Archive for August, 2018

Tai Chi notes, August 28, 2018

Aug 28 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

I’ve been spending a lot of time practicing and thinking about Tai Chi over the last three years, and I thought that maybe I should start blogging about that. But I don’t think I want to start with big posts about individual topics: I’m going to just try to take notes about classes and practice every week. Which means that it’s a fit for this blog instead of my main blog; if the only reason why you’re subscribed to this blog is Minecraft pictures, there’s an RSS feed that only has the Minecraft stuff.

I imagine these notes won’t make much sense initially without context, because they’re coming into the middle of multiple ongoing trains of thought; hopefully that will improve later.


On Friday, I had the day off (I took the whole week off because of taking Miranda to college, but we flew back Thursday), so I stopped by Kung Fu Direct to pick up a spear, a staff, and a weapons case that can store both of my swords. The spear is long, in fact too long to fit in the trunk of the car; not sure what I’ll do about that going forward, maybe I’ll fold down the rear seat? We’ll start the spear in a Saturday or two; the staff is the next weapon for the monthly Sunday class, but that’s still a few months out, it was just convenient to pick it up while I was at the store.

Not much going on in the Saturday class this week: a little bit of a preview of the 8 Energies stuff, a review of the Hunyuan Dao form, and that was basically it. (We skipped Xin Jia this week.)

Sunday was the second of three courses in the special summer 8 Energies course. We did the last four energies this time: Cai (plucking), Lie (splitting), Zhou (elbow), and Kao (shoulder). I’d seen the 8 energies drill before but I’d had a hard time remembering how those last four fit together; this time, though, I think it will stick? We did isolated drills for each, which made it easier for me to remember the transitions: after Lie, you let your arms relax and drop and then swing forward, up, and back in a circle, while after Zhou you arc your front arm back in a block and then swing it up in a strike.

(Side note: I’m a lot better at relaxing my arms and letting them drop under gravity than I was before starting Tai Chi. Not so good at relaxing other parts of my body, though…)

I came in with one question, whether the hand movement in front of your dantian in Six Sealing Four Closing is a Ji (press) or a Lu (divert); I’d kind of thought it was the former, but it’s actually the latter, good thing I asked.

I’ve been trying to do Wu Ji (standing meditation) on Tuesdays and Thursdays over lunch, trying to build up from 15 minutes to 20 minutes. I skipped that last week while dropping Miranda off, though; maybe because of that or maybe because of random fluctuation, I only made it about 16 minutes today. Still, it was good to get back to that.

And then this evening was the Tuesday class, which is covering Silk Reeling this summer. There was one bit that was really surprising: I felt sensations flow around in my body in a way I’ve never really felt it flow before while doing the double-shoulder rotation. (One of the questions I have when studying Tai Chi is what are the physical sensations that are a plausible match for the concept of “qi”; so that was an interesting new data point for that question.) Maybe it’s a sign that I should do more Silk Reeling outside of class? And in terms of the lesson part, I got a useful tweak on the reverse part of the chest folding exercise, I should have my palms up instead of back when unfolding my chest, and I should spiral my hands significantly more when sticking them out.

And then I practiced the 8 Energies drill after class ended; I did basically remember how it worked, though my footwork felt a little unsure during the Lie / Zhou / Kao transition. So that’s something I’ll want to practice a little more and then pay extra attention to in the third class in a few weeks.

There’s also one new strength exercise that we learned a couple of weeks back and saw again this Sunday: very slowly lowering down into a squat, pausing, and very slowly raising, with arms raised and hands relaxed. After the first time I tried the drill, I was still feeling the effects the next day, which was a sign that it’s effective; so I’m thinking that maybe I should get in the habit of doing a few repetitions (5 working towards 10, for now?) every evening when I get home? Not sure if I’ll commit to that just yet, though, but I do feel like it would be useful in strengthening my legs and helping me relax my upper body.

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VGHVI Minecraft: July 26, 2018

Aug 11 2018 Published by under Uncategorized

For the July Minecraft session, I was continuing from the room with the balcony that I’d built in June. First, I needed to clean up that room:

A bit of rendering weirdness on a nearby mountain.

The room is unfortunately asymmetric.

Digging out the inside to make it symmetric.

Let’s make the ceiling a little higher.

Now let’s build some steps up through the ceiling.

Stairs seem nicer than blocks.


Once that was cleaned up a bit, I looked around outside; after wandering around a bit, I decided to build a path from the stairs above this room to the castle at the top of the mountain.

The main stairs up.

The view from the top of a second set of stairs.

The top part of the path, looking out from the flat area near the castle.

Let’s add a bit of color to mark the horizontal part of the path.

The path was a bit narrow, let’s widen it.

Here’s a view of the whole thing.

I think the next thing I’ll do is to fill this bit in with a building of some sort.


Now onto other people’s work. First, Miranda:

When I teleported to her, she was working on a pool.

Light at the bottom of a pool.

The pool is at the bottom of a shaft.

Here’s the room at the top of the shaft.


Next, Pat:

An attic room with a rough wood wall / ceiling.

Adding a bed next to one of the walls.

There’s a balcony off of one end of the room.

The stairs down from the attic.

The first-floor room.

A view of the (setting? rising? probably setting) sun through the window.

The view from the street.

One last look at the swimming pool.

A top view of the finished swimming pool.


And it turned out that Dan had started building on a mountain next to the one I’ve been working on.

Dan’s building a plateau.

Howdy, neighbor!

A bit of space beneath the plateau.

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