Thursday, December 1, 2011


I'm often asked what it takes to be a "master" of Tai Chi.  Some people take the title 'master' to simply refer to rank or achievement among one's peers.  In this hierachical universe there can be many masters.  How many graduate students become Masters of Arts or Sciences?  In the martial arts there can be a master of an individual school or a particular style.

Even though many of his peers and students believe him to be a master of Tai Chi, my teacher of 35 years, eschews this title.  He remains humble and often tells us that his knowledge is small compared to his teacher's and practitioners of the past.  It often seems as though he's measuring his knowledge against the virtually limitless potential of the art as a whole which could certainly engender an attitude of humility.  If the term master has any meaning beyond rank, athletic prowess or self-promotion, it's coming to the realization of how little you know, thereby retaining your beginner's mind.