emotionheader1

My Tennis and Tai Chi Experience

Lee AtwaterAs hard as it is for me to believe, I've been playing tennis for over thirty-five years. I started before entering high school and continued through much of college. After a short break away from the sport I picked it up again and haven't looked back. I have gone through many instructional class levels as a student of many good teachers and I have taught both children and adults. I continue to play as often as possible.

In addition to tennis, I have practiced the art of Tai Chi for more than twenty years and have taught hundreds of students this ancient Chinese martial art and moving meditation. I have participated in numerous workshops taught by master Tai Chi practitioners and have led many local classes, run workshops and performed demonstrations. I currently teach at a local health & wellness facility, continuing education classes and privately at home. To learn more about my Tai Chi experience, visit www.taichilee.com.

How Did I Conceive of Tennis Tai Chi?

Although I've been practicing Tai Chi for over twenty years, it has been only over the past several years that I discovered the vast similarities in the movements of Tai Chi and tennis. These similarities are not necessarily in the outward appearance of the Tai ChiTai Chi Chuan postures, but rather in the inner quality of the postures and the manner in which one performs them. I frequently tell my students that when learning Tai Chi, it's all about the quality of your form, not the quantity of movements you know. And in Tai Chi that quality must emanate from our internal being - our spirit, our source, our chi.

Couldn't we say the same thing about tennis? We can hit 10,000 balls a day but if we continue to simply swat balls over the net we're really not paying attention to how our bodies are moving. Most of the time we completely forget about our body movements because our mind is barking commands at us like - "racquet back", "stutter step", "follow through", "lift the ball". All of these demands only serve to tighten our muscles and block the flow of natural energy from the ground.

How we use that natural flow of energy is what Tennis Tai Chi is all about. First we focus on our root or our ability to ground and center ourselves. Then we relax and open our stance so that energy can flow up our legs. Next, we harness that flow of energy and control it with our waist - and if our upper body is loose and relaxed that internal flow of energy will reach our fingertips. It's that easy!


USTA NJTL PTRlogo

Tennis Tai Chi - “It’s not just an exercise, it’s a way of life”