Finishing the First Third

Lughnasa                                       New Harvest Moon

Tai Chi.  We have now officially learned the first third of the short form.  6 months.  Wonder how long the long form would take?  We went through the first third three times tonight, an amount of time equivalent to the whole short form.

We ended with a toe (turned all the way to the east while facing north) into the second third.

Learning has been slow, especially for us who don’t take easily to the physical but even my form looked better tonight.  Cheryl said so.

The first third, those who’ve studied a long while, say, is a milestone.  If you make it to learning the first third, the probability that you’ll finish is high.

Cheryl told us tonight that until Professor Cheng Man Ch’Ing, a Chinese scholar, physician of Chinese medicine, calligraphy, traditional painter and tai chi master, tai chi was only taught within an extended family.  In this situation the Yang family tradition, which my classmates and I are now learning, would never be available to any who was not only Chinese but of Yang lineage.

Professor Cheng learned the Yang style though he was not of the family and, after being invited to teach tai chi in New York to Chinese business men, made the heretical step of teaching anyone who would come.

He came to New York City in the 60’s and his first students were dope-smokin’ hippies, probably friends of mine.  This did not endear him to the local Chinese business folks who had invited him.  Nonetheless he persevered and Tai Chi is now taught by those who studied with him and, also, those, like Cheryl, who studied with one of his students.

My classmates and I are the third generation.

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