When we practice Taiji, we practice under the same principles as in designing a high-rise building. Unfortunately, most of the Taiji practitioners only focus on the end product. They focus too much on what they want and ignore the foundation that they have to build before the rest of the structure can be built. If you don't have a good understanding of the Taiji principles, the Ten Essences, and how the body structure should be interlocked, you will never be able to use your body effectively. Your unbalanced body weight will hamper your body range and motions. You will find your skill level has grown up to a point and you have reached your plateau. You won't be able to break through this plateau into the next level. It is just the same as if your high-rise building reaches the fifteen floor and you realize that you can't build any higher because the foundation won't hold it. The building structure has reached its limit. In order to go higher, you will have to tear down what you already had and rebuild the foundation. Then all the time and energy that you had invested in this building is wasted. In practicing Taiji, understanding the body structure is the key to success.
During my teaching career, lots of beginners will ask me to show them the next move. They will say: "I have already learned this from the last class, please show me the next posture." If I go over the basics of the posture, they will say: "OK, I know this. What's the next technique?" The beginners will never ask me to re-explain the basics. They are so eager to go on. This is a very common problem with beginners.
Learning the postures is the easy part of the training. The difficult part is in maintaining and keeping the energy and power in the body while you're in motion. If you can't feel the energy and power in the beginning, then you won't feel any at all throughout your practice. If you can't practice your correct body structure, to the point that it becomes a good habit, then you won't remember it later on when you start to move on to a more advanced level.
The second stage of the training is in the study of energy. Understanding how the energy is created and how it flows through the body. Next, we study how the intent is used to guide the energy, and learn to control it. Finally, we learn how to use the energy at will. You will agree with me that the first stage, the basics, is the most important part of the training. Yet, it is also the most neglected stage.
From this practice and understanding, we can say going back to the basics in our daily life is one of the most important elements in our life. Our joy and happiness are built on this foundation to have a harmonious relationship with our loved ones and doing the ordinary things in life.
With this strong foundation, ordinary life becomes extraordinary when approached with a clear mind and calm heart.