Help- Struggling to maintain motivation -

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Botta Dritta, May 29, 2016.

  1. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    I'm into my fourth year of Chen Taijiqian and I'm struggling to maintain the motivation to keep going. It may be boredom, but I usually have quite a high boredom threshold when it comes training. I have fenced for 18 years and I'm loving my boxing which I,ve also been doing for 4+ years too, and even with the bloody noses and the paracetamols I have to take after sparring I still like turning up for basic padwork drills which sometimes I find boring.

    But with Taijiquan a certain kind of listnessnes has crept in. I should have been there half an hour ago, but I can't bring myself to do it.

    Initially my goals were just to learn a basic form and some of the applications behind it and some push hands. I've achieved that - not to perfection! I wouldn't be arrogant to claim I've nothing more to learn, but I feel I have achieved my modest initial goals. My Sifu now thinks I should move to a next form, but I can't seem to muster the motivation to go on.

    It's a small group, and I really like my instructor, I have no problem with his instruction, with the exception that I may have liked some more push hands practice, but as the only Chen Taijiquan student in a primary qigong class I'm aware that I can't ask him to spend too long in a time consuming practice such as push-hands to the detriment of spending time with other students, so I don't bring up the issue. He does from time to time however show me and demonstrate Chin-na (joint locking) applications in the form which I'm grateful for.

    However recently I've been struggling to justify my continued attendence. Starting a new form hasn't seemed to motivated me and to be fair I am getting a lot more enjoyment through Training for an upcoming 8 mile fun-run than I am getting from taijiquan. And I hate running...

    Problem is:

    1) I don't want give up away 4 years of taijiquan.It feels such a waste.
    2) Feel guilty about potentially leaving my instructor. I even feel guilty about writing this on a forum.

    Anyone else been in a similar situation? Thoughts ideas? How did anyone else find the motivation to keep going. Conversely did anyone recognise they had taken what they could and moved on.

    - a conflicted Botta Dritta.
  2. Latikos

    Latikos Valued Member

    When I realized I don't enjoy Hapkido anymore as much as I used to (for other reasons than yours seem to be though) I thought about it for quite a while.
    Around a year even I think.

    That long I dragged myself to training once a week anyway (after all, I had mostly fun once I was there!), one of the reasons being that I really, really like that head-coach there.
    Still do!

    But then there were school holidays and I visited a second JJJ-school and attended training there; and wanted to continue as I decided way earlier, that I wanted that to be my main art.

    So long story short: It was a difficult decision, but I decided to leave my HKD-class, even though I enjoyed it halt the time I was there and really like the coach.

    I talked to said coach openly; I told him the reasons why I don't enjoy anymore as much as I used to and that it's not easy for me, among other reason, because I would like him and feel like I would be "betraying" him in some sort of way.

    But he was really cool with it!
    Told me, that I should do what I think is best for be and that it's way more important, that I stay with anything MA-related and might even come back at some point.

    That was nearly a year ago.
    Some weeks ago I went and visited him, just to say hello.
    He was glad to see me, invited me into his car to take me part of the way (he used to do that all the time) and we talked a lot.
    About how I was doing, what I was doing, my sensei's grading (I was uke), my (formerly) broken arm, that he had some health issues as well...

    He was also glad that I was doing rather well (psychic wise) and said, that I have had chosen the right decision, to leave them and join that other school!
    He could see how well I was doing, how much progress I made so far and was just happy about that (that, and that I still do MA. By now he thinks, I will stay with it for quite some years to come).

    Now I will go and visit him after his class all now and then, just to say hello and because I like his company.
    And because he seems to appreciate it, when people really *do* come back at times.

    I still miss HKD and his instructions at times, but it never felt like a wasted time for me.
    For my beginning that was the right group, because I had lot of freedom (again, because I'm a psycho), just my goals and demands on myself changed with the time.
  3. liero

    liero Valued Member

    There's a great blog post from an author I read every now and again. I can't post it due to the TOS violations (curse words).

    Basically the point it tries to encourage is that you take a particular perspective.

    "Hell Yeah!" or "no..."

    Hell yeah, is a single minded determination to pursue something. Go for that which you want. When there is a relationship involved, both parties are 100% invested.

    No. Is what happens whenever there is a type of "err". Why do something you're not 100% keen on. 4 years in a martial art is a significant amount of time. You've undoubtedly learned a lot and developed some great relationships. But, if you're not keen on continuing to learn, perhaps it's time you did pursue some other interests.

    correct me if I am wrong but Chen Taijiqian isn't exactly a martial art that's unique to the young, fit, and limber. You can revisit the style another time. Go do what you want.
  4. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    Fundamentally it seems like you've reached the point where you can practice on your own and the class isn't meeting your needs. Maybe take some time off class and see how you feel. Practice your form and maybe do some seminars.
  5. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    My first instructor studies many styles. But he talks about his primary style and secondary styles. He considers CLF his primary style.

    So, it sounds like TCC is a secondary style for you. Maybe, as it isn't your main thing, you got what you wanted from it.

    Makes me sad when others don't LOVE TCC for life. But if it isn't your thing, that is ok. Give yourself permission to move on.

    Maybe you will go back to it, maybe not.

    Life is too short to spend time doing something for fun that - well - isn't. Practice the MA's you love to do.
  6. embra

    embra Valued Member

    There is something to be said for going to seminars more than classes - if you gain better instruction and technical depth.

    Finding teachers who can deliver this at their seminars is the key for me, as personally I find the average TJQ student's capability to train martially in regular class to be insufficient, whereas the folk who go to seminars, camps tend to be motivated.

    However, if what is being taught at class and/or seminar does not float your boat, then there is not much point in continuing.
  7. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Thing is I a have returned to TCC before, (I tried yang style a for about a year in the mis 2005 and a small university course in 1998) though this is the longest stretch I've committed to it. My fear is that I lose the body structure or even the form I took so long to learn which would be a shame.

    Out of curiosity, seeing as the ,attend seminars' train of thought is so prevalent, what kind of seminars have TCC guys found beneficial to attend?
  8. embra

    embra Valued Member

    I go to as many of Dan Docherty's seminars and camps as I can - as no-one else I know has the same breadth and depth in all aspects and styles of TJQ. This suits me.

    For Chen specifically, which I do not know too much about, I would get too as many seminars and camps from Jan Silberdorf, Karel & Eva Kuskoba, Chen Xiao Wang and others.
    Last edited: May 29, 2016
  9. Ben Gash CLF

    Ben Gash CLF Valued Member

    If you've trained for 4 years then as long as you practice and touch base with other practitioners once in a while (such as seminars) then you shouldn't lose too much structure.
    Yeah, Chen Xiaowang tends to do a fair number of seminars here.
  10. ned

    ned Valued Member

    [QUOTE=Botta Dritta;1074989246

    It's a small group, and I really like my instructor, I have no problem with his instruction, with the exception that I may have liked some more push hands practice, but as the only Chen Taijiquan student in a primary qigong class I'm aware that I can't ask him to spend too long in a time consuming practice such as push-hands to the detriment of spending time with other students, so I don't bring up the issue.

    If your current class is'nt the place then perhaps you'd be best arranging some private lessons to focus on the areas on interest to you - push hands , drilling applications etc.
    If you're fencing and boxing as well , with limited time you may have to ask yourself what your priorities are .
    If you want to make practical progress with your Chen then it'll probably mean finding a wider circle of training partners - either with another school or carrying on with your current instructor and cross training where you can with other taiji/kf schools with sanda/sparring.
  11. EmptyHandGuy

    EmptyHandGuy Valued Member

    Have you looked around for another class? I don't know where in the West Midlands you are but there is this place that may be of interest?
  12. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    I had this with my Kyokushin training where my instructor changed the direction of the club, moving more away from the knockdown elements which I loved and started integrating the child class with the adult class which changed the dynamic of the training drastically.

    I was unhappy but respected my instructor and loved Kyokushin but knew it was not the direction I wanted. Even with the time invested I decided to make a break and did not return after the Xmas break, didn't tell the instructor if I am honest as did not know how to word it and still feel guilty for that.

    Was a good call as would not be training and competing in Bohurt/HMB if I did not leave which has become a obsession alongside my Jujitsu and I am back in a sport that has the contact and excitement of competing that I was longing for.

    You only get one life mate, I would leave if your heart is not in it and find something that sparks that passion.
  13. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Surprised this thread has been necromancied after such a long time. Suffice to say that I'm Concentrating much more on fencing and boxing at the moment as well as getting more functionally fit (I'm not getting any younger and after a certain age belly fat gets harder to shift).

    That being said I have returned to see my Sifu once or twice when I 'Left' and it was quite nice to see him. I still practice my short form in the mornings from time to time so I havn't forgotten too much. Furthermore he gave me a tune up and appraisal of my form and we discussed and practiced one or two Chin Na techniques.

    Taijiquan is an art I have returned to quite a few times, and I probably will return to it in the future, but if I did I would dedicate time for one of the longer Forms, time which right now I don't have time or motivation to learn.
  14. Dan93

    Dan93 Valued Member

    Ha... Didn't see the OP date on this one!
  15. Subitai

    Subitai Valued Member

    Botta Dritta,

    Just passing through and saw this thread. So you Fence and you box already. Both of which you test yourself more vigorously than just doing solo forms. (I gather)

    Answer = You're obviously a warrior!!!! :)

    I bet if you had a variety of people to push hands with; ones that you could actually practice throws and locks with some'd be happier to keep it up.
  16. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Well I wouldn't quite call myself a warrior ;) though I do like to compete and push my limits. You're probably correct though. If I had more people to push hands with I may have got more out of it in a martial sense.

    That being said I have the sensitivity of a brick and was never that good at push hands, where the name of the game is to disrupt the opponents balance or get them to over commit and then apply a lock or a throw. I always tended to try and skip the listening skills bit and attempt to apply the lock, (which usually ended up with my instructor escaping the joint lock and me and me being locked instead)

    I still have a lot of fondness for the art. Good memories. I also have a nifty gentle exercise I can use when I get older.
  17. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    I realise that this is another necromancy of this thread, but...

    A martial artist I know once said,
    "There are different levels of teacher that cater to different levels of student. For example, if you want to learn to swim, you go to your local pool and there will a coach there who will teach you basic strokes and ingrain the basics of swimming into you. If all you want is a basic knowledge and ability to swim, this is great - after your course of sessions finish, you can visit the pool and practice your basics whenever you like.
    But, if you decide you want to go further, and compete, you need to find a coach who can train you at a regional competition level - here, your basics will be developed further, and your techniques will be refined to a deeper level.
    If you're successful at regional competitions, you may need to move on to a national-level coach, and so on, up to international level.
    The same is with martial arts. Most people start to learn a few skills and meet new people. Many quit once they've got a few fancy party tricks they can show off, but others want more, so need to find a teacher capable of delivering it."

    From what you've let on, your current/most recent teacher was primarily teaching a "health class" and was able to teach you some other bits as well. You initial interest was to learn a basic form that you can practice - you've got that.
    Now, if you wanted to go further, you may have to find another teacher who can refine what you've learnt already and take you on the next step.

    I realise you're focusing on your fencing and boxing at the moment, but I thought this might be useful for others.

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