7 years ago I wrote an article titled Humility. It was about how Tai Chi practice makes one more humble. What did I really know back then? What do I know now? I'm not sure but I may have more of an insight into the matter.
I think most of us would agree that humility is a desirable quality in a human being and is also quite rare. Practicing Tai Chi brings you face to face with your flaws. In the beginning, you become aware that your posture is all wrong, you probably carry a lot of tension and you are not balanced. Well, that's to be expected and is why you've decided to take it up. Fast forward 10 years and you're still being corrected. You are still making mistakes and doing it all wrong only less so.
I expected to have it sussed after 10 years. After 14 years I often still feel like a beginner but now I can honestly say that it doesn't bother me and I'm happy to take correction from anyone. This wasn't always the case.
Tai Chi won't necessarily make you humble. A quick look at one of the Tai Chi groups on Facebook will confirm this. But whilst there are enormous egos, there are also those who have transformed themselves both physically and mentally and you won't find them criticizing videos on social media.
Is it possible to become skilled in Tai Chi and remain a difficult prickly sort of person? Yes, I believe it is but to slightly misquote the great Jan Silberstorff 'To reach the highest levels, you have to be Luke Skywalker rather than Darth Vader'.
Every week, I am corrected by my teacher Mark. He is corrected by his teacher. It never ends. Day by day, I incrementally gain more insight but there's always more to learn. Some attain a level of proficiency and then rest on their laurels. It's better to keep getting better, not to become some kind of Ninja Jedi but because that is the path.
I'm quite happy to call Tai Chi a spiritual discipline because it is an excellent way to weaken the ego's grip. It is a practice that is so detailed and so deep that some say you need 2 lifetimes to master it. That's enormously appealing in a way. Who wants to be a master? Why would you continue practicing if you had it nailed?