Extremes and Their Opposites

John G., a second-year student at Hiromi T’ai Chi, explains some of the most meaningful changes that he has experienced studying T’ai Chi and Ch’i Kung.

I really want to write a story that is filled with good things from beginning to end, but that would not be completely accurate. Mine starts with great difficulty. My battles with chronic back pain and depression were overwhelming.

I was very lucky to “catch” the advice of someone near to me who suggested that I give T’ai Chi a try. So I began, and it was quite difficult at first. I felt self-conscious, worrying about what other people were thinking and I remember many times thinking, “I just can’t”.

Thankfully, I ignored these thoughts, and they slowly started to happen less frequently. Something strange started to happen. I started to step out of the pain I was in, physically, and mentally, and started to listen to what the T’ai Chi was teaching and telling me. I started to enjoy the classes and made the effort not to miss any of them.

I was enjoying T’ai Chi so much that I also developed a strong interest in Ch’i Kung as well, and started taking classes in both. The Ch’i Kung is hard work, but it complements the T’ai Chi in ways that are meaningful to me.

The things that I experience while doing T’ai Chi and Ch’i Kung are truly magical. I have spoken with others who feel the same way, and it’s always nice. I read once that “doing T’ai Chi is like going to heaven without having to pay one cent”. I enjoy waking early sometimes and doing the 8 Pieces of Brocade. The more I practice it, the more of a wonderful journey it is. It is helping me to shed my past, and move on to something better. The 8 Pieces of Brocade is also helping to make me much more sensitive (in a good way).

I feel this great sense of being connected to a group of people who are also making their way to something good. I know that I am not alone in the struggles I have faced. I feel so very fortunate, and I thank my lucky stars that I, along with others, have found a wonderful Sensei in Hiromi.

I will finish for now with a thought from the I Ching: “Things that run to their extremes have a tendency to turn into their opposites.”