4 Feb

Saturday afternoon, Don Miller, Tai Chi practitioner for forty years, and four-time national champion in the martial application of Tai Chi, and one of my very best friends, put on a seminar in Edgartown at a private dance studio, wherein he revealed with astonishing clarity, five of the energetic components of Tai Chi. All of the fifteen or so participants, mostly women, some in their seventies and eighties, experienced these energetic states and were able to demonstrate those experiences.
I’ve also been practicing Tai CHi for over forty years, but have focused on a very narrow area of interest, that of experiencing a mild bliss and lightness of movement. I’ve always been fascinated by the other promises of Tai Chi, some of which I’ve witnessed first hand from studying with the great Master Quo Lin Yang, and Kunto Silat Master, Willem Dethouars.
In Saturdays seminar, Don revealed the five energies, rooting, billowing, tenacity and condensing, through simple easily followed exercises, which produced those qualities in each of us to varying degrees. This was not a subjective experience. Don did not leave the results to our imaginations, but probed each result by having us test our performance with a partner before and after the each experiment.
I experienced an upgrade in my Tai Chi during Saturdays seminar that exceeded all of the progress that I’ve made in the past forty years. Dramatically. I was able to root to the ground so that I was immovable. I could effortlessly float a heavier partner, and became functionally invincible to all efforts to disrupt. You might infer that my upgrade was the natural outcome of all those years of practice, and maybe there is some truth to that that, but consider this. There were people there who never did one moments Tai Chi, or who had just a few lessons, whose energetic results were the same. After the course, I ran into my son Jake, and shared what I’d learned with him. We were with a friend, Rob, who weighs around two-hundred-and-fifty pounds, and has strongman genes, a hard working athlete in his thirties. Jake, whose lean like me, was able to effortlessly resist Rob’s attempts to uproot him, and was also able to effortlessly move Rob.
What I’m reporting is that Don has unlocked some of Tai Chi’s most intriguing promises, almost universally unmet, and has developed a method of teaching them that simply works. Like many of us who were there, I left feeling elated with new physical powers that I never dreamed I’d possess. The twins, Dillon and Skylar, who are helping me build the Seeker, were the youngest to attend, and, being remarkable athletes (juggling, unicycling, surfing, gymnastics) were equally amazed. Really, you would have to have been there, and the next time Don comes, I look forward to more of my friends gaining these remarkably life enhancing skills.

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