I can't even count how many times I've gone through the following comedic sequence with "students". I use the quote marks advisedly in that I don't really think of myself as a teacher who has students. There are just some dozens or hundreds of people over the years who've been intrigued enough to stop by for longer or shorter times to get a taste of my stuff. Mainly I'm a Tai Chi author who happens, on the side, to be certified by a great Tai Chi master to instruct when I sometimes feel the impulse.
Anyway the progression is as follows:
- LEFT BEHIND
In the CONTACT phase, some stranger, Mr. X, totally out of the blue will write to me, hey I read a little of your book, something like that. Or in the pre-JUICE period it would be Tabby Cat's blog or some other thing. Then some background: I've been practicing Tai Chi for 20 years, under dozens of teachers and programs, never felt anything like what you're on about... (could be Ba Gua, Xing Yi, Aikido, Qi Gong, or anything else in place of Tai Chi there). Would love to learn more about it can we meet? (Note that these are the intellectual people. There's a whole other class of mails from the more agressive challenging types who strictly want to meet up for pure kuzushi throwdown mode, but that's another story. Today I'm writing about this more sincerely inquisitive type).
In the INSTRUCTION phase, Mr. X and I somehow get together for one or more sessions, and I show him a few things to try. Sometimes right on the spot, or sometimes later after he's gone home, he feels the various energies via the little practices and ideas I have tried so hard to convey. Somehow this seems to work for him right away from in person work, whereas from the books he hadn't gotten it (though there's no real reason for that kind of difference, it's all the same stuff).
In the HONEYMOON phase, Mr. X is back home and doing more and more of the things I've tried to teach in person and the books and he adoringly reports back to me how great this is, how amazing that he never felt it before, how devoted he is to the practice, recommending my books to his friends and so on.
The LEFT BEHIND phase always begins with a silent period of a few months. At some point I get a sudden mail from Mr. X, it's something like: Hi (Tabby), long time no see! A couple months ago I met a [Qi Gong/Tai Chi/Ba Gua/Xing Yi/Praying Mantis/Whatever] master and began to learn from him and his stuff really blows me away energetically! It's even a lot better than yours Tabby! Thanks for the lessons you gave me but hey you really ought to check out this Grandmaster P or Professor Q this guy is the real deal! I just reply Great more power to ya!
The CRAWL-BACK phase is also preceded by a gap of a few months. Then I get an update: For some reason, after a while P's stuff or Q's stuff isn't really doing it for me like it did... the Charge I feel seems to be diminishing I remembered how I first felt it with your stuff Tabby, can I come by for another session?
This happens all the time. What these people never seem to get is that by just learning to minimally relax and a few pointers on feeling the stuff from me, it did something for them that 20 years of work hadn't done, freed something up. So when they go to P or Q, that activated flow is there to respond. In the LEFT BEHIND phase they never stop to wonder whether if they'd started up with P or Q before me, maybe it would've been just like the other 23 great Masters they've studied under before. I've said it many times, once you've begun to understand the basic idea of projected relaxation, energy from the feet, cestus concentration etc. and to experience the energies directly for the first time, you will find them integrating themselves into pretty much everything you do, every movement you make - including their new miracle method of P or Q. That's a fine start on basic flipping the 'on' switch, but to keep progressing you need to persist with the specific drills and practices I've tried to cover.
So they crawl back wanting to review and learn more of those things, and usually I can accomodate. It's just amusing how often the same dynamic seems to play out.