About this blog

October 4th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

This blog was set up to share some thoughts on internal martial arts and their health benefits, thoughts that either came about through my own experience or the experiences of friends, colleagues, fellow students or published experts. Most of what I write is aimed at middle-aged people interested in learning about efficient use of their bodies, generally to become healthier and stave off the decay of old age just a little bit longer. Occasionally, I’ll rant about something or other — this is a blog, after all.

I’ll try to be consistent with regard to romanicization of Chinese terms, but both Hanyu Pinyin (Taijiquan) and modified Wade-Giles (T’ai Chi Ch’uan) will probably be included in posts. Please bear with me as I sort out the best way to present this material to Western audiences.

Regarding the title of the blog, it’s borrowed from Dr. J. David Stewart, a very wise man. He once told me that¬†“there can be no refinement without repetition.”¬†So simple, yet so profound. If we want to refine a process, we need to revisit that process more than once. Each time we experience it, we improve it, we refine it. This may be obvious in a “How do I get to Carnegie Hall” way, but the corollary is that nothing will be refined the first time we do it. As a result, we need to allow for imperfection in the early stages of the process.

Regarding repetition and internal martial arts, or any discipline for that matter, the process begins when the instructor shows us what to do — the rest is up to us. We need to repeat the process, refine it, and repeat it again. Even if we don’t know what our goal is as we refine it, if we repeat it enough times, we will eventually find our way … maybe with a little nudge from the instructor. The only way I’ve been able to improve my skillset is through repetition, whether in class or outside of class, where discoveries happen and new concepts become new habits.

When refining my Yiquan practice, my goal is to improve my sense and expression of the whole-body force. If I keep this in mind while repeating and refining, I’ll have a better idea of whether I’m improving or not. Some revere the seeking of goals, while other revile the practice. Right now, I’m not interested in external goals such as a push-hands championship, but I’m interested in a direction … the one I just stated, for example.

If a direction is followed while refining and repeating, we are more likely to stay on course. And we can always change direction, as readers of this blog may have noticed.

Right. Off we go. Again.

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