Tai Chi Notes, December 18, 2018

Dec 18 2018

An eventful week. It was the week after I led the Silk-Reeling Exercises on the Saturday class, which meant that I got to have my teacher review my form this Saturday. And it turns out that I wasn’t deluding myself when I thought I’d made a lot of progress since the last time I’d had a one-on-one review!

Specifically, last time he’d told me to connect the moves in my form more; I’d been focusing on that, and I felt like I’d gotten significantly better in that regard. And, indeed, he said that I’d made a big improvement, and specifically called out my moves being more connected; that was really good to hear.

But, of course, I continue to have stuff to work on. He told me that I was making overly large arm circles in a few moves, that I should push with the heel of my hand instead of the fingers in Six Sealing Four Closing and related moves, and that there were some moves where my knee was off.

 

After that, I asked for some advice when doing Qigong. He said I should tuck in my tailbone significantly more when doing Wuji; and, when I asked him for advice about my Qigong routine, he said I should start it off by doing some a little bit of silk reeling to stretch, specifically loosening up my neck, waist, and knees.

One of the other students asked him about Chest and Abdomen Folding, which I’d also been wondering about, so I got to watch him do that a few times; I’d specifically been wondering about how the hands work in that, especially in the first part of the forward version. And the answer seems to be that the hand position follows from the shoulder position, and the shoulders don’t go that far back, so the hands only go a little farther out than parallel. (Whereas in the reverse version, the shoulders go farther back, so the hands turn palm up more.)

I also have notes mentioning the left hand in White Goose Spreads its Wings and the right thigh in Embrace the Knee, but I can’t remember what I was thinking about there… Though certainly Embrace the Knee is one move where I don’t feel stable when I move back to the right, I just can’t remember what specifically I was thinking about.

 

On Sunday, one thing that I noticed was that I felt like I was starting to actually store energy when I let things settle a bit at the end of certain moves. So hopefully that will start translating into better Fa Jin? We’ll see.

 

And tonight’s class was also super interesting. It wasn’t a formal class, we’re between quarters, but one of the senior students was leading. And one of the things she mentioned was sinking into your kua when closing to the right near the end of Dantian Change. And that’s a section that I’d never felt confident about; it had been getting better, but now it’s starting to actually feel right.

And sinking into my kua turned out to be a theme tonight; in particular, in the sort of reverse Oblique Posture in Diagonal Body-Stroke Fist, sinking into my right kua helped me turn a little more, so I came significantly closer to turning ninety degrees to the right than I normally do.

So that’s something to work on, and to think about conceptually: there are a few places where I should turn my hips more than I have been, I think, but sinking into my kua, not twisting my knee.

 

And then I decided to break off and go through the form a few times; I ended up doing it six times in a row, while I don’t think I’ve ever done it more than three times in a row before? The first three times, I was going quite slowly, trying to follow up on Sunday, feeling energy gather.

Honestly, it didn’t feel like it was gathering in quite the same way it was on Saturday, though going slow felt like the right place. But, towards the end of the third time, it started to feel like the wrong speed; so I sped up, and by the time I was on my sixth round through the form, I was going a lot faster.

And that sixth round felt natural, too, and actually a lot of the fa jin felt like it had more force. Not that it was the right speed while the slow first two rounds were the wrong speed, more like my body had gotten warmed up after the first three, and it was ready to let loose? So that’s definitely something I’ll want to dig into: I’ve been in the habit of going through the form three times on Sundays, but now I’m thinking I should regularly go longer.

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