“Spirit bird she creaks and groans she knows she has, seen this all before she has, seen this all before. Slowly it fades. Slowly you fade soldier on soldier on my good country man. Keep fighting for your culture, now keep fighting for your land.”
Trials and Tribulations
Why is being a father so hard? I have two active boys that love to be silly and test my patience. I know my father had no patience for romping around the house, and I find myself falling into the same rigid behavior.
I try to be different.
Before bedtime Hunter usually asks me, “Daddy can we wrestle?”
He has a few stipulations, mommy has to leave, I need to remove my glasses, and we shut the door. It’s meant to be a private struggle away from the prying eyes of his mommy. I’m sure Calissa overhears many strange noises through the monitor.
Sawyer’s patented move is to run full tilt, spin at the last moment and then attempt to use his rear end as a battering ram. Great strategy, but his execution needs improvement.
Hunter hangs back and waits for me to chase him. Another tactic is to find a long range weapon like his Captain America shield and throw it into the pile. I don’t allow either of them to throw toys, but he will try that one in the heat of battle.
Is it always fun? No.
Exceeding The Load
In the moment I forget that my boys are three-year-olds. Given their age, they are very adept at pushing the boundaries, and so the learning curve continues. Whatever structure I set up for them, they always field test its stability.
What are the long-term consequences of struggling with your children?
The foundation for a future relationship is now. So while I learn about myself, I am also building a strong bridge.
A Needle Hidden In Cotton
I love to study things in depth and one of the areas that I have looked at for a long time is martial arts. Not just any martial arts, but very specific ones. Although I don’t formally train in the artform, Tai Chi Chuan offers many beneficial principles that apply to raising children.
In particular, there is a tool within the skill set called Tuishou, translated “Push Hands” that is designed to develop hand sensitivity. I ask a question by invading your physical and energetic space, and you must gently find an answer, similar to a game of ping pong.
Energetic exchanges between people happen all the time. There is positive or negative energy in the words in our conversations, and our body language adds more weight.
Remember the phrase, “sticks and stones will break my bones, but words will never hurt me?”
The Dangerous Game
In my family, I am surrounded by two ruthless ping pongs and a grown woman with a paddle, who endlessly attempts to uproot me. I say this in jest, but it is true.
From morning to night, my children and spouse ensure that my push hands training continues. It would be much easier to hide in my office, or in my work.
In these exchanges, I imagine myself a Tai chi player building up the quality of my gong fu, learning the four main expressions of energy Peng, Lu, Ji, and An.
Song Shen Wu Fa
Although not technically Tai Chi, the five loosening exercises developed by Huang Sheng Shyan are a great starting point for a Tai Chi player.
It’s been from three students in this lineage that have taught me the most: Mark Rasmus, Wee Kee Jin, and Adam Mizner. All three teachers seem to refer to the same qualities and demonstrate what they teach.
Green Eggs And Ham
Not all martial arts have the same goals in mind. So why have I settled on Tai Chi Chuan in particular? The five loosening exercises are deceptively simple but like all Tai Chi Chuan, once the principles are understood, the applications are endless.
As the world gets busier, inevitably someone is going to press into your personal space, and unless they are invited, no one should automatically assume they have full access to your person.
What if the attack comes from a loved one? A father? A mother? A spouse? I believe Tai Chi Chuan helps answer hard questions without resorting to violence.
That is what being a Tai Chi player training is about. Investing in the loss, and recovering with a tiny bit of self-knowledge.