#23 Tai Chi Wednesday Pic

Making Your Life Easier on Yourself: Positive Framing

Sometimes the only thing needed to remove stress is a change of perspective.  Many times great mental and emotional stress is placed on a situation because of the mindset of the parties involved.  In my training of students in Tai Chi Chuan, I have come to find the lesson of “What is Winning?” as one of the hardest for people to grasp.  When training students there seems to be a grand necessity to win; however, when I ask my students what it means to them to win and I then ask them to match-up the ideas of winning they have with the ideals I have told them are held in the practice and study of Tai Chi Chuan, the students have a great inability to soundly match their ideas with the ideals that are being taught to them.  In that instant, the instant they realize that there is a major discrepancy of realities, I have come to find that students either end up leaving class shortly their after or they redirect their energies to better understanding what it actually means to win in the context of the Tai Chi Chuan.  Normally this paradigm shift happens in two situations: during practice of the solo- form and during practice with a partner or partners.

While training the solo-form some novice students get bored with repeating patterned sequences.  While training, many novices become progressively less attentive to the form of each posture and the transitions in the progression, and in many other cases they simply stop doing the exercise all together and they either start to do something else or do nothing at all.  I approach each situation differently depending on the student; however, the message is always the same: “You seem bored”.  I ask them to not think of the process as doing work to get to the next point.  I ask them to focus directly on what it is they are doing without worry or stress over what it is they do not know and/or have not been presented.   I tell the students once they are completely comfortable with what they are currently doing they open up the opportunity to progress to the next point without strain or stress.  I point out they never get comfortable with where they are because they are so strenuously focusing on the next point that it causes unnecessary mental and emotional stress.  Worrying over the unknown ruins the progress of the known and the present.  So even if they can do the postures shown, their unease, their worry and stress over the unknown, causes negative effects on their current situation and closes any opportunity for efficient progress.  If they change the way they perceive their current situation; if they focus directly on the positive growth that can be gained from where they are and what they are currently attempting to accomplish, they will naturally progress to the next level with ease and not stress.

To the point of working with people doing partner work, and seeing students having negative issues with their progressions, I have noticed many points as an instructor where I see the opportunity to help students gain a better understanding of changing their outlook to evoke positive growth.  When monitoring partner work, one way I have come to find, with those that allow me the opportunity to engage them, for a change in perspective is when I see someone who comes to the state function of a drill shown; however, their actions are completely inefficient.  What I have gleaned is that many students inefficiently force an issue to get to the state function of a drill given. What has a tendency to happen in these situations is one of the participants, or multiple participants, begins a battle to struggle overly muscularly to gain advantages of position.  This is never the point of any of the partner drills in Tai Chi Chuan. What I have come to find through instructing is that participant(s) get more involved in the idea of competing to win as oppose to studying and practicing to gain proper skill.  What happens is the will to defeat and compete overrides the nature of the teachings Tai Chi Chuan provides, of which include minimal effort to produce the maximum product to a total positive gain throughout all point of a situation.  The participants that decide to progress a negative framework as their base to produce the state function frame the encounter as a battle with a definite winner and loser.  This mindset has the tendency to breed inefficient skill and inefficient technique with high occurrence.   Giving tactile examples in these circumstances to the participants who are struggling through the drill progressions is one of the most efficient ways I have come to find to start the change of their paradigm.  I allow each participant to do what they did during the drill; however, I allow them to do it with me so they can feel the difference, so they can feel the different types of energies put forth to reach the desired state function.  I tell the participants that I do not frame the encounter as a battle; I do not see the situation as something I have to conquer.  I do not believe that there is a point of winning or a point of losing.  Everything that is done is a point from which I can efficiently study and properly learn.  So in essence I am always gaining.

Having the mindset of not caring of winning or losing throughout my training, not focusing on defeating someone as a point of victory versus shame, opens the opportunity for me to gain the skill of gaining advantages without the product of stress or strain.  Freeing myself from the confines of portraying those around me as combatants, as negative beings, allows me the opportunity to see and focus on multiple and more efficient ways of dealing with situations.

To me life should never be about winning or losing.  When properly done, living should always produce positive gains.  To me life is about taking every opportunity and framing it as such that there is never a stress or a strain on my physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self; so that no matter what I do I allow for the positive and natural occurrence of the opportunity of prospering efficiently to always produce itself and always to take efficient advantage when efficient opportunities present themselves.  In my training, study and instructing of the Tai Chi Chuan, I have come to find that removing the need to defeat to win, removing the worry and stress of the unknown, and replacing it with the positive mindset of efficiently taking advantage of situations leads to one having greater opportunities for positive natures and opportunities to occur.  It is up to us to always take efficient advantage of positive natures and opportunities. It is up to us to remove ourselves from our habits that affect us negatively.   It is up to us to place ourselves in positive frameworks we produce so that we are able to take efficient advantages of conditions when they present themselves.

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.