On Thursday, October 20th, my Tai Chi sifu gifted me one of her bamboo fans.
I have been learning regularly from her for half a decade, my dad has for much longer. And technically, I have been her student for many more years too, on-off, joining classes when I could. Receiving this present is a big honour and encouragement for me.
In her view, Tai Chi is feeling. In simple words: she teaches me how to feel. Not what to feel, but how to become ever more aware of sensations internal and external to my being. She corrects my stances with millimeter precision. With her, I learn to listen with my whole body and find words that might come close to expressing what I "hear." And I almost forget that I am missing an ear.
Recently, I moved to another city where I started taking classes with someone else in a different Tai Chi style. I mentioned to her that I will start learning a fan form so she surprised me with this fan to help me get started. It's not just any fan; it is one of hers.
To me, this gift symbolizes her confidence in my learning journey as well as her openness to me learning from other people, which I love. I very much enjoy learning from anyone who is good at what they do, no matter which school or practice they come from. If you are familiar with any traditional martial art practices which get passed on through lineage, you will know teachers letting students learn outside of their tradition is not a given. And that a gift from a teacher is precious.
I am very happy to be able to learn from new teachers while continuing to attend my sifu's classes when I visit my parents. All of these learnings make their way into my work with impro studio, consciously and sometimes unnoticably. As a teacher/facilitator of various other practices myself, I am reminded of the importance of support, encouragement and gifts. At impro studio, I wish to share mine with whoever wants to come and learn.
This is a new beginning of a continuous journey. Thank you!
PS: This blog is a re-worked version of my FB-post on 23 October.