved around the body. Blood may also pool in the legs because it isn’t being returned by the leg muscles through movement. This can obviously cause problems in the legs.

I’ve started the course and already I’ve found it’s just what I wanted. At first glance it’s very simple but just like in Karate Kid the more you apply and learn, the more complex you realise these basic principles are. My initial thoughts are that I have found a beautiful art I can practise every day. I’m already doing similar activities and now I have direction.

Quality over quantity

I like the delivery of Gene Burnett the instructor because it is very level and calming. He doesn’t shout or rush, everything is gentle, well explained and also made relevant to real life first. Basics like how you stand, move to look at things and how to just be. It may sound a bit fanciful but having taught in gyms and had many injuries from bad posture and technique I quickly realise how everything here is about doing a lot with a little effort. Quality over quantity.

So far I’m enjoying the course so much it feels worth writing a post for each lesson sharing what I learn.

Course details

  • Overview of Course – Read this First!
  • Introduction
  • Finding Neutral
  • Springy Power
  • Turning:Bringing Your Whole Self
  • Ripple of Power: Expressed by the Hands
  • Opening and Closing
  • Grounding Opposing Force
  • Warding Off
  • Yielding
  • Rolling Back
  • Improvised Flow
  • Concluding Remarks
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