Archive for February, 2019

Tai Chi Notes, February 12, 2019

Feb 12 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I’m spending some of my focus when walking around trying to keep my head pulled up without pulling my whole body up; one concept there (I think saw this in one of the Damo Mitchell books) is to think of my spine as a chain with both the top of my head and my pelvis pulling on it to keep it taught. Also, I want to get out of the habit of tensing my stomach muscles by default. Not sure exactly how much progress I’m making on keeping my head raised, but it is reminding me of how it feels to sink a little into my kua: it can actually feel really good, and that feeling was sometimes spreading to my torso. So I guess I should keep on trying that…

One thing I noticed in class on Saturday was that I was managing to relax my torso while doing the form. This actually started with Silk Reeling: e.g. on Waist Rotation it’s mostly my legs / kua (or maybe those plus my dantian?) moving things with my torso coming along for the ride; and I felt like I was sometimes getting that feeling while doing the form. I’m not 100% sure if that’s a good thing or not, but I think it is? And maybe it’s in part what people are talking about when they say that movements should originate from the dantian, though I’m not 100% sure about that either. At any rate, something to experiment with.

On Sunday morning I was doing a breathing meditation exercise lying down on my back while Liesl was walking Widget. One thing I’ve noticed in the past is that it feels like my breath goes in an arc: down from my nose to my throat, then along my lungs (horizontally, since I’m lying down, and then it feels like things are going up a little at the end (maybe that’s my abdomen expanding). And, this time, maybe 5 or 10 minutes in, that last little bit started to spontaneously set off a feeling of dantian rotations, in the forward circle direction, with the up from breathing at the bottom of my lungs matching the up part of the dantian rotation at the top. Kind of a trippy feeling; I didn’t want to pay too much attention to it, because the instructions for that exercise say to observe but not really focus on what’s going on, but I hope it happens again? (I looked up the description of the exercise after doing that and I didn’t notice anything matching that experience…)

Some notes from the Tuesday class: my teacher mentioned turning to the right / sinking into your right kua at the start of Six Sealing Four Closing, I don’t think I do that so much, and it clearly helps. And he mentioned relaxing at the end of the movement to the left right after that: I do that some, but maybe I should do it more? Also, I’m still feeling a little stuck (and with my torso out of place) right after pounding my fist in Jing Gang, and also I’m leaning a little when I move my foot to the right partway through Grab and Tuck Robe, I should work on those.

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VGHVI Minecraft, January 31, 2019

Feb 09 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Pictures from the first Minecraft session of the new year. First, the inevitable wandering around:

I’m sure I’ve taken very similar pictures to this before.

Those stairs affect my mountain more than I expected.

Another view of how the stairs look in context.

The area to the right of the windows looks promising.

My initial reaction was that those stairs that Dan built are a little overwhelming. He wasn’t there this month, unfortunately, but maybe next month I’ll ask him if he would mind if I made them significantly narrower?


I’d been thinking of building more around the shop area, maybe extending it to the path through the base of the mountain, but when I was flying around, there’s this area that sticks out a bit to the right of the windows, and I was thinking maybe I could turn that into a sort of corner tower. So I decided to add another set of rooms there.

Digging my way into the corner.

Here’s the first stab of the shape of the room, without regularizing the wall blocks at all.

The outside view, with some of the blocks replaced / smoothed out.

Now we’ve got some windows, lights, and a fence.

It’s a little cramped on the inside now, though.

Also, this side looks a little blank.

A few more touches, now I like it better.

Here’s what it looks like now on the inside, with the side expanded and a second window added.

Going up a level.

The inside view of the second floor.

Here’s what it looks like from the side: the second floor is currently set back a block, and also has a shorter balcony.

The side window on the second floor.

Not up for decorating the inside yet, but let’s at least put in a splash of color.

Purple carpet on the second floor.

A daytime view of the front.


Dan couldn’t make it, and neither could Miranda, but Pat was there; in addition, his wife (I’m blanking on her name, maybe Emily?) also showed up. Here’s the building he was building; and she added some finishing touches to the roof of one of the existing ones.

The inside of Pat’s latest building.

Another angle on the inside.

Here’s the outside view of the front door.

And here’s the back view from the outside.

A slightly wider view; on the right, you can see the roof being worked on.

Finishing off the roof.

Looking across the roof to more of the city.

The finished roof, and the back garden.

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Tai Chi Notes, February 5, 2019

Feb 05 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I took a sick day on Thursday (more trip fallout), so I mostly skipped my Qigong that day; I did at least do a bit of breathing meditation, though. I did get back to doing Qigong today, at least.

On Saturday, I asked about feeling uprooted during White Goose Spreads Its Wings; I’m not supposed to go up as much, more going over, and then sinking/relaxing at the end. So I’ll have to think about that. And I asked about the start of Flash the Back, because I wasn’t sure exactly what the bottom hand was supposed to be doing; it turns out that it’s supposed to be relaxed, with the arm basically dangling, the idea is that somebody is grabbing you and you’re trying to escape. Also, while watching that, my teacher told me to push more with my back leg while thrusting my hand up next in that move; and then, when we were going through the start of the form again, he told me to tuck my tailbone while doing the sort of reversed Oblique Posture in Diagonal Fist; that made a surprising amount of difference.

It was wet on Sunday and I had to be at work, so I skipped practice that day. (But I did again at least do some breathing meditation.)

While walking today I was thinking about the whole feeling uprooted thing. I think that I’m stretching my torso wrong in a couple of ways: one is that I’m stretching the whole thing up instead of stretching it at both ends while being rooted in the lower half of my body. And the other is that I still have a habit of tensing my stomach muscles: I developed that habit when trying to protect my lower back when I had back problems, but it’s a habit I need to unlearn now.

In class tonight, I asked about how long to wait between the end of Grab and Tuck Robe and the start of Six Sealing Four Closing: I’m used to waiting a bit while the energy goes down my right arm and torso and then over to my left arm, but my teacher seemed to not be waiting that long. I still need to think about my teacher’s answer, but I think the upshot is that I’m not relaxing as much as I think I am, or at least as quickly as I think I am, and if I relax quickly then I’ll be in neutral position quickly and feel natural moving in any direction (and in particular moving my left arm).

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