View Full Version : motivation

05-24-2005, 01:34 AM
HELP...motivation is slipping big time. Life and work and family take up so much time I am not doing enough practice. Due to geography I don't attend a class so depend on my video's for inspiration. I've attended some workshops which have been great but currently can't seem to get back to regular practice.
Any suggestions appreciated

05-24-2005, 05:03 AM
Motivation is a very complicated topic. When you started Tai Chi, what were your goals? Have those changed, are those goals on hold now because of larger family goals? Do you have new goals that require you to spend time on other factors? It may be that Tai Chi can be part of the solution in a way you can't currently see, in which case talking on the forum may help a lot. If it is a matter of time, you might want to plan to spend less time for now on Tai Chi, perhaps by doing shorter forms, or practicing less often. Are you bored with what you currently do? There might be ideas on the forum to " spice up" your training.

I look forward to hearing back from you!


05-24-2005, 07:19 AM

With concentrated effort, I can get in about 2 hours of practice/day. Usually after 8:30p and weekends.
Yes, family takes a ot of time and I presently do post standing as a bridge to form. I alternate between shorter and longer forms since I do not usually feel like doing the longer forms when I am stressed. And I do get lazy at times!

05-24-2005, 10:36 AM

I practice between 2 - 6 hours and my just married husband practices with me, we met in a workshop. My teacher and the urge to continue the family lineage is my main motivation, along with my teaching commitments and the fact that I feel better afterwards and able to maintain this good feeling for nearly 24 hours of the day now.

Yes, sometimes I have to force myself, for my household I have a housekeeper and 2 cleaners, but as Paul said before I think of how good I feel afterwards. I have virtually no jetlag and when I have a little ailment I only need 1 acupuncture session, the rest is all Tai Chi.

Try to allocate a certain time of the day and make it a habit like e.g. brushing your teeth. If you can only practice 1/2 hour, than at least try this.

05-24-2005, 10:58 AM
I have found that long periods for sustained practice are often either at a time when I am fatigued or not wide awake. But have really enjoyed slipping in short bits of practice during the day...find an empty room and do 24-form or TCA; do qigong in an empty elevator; TC-stepping in empty hall, etc. Worth a try and for some reason helps my motivation when time blocks are easily found. Sort of helps keep TCC-mindfulness, or something. Also tends to help me be less grumpy (one of the younger docs at my hospital actually called me a "curmudgeon")

Richard Livingston, MD
Crabby headshrinker

05-24-2005, 02:42 PM
the deal lies in DAILY practice;i only practice 7min.2wice/day incl. warmups;be happy that you have an excercise that is fun to do daily rather than
worry about how much time you're puttin' in.
do what you can,shorten your practice if you must but do it EVERY day

05-24-2005, 04:03 PM
As BillT says, motivation is a complex subject. I think it would be a good idea to review your targets or goals with regards to work, family and your Tai Chi practice. Priorities can change as you go through life. You say that time is a problem in which case Shark's suggestion for very short periods of daily practice would be a good starting point at the present time.

Get into the habit of practicing for very short periods each day. I've often read that changing a habit (either breaking a bad habit or starting a good habit) takes around 21 days. I'm sure most of us have times when we dont feel like practicing. Sometimes, I have to force myself to practice. I'm always glad when I do because I feel so much better after Tai Chi. Think of all the positive benefits that you can attain from Tai Chi and remind yourself that you're going to feel good after practicing.

I don't know what style or forms you practice. Perhaps you need to set yourself a new goal by exploring a new set of forms or new style. Make a written list of ways in which Tai Chi will benefit you and tell yourself that you're going to make progress even if you practice for a short period each day. If you miss an occaisional practice session, don't be too hard on yourself or think that you've failed. Just remind yourself of the benefits of Tai Chi and get back to practicing the next day.



05-24-2005, 08:18 PM
Hi Cathy:

You've seem to have been given some very fine suggestions already. One thing we're not aware of is how much time you practiced, and what you worked on before your motivation started to decrease--would you wish to share that with us? Perhaps that would help you get additional suggestions to help remedy your situation.

Since we don't have that info at this time it's difficult to comment furthur. I know how hard it is to put as much time in practice as we would like, especially when you seem to have as much going on as yourself. I, also, like some of the others, have to force myself a bit to practice at times. One of the things that made me feel better about that was when Dr. Lam shared with us a short time ago that he too needs to force himself to practice at times.

Dr. Lam has a fine video "Tai Chi Anywhere" which may help you at this time. This 11-movement form can be practiced "practically anywhere", just as it indicates. Maybe you'd like to check it out. As our good doctor states, "it is better to practice a little bit than not at all." Hope this helps. Hang in there and keep us posted on your progress. Take care and best wishes.


05-24-2005, 08:26 PM
Hi Cathy,

since you can't easily join a weekly TC practice group, maybe you can form your own. Maybe try to teach some of your close friends or family members TC and once they learn it you can meet at a specified time and place on a regular basis. The role of teacher might might also help rekindle the interest.

Also maybe take a little vacation from TC. Sometimes, too much of a good thing is also bad. Then when you're rested from it and REALLY miss it, return to normal practice. But even here, maybe take 1 or 2 days off every week so you won't get burned out from it. Balance is one of the keys to life.

05-24-2005, 10:04 PM
Try to incorporate Tai Chi principles like breathing, good posture, head and back straight, focus, relax mind and shoulders/waist, inner calmness, mind directs the body, upper and lower body coordinated/whole body movements, act from your abdominal muscles in your daily activities like housework and gardening. Posture training and use of abdominal muscles is also significant training for nurses. When you sit with your family, try to breathe deeply and sit upright. You have done your Tai Chi practice and your daily tasks in one go.

The above suggestions of finding your own groupares excellent. Teaching is a motivation because this drives you to practise. Try to make little hand circles when waiting at a doctor's office, for the train etc. Practice forms like TCA because this requires minimal space/D and can be practiced in a dress, you can do it inbetween. Agree with Shark by saying that everyday is more important, even just 2x 5 min.

NOrmally when you are tired, you feel newborn after practice. Try to visualize and remember this cloud 9 feeling during and after TC practice. Talk more to the forum whenever you need

05-25-2005, 12:38 AM
I love this forum.....ask a question and almost instantly I have answers from Expert to Begining Tai Chi enthusiasts from around the world.
I do mainly TCA and TCD and am learning the 24 Form from video. My practice was an hour 3-4 times a week and a class weekly. The only class I get to is about once a month and it is nice to do but does not push my training as it is an older (>65yrs) group
that only do their TC at the class.
Will try the less time more often.....to build up back to an hour.
Yes I do try to be conscious of my posture and breathing when doing other things.
Will give more thought to doing 5mins of stretches etc through the work day or rather in my case the work nights.
As these strange coincidences happen I was approached this morning about possibly teaching a class again for TCA....
Thank you all again for your support and I am now off to practice before I start work tonight.
Cathy :)

05-25-2005, 10:04 AM
Do you work? Has your firm got a big enough room and enough interested people to make it worth starting a class there? At my firm we have Yoga, tai Chi and meditation groups which are all popular!

05-25-2005, 11:26 AM
At the competition level, you aren't likely to be successful with less than an hour a day. However, if your goals are more modest (health and relaxation), a schedule like Shark's will keep you going. In your shoes, I might do the TCA in the AM and TCD in the PM. As it is, I often practice sections of the Yang long form when I'm short on time, or related, non-Tai Chi exercises (the 24 "Heavenly Stems" of Gao Bagua, or a little circle walking; or the "Monkey" from Xingyi, which goes in 5 directions and takes a minute). Sometimes a planned (or unplanned!) layoff will leave you hungrier to get back to it.

Do you have family who want to learn? My daughter practices Karate, Kobujitsu, and reads "Swords and Sorcery" books. I discovered that she is really intrigued by the Tai Chi saber, so I put together a curriculum of the Yang 13 forms, a little push hands, the saber solo form, and two-person "sparring" set for her. My wife, after watching, wants to add the Yang saber to her Sun empty hand forms.

One of the classical masters of Bagua recommended practicing the forms while dodging through a maze of poles. Some readers of this forum will collapse in dismay at this suggestion, but I think there is something to be gained by learning to practice your forms in a crowded room, adjusting for chairs, tables, children, etc. At the school I go to, we often practice the Yang long form on a steep hillside for much the same reason. It is a mental adjustment to see obstructions as an advantage, but what would have been a big problem originally when you were learning may be fun with well-learned sets.

Can you find books or other sources of Tai Chi history for inspiration? "Chen Style Tai Chi" by Simms and Gaffney has a series of short stories in the back, with titles like "Chen Fa-Ke defeats the Red Spear Gang," "A one eyed master fights at the Tea House", or "Why Chen women may not learn Tai Chi."


05-25-2005, 03:07 PM
the chen style book sounds fascinating,(i'm headed over to amazon to see if it's available),at the risk
of too much gum flapping on my part,i would like to point out that just like people who instead of eating 2 or 3 big meals a day opt for eating a series of small dishes throught the day,t'ai chi can be practiced this way also;the old masters were know to practice bits of the form throughout the day
whenever they felt like it or had the time;rather than the entire thing at one sitting each time;this can have a surprisingly cumulative effect by days end;i often practice bits of the form in my kitchen,bathrooms,den,etc throughout the day

05-25-2005, 06:42 PM

I believe that only Xiaowang's line follow that line of thought.

Surrounding Chen style (other than Chenjiagou) do have female lineage holders, for lack of a better word.

05-25-2005, 08:07 PM
I cannot vouch for the veracity of the story, but the episode in question referred to a temporary (one generation) moratorium on teaching Chen women Tai Chi. As the story goes, a daughter of the Chen village married a young man from another village nearby. Her new village, and her husband in particular, was bedeviled by a bully. When the Chen bride saw the state of affairs, she took matters into her own hands (i.e., fists), resulting in various injuries to the bully. His family then sued or otherwise brought complaint against the family of the groom. Everybody in the village eventually scapegoated the Chen bride, who was divorced and sent home. This caused great loss of face, or so the story goes, to the Chen patriarch of that time, who responded by banning martial training for the women of the village, at least for a time.

I actually found this one of the less motivational stories in that small collection I mentioned. Perhaps somebody who has been in Chengiagou has heard of this episode, or others?


05-25-2005, 08:19 PM
Hi again Cathy:

Thanks for your reply about the style of TC you practice. I do the TCA and TCD forms also. Since you said you work did you ever think about doing your TC during your lunch break? At times i will have a light lunch, then go off to an office training room to do my TC forms. Having only a 30 minute lunchtime, i take 15 minutes to eat, 10 minutes to do my forms and have 5 minutes of quiet time--a rather nice way to take lunch.

Just thought i'd pass along another way to get some practice time in. Of course, i don't know if this would be feasible for you where you work. Another thing i can do is take just a 15 - 20 minute walk when i'm not doing my TC--another very good exercise taking very little time. Either way i try to use my lunch break as a health break.

Take care and best wishes for your continued success with your training.


05-26-2005, 12:37 AM
Chenxiaowang has one disciple in France, her name is Victoria Windholtz. Myself is also considered not the most ignorant follower.