PDA

View Full Version : The Banana and the Rose


Dr. Paul Lam
07-14-2004, 05:50 AM
The following is a short piece from Carol Tennessen who has participated in the one week workshop in Monterey, CA about three weeks ago. I love the simple metaphor which Jay used so well. If you have been in the workshop, you also appreciate how he translate his many years of martial art experience into seemingly simple and effortless tai chi movements in the self-defence demonstration and the push hand sessions. You would have enjoyed his spar partner Dan who is a head and shoulder taller than Jay. I never seen Dan acting, for one of the nicest person i have ever know, Dan did so well as Stanley the thug, he too demonstrate his many years of martial art experience as the opponent at the receiving end. I will put some of these interesting articles and photos in the next newsletters, and all of them in the Workshop CD.

On the June newsletter you can see Dan and Jay standing near the cliff thousand feet drop from the sea at this link below, if you rest your cursor over the photos you will see the text with name of the person coming up. Carol is one of the two ladies standing on top of a rock with me:
http://www.taichiproductions.com/newsletter/indexlist.php

From Carol:

"The Banana and the Rose, Or, A couple of Things I Learned in Jayís Combined 42 Forms Class
One day, Jay brought a banana to class. Here, he said, as he handed the banana to me, hold this in your hand and donít let it drop. He told me to relax my hand but keep holding the banana. I tried several times, but as hard as I tried, I simply couldnít do it. If I managed to hang on to the banana, Jay said my hand was not relaxed enough. So I would relax my hand even more, but then Iíd drop the banana. Finally Jay reached out and very gently turned my hand over; and lo, the banana now rested in my totally relaxed open palm. The lesson? Sometimes, Jay said, when you try too hard to relax, you drop the banana. Better to change your point of view (or turn your hand over). Sometimes, Jay said, you have to change your relationship to your tai chi, if your goal is to seek balance, but not hold on to it. Think of the banana and what happens when you let go of effort.

Another day, Jay asked us to consider how a rose grows on a trellis. The rose attaches itself to the trellis, but only here and there, never completely. As the rose grows taller, it follows the form of the trellis, yet it is not rigid to it. Rather, the rose grows in and out; sometimes it grows away from the trellis, but then comes back in again, so that each individual rosebush growing on the trellis will ultimately have its own shape, and no two will ever look exactly alike. Jay said to us: think of the tai chi form you are learning as a trellis that will give you a structure and a foundation, and let your tai chi come in and out of it, the way a rose grows on a trellis, effortlessly."

they are simple, and they make us think, they make me smile inwardly for gaining more insight about tai chi.

Midnight
07-14-2004, 06:17 AM
Interesting ways to view ones Tai Chi practice with.

Thanks Paul, I enjoyed that very much.

Greyphantom
07-14-2004, 06:23 AM
Wow I like it... Excellent way to show how to approach something with different views... Nice one...

soraya
07-14-2004, 11:56 AM
I printed out this piece because it's superb. My students in Wiesbaden like this very much.

A few years ago i had similar experience:
I learnt a Malaysian dance called the saucer dance. You dance gracefully with a special rhythm. Movements are circular, could remind a bit of Tai Chi, dancer wears a ring to create a beat with the saucer. The hands must be very loose but not floppy, if you hold on too much, the ceramic saucer will fall down and break into pieces. There's a candle on it, so it becomes slightly risky, practise without candle first...lol. Fingers slightly apart..qi?.....So if you let go you will be able to perform this beautiful dance


Something else:

I always compare TC with a piano piece. The notes are composed, the structure is there and one needs to keep the metrum and the core music. But........everybody plays differently, with different expression, different touch of the fingers, the music is the expressin of the soul, the spirit and everything going on inside somebody...exactly like Tai Chi

Greyphantom
07-14-2004, 11:29 PM
Originally posted by soraya

Something else:

I always compare TC with a piano piece. The notes are composed, the structure is there and one needs to keep the metrum and the core music. But........everybody plays differently, with different expression, different touch of the fingers, the music is the expressin of the soul, the spirit and everything going on inside somebody...exactly like Tai Chi

I like this Soraya... I guess it shows we dont need to move EXACTLY like our teacher or the video/dvd takes alot of the worry/stress out of getting it exactly right... some personality can shine through... thanks...

carolinew
08-26-2004, 09:03 AM
I loved the Banana and the Rose.

I heard a similar story with a penny. If you held your open hand one way the penny would drop out, but by holding it palm up the penny would still rest on your open palm!

It certainly gives a new perspective to tai chi, thank you!