I was on the patio this morning and practiced the following forms:
- Chen 19
- Chen 38
- Laojia Yilu
- Laojia Erlu
- Xinjia Yilu
- Chen Straight Sword
- Chen Broadsword
By the end of Xinjia Yilu, I was sweating like a pig (it's going to be in the low 80's today in beautiful Tampa and I'll sweat at the drop of a hat) and I was reminded of a tournament I attended a few years ago when I decided not to seek a trophy but to showcase Chen Tai Chi for the local crowd. I have a lot of trophies, so in recent years I've tried to perform Chen Tai Chi and Bagua just to publicize the arts before large crowds who don't realize the internal arts are, in fact, martial arts.
I warmed up in the already warm room, and did the Chen 38 for the judges and the audience, with a little extra fajing. This was a few years ago, before any of them had seen any Tai Chi performed at all in mixed martial arts tournaments, so as I expected, I didn't win a trophy. But I noticed one karate guy (who was usually quite full of himself) scored me very low. Afterwards, he came up to me and said, "I would have scored you higher but you were sweating. There's no sweating in Tai Chi."
Obviously, he's never been in a Chen class when you hold stances until you collapse. But that's the sort of thing you run into when you introduce this art in an external tournament scene.
It's worth it to go through that kind of thing. I began doing more Chen in the empty hand forms divisions, going up against karate, TKD and external kung fu competitors. Each year, judges began appreciating it more as a martial art, and each year I began placing higher in the judging.
I do Hsing-I when I'm after first place. :)
So I was chuckling a little to myself this morning while practicing, feeling the sweat drip down my chest. If you don't sweat when practicing Tai Chi, you're not working hard enough.