The Way is the Goal
For years I did enjoy long distance running of marathons and ultra-marathons and I very quickly learned that ultra-events needed to be approached with the right attitude, focus had to be on the moment and every step and not on the finish. This is also very true for someone who is learning Tai Chi, not for reasons of endurance, but because as one slowly progresses on their Tai Chi journey and their awareness and application of essential principles and key concepts increases, so they learn to enjoy the moment, enjoy every step and naturally their Tai Chi improves and the benefits are reaped.
While a person learns the forms/sequence, one must also learn the basics, e.g. the stances, the Tai Chi method of moving both forwards and backwards, the method of weight distribution, proper posture and balance and the calming of the mind. Only after understanding and performing the basics well can one really be expected to perform the steps properly and after that other key principles such as correct posture, proper breathing and maintaining ones centre. In the longer term, other more advanced but associated principles and routines can be learned.
For me, the Way is the Goal because there is so much to learn about Tai Chi learning the basics and the form are simply the beginning of a life long journey.
In the beginning, most students become very motivated by the idea of learning the full sequence of a form (all the steps). This can be a short lived approach, often with this attitude, as often once the sequence is learned the motivation diminishes and the student either gives up or his/her training stalls.
“The benefits and the real enjoyment of performing Tai Chi is not simply the completion of the form, but the learning and deepening of ones understanding of the Tai Chi basics and key principles and then enjoying every step of the form”
During my years of teaching I have realized that the students need to be exposed to a “bigger picture” which includes the essential Tai Chi principles, other styles, forms, key concepts and drills so that they can visualise their journey and know that it is more than just the arrangement of all the steps and that, when they undertake to learn Tai Chi, they have embarked on a life long journey.