Today, I reached several milestones. I have:
- Completed (and redone) a set of videos – BIG rock
- All the equipment necessary to keep going
- Video goals for the next 2 weeks
- And a plan for 3 months
It’s taken 2 yrs, struggle and luck to get here. I started thinking about doing the videos in 2018. I was nowhere near ready. Physically, I was in okay condition. I was overweight and I didn’t feel comfortable. Getting older sucks.
I decided that wasn’t what I wanted; that there were a few things I had planned to do and had not done and maybe, there were a few things I might do that I had not thought about yet.
My model for the work I’m doing is a dissertation. I’d always wanted to study at that level and I wanted my doctorate to be in philosophy. Not an easy subject. Lots of language requirements. But it wasn’t my fate to be able to do it formally, at a university. I got as far as starting a Master’s. Then, the money and time ran out.
What does that mean ‘a dissertation?’ and how does it relate to taiji or anything else?
Part of earning a PhD is writing a dissertation on a selected topic. A faculty advisor would be consulted and the topic agreed. Based on the topic and the university, the candidate will spend months or years researching and preparing the written materials. Finally, with all the materials ready, the candidate will be asked to appear in front of the committee to defend the work. The expectation is that the candidate can answer any question Every question matters. Being able to frame the answers matters, too.
So, looking at all the work I’ve done over the years, including and especially in the movement arts, I considered how it might be documented and preserved. What could I do?
I developed a plan and started identifying what I would need. It was going to be a challenge. I struggled. I worked to get the equipment. Then, I spent time trying to get what equipment I had to work. And there was me. I had to be physically and mentally ready to perform.
I was close in January. I had most everything, not all. I had started looking at doing some in-person events. Then came the pandemic. In person events were shut down. As I reviewed what I had planned, I decided to find a way to get my live-stream started. It’s still not perfect. But I’m on at 7 am Monday – Friday. And that has given me several things – practice time and an archive – that I didn’t have before.
Once I got started with the live-stream, some of the other things I had been thinking about started to fall in place. This particular set of videos that I’ve just finished is one of them. They show 4 key types of strength: Hua, Kong, Ting, Fa (Changing, Emptying, Listening, Expressing).
I’m going to rest a bit and enjoy this moment.
Then, I have more to do.