My experience over the years with sitting meditation, taijiquan, qigong and shiatsu has got me thinking if it would be possible to take up basketball again. However, rather than training the way I trained as a youngster could I adapt the techniques of taiji and qigong to the art of “getting buckets?” Is there a taji of basketball? Could the secret of becoming Uncle Drew lie in such an approach? Would this keep old fogies like me free of injury and able to enjoy the game indefinitely?
“Gentle” exercises like hatha yoga are frequently touted as perfect exercise for the aged, whereas basketball seems to have more of a reputation as a joint killer and being at best only for the young. That’s fine and good if you’re actually interested in yoga or taiji but what if the legends that shaped you where named Julius Erving rather than Yang Luchan? I’ve trained taiji and qigong on and off for 13 years, sometimes very intensely, but it has never taken root in my soul in the way that it has for some of my colleagues in the complementary therapy game. I’m not one hundred percent certain why that is but I think it has to do with the lack of masters representing unbroken lineages here in Europe and the expense of learning from them of you happen to meet one.
The mainstreaming of yoga and qigong in the West is one answer to this dilemma but why not use our own arts and our own traditions where passable? Eliminating myth, fantasy and claims of god realms or supernatural powers from those traditions may make them more palatable for Westerners but I think that something is also being stripped away that is regrettable. I’d definitely rather be able to crossover to a scissor step and go behind my back going left for an easy layout at the age of 60 than still be fumbling to issue cold Jin with no authentic master to teach it to me in sight.
Here’s a very interesting video about approaching exercise for aging and the technique he speaks of is a very good starting point for re-building the basketball body.