Virtues of Softness

In Chapter 11 of There Are No Secrets by Wolfe Lowenthal, more thoughts on softness:

A good standard for a Tai Chi school is how involved women students are with push hands. Push hands is about using softness rather than strength; it is ideally suited to women. But in many schools, push hands classes consist of a gang of strong men blocking and shoving each other around while most of the women sit on the sidelines.

To be able to win with Tai Chi principles requires a great deal of time and effort. In the meantime, without proper guidance, a class commonly descends to its lowest common denominator, the domination of strength and aggression over softness and sensitivity.

Here is where many women find difficulty. Professor Chen said that women are naturally much more gifted in Tai Chi. Their understanding of sensitivity and softness usually takes men years to achieve. However, it can take a decade for their talent to "pay off." In the meantime, in an insensitive push hands environment, they will be shoved around and, probably most frustrating of all, be "taught" by stronger men who assume that because they are winning, they must know more.

Applying the virtues of softness is frustrating and difficult. All sincere push hands students — men and women — must confront this problem.

(cf. AikidoSpirit (2003-12-09), Opening to Love (2013-09-27), Ground of Being (2013-10-03), ...) - ^z - 2014-03-20