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Action and reaction

We were at Ikea the other day, attempting to buy a storage unit. (They have those?) Once we found the correct aisle/bin combination in the warehouse (not so hard) we rolled our nice flat cart right up to the bin so I could drag the incredibly heavy box out of the bin and onto the cart. I crouched down, since the package was low, and placed my body sideways to the bin. With visions of lower back pain looming large, I remembered to to use my whole body to pull the box out. So I just aligned myself, engaged the right stuff, and slid the box out, mostly feeling the load taken by the bottom of my feet. It took some effort, but it was no big deal. Before all this Chinese stuff, I might have twisted myself, or did something to my lower back.

I believe that some Tai Chi practitioners misunderstand the internal martial arts. The arts aren’t practiced to inflict pain or encourage aggression — you could do “mixed martial arts” for that. No, the Chinese internal martial arts (CIMA to some) are way too slow and boring for most of those guys. CIMA conditions our bodies and calms our minds, but more to the point, it helps us develop a full-body strength, using the entire body not just to resist an opponent/partner’s force, but any force we encounter in daily life. It can be applied to lifting boxes at Ikea or snow shoveling as well as resisting a partner in a class.

It’s not magical, it’s just aligning yourself and being sensitive enough to know when you’re aligned by feeling it from the inside.

(As for the Ikea unit, we plucked the wrong one from the bin, so I had to put it back. The one we wanted was out of stock.)

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