One Saturday morning while in Boston. I met an old man doing Tai-Chi and I asked if I could join him.
He didn’t speak english, but was kind and willing to let me participate. The two most popular styles of Tai Chi are either Yang style or Wu style. It wasn’t either. I honestly never saw the form before. But I plodded along.
I did notice that he did a motion very familiar in my discipline that served as a period that divided the form into sections.
He was vibrant and graceful. At that moment, I realized how lucky I was to have a teacher at home who really understood what kata was and what it could do to a person’s life. How it could teach deadly martial arts techniques and also serve as both metaphor and workbench for many of life’s issues.
At the time I was hitting a young middle age. But at that time, I just couldn’t wait to be an old man in a park doing the practice that I love.
Afterward, I thanked him and left wanting more. I wish I could have learned from him. My Sensei once told me that the best teachers are the ones that can’t speak your language. All they can do is show you what to do and make you feel it. You never get stuck listening to their concepts or language. You just have to GET IT.
Words get in the way sometimes, and sometimes the more you rely on them, the slower the progress comes.