The Essence of the Infinite Tai Chi Teacher Training Course
Life is both inner and outer. Infinite Tai Chi has an outer form, but it also has inner qualities and an inner purpose. Tai Chi has been described as an internal art. First we look within, then we breathe, and only then do we move.
In the first year of this course, you will concentrate on learning the external Infinite Tai Chi form, but gradually as you advance in your practice your attention should more and more turn inwards and go beyond the form. Tai Chi can be translated as Grand Ultimate or Perfection, and this is our ultimate aim. Whatever level we are at, we are always gearing into excellence or perfection.
Here on earth nothing is perfect. We can sometimes see great beauty and grace right in front of our eyes, but our physical eyes can never see perfection. However, once you reach certain levels of spiritual opening and awakening, you may taste the absolute perfection of Life Itself.
Down the ages, spiritual masters and saints from so many different spiritual backgrounds have written personal accounts of tasting this perfection. So the ultimate purpose of Infinite Tai Chi has nothing to do with Taoist teachings, or Buddhist doctrines, or Christian beliefs. Its true purpose is the universal goal of returning home to the absolute truth, or to universal love and light. So people from all different faiths, and none, can practise Infinite Tai Chi and gear themselves into the truth
First Year of Infinite Tai Chi Training
Without a physical form there is no journey or path. So to start with, on this course you are learning a physical form. However, sooner or later (I cannot tell you exactly when because everyone is so different), you will start to cultivate chi flow and then your form will be transformed.
Infinite Tai Chi is not factory produced. All Infinite Tai Chi teachers move slightly different and have their own style of performing and teaching. We all also have our unique strengths and weaknesses as teachers and practitioners. So as you go through the course you can learn different things from all of your teachers. Please try to copy their strengths and forgive them their weaknesses!
In year two, you can begin to put some qualities into the form. For example, you can differentiate between yin and yang moves, and cultivate both yin and yang within yourself. The grace of Infinite Tai Chi is linked to yin or feminine energy whereas the strength and power of it are linked to yang or male energy.
In year two, you should also consciously cultivate the natural elements of water, fire air, earth and spaciousness. You are aiming to combine softness and peace with power and clarity, but this harmonious balance is not at all easy to attain or extend in our form. We all tend to be either to yang or too yin, not strong enough or not graceful enough, and so we all have to work hard on ourselves to come into perfect balance.
Sometimes a student can perform all the right moves, but their form still feels empty. Now, as you progress further in your practice, you need to aim to fill your form with substance. You need to cultivate the chi and the nature forces so that your form has real content to it.
In year three you perfect all the moves in the form so that you can teach them to others. We encourage you to cultivate artistic impression, power and beauty through the form. You are performing the same moves as the previous year, but now you need to add beauty, genuine peace and harmony. The more you practise the Infinite Tai Chi form, the more you will discover its hidden treasures. The form has true beauty and wisdom within it. Infinite Tai Chi, when performed at a high level, can undoubtedly elevate the human spirit
The form is powerful because it encapsulates genuine peace and softness. True peace is power, but many individuals cannot yet experience the invisible power that comes from inner peace.
In Infinite Tai Chi you move slowly and smoothly like a river on a still summer’s day, but even a calm river has great power within it. The more you practise it, the more you will become truly harmonious and peaceful. But your peaceful presence will also convey power and dignity. Eventually Infinite Tai Chi can transform your whole being, so that you become a peaceful, powerful radiant presence in the world. Infinite Tai Chi is primarily energy work, but it is also suffused with beauty, love and compassion.
Cultivating softness is actually the key to true power, because genuine power lies in gentleness and defencelessness. Destructive forces in the world may seem powerful, but this is only because the world has got it all wrong! We see everything through upside down perception. But as we revert our sight, and connect to the absolute truth about life, we will begin to see that physical force is always a display of weakness, whereas spiritual strength, or Radiant Warriorship, based on genuine loving-kindness and compassion, can move mountains.
Ultimately, when you become a genuine master of Infinite Tai Chi, you will no longer have to follow the precise moves and sequences of the form. You can just flow with the chi and improvise –like a great Jazz musician or classical pianist.