Huh… What?? What does mayonnaise have to do with taiji? Is it b/c mayonnaise is kinda like water so therefore have that water flowing nature found in taiji? Not really. In fact, I don’t think mayonnaise really has anything to do with taiji at an very artificial level, however if you probe a bit deeper and look at it from another perspective, perhaps it may.
Have you heard of a story called The Mayonnaise Jar? If you haven’t, I suggest you read it now and then come back to this post.
Good, now that we’re on the same page, what does the tale of the Mayonnaise jar have to do with taiji? I think the crux of the tale is summed up in the following line:
If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important
So, what is the *important* stuff in taiji? Are we spending time on what’s important? I remember when I first started taiji it was after taking a break from wushu due to all my knee pains from years of snapping, jumping and just doing stances that were not so good for me.
So why did I start taiji? The main reason was not b/c it was the “ultimate fist” boxing or that it’s goal is to counter the hard styles, the main was b/c I wanted to feel healthier. I wanted to nurture my body and strengthen my knees so that in the old age, I could enjoy my health and life. I knew doing taiji was “good for you” and I wanted to be good to myself.
Now fast forward about 8 years. Does taiji still make me feel healthy? Is taiji still good for me? Looking back, I fondly recall memories of doing the form and feeling so relaxed and energized after completing the set. I felt so good that I wanted to do more. My mind was calm, my body was relaxed, it was something I did so I could cope with the daily grind. Is that still the case?
I have to admit, the answer is no. Do I feel relaxed when I do the form? Not really. Do I feel energized after completing the set? Kinda. Why? What’s different now? Before I wasn’t thinking about trying to connect the rear leg with the front hand, nor was I trying to do any dantien rotations during movements. I wasn’t trying to break the movements down into their core silk reeling components, I was just doing the form, enjoying the movement and the way it made me feel. I wasn’t concerned with the martial applications b/c I was focusing on the mental application, the “moving meditation” that kept me grounded.
So which one is better? Then or now? I like the effects of then, but I enjoy the qualities of now. There’s more going on that I’m trying to keep track of that’s “cool” and interesting to think about but is this the right path? What are the Golf Balls and what are the Pebbles in Taiji? For me, the golf balls would be health, meditation, and well-being.