Friday, January 25, 2013

Progress in Tea, and Tai Chi

I have been traveling these last few months which is why I took a short break from my blog.

After the New Year, I was in Shanghai visiting my friends, family and my Tai Chi grandmaster. One of my elementary school classmates has been very successful in business. He retired in his early 30’s and opened a small private tea shop just for treating his friends and business partners. He told me to make time for a half day because he wanted to invite me for tea with few other friends.

“Half a day? Do we really need half a day?” I asked.
“You will see,” he smiled. “I have invited a very famous tea master from Beijing to show you a tea ceremony.”

The tea shop is located in a small alley in the Xuhui District, a very quiet place tucked away inside the big city of Shanghai. After opening the door, I saw a nice garden with many green plants and little stepping stones shaped to look like lotus leaves. After entering the tea room, I saw a special display shelf with a collection of different kinds of tea pots. My friends and I then sat down next to a very traditional red wood table made just for making tea.

The tea master was there. He looks very young, but he is famous in China and has extensive knowledge of different kinds of tea. We started with white tea, then green tea, then Oolong tea, then tea made with smoked wood, then black tea. We even tried some very special handmade tea of which only eight bags exist in all of China, and whose maker recently passed away.
Warming the cups, distributing the tea, waiting for the water to boil at the right temperature, introducing the tea, smelling the tea when it’s dry, making the tea, sipping it, tasting it, smelling the tea in the cup, discussing the tea, noticing the difference between two teas, and pairing light cookies with the different teas; these are all things that must be done slowly. No wonder it took half a day to taste them!

I felt very relaxed during this whole afternoon, even without doing Tai Chi! Even though we felt we had a relaxed and lazy day, we learned a lot of tea history, and found quietness in such a busy city.

Confucius tells us “the more you hurry, the less progress you are going to make.” When we are not in a hurry, we make a lot of progress. In tea, and in Tai Chi.

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2013