Obstacles and Forward Momentum

Think about the following, and be truthful with yourself.

There are times in life when you will need to retreat a few steps. But at those times, is your energy and intention still moving forward?

You may feel loyal or committed to something you'd like to do or achieve, yet when an obstacle or bump in the road appears, or someone attempts to sabotage or stop you, what do you do? What is your response?

Give up?
Sit on it for awhile, and play out the emotions?

Or, do you retreat just enough to give yourself space to wait for an opportunity? An opening through it, with your eye focused beyond it.

In martial arts, this dual response is worked into muscle memory as an automatic response. Practitioners train retreating steps while keeping their intention and vital force moving forward. Specifically, in Chen Taijiquan, this forward-moving energy, which is actually present in all directions at all times, is a type of warding off energy, called 'Peng'. It allows for the practitioner to step back, always following the opponent, ward off the attack, yet awaiting and ever-ready for an opening to the offensive move. It applies no matter which direction the opponent is approaching. Both the retreat and forward energy happen simultaneously.

A commitment is a commitment. 

Of course, there are a multitude of sports analogies. That is a no-brainer. Just pull up an image of how an NFL quarterback looks as he takes those steps back or any direction to avoid being sacked; but you see his focus, and forward intention to locate the recipient and direction of his pass. You can see and sense it happen simultaneously in his body language.

Yet, it also transposes to life and life lessons. I'm certain that we've all read things other places that harmonize with this idea. There is, however, a difference between having the idea in your conscious mind and the physical manifestation of it. I'm not so certain that knowing about the idea will always enable you to act in accordance. 


Well, because of all of those pesky negative thought-patterns that surface and interfere. The ones that knock down your self-confidence and competency, and doubt your intention and goal. These thoughts and emotions keep you in a waiting mode or talk you out of it all together. In response, physically, this is where your focus and energy will flow. This is the energy you will begin to exude, scattered.

Scattered energy leads nowhere.

In Chen Taijiquan and other martial art paths, we train cultivating intention from a calm mind. We train the physical body to move accordingly and appropriately to the circumstance, in the moment. Not too much, not too little, but just enough needed. We train to align our entire being to answer the challenge at hand. We handle whatever is in front of us. In my personal opinion, we need our entire being onboard, ever aligned.

Around the obstacle
Through the obstacle and threat
By redirecting
By patiently waiting 
By using the energy of that obstacle or threat

Whatever is needed as you retreat to get a glimpse of the situation at hand. The larger picture in front of you, your intention still moving beyond. Our emotions about ourselves will eventually catch up. They always do.

Life will always happen, but we can always maintain forward momentum if we so intend. 

Stay safe and warm wishes,
Tami Daun

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