Long Form Rhapsody – Part One
I remember many years ago as an introspective youth standing in the water of Revere Beach in the morning of a warm Summer day. A couple of my friends were with me and we had been pulling one of our customary “all nighters.” This was back during my high school days and we weren’t doing any studying—except that of the mind. My friends Chris, Lincoln, Marc, Carl, and I would hang out all night long and try to commune with our souls and the world around us. Sometimes this involved alcohol (that was high school), but more often than not it was about music (I played the guitar very badly back then), philosophy, art (I loved to draw), and discovering nature. The world was our narcotic more than any chemical could ever have been.
But back to the water… On this one particular occasion I was “pretending” to do Tai Chi while wading ankle-deep in the water. There was a certain sense of actually doing it despite the fact that I had never learned any moves of that art. I was a big fan of David Carradine’s “Kung Fu” and so I got it in my head that Tai Chi was the ultimate spiritual martial art. Also I should mention, that I did study Kenpo Karate for a few years back in junior high. I left the practice after attaining a “purple belt” because I felt it was way too violent and I was being pressured to compete in matches that I had no interest in. I was an expert at doing the forms and even won trophies in that area of martial arts competition, but fighting was not in my make-up and pretty much against my philosophy of what martial arts was all about anyway.
Enter Tai Chi. Here was an art that was perfect for the way of life I had hoped to live someday. And so it would take many years to really discover this wonderful system of health and meditation with some starts and stops along the way.
Fast forward to college, UMass Amherst, back in the mid to late eighties (yeah, I’m that old). Sometime during my freshmen year I finally took my first Tai Chi class. It was a Yang style called Tai Chi Chuan. The first third of a short form was what was being offered at the university, after that you would have to attend the actual Tai Chi school for the rest of the form and beyond.
So how was it? It was great. Attending that class was everything that I had thought Tai Chi would be and more. I so wanted to continue on after the class had ended, but I just couldn’t afford it back then. Therefore, I dropped it in favor of other interests for many, many years.
Fast, fast forward nearly twenty years…
Then came 2005 and my wife, Sue, wanted to get me something special for my birthday. She got me a gift certificate to the local Tai Chi school called, Brookline Tai Chi, in Brookline Massachusetts. Now was the time to rekindle my interest in this amazing form of exercise. I was also looking for a technique for stress reduction as my life (like many others) was getting more and more complicated. Tai Chi and BTC fit the bill. There’s a lot I could say about Brookline Tai Chi, but I’ll let the following video do the talking for me, then do come back for the continuation of my story.