I recently read the book “The Subtle Art of Not Giving A F*ck”*. And there is one segment I want to talk about:
“Growth is an endlessly iterative process. When we learn something new, we don’t go from “wrong” to “right.” Rather, we go from wrong to slightly less wrong. And when we learn something additional, we go from slightly less wrong to slightly less wrong than that, and then to even less wrong than that, and so on. We are always in the process of approaching truth and perfection without actually ever reaching truth or perfection.”*
I think that is exactly what Taijiquan and Qi Gong is about. No-one will ever reach perfection in those arts. Even the really really really high level masters will never be PERFECT. And they will never be 100% right.
Maybe they know better. Maybe they are less wrong than others.
But no-one is 100% right.
I truly believe that. And that is the reason why I find Taijiquan discussions very hard. I feel like so many people want to BE RIGHT. Not only during workshops but also online.
Like those people on YouTube discussing whether this stranger in a video is doing the move “right”. If the Qi flow is “right”.
And most of those commentators come to the conclusion: that practicioner is not right.
Well, I agree. Because no-one is right.
One can be advanced, better, more relaxed, more knowledgable, more experienced. But one can never be right.
Actually, these ongoing discussions about “what’s right & perfect” are the reason why I currently resist going to Taijiquan classes. The older I get, the more stubborn I am. I don’t want to be told what’s right. I want to learn and improve. I actually want to know that I did mistakes in the past because that means I am getting better at noticing my mistakes.
This means that I am surely making mistakes right now. Lots of them. My “brush knee” is a mess. My Yi Jin Jing Qi Gong is a mess. My Taiji fan is beyond being a mess, I forgot it completely.
But I know I can improve. I can learn and re-learn. I just need to ignore all this noise about being perfect. All the people talking about “this is how it’s done right”.
And I need to ignore my own perfectionism. That’s the hardest part, really.
What helped me with perfection in other aread of my life is thinking about “versions”. E.g. my current brush knee is “brush knees 1.0”. I am now working on “brush knees 2.0”. And then on 3.0.
I am not striving for the perfect brush knee. I am striving for the next version of it.
Progress, not perfection.