Tuesday, February 2, 2010
Taiji and the Coffee
When I first started Taiji, I discovered that my teacher liked coffee as much as I do. We would always start off our lesson with a cup of coffee (do not get the wrong idea. I did work my ass off in every single training session. I hardly ever flinched at the pain!). I say start off, but in fact, I had to do a qi gong exercise before I finally got the coffee. So, what I learned was, apart from Taiji, that coffee is rewarding. Coffee and reward joined hands somewhere in my brain and now...well, there is a whole lot reward dripping down my throat every day.
But forgive me. I'm getting off track here. The point I was trying to make is how something deeply Chinese (such as Taiji) goes together with something so deeply un-Chinese as coffee. If it had been green tea, things would have been fine. I could have told my friends how, during my sessions, I would discuss the finer points of martial arts lore over a cup of bitter green tea, but not so! We always had (yup, still have, as of last week that is, now that dear Sifu has finally restocked the new place we train at) coffee and it does not go well together with Taiji in a public sort of way.
I'm not sure how big a flaw coffee in Taiji training and practice may be considered. Westernization? Perhaps, but who cares? It's really about the Taiji of course and the vital question is, how does the...ah... frequent/regular/immense consumption of coffee change your Taiji. As of yet, I have no answer (and how should I come up with an unbiased one anyway, seeing as how the Sifu leads with his black/no cream example?). But should I find any flaws in my qi or problems with my gongfu, well, you'll be the first to know.
By the way: I prefer a mix of espresso and coffee anyway. Put one or two espressos (I take two, obviously) in a mug and then fill mug with regular coffee. I take it black (which I think should be the First Rule of Coffee