WHY PLAY COMPETITION?
To help prepare yourself or your students for competition, first thing to do is start to think not of the word competition, but playing Tai Chi.Remember one of the many reasons people come to Tai Chi is to reduce their stress level, and this is impossible to do if we immediately introduce the word competition. Instead we "play Tai Chi" this being the proper terminology for the practice of Tai Chi. Therefore allowing us to mentally relate to the words as fun, something to enjoy and reap the benefits from.
thing I really like about Tai Chi playing is that everyone loves to help everyone else, especially when they are being judged by their peers, regardless of the competition. This happens in no other competition that I know of.
Remember as Tai Chi exponents we are not trying to be better than our friends and other players, we are trying to better ourselves. This being ultimate task. We can better an opponent for one day, but we can better ourselves every day when we play Tai Chi. So remember when we compete the only person you have to beat is yourself, use your Tai Chi to control your tension during play in a competition. This will then give you a score from your peers (Judges) on which you can work from using this score as a measure for your improvement. Also remember we are all human and we do make mistakes, all I an advise here is: 1. do not dwell on it. 2. do not show it with facial or body expressions. 3. Just carry on regardless, your chi will carry you through. Remember at the end of the day you have achieved, just by giving it a go. Winning is not important in Tai Chi, achieving the play is. When we only think of winning we have much to lose. When we think of playing we have much to gain.
Recently I sent one of my students to the USA to play tai chi in 'A Taste of China' International Tai Chi Competition. Telling him to remember only one thing. I said go have a great time, learn and enjoy yourself. Do not try to win just play Tai Chi. With this in mind he returned with a bonus, 2 Gold medals and a medal for 6th place in the 42 International Form. (This is not his strongest form, and he is not competitive.)
I am not saying to everyone don't be competitive, as I realise there are many players out there who do have a competitive spirit, and therefore need this to win, this is their strength which is good for them. But for those who have not this type of drive, you can still achieve the same goals and levels plus, just by playing Tai Chi, without disapointment as you have nothing to loose and everything to gain.
So in closing I say every player of Tai Chi should compete (play), this
helps conquer fears, makes one feel they achieved, even allows you to make mistakes without being tense or devastated. Gives one a gauge to see your improvement by monitoring your scores.
Remember make all parts of Tai Chi Fun, practising, performing and
competition (playing). Australia Tai Chi needs to be promoted by you we have the best talent now let us promote it - Australia.
SIFU HENRY MURRAY.