Comfort zone (2)

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Beyond form

Tai chi offers scope for the continued refinement of the human body. The only real limitation is your own motivation and whether or not you are happy to settle into a comfortable rut.
If you want a continuous on-going challenge, it exists within the art.

Mind, body, spirit

Tai chi is renowned for positively affecting all areas of a student's life. The physical training will result in a calmer, clearer, more focussed mindExercising the body is only half the story with tai chi.
To fully embrace the art, you must exercise the mind as thoroughly as you do the body.

Grey matter

Dr. K. Anders Ericsson found that long-term intensive practice of any demanding discipline will lead to a measurable increase in grey matter. Your brain can literally get stronger - just like a muscle.
Providing you stay out of your comfort zone and don't stop developing your skills.

White matter

People who study music, chess or a demanding physical discipline at a very young age actually develop 'white matter' - superior brain tissue that enables the individual to function at a very high ability level within their chosen field. Although an adult cannot easily develop white matter, an increase in grey matter is attainable.
Play chess by all means but set aside your crosswords and sudoku; as these won't affect grey matter. Focus instead on metacognition.


Metacognition is about exploring how we think about things.
Commentaries on Living Volumes 2 & 3 by Krishnamurti contain beautiful descriptive passages, short conversations and interviews regarding living, thinking and conditioning.

Read things that challenge your brain

There are countless useful books available nowadays that will improve your brain in a tangible, practical way. Set aside true life dramas, fiction and trivia. Focus instead upon putting your brain to work.

We offer opportunity, and that's all...

The danger of having an extensive tai chi syllabus is that some students behave like a kid in a candy store. "I want that. I want that..."
Frequently they lack the skills required for the level of training their ambition desires. Paying fees and attending lessons does not equal competence or guarantee progress.
You have to do all the work.

Adult baby?

Modern life is filled with labour saving luxuries designed to make life easy. Unfortunately, the comforts of modern living exist at the expense of our health and wellbeing.
Many people develop 'learned helplessness' - depending upon the charity of others when they are perfectly capable of dealing with matters themselves

The beginnerís enthusiasm is such that he cannot imagine what blocks could lie ahead to halt his progress. If some decisive challenge to his continuing on does occur at this early stage, he will likely abandon his practice altogether.

(Dave Lowry)


How many adults can squat right down to the floor?
You should be able to do this easily - it is how humans are supposed to relieve themselves. If you cannot squat, consider how weak you have become.
Luxury comes with a price.


When life is too easy, we become lazy. Difficulty causes you to be more creative because the demands of the situation require a more flexible, adaptive mind and body.
That is why a lot of the tai chi partner exercises are really quite challenging.

Work yourself

It is important to consider how you can make your life more difficult. If this sounds rather perverse, pause and consider just how conditioned to idleness you have become.
Examine your life for opportunities to avoid laziness...

Embrace challenges

Walk, rather than ride or drive. Use the stairs, not the escalator or lift. Do your own cleaning, washing up and laundry. Stop using the remote control. If you are right-handed, prioritise your left hand.


Our syllabus will challenge you constantly to drop your opinions, habits and patterns of body usage. If you approach adversity with a smile on your face, then this will seem easy.
A resilient person is like water, they flow with whatever comes.

Toe dipper

Not every tai chi student gains the benefits of tai chi. We can use swimming as a metaphor... Most people are 'toe dippers'.
They dip their toe in the shallow end of the pool and test the temperature of the water. Finding it pleasant, they are satisfied and stop there.
This is your practice-once-a-week student - suited to tai chi for health training.

Get in the water

Half-heartedness is not the Zen way. To gain the real benefits of tai chi, you must actually get into the pool. It is fine to gingerly ease yourself into the water.
There is no need to jump or dive. But you do need to get in the pool.

You can choose to live

Instead of watching other people do exciting things, you can choose to live a little more dangerously yourself. This is one of the reasons why individuals seek out tai chi practice.
There is risk, challenge, difficulty and hardship. You could be injured, hurt. You will make friends along the way, learn new skills and learn to see the world in a very different way.

Comfort zones in your life

Dr. K. Anders Ericsson's book Peak is a worthwhile investment. It explores 'comfort zone' in a very thorough way, covering a multitude of permutations.

Page created 1 August 2017
Last updated 16 June 2023