Tai Chi and the Answer to the Universe
I learned long form way back in the 1970's and resumed training in the beginning of the early 2000's.
I remembered asking my shihan (tai chi at this karate school was mandatory) what will I learn from practicing this 101 step slow movement form?
He said, "If you practice this tai chi form, everyday at the same time, no breaks, for over five years straight, you will know the answer to that question."
Of course, I knew that would be a near impossible task then with my schedule. So happens in my advanced years, I took up on this quest to find the answer to this question. Wasn't sure if I might find the answers to the universe, but what the heck? Karate, judo and kick boxing were destroying my body; I'll just take up the challenge my instructor gave me about 40 years ago.
During the course of my quest, I implemented all sorts of ideas: breathing, thinking, no thinking, slow, fast, tense, complete relaxation, in front of an ocean, while listening to music, within forest, in my garage, in complete darkness, nude, while on a fast, outside my back yard, before a karate tournament, at a truck stop, ten times in a row (those of you that tried doing long form ten times in a row will know that this was pretty much insane)...I read posts about how you're supposed to stand, breath, think, listen...do this do that...and I did.
And you know what I discovered after practicing tai chi, everyday, at the same time, no breaks for over five years?
Tai chi is a series of movement that when you practice the form, the benefits are multi-dimensional, an experience that occurs only if and when you go through the movements. It is a cause and effect event. To receive an effect...you must initiate the cause.