#16 Tai Chi Wednesday Pic

Just Make the Shape: Just Go

Relax and let go.  This is one of the most direct lessons I have ever learned through my training in Tai Chi Chuan.  Also, it is the hardest.  There are many things that we do to our lives that make situations more difficult than what they really are because we add more to the process of doing it, whatever it is, than is necessary.  One part of being an active instructor is that you are constantly and consistently reminded of your own journey by what your students say and bring up during their training.  As of the most resent, I had a student state, “… but that is completely counterintuitive”.   My reply was, “I know it is for you, that is why we need to change your prospective on what is and what is not necessary”.  Through my training I came to realize that there are many things that I do that keep me from reaching the products I set forth to gain.  There are two lessons that I had to learn that taught me the same thing.  The first was the lesson of Just Go and the second was the lesson of Just Make the Shape.  There are state functions in which we deal when doing the martial arts.  There are many varying ways to reach these state functions, postures; however, what differs between practitioners is the way they reach these postures, state functions.  When doing solo form, drills, san shou and tui shou with my instructors they would make a comment of, “Just make the shape, you’re using too much”, or, “Just go, don’t hesitate or restrict yourself”.  I for the longest time I never understood what they meant, I understood the words they were saying however I did not comprehend the meaning of the words.  I thought I was doing exactly what they were doing.  I would look at the state function; I would note the postures and the positions.   I would take note of the feet, the hips, the shoulders, the breathing, and all the things I was supposed to look at when doing the form, set or drill.  Visually things were spot on, yet I was still not correct in my actions.  One day while doing form sets and drilling with my tai chi chuan instructor; he said something to me that pulled everything together.  What he stated wove a thread through everything up to that point in my training in the differing forms that to this day I still practice.  There were many instructors saying the exact same thing to me, message wise, and now that I look at it they could not have made what they were saying any simpler.  What brought it all together for me was this saying, “Don’t let your back foot hold you back”.  My mind was figuratively blown.  “Don’t let your back foot hold you back” was what I heard, what I felt was a release, an openness, an expanse.  We were doing a punching drill where one would take a step forward and send mass and momentum in the form of a punch to a targeted area.  While doing this with my instructor he noted things I was doing and corrected them, then he stated that I was not making proper impact because I was not allowing my body to completely commit to the technique.  He stated that my back leg was holding me back and that I should allow it to move freely as it wants not as I think, as I thought myself, it should.  What went through my head at that time was, “Don’t let your back leg hold you back, just go and make the shape.  Relax and let go.”  At that moment I actually froze from the awakening.  I was momentarily unable to move due to the processes occurring in my mind.  Then I let go … and just went.

I had to change my perspective on what I was doing.  I had to let go of trying to produce a certain outcome.  I had to free myself from the knowledge I had allowed myself to learn, and realize that what I learned was not taught to me; however, it was what I improperly thought was right and what I added to the formula; and realize that what I added was unnecessary and causing major disruptions.   I had to relax; stop doing all the unnecessary things that were causing stress, strain and inefficient action.  I had to let go; I had to forgive myself for doing so many things to myself that produced pain and agony upon myself, I had to release everything about me that was allowing me not to move forward.  At that point I realized that ever since the beginning of my training I had been given the proper instruction to be the most efficient.  All I had to do was do it.  Just go; make the shape.

Our embarrassment is our own.  It is what we have taught ourselves. Our embarrassment is what we learned to shame ourselves; to punish ourselves.  Our embarrassment is what we decide for ourselves to be ashamed of in our lives.  Our desire to be seen as pristine, perfect, proper and exact has been learned by us and our embarrassment gives this learned nature the ability to hold us back from fully committing to life.  How often do we not do things that feel good, feel right and we know we would love because of the possibility of embarrassment?   Our own anxiety of being embarrassed is a learned ailment as well. We place on ourselves great obstructions in our lives.   How much fun of life is lost because of an image we believe we need to uphold?  There are things that we know would bring nothing but joy and pleasure to our lives.  There are times that we stop those things from existing in our reality because we train ourselves to live without them, to be embarrassed by the act or actions, and place the difficulty of shame in our own lives because of our self-taught embarrassment that would not stand if we did not learn or train ourselves to be embarrassed in the first place.  We stop ourselves from doing whatever it is because we hold ourselves back.  We become our own back leg holding us back.   We become our own pain, our own struggle.  We need to realize that we are the cause of our own embarrassment so that we can move to the realization that we will be the cause of that impediment being removed. 

Learn to stop holding yourself back because of misguided, irrational and unfounded notions of reality.  Remove the impediments you’ve placed in your life.  Relax and let go so that you are able to realize what shape you want your life to be.   Then all you have to do is just go and make the shape.


For more information Winston’s his martial arts academy please visit Internal Magnification.  

Winston Price, Executive Producer, has over a decade and a half of marketing, advertising and public relations experience. He began his business career in 1995 and is a graduate of Indiana University Bloomington. Winston also is a master martial artist and personal trainer with over 2 decades of knowledge and experience. Winston runs his own school, Internal Magnification Martial Arts, where he focuses on helping people reach their personal goals of health and fitness via At-Home personal training with martial foci of Taekwondo, Tai Chi Ch’uan, Hapkido and Ba Gua Zhang. As an executive producer for VoiceAmerica, Winston utilizes his skills in business and personal training to help new and existing hosts maximize their opportunity with the VoiceAmerica Talk Radio Network by supporting his hosts with the business and personal aspects of creating and developing their show. Winston believes that each host brings their own flavor to the Network. By properly coaching and motivating his hosts, they are able to produce THEIR show with THEIR style and THEIR passion being at the forefront of every broadcast.