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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Sore, Humbled and Weepy

My muscles ache, and I'm feeling the burn. My abs are tender and my calve muscles are screaming. I've completed my first month of studying Tai Chi as a Martial Art and this is my body's response.

I'm a beginner's beginner. A humbled and uncomfortable place for a Westerner. Each week I go and stand in the back of the room in my stark white Gi, bow, and began the practice.

It stinks in there. Smells like feet and layers of body sweat. The instructor says "take a deep breath" and my mind says "are you kidding?!" But breathe and bend and stretch I do, because I know there's a powerful system at work here, and I desire to achieve the benefits of this ancient Chinese Art.

As I was proud of my first month of classes at the Shao-Lin Center, I was told give it 10 years. Ten years! My Western mind reels and balks at the thought. Another tidbit of wisdom gets passed to me "you know nobody here has mastered this form". Whoa you mean I'm studying something I'll never master and even those with the title of "Master" are still learning? What have I gotten myself into?

I've gotten myself into Open Mind. I feel elated I am studying an art, a practice that gets better as I age. I'll be 50 in May, and I feel encouraged that one of the highest ranking members in our school is over 65, and he's still excited. I feel I can do it and I am encouraged by those achieving their belts in King Fu. And when they tell me Kung Fu means "time and effort" it helps me to hang in there.

So even though today I am sore, humbled, and weepy, I know this grasshopper is on the right path.

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