Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Confucius’ Teachings on Self-improvement

Many times, when I teach a new class, I encounter the following situation: I am with a new student and am correcting a wrong move, and the student feels embarrassed and thinks he/she should know this move well already. When I ask my students, “do you have any questions to ask?” they often choose not to ask questions so they don’t feel embarrassed. The fact is that this is only their first or second class. It is expected that you can’t master a movement by only watching it and practicing it a few times.

I remember a story about Kong Qiu from the Spring and Autumn period in China (722-481 BC). He was one of the smartest men in China in that time. People respected him. You might know him as Confucius.

Once, Confucius participated in an ancestor worship ceremony. He asked many people questions about this ceremony about almost every detail. Some people laughed at him behind his back. They said he did not understand etiquette. After hearing these remarks Confucius said, "If I do not know something, I need to ask to understand. This is the real way to understanding etiquette. Be sensitive and eager to learn. Always ask questions. A diligent and intelligent person should never feel ashamed or embarrassed to ask questions of people at any level.”

If we can understand this story about Confucius and put it into practice, then we can really learn things. If we are not ashamed to ask questions, then we can really improve. If a smart person like Confucius can do that, why can’t we all do the same thing in our lives and our Tai Chi?

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2010

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