Once upon a time in a land far far away, it was and still is a common sight to see an ancient tai-chi quan 太極拳 master gently practicing his forms - at peace and at one with the world around them.
Perhaps, the master has disciples imitating the moves as they try to come to grips with the deeper aspects. Perhaps… Or maybe the master is alone in their pursuit of The Way through the flowing dance of Yin 陰 and Yang 陽.
Long ago, this sight would have been hidden from curious eyes. But now, it is a regular scene carried out throughout the world, in the early morning mist, wherever the finer aspects of Chinese culture have taken root.
And as all this takes place, somewhere, somebody is boiling water. Ready to be poured into a teapot filled with chrysanthemum flowers.
In China, chrysanthemum 菊花, is a symbol of long life and good luck in the home. And has been traditionally used as a herbal remedy for many common ailments that throughout the long years of training, a tai-chi master has incorporated into their repertoire.
The Way is light and unassuming and Tai-chi is flowing and graceful. When the morning session is done, the tai-chi master typically visits their local teahouse and is waited upon with a pot of chrysanthemum tea 菊花茶.
While many martial artists seek to go tough through the hard way, very few realise the power resonating behind the gentle. They see the chrysanthemum flower as the mark of the sissy and the weak, not having understood the fundamentals behind chi 氣 - the life force that flows through everything.
Which is an easy mistake to make, when given that this tea is so easily available at Cantonese Yum Cha and is caffeine-free. But a rock cannot move without help. It can only flow when there is water, and that is why the true tai-chi master remains as gentle as a chrysanthemum in their movements.