On February 16, the Chinese calendar rolls into a new year, the ‘year of the dog’, the 11th animal of the zodiac.
If you were born in a year of the dog, your characteristics are thought to be linked to both your birth year’s zodiac animal sign and your element. This means there are five types of ‘dogs’, each with their own characteristics.
However, in China, the dog is broadly speaking a symbol of faithfulness, honesty, and loyalty, and all those born in a dog year are thought to possess those personality traits.
It occurs to me that these are all qualities that are vital in the relationship between instructor and student in traditional martial arts, such as tai chi.
Honesty, respect, faithfulness, living up to your responsibilities – these values are at the heart of all martial arts practise.
At White Crane Online, we are bringing traditional martial arts to a global audience through our online, interactive community – although we offer a modern take on tai chi training, it’s very important to us to preserve some of the central premises on which the ancient martial arts traditions have been built.
At the core of our inclusive community, which makes tai chi accessible for people of all ages and abilities, we prize responsibility, honesty and friendliness.
At WCO, we believe that it is the responsibility of everyone to be as fit and healthy as they can be. It’s important to be motivated to look after yourself, for your own benefit as well as for those in your network of friends and family who care for you.
Keeping our bodies and minds in good condition through gentle, fluid movements, enjoying deep stretching and conditioning, as well as meditative benefits, delivers great rewards. It makes us happier, more content, able to fight off illness and disease, more present in our family lives, better lovers, more conscientious consumers… the list goes on.
It’s our wish that our community members use tai chi to improve their self-care – physically and mentally. Regular practise can have a powerful knock-on effect on every aspect of their lives.
Be honest with yourself. Do you need to improve your overall health? If the answer is yes, the start of a new year (albeit a Chinese one!) is the perfect time to make a resolution to do something positive – and we recommend taking up tai chi.
Once you begin training, be honest over your progress. Tai chi is a marathon and not a sprint, so make sure that you do not try to progress too quickly. It is best to understand one move before progressing to the next, repeating and learning its nuances, getting footwork right, and learning how to move in a controlled and relaxed way.
White Crane Online offers an interactive learning experience. Depending on your level of membership, you can access support and enhance your progress through our forum or through one-to-one Skype tutorials.
We need friends at whatever life stage we are – and being a member of a like-minded community of people can be really rewarding. But it’s not always easy, when work and family life consume your time, or you face a challenge to get out and about.
One of the fantastic things about online communities is that you can strike up friendships with like-minded and friendly people at the click of a button or two. This is something we feel is invaluable – and that’s why we’ve added a forum to White Crane Online, so you can swap notes with other members about your tai chi practise and get expert tips from instructors.
Depending on your membership level, you can also chat face to face with your instructor every couple of weeks – all from the comfort of your own home, office or hotel room.
Celebrate the ‘new year’ with us
Much like the dog of the Chinese zodiac, we cherish responsibility, honesty and friendliness at WCO. If you want to make a new year resolution to study tai chi in a welcoming community, please sign up to our FREE bronze level membership today.