Doing tai chi outside is a completely different experience than inside. Now that the weather has improved, I’ll be doing it outside more often.

The improvement is an odd thing to quantify, but let me try. In elemental, you’re in the elements. You’re doing something that looks odd, and there are no barriers around you. The form itself creates a sphere of activity around your starting position, but anyone can come up to you and watch. It’s not a private act any more — it’s public action.

That means that someone may try to mess with you. And that reality means that eventually, somehow and somewhere, someone will mess with you.

Last night, someone ran up to me at a dance to give me a hug for behind. I don’t really dance — most of how I move is derived from Taiji. so my response to getting hugged was to try to weave him into my dance – a dance based on a style of martial combat. Maybe not a good idea. Hmm.

But it illustrates the nature of tai chi quite clearly, and why doing it outdoors and in public is so radical — it’s saying to the world, I am ready to take you on. Come. Try me. I dare you.

That puts your practice on a whole different footing, and it brings a radical awareness to your practice.