by Larry Kelly

Another fundamental element of the Tao Te Ching is Non Action (Wu Wei).  A little reflection here:  when I first learned Tai Chi, I “felt” there was something in the form that my teacher (at that time) was unable to convey.  A quest ensued and I found Taoism was the root of Tai Chi.  I learned that our Kung Fu (fighting) principle was to make the other person fall down – doing little to make this happen, just letting the aggressor to become unbalanced; then “helping” them on their way down to the ground.  Looking at the chapter from the Tao, below, we can see what I consider to be the root of many Chinese practices of martial arts, and a credo for living.

“Nothing in the world
is as soft and yielding as water.
Yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible,
nothing can surpass it.

The soft overcomes the hard;
the gentle overcomes the rigid.
Everyone knows this is true,
but few can put it into practice.

Therefore the Master remains
serene in the midst of sorrow.
Evil cannot enter his heart.
Because he has given up helping,
he is people’s greatest help.

True words seem paradoxical.