Archive for March, 2019

Tai Chi Notes, March 26, 2019

Mar 26 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a whole lot to talk about this week. I’ve been working on the Lotus Wu Ji a little more than normal; it’s definitely getting harder as I bump up the time. And I’m wondering how much that has to do with me not having the right muscles built up for it, how much has to do with me not relaxing appropriately, how much has to do with my body being in the middle of adapting, and how much has to do with me doing it wrong. It feels right at the start, but I start feeling hunched later on, and also really heavy; maybe the heaviness is good, a sign that I’m setting up my frame well, but maybe it’s a sign that I’m being too rigid?

Also, in terms of my body being in the middle of adapting: when I took the Lotus course last month, the teachers made a point of talking about sinking your shoulder blades; I’d felt I was doing a decent job of that, but this weekend my shoulder blades are starting to ache a bit, in a way that makes me think that they’re actively adjusting more? Which Mitchell’s big book talks about; though there’s certainly a chance that I’m just doing things wrong and messing up my body!

I’m also feeling that I should do more breathing practice; my breathing is feeling forced when I’m concentrating on it, and when I relax, it feels a little shallow?

Nice time going through the form this evening: it felt natural to go faster than I normally do?

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Tai Chi Notes, March 19, 2019

Mar 19 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I’m getting into standing practice more and more: I feel like the Lotus course taught me some interesting new possibilities, about my structure and about sinking back into my kua instead of just sideways? At work, I’ve started attending the standup of a team adjacent to the one I spend most of my time with, and honestly their standups are kind of long, so I’ve started doing standing practice during that; I feel like the extra practice is helping, and one day last week I felt super heavy, like gravity was unusually strong, which was an interesting change.

I’ve been feeling for a while that the heels on my shoes are thicker than would be ideal for doing Tai Chi (or standing meditation, for that matter), so I ordered some custom shoes, and they finally showed up last week. Seems like a good choice, though I don’t have anything concrete to report about them yet.

On Saturday, my teacher was out, and one of the senior students was leaded. She mentioned that, in the two kicks with your heel, you should have your arms open up as fists with the palm side ending out upward; it does seem to give some extra force to the move, I’ll have to try that.

While going through the form, I was thinking that, in Pat the High Horse, I should probably extend my right arm a little more; I should ask about that to confirm. And the last step in White Crane Spreads Its Wings still doesn’t feel right; I’m thinking maybe the problem is in the middle step, when you go to the left foot: I’m rounding my back there, maybe my back should be straighter? Not sure, I need to experiment with that more.

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Tai Chi Notes, March 12, 2019

Mar 12 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I asked on Saturday about when I should tuck my tailbone. Basically, my teacher’s answer was that I should keep a straight back and not have my butt stick out, so I think pretty much whenever I’m focusing on having my back upright. He also said that I should relax my muscles after tucking my tailbone, and that I should feel a connection in my thighs when doing this.

On Sunday, we had the Pao Chui class; when doing the Chopping Hand, have an opposing energy in your left elbow when you’re going down with your right fist. And we went over Great Red Fist / Little Red Fist (I think that’s the one, the one that’s kind of like hand maneuvers): I was really confused on the timing of that my first time through the form, but it seemed to make more sense this time. The first time, when turning into it, you step with your right foot and then open your left foot, ending with your right hand up and out. Then you do two iterations, turning on the second iteration; and you do two iterations on the other side, again turning on the second iteration. So the two sides don’t feel symmetric: it feels more like you’re moving you hands 3 times on the first side and 2 times on the second side, or maybe 2.5 / 1.5.

I want to do a better job of learning stuff this year, so I practiced Pao Chui, Staff, and Spear some Sunday afternoon even though there was a morning class. Unfortunately, the bit I wrote about in the paragraph above felt a little off, even though I’d just been practicing it a few hours earlier! And there was one place where I wasn’t sure what to do in the staff form, though I had an idea, which I think I confirmed watching other people in the Tuesday class. I definitely have gaps in the spear form, missing a Saturday class a few weeks back didn’t help, I need to work on that too.

I also did some Lotus Wu Ji on Sunday, and of course today. And my body is starting to feel like it’s falling into a good structure when doing that, and actually also when doing Chen Wu Ji and when doing Zhan Zhuang. So I feel like my subconscious is learning something about positioning and relaxing? I’m also noticing that I have a much better sense about when the energy in my legs is going straight down, it’s making me feel significantly more solid.

In the Tuesday class, my teacher was talking about Jin Gang Pounds the Pestle, and emphasizing that your knee should strike; when he was doing it, it seemed like he was having his lower leg go back a bit (to make the angle of the knee more pointed), instead of just having it hang down, I tried that out and it seemed like it did give me more of a feel of a knee strike. And I asked about the Spine Stretch in the Silk Reeling Exercises, specifically whether sometimes your spine should curve back a bit when going up; the answer was yes.

Looks like I will be able to go to the Lotus Nei Gong course in May, though I won’t feel 100% confident until I’ve actually sent in my money and gotten confirmation that it’s been received, the person handling that registration does not seem very organized…

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Tai Chi Notes, March 5, 2019

Mar 05 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

I asked about the upward hand thrust in Flash the Back on Saturday: I feel like I’m either uprooting myself if I let myself go up or else I’m sinking down into my front foot just as I want to be thrusting up, so I feel like I’m not going high enough. My teacher’s answer was that I wasn’t thinking about where I was supposed to be thrusting: I’m supposed to be thrusting into my opponent’s throat, which isn’t all that high, so it’s fine to stay rooted in my feet.

I was also thinking about the moves before that. In the blocks that lead off Flash the Back, I feel like I should extend my upper arm out more; and in Oblique Posture, I want to think about folding my kua, and maybe fold further back than I’m doing?

One of the other students was asking about Zhan Zhuang, so I decided to practice along with that; my teacher told me to leave more room between my hands (about three fists, I’d thought that it was more like one fist), to have my middle fingers straight horizontal, to have my thumbs curving in (embracing the imaginary ball between my arms) instead of out, and to tuck my tailbone. So lots of little adjustments for me to do.

On Sunday morning, my breathing meditation was getting kind of intense. In a good way, energy flowing a surprising amount, it’s definitely making me feel like I should do that more… And it was raining so I did Silk Reeling and Lotus Neigong stuff inside; just as well, I could probably use the Lotus Wuji practice, and looking at that in a mirror was sort of interesting.

One thing from class today was that, when you’ve raised up in Embrace the Knee, your hands should be turned out slightly: your palms shouldn’t be completely parallel to each other.

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VGHVI Minecraft, February 28, 2019

Mar 02 2019 Published by under Uncategorized

Pictures from the February Minecraft session:

Unfortunately, I didn’t take pictures at the start, but basically I wanted to talk to Dan about how to integrate his stairs and plaza into what I’d been building, and then I wanted to continue on the corner of the mountain that I’d been working on.

The stairs are narrower now, and Dan has built out the plaza. And I’ve started to build up the corner rooms, you can see the ladder sticking up to where the third floor will go.

And here’s the view going up the stairs.

Now the third floor is finished. Or at least the third room on that stack, it’s probably the fifth floor overall.

Looks better with some decorative blocks sprinkled in.

Here’s what it looks like inside the room.

That’s a pretty long stretch of ladder; I bet we could fit another room in there.

The fourth room. Which is, I guess, the four-and-a-halfth floor?

The other rooms connect up to the rooms above the train station, but this one doesn’t; so I put a niche on that wall and filled it with pictures.

Here’s what the outside looks like now.

The bottom was a little messy, so I cleaned it up.

The top doesn’t look quite right, let’s do something about that.

Looks a little better with an extra layer of stone and then a few pieces of dirt.

Here’s a view from slightly farther away at night.


That’s what I was doing, and a bit of what Dan was doing; he also worked on some other stuff in the area, in the desert section right nearby.

A tower Dan built in the desert.

Flooding most of the desert.

Here’s a closeup of the tower in the water; new brick types!

The dirt tower was procedurally generated; I like how the two towers relate to each other.


Miranda was working on her desert tomb. I’m honestly not 100% sure what all she was doing, she was fiddling around on top when I visited.

There’s a tower of sand inside, that’s fallen down from the surface or something.

I like how the roof is sprinkled with sandstone.

Looking down from above.


And Pat added a grove of trees to his floating city.

Ground-level view of floating trees.

The trees in the context of the city.

There’s a flat area on the side that he’ll be working on next.

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