If at first you don't succeed . . . try something else that's more in line with your abilities and interests and is less costly and easier to get to.
by Bill Mehlman
You know my motto, the lodestone by which I steer, the proceleusmatic words that keep me moving forward through this life of hardship and sorrow, my very own nil desperandum. Don't you? Didn't you get the memo?
OK, you slackers, here it is: "If at first you don't succeed . . . try something else that's more in line with your abilities and interests and is less costly and easier to get to."
Early on, I was eulogizing Eternal Spring, a variation of nei kung developed for "mature" beginners in the field of tai chi. I still believe in it. I know it works. However, I can't seem to make myself do it for more than a couple of weeks at a time. The classes aren't exactly cheap (which is not to say that they're in any way exorbitant, please understand) and the location and hours don't fit particularly well with my schedule. And as much as I'd love to think of myself as an autodidact, I'm not.
So, I was goofing around, doing important stuff like organizing the hundreds of bookmarks ("favorites" to you poor, benighted IE users; when are you going to start using a good browser?) when I happened upon a link to the International Taoist Tai Chi Society. This non-profit, international organization teaches, among other things, a variant form of tai chi, developed by Master Moy Lin-shin.
Taoist tai chi—as opposed, I guess, to High Episcopal, or Hasidic, or Pentecostal tai chi—downplays, almost eliminates, the martial impulse in the art. Its focus is entirely upon improving physical health and spiritual well-being, although they do teach a sword and saber form(?). I went to one of their classes years ago, but I was more attracted to the Yang style as taught by Master Chu.
Anyway, I clicked over to the ITTCS website, and realized that the New York location is on the route I take home from work, and the rate for UNLIMITED monthly classes for seniors is only thirty bucks. And one more thing. I figured out, whiz kid that I am, that If I'm a Senior, I Probably shouldn't worry too much about learning enough Tai Chi to be a Lethal Freakin' Weapon. Let's face it: ten years from now, I want to defend myself against some mook, I should raise my ebony-headed walking stick, the bottom of which I'd drilled out and filled with two ounces of lead, and crack his dome.
Classes start right after Labor Day. I'll be reporting on my progress.
PS: Those of you awaiting similar progress reports on my reading of Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot--You three guys just hang in there. Soon. Honest.