Tai Chi notes, September 4, 2018

Sep 04 2018

In Saturday’s class this week I didn’t get the same feeling when doing the shoulder rotation that I had the previous Tuesday; ah well. Maybe the previous one was partly a side effect of having spent six hours doing Tai Chi a couple of days earlier; we’ll see what happens after the third 8 Energies course?

One thing that my teacher pointed out to me on Saturday was that I was bending my arm too much in The White Goose Displays the Wings; he’d also mentioned that to me earlier in Grab and Tuck in the Robe, I should work on extending my arm more. (I’m better at remembering it in Dantian Change.) The other thing I’m thinking about now is something he’s said about energy going down your unweighted foot in certain moves: he brought that up a few weeks back in Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, and he’s mentioned it before in Grab and Tuck in the Robe and in Dantian Change.) I’m not entirely sure what to feel for there, hopefully I’ll get better at sensing that? (I think I’ve felt something related to that a few times, though.)

We started the spear, specifically learning how to do a half marshal. I scrape the ground more than I’d like, and the middle of the three turns in the half marshal doesn’t feel particularly natural yet, but presumably that will come? And he also recommended an exercise for getting used to your weapon, namely jerking the spear up from the ground, having it slide through your hand, and trying to stop it with your hand right near the bottom of it (without changing the height of your hand, so your hand should basically be near your waist the whole time). That seems like a fun exercise; so far my failure mode is almost always that the spear doesn’t come high enough.

And we got back to Xin Jia this week. I still have significant gaps there, even in the portions I’ve allegedly learned (we’re only up to the first Feel out the Tall Horse): I’m getting something wrong in Teal Dragon Emerges from the Water, and there are some parts after Reverse with Scrolling Forearms that I’m significantly off on. Still, I’m doing better than I was a couple of months ago: Xin Jia still doesn’t feel natural to me, but I don’t feel as completely lost as I did…

Sunday practice is now getting kind of long: I’ve been doing the Lao Jia first form three times, as much of the Lao Jia second form and the Xin Jia first form as I can remember, and both the Lao Jia Dao and the Hunyuan Dao. And now I’m adding in the Eight Energies drill and starting to add in the spear; and I’m just learning three of those, so if I stick with all of that, it’ll just get longer! Still, it’s a manageable length, and all of those forms feel like stuff that will stick with me if I keep at it, so I think that’s the right choice; maybe I’ll start practicing the Dao forms on Saturdays, though, I imagine there might even be other students who would want to keep it going.

This Tuesday was the last day for the Silk Reeling special class; our teacher was answering questions about stuff. Nothing in particular to note, though there was one question another student asked that I was glad to hear: I was thinking this Saturday that the weight shifts in both directions of the four energies Silk Reeling exercise felt like the weight shift in the eight energies drill (which makes sense!), which in turn suggests that I should turn my waist a bit more than I had been while going back; but Tony said that we shouldn’t focus on that: in particular, on the second version of that drill, the focus should really be much more on how we spiral out of our shoulders.

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