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Yesterday my family and I were helping a family member with some yard work. While raking pine needles my spouse looked up and said “If you’d told me how much swords was like yard work I would have jumped all over it!”* We had a good laugh but they were absolutely right.

“Everything becomes Tai Chi”

Back when I was studying Tai Chi pretty regularly (but not really seriously) I remember reading a book (whose title I of course cannot remember) where the author said that because Tai Chi was a form of moving meditation, that any movements you did while being fully present in the moment became Tai Chi. In other words, Tai Chi is more about mindset than it is a specific set of movements. This can be a really useful way to think about things for people who don’t always have the time to dedicate to training forms or hitting the pell (Hi, I’m some people).

First off, to clear the air, I am NOT some badass martial arts influencer type who is in amazing shape. I am a middle aged father of two young kids who’s present shape could best be described as “round”.

Think about your daily motions and activities. Do you do them mindlessly or do you have conscious thought about them? This doesn’t have to be serious, deep, Nirvana inducing thought – just be present.

Think about HOW you are moving your body in space.

Pay attention to the shifting of weight/focus in your body as you accomplish the task.

I already used the example of raking pine needles/leaves (focusing on weight shifts & using my back/core muscles to draw the rake back towards me), but I also found myself focusing on my weight shifts when I would mop the floor at a previous job. I used to be really good about doing Horse Stance or squats while cooking. Or, as several friends can attest, I get a lot of training done at the park with my kids. I wish I was doing pull-ups and awesome feats of gymnastics on the equipment but as I mentioned I am not in great shape. Instead, I spend a lot of time at the swings (my eldest’s current favorite). Instead of just pushing them forward and back, I will use my body to accept their momentum as they come back, rotate slightly, then push them forward again. Or practice my evasions by standing in front or behind the swing and doing my best not to get hit.

The point of this post isn’t to toot my own horn but to show that training doesn’t have to be with weapon in hand, doing forms. Just focusing on how your body moves can inform a lot.

That Miyagi guy knew what he was doing.

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