Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Laser Sailing and Tai Chi

Zen who writes one of my favorite sailing blogs, Zensekai, has posted some intriguing thoughts on Tai Chi, Sailing and Laser Racing. He argues that Tai Chi helps with awareness of one's environment and in dealing with wind energy and the transfer of that energy to the boat.

So, in racing and sailing we need to be aware of the wind changes, patterns. Taking in the environment, feeling and seeing not just what is in front of us, but small changes in the water, the body of the competition. Looking feeling, sensing, seeing small things while looking at big things...

Not only the wind, but the feel of your boat & yourself everyday we are a little different. The training, forms, breathing, drills helps us stay as centered, balanced as much as possible...aware. Add to that the mind/mental state of being in meditation, calm, but actively aware.

The more aware you are and better able to use that on multi levels the better you sail.
Great stuff. Do go and read the whole article. As far as I can tell from a quick Google, Zen is the only writer discussing this relationship.

Zen also wrote on this topic back in May, linking sailing to Feng Shui and Zen too. The quote below is only a brief extract of his article but for those interested the full post is Feng Shui, Tai Chi, Sailing & Zen.

His summary of how these disciplines are linked is convincing...

All take understanding of changes in energy flow, "feeling" the environment. Letting go of forcing an achievement, letting it happen through you. Balancing the energy of the environment, being one with the flow (or the force as they said in Star Wars), maintaining your center in the moment to archive Harmony/ Peace/ a state of Zen/ a great sail.

Here Master Liang demonstrates Fu Style Tai Chi Chuan Crane Spread Wings.

Image from Liang, Qiang-Ya International WuDang Association

I can see a lot of sense in what Zen is saying but am not sure if it would be the best investment of my training time. What do you think? Should I take up Tai Chi to improve my Laser sailing?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Definately you should to Tai Chi for sailing, out of all the "mental focusses" that are around and can be used in sport, the detachment from sailing the boat fast (flat, trimmed right and working through the waves etc) and the pure outside focus on the environment (shifts, boats, weather etc) can make a huge difference on your sailing performance.

I would definately recommend Tai Chi.

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