I call him “Chairman Ma” – the one wearing the white kung fu attire (because he´s from mainland China so you can imagine the historical figure I´m tickling him with) and “Master Ma” because he does Tai-chi every morning with another mainland Chinese representative. So why not get some lessons since we’ll be together a couple of weeks? (the Aussie pastor and later Papa New Guinea pastor joined us later)
It´s not as hard as I thought. And yet, my thighs were aching after about 30minutes. The half sitting postion does “awesome” pulling on the thighs. After just learning four basic movements, I was already sweating … not because of the weather! Neundettelsau has not fully entered into “summer” mode until today!
I also realized my left arm and hand does not have a smooth movement because it’s been used so little through out my life. And my posture of course needs adjustment.
I know some Christians and even Chinese Christians are a bit “uncomfortable” with stuff like Tai-Chi. And I’ve heard some of their reasonings on this. Maybe it’s my curiousity at this stage, I always want to to learn a bit of Tai-Chi after some experience of Shao-Lin Kung Fu when I was 9years old. And there’s a chance here to pick up some “strokes” and “steps” and maybe an insider view from a Mainland Chinese Christian.
This may be lesson one and there’s nothing I see that is “unchristian”. In fact, apart from the exercise value, I think for now “Tai-Chi” reminds me of the importance of the human body and the integration of what’s internal with the external. The word is “holistic” and that’s one word that I’ve been hearing for years in recent discussions on theology and mission. So, i decided to personally “understand” a bit more before jumping into conclusions … It was quite funny to look at how the Aussie and PNG pastor and I fumbled as we had lack of “balance”, stiffness, and all sorts of “tenseness”!
“Step by step” guidance and with immediate “corrections” were given by “Ma” and both kept me relaxed and focused in my maiden Tai-Chi exercises. This is the way of “apprenticeship” from Chinese culture that I think many of us have forgotten. Besides that, the slower movement and calmer breathing (which was more natural for me as I practiced) kind of helped me relax as well … even though the thighs were still straining. I need more “practice” and “discipline” to be set from from my “left side” and “leg” constraints so I can move freely and smoothly. Let’s see what will happen tomorrow morning!