As more and more of the layers of inner aspects of Tai Chi Chuan and other internal arts are peeled away, we can appreciate how much more there is to these arts than just accumulating movements or styles.
Several articles in this issue refer to these important inner aspects.
Internal work is more than just getting the form correct or being successful at push hands. It is really not moving ch’i “from here to there” or becoming a ch’i “athlete.”
Internal work involves the continuing stretching of awareness and attitudes so that we let go of self-centered or wrong ideas.
For example, relaxing and getting form “correct” serves not just an aesthetic purpose but has everything to do with how much we can put ourselves into what we are doing while at the same time getting rid of excess baggage.
It has everything to do with focusing and working with the mind. It has everything to do with modifying instincts that tell us we have to push our partner and not let him push us.
In truth, internal work is hard work because in its essence it depends on dealing with frustration and the pain of failure and obstructions.
In times of great productivity in work or personal satisfaction, our inner light often dims. When the going gets rough, then we try to turn up that light to see what is going on.
Inner work has its own contradictions; one of them is that it requires “outer work,” too.
One of the biggest problems is to maintain a good dynamic balance between the two. Fortunately, T’ai Chi serves that purpose ideally.