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I recently telling a friend that one of the reasons my Sifu (who passed back in 1992) was such a profound teacher was that he had something I rarely found afterwards in Martial Arts schools. He had been transformed because he had (probably) taken a life. I say probably because it was not spoken of, but his experiences (WWII, the coming of the Communist regime, and other work he may have taken afterwards that employed his martial arts, just to get by in life) were never spoken of directly by him. Added to this we had a South Vietnamese student who was a former member of the army there and told me how he had taken a life (and would never use a blade weapon again, as it had been with bayonet). These two men had a great impact on my tai chi practice. They were the most calm, reasonable, unflappable, presences in the whole school. Foolish people with hot heads and silly reasons to gossip and cavort, they could not see that training with us were people who had killed and then chose not to, on purpose. I was heartbreakingly shy when I stared at the school. I never spoke out loud, and my hands shook with tremors if I was even glanced at in practice. When I realised who was teaching and practicing with me, I was slowly transformed. And, by the time I left I felt like a warrior too. Not because of fighting, but because of learning that you can choose not to and still calm and distill your opposition. Your story is a great confirmation, I hope anyone with PTSD will find there way to a good tai chi teacher.
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