By Robert Agar-Hutton © 2019 How do you feel when you see on TV or in a movie, a few old people moving slowly, looking relaxed, smiling, doing Tai Chi. Well I absolutely HATE it! Why do I hate it? It’s because they ALWAYS seem to make it look easy, and Tai Chi is not easy at all. The idea that it’s easy is a lie, that I and most other Tai Chi instructors accidentally perpetrate on people. I get people of all ages joining my Tai Chi groups and either half way through their first lesson (and also during lessons weeks, months, or even years later) they get this Grim, Horrified, Scared, Desperate look on their face. The ‘look’ comes as they try to do something that should be easy (because the instructor and most of the other students are doing it easily) but suddenly their brain has gone into ‘melt-down’, or their left and right hands and feet get inextricably mixed up and co-ordination becomes non-existent. Why does this happen? It’s because GOOD Tai Chi is and should be difficult. You should be continually asking your mind and your body to do something that is slightly more complicated or slightly more refined or subtle than what you have ever done before. And when that happens, when your instructor thinks you are ready to progress to the next level but your brain thinks ‘No way’ then that’s what is going to cause the ‘look’. So, how do you stop the problem... The answer is that you don’t. In fact, you welcome it with open arms and a big (and perhaps slightly goofy) smile. Why, because it means that you are making progress - OK it won’t feel like that - but you are. And more importantly, one of the most important things that we can hope to get from our Tai Chi practice is a young (‘Young’ being a relative term; Young for our age.) body and mind. The mind is helped to stay young and active by making it learn new things, making it think ‘WHAT THE !!!!! is going on’ and then going on with your practice so that the difficult becomes easy. Indeed, I have even seen students turn the ‘impossible’ into ‘possible’ into ‘easy peasy’. Now, as I always say to students, Tai Chi isn’t magic and it won’t make you live forever and it won’t guarantee good health. But it does and can work seeming wonders for many people day after day.