Friday, July 13, 2012

The True Transmission

I recently ran across someone interested in the true transmission of Taiji.  So, what is and how does one obtain this mystical "True Transmission"?  Is it only available to a select few?  Is it shared through touch, energetic presence, authentic family lineage?  I wonder.  I'm not even sure what "True Transmission" means.  I do know there is one sure way to take your Taiji to the highest level: hard work.  Practice, and lots of it.  But the ironic thing is, once one reaches a certain stage in his/her Taiji training, he/she can't help but practice a lot.  Taiji is addictive.  The more you do, the more you want to do.  Consequently, the more you do, the better you get.  Perhaps a sincere practice of Taiji is in itself the best transmission one could ever receive.  By following your chosen system you are taking advantage of honest transmission.  The transmission from teacher-to-student(who becomes a teacher)-to the next student, and on...  And even better, Taiji is a system that to some degree is self-evident.  Once we learn a form we can practice alone and learn from the form itself.  We still need corrections and exposure to teachers, but there is a lot that can be gained through solo practice.

And perhaps exposure to a good, well-trained, well-qualified teacher is the essence of this "True Transmission".  That I can understand.  As subjective as that could be, there are surely grades of Taiji practice and teachers.  And there are folks teaching something called Taiji, that is arguably a weak representation.  But typically, the transmission one speaks of is referring to or is synonymous with the concept of spiritual transmission, where the depth and breadth of knowledge, or even enlightenment itself is obtained immediately, transmitted directly from guru to follower.  I am in no position to doubt this practice or to call any such spiritual event into question. However, I don't see this with Taiji.  Not because I doubt the spiritual aspect of Taiji practice.  A quick survey of this blog will indicate otherwise.  However, Taiji in its totality is a mind body practice that delivers results through practice.  Solid teaching from a good teacher and lots of practice will over time reveal the true essence of the art.

There are lots of promises in the field of Internal Arts.  Everything from basically increasing your health and longevity to levitation and no-touch punches.  I'll take the improved health, you can keep the magic.  Honestly, the practice of Taiji has a lot to offer and the benefits are solid and backed by sound research.  I not only doubt the new age promises often attributed to Taiji practice, I see no need for them.  Rather than seeking a teacher who can pass knowledge along to you by touching you, or throw you without touching you, look for a teacher with solid knowledge and skill who will work your ass off and keep raising the bar.  That is as true a transmission as anyone will ever receive and a damn good one to boot.

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