“The martial arts are ultimately self-knowledge. A punch or a kick is not to knock the hell out of the guy in front, but to knock the hell out of your ego, your fear, or your hang-ups.”
– Bruce Lee
On May 2nd, I joined SageTea Software for a 4-month Coop term. The CEO of SageTea, Mr. David Long, was aware of our need for something that would get us more active and enhance the bonds between employees, in addition to reducing the health risks associated with prolonged sitting. His idea not only made us healthier, but also enhanced our sportsman spirit. He brought a Tai Chi expert to teach us fundamentals of that an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. For months now, SageTea has practiced Tai Chi every Wednesday morning.
At first, it was hard to get the movements right (especially the Seven Stars movement). It was also confusing to distinguish between the left and right hand used by the instructor. I committed too many mistakes, and thought that I would never be able to learn it. After three sessions of repetitive movements, the other three coop students and I began to admire this sport and increasingly began to look forward to the next session every week. Yahya and Joe created Tai Chi secret movements to communicate during work. Hadi and I spend our time waiting for the bus with Tai Chi fights. We look funny to strangers, but that doesn’t stop us.
After every session, all employees gather around in a circle to discuss any tasks which they are working on, any problems they have encountered, or anything they would like to be discussed company wide. In return, they get valuable and respective feedback from everyone. David will then provide an update regarding SageTea and where the company is heading. This not only helps to solve our work challenges, but also made us feel that we are valuable to the company and that our inputs and concerns are heard (as well as our bad jokes).
After practicing Tai Chi for two months, we noticed the following:
We became more active.
It increased our focus and stillness capacity.
We learned how to take a hit – a hit could be a disappointment or a failure at work – not necessarily always physical.
Learned proper defensive conflict resolution.
Learned how to properly take a deep breath.
Certainly not bad for a Wednesday morning work routine.
I did not know what to expect coming into my first coop work term here at SageTea, (and I am glad I didn’t spend too much time worrying about it because I really was never going to guess I would be participating in Tai Chi classes) but through two months it has been quite a pleasant experience and I would like to thank the entire SageTea team for creating such a great work environment.