There are many things that you discover along the way. For example when you have a down, miserable day at work, a hard workout and you find at the end you are not tired any longer, rather you are refreshed and renewed.
Along the way, I made this discovery with my Yang Long Fist Tai Chi studies.
Along with the study of the Yang Form, there are a set of drills you study to get your body in shape for your tai chi practice. You learn the Yang form, first as a slow study. The drills isolate portions of the study and work them to help slow your respiration and movement for the form.
Those exercises are also a way to slow you down from the pace of life.
Of course the form itself works the same way. Theoretically it does the same thing.
But there is always more that can be done.
After about 10 years into my own Yang study one day I was reading Tai Chi Magazine and it had an interview with one senior Chinese Tai Chi instructor. It it he described his favorite drill. I was struck by the simplicity of the drill. I decided to give it a try.
1. Begin with your hands at your bodies side. Fingers extended.
2. Begin inhalation, as you slowly breath in your arm rise to just about level with your eyes. The fingers are hanging slightly down with no tension.
3. Begin exhalation, as you breath out your arms return to your sides. The fingers slightly rise till the hands are straight.
4. Ever more slowly start another inhalation, as you more slowly breath in your arm rise to just about level with your eyes. The fingers are hanging slightly down with no tension.
5. Begin exhalation, as you breath out, continuing to do so slowly, your arms return to your sides. The fingers slightly rise till the hands are straight
Repeat many times. Each time you go slower. Timing your respiration to the rate of rise and fall of your arms.
This breathing exercise slows you down for the strongest way to enter the flow of tai chi.
While this is a tai chi drill, it also is a great way to slow down and clear your mind and body before karate practice.