In my never ending search for the perfect Tai Chi class, I have found that time and time again I am disappointed with what I find. I am not a stranger to martial arts and have been involved in all types of classes, from the classic sensei-in-a-box, to workouts in a grassy yard. I have been a guest in dojos with torturous teachers and I have taken zen-ful Aqua Ai Chi classes in warm salty water. For years I took classes with my kids (and 30 other kids) and I have sadly been with classes full of pissed off women who just want to punch stuff. My search has gone on for years, but I feel I will know it is right when I find it, Grasshopper, but I am not sure Memphis is a mecca for this sort of thing.
The Tai Chi class of my dreams would have to have classic Chinese decor complete with rice paper walls, bamboo floors with swords and fans on display. There would be a trickling water feature, soft music playing somewhere, jade plants and of course the obligatory Buddha statue in the corner. As long as we are talking about a DREAM Tai Chi class, it would have to have an outstanding teacher. I imagine a Sifu who is somewhere between Mr. Miyagi and Suzanne Somers. I can dream, can’t I?
So off to my new class I went last night, hoping for the best.
I already knew that it was being held in a Memphis area YMCA, so that blew the rice paper concept right from the get-go. Instead of katanas and bo staffs, the walls held racks of primary colored rubber mats, pool noodles and some large mirrors. This wasn’t my dream decor, but since I have my eyes closed most of the time that I’m doing Tai Chi, I decided to just decorate in my mind.
As the class assembled, I was very pleased to see that there was quite a large group with varying degrees of ability. This is a good thing in case I do something spastic; then, I could try to “blend”. Don’t want to show-off or anything on my first night.
The Sifu arrived and I was euphoric when she stated that we would begin with Qi-Gong. You’ll have to Google that one, or wait until I write an entire post of it, but just know it is type of exercise that is good for whatever ails you. Before we started twisting our gizzards, she introduced herself and the newbie to the group. When I threw around a few names of people I had studied with, I was equally as happy to know that she knew them as well. So far so good.
The class went on in the typical “wax on wax off” sort of way, and I let the soft music and the giggles from the back row, lure me into the Yin Yang state of relaxation and muscle rebellion. I ‘chased the dragon’ and ‘repulsed the monkey’ until the evening ended. Sifu was awesome and the ladies of the class extended an invitation to return next week.
As I reflect on my new class and new friends, I think I may grow to think of them as my new DREAM Tai Chi class. Even though it was not exactly what I was looking for, I believe it will work. I wanted tonight’s post to be about being aware of chasing dreams that are not realistic. If I continued to search for the Tai Chi class of my dreams, I would miss out on the opportunity to study with these talented students. I would delay my goals and possibly end up never finding a class that was exactly right.
When you stay on a road that is not be taking you where you want to go, you may have to make a few changes, try something else and adjust your ideas of what you really are looking for. ” Take a good look to see if your search is not just an excuse to not move forward. I love this quote; “If you do not change your direction… you may end up where you are going…” Which in translation means, you may have to change rickshaws, so you do not end up in Shanghai without rice paper!