“If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

When you’ve been practicing Tai Chi for a while – a few years maybe – you’ll get to the stage where you start to think about making your own form. Something that puts all the bits you really like together, and is either shorter than what you usually do, or longer, or uses less space, or fits into your garden better, or… something.

It’s potentially driven out of a need to make your own mark on the world; perhaps a sense of ego. You want something that is yours! Or maybe it’s just that you are a creative person and you have a need to continually create. Or perhaps it’s just to bring a sense of aliveness and play back into your Tai Chi…

What will then happen is you’ll start making a form, and then you fiddle with it, and fiddle with it and fiddle with it… and years pass and you’re still fiddling with it.

Ultimately, you’ll realise that this process never ends, and that your form will never be “finished”. Just when you think you’ll got it finished, you’ll notice a part of it isn’t quite right.

Whenever I mentioned to my teacher, over the years, that I’d made my own little form he was usually completely nonplussed. I mean, he asked to see it, but I could tell it wasn’t setting his world on fire 🙂

As I was pondering on my millionth version of my form this morning, another thought occurred to me. An obsession with creating your own form is probably an indication that you are getting a little too concerned with the external aspects of Tai Chi.

Switch your focus in Tai Chi back to the ‘internal’ elements – your perception of your body in space. Slow down, put your mind on what you are doing, notice your breathing, feel the (for want of a better word) energy inside the movements, notice where your weight is on your feet, push up from the ground, etc…

Now you’ll find that it doesn’t really matter to you what form you are doing – it’s all the same. If you are focused on the inside, your concern for what order movements come in and how many times you repeat something isn’t what matters anymore.

Suddenly, the idea of creating your own sequence of moves seems a bit, well, meaningless. Instead, you create your own form every time you practice, with every movement you do.

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