Archive for February, 2020

Tai Chi Notes, February 25, 2020

Feb 25 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

I was sick on Thursday (probably food poisoning), so no practice that day. And I actually managed to wrench my back that evening; my guess is that I might have been slightly overdoing it with the hip rotations, and then lying down and doing a bit of the lying down in a slightly awkward position made some muscle suddenly quite unhappy? Fortunately, my back was getting noticeably better on Saturday, so I went to Tai Chi class; I did Silk Reeling (and noted that, indeed, hip rotations didn’t feel good), skipped the Lao Jia first form, and did the Jian and the Xin Jia first form very gently. Basically, I thought the Silk Reeling would help and that moving in general would help, and I wanted to make sure that I was keeping up with the Jian, but I didn’t want to strain anything.

Which worked fine, I didn’t sense any signs of problems (other than the hip rotations, which I skipped). In the Jian, I learned one move, and one thing I’d gotten wrong in the previous week’s move: in the move where you hop and then go up at an angle, the blade is horizontal, even during the hop. And in the Xin Jia Cover the Hand Punch, your left palm should be up, not forward.

And fortunately, my back continued to feel better on Sunday and Monday (almost back to normal on Monday, actually); yay for fast recovery. I skipped all of my routines while I was sick, but I started the meditation up again; seated meditation actually felt surprisingly good, I continue to think I might be making progress there.

Unfortunately, I also learned that I’m going to have to be out of town tomorrow through next Wednesday; so I skipped Tai Chi tonight, and I’ll probably skip this post entirely next week. And I’m extra glad went to class on Saturday, skipping two weeks of Jian wouldn’t have been good! I should at least be able to keep my meditation up while I’m out, though I doubt I’ll be able to practice the form; who knows about Silk Reeling or Ji Ben Qi Gong.

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Tai Chi Notes, February 18, 2020

Feb 18 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Not much to report this week. I noticed on Saturday when doing Wu Ji that my right hand seems a little lower than my left. I played around with it some on Sunday, and I think I figured out a fix: if I shift my hips left while keeping my shoulders it the same position horizontally then that lowers my left shoulder and my left hand. Probably should also help with my head tilt, too?

When going through the form on Sunday, I noticed my balance a little off while stepping forward in Jing Gang; I was leading a bit with my torso, but I think actually I should make sure my back foot propels my hips with my torso coming along for the ride.

And, both tonight and (to some extent) last Tuesday, I noticed another odd thing about the first Jing Gang: when placing your left foot down after raising it, I’d been lowering my hands down in a circular motion, but my teacher seems to be moving his hands backwards there but not lowering them until he starts shifting his weight forward. I need to think about that.

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VGHVI Minecraft, January 30, 2020

Feb 15 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

Very few pictures this time: I didn’t do any building myself and I didn’t take a ton of pictures of other people’s work.


First, some travel shots making my way back to the current area where I’m working.

A nice waterfall coming out of the side of an overhang. (With lava as accent, and a sheep enjoying the scene.)

My path happened to take me past the building that Ariel is working on these days.

A row of bookshelves sitting there in the snow and rain…

Then, some pictures of the place where I’m currently working. Or at least where I had been working, I’m honestly not sure what I’ll do next.

Dan’s scaffolding with trees has one bit of scaffolding extending up out of it.

I like the lit up flowers at night in front of the mountain complex.

A view down the valley.

Viewed from the side, the trees on the scaffold look more like smoke…


Ariel was adding a greenhouse to that building:

A view of the greenhouse from higher up.

Pretty blue flowers inside the greenhouse.

Here’s what it looks like from ground level.


And Pat started on the skeleton of a new building, but hadn’t gotten very far.

The new building only has its outer walls so far.

A view of the floating garden near / under the previous building he had been working on.

Here’s another angle on the new building.

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Tai Chi Notes, February 11, 2020

Feb 11 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

I was on a work trip last week; I didn’t manage to do my extra practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but I did at least manage to do some Wu Ji and some seated meditation every day. Though, at the end, the sessions were depressingly short; I did manage to get back to a reasonable length this weekend, though.

Lots of notes this week. I listened to a podcast which talked about having a posture like sitting in a chair while doing the form, which I think is the same thing that my teacher talks about when he says to tuck your tailbone during various of the moves; and, for whatever reason, that got me to try that more, and it clicked in a way it hasn’t before. Especially while doing the Oblique Posture, but also in Step Back with Spiraling Forearms.

While doing Spine Stretch, I’ve normally been leading with my neck, but now I think I’m overemphasizing that – stretching your neck is important, but I think I want to stretch my whole spine evenly. So I’d been slightly overweighting stretching my neck and slightly underweighting stretching my lower back.

Some things that caught me in my teacher’s discussion of the first form on Saturday: in Embrace the Knee, roll back your shoulders a bit while opening your chest before doing the embrace. But after the other Oblique Posture (where you’re going into Flash the Back), don’t roll your shoulders back and also don’t lean forward, just relax and stay rooted while reaching forward. And in the transition from Small Catching and Striking to Embrace the Knee and Push the Mountain, you should relax and let your left hand come down to meet your right hand in an X while turning; then open up your arms with your palms down while continuing to relax.

We had the monthly class on Sunday, and restarted the second form, and I had questions about more details. In the second shake at the start, don’t shift your weight to the left; instead, stay on the right foot but turn to the left, and then almost immediately after that jump to the left foot. In Turning Around Jing Gang, in the second sweep, don’t sweep your right foot all the way around on the ground; instead, start lifting it pretty early and also lift your right hand at about the same time. And in Downward Body-Stroke Fist, it’s okay if your left foot is turned in farther than your knee: just make sure that your knee is open instead of locked, and that it’s pressing in to the side, in the direction where your foot is pointed.

We started the Double Dao; I’m not optimistic at my ability to learn that one… But I also don’t mind not learning it well the first time.

And in the Xin Jia section of the Sunday class, a couple of places early on are chops with the left hand: after White Crane when turning towards Oblique Posture, and after the second Oblique Posture when moving your hands down right before the move where you protect your face. (In that one, your right hand turns over and down into a fist, while your left hand chops it.) Also, right after the Oblique Posture (both times), when moving your hands forward, raise your knee and have the left hand stretching out a bit further in front of the right: they should match your shoulders. The idea is that somebody‚Äôs grabbing at your knee: you push their head down with your hands and hit them with your knee. Unfortunately, we didn’t go over the whole Xin Jia first form; we started the Xin Jia second form, but went through it extremely briefly, there’s no way I’ll manage to learn that.

In class tonight, I was embarrassed to discover that, when doing the wrist stretch silk reeling exercise, my hand was pointing the wrong way while stretching it open: my fingers should be pointing out instead of in. Also, I want to think a little more about the timing when moving my arms during the first Jing Gang while standing on one leg; and I should probably move my left hand down a little bit in the part of that move where you do an uppercut. And some fellow students and I went over the second form a little bit tonight as well, that definitely helped.

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Tai Chi Notes, February 2, 2020

Feb 02 2020 Published by under Uncategorized

I’m on a work trip this week, so I’ll put out the post early; hopefully I’ll at least do my Wu Ji and my sitting meditation regularly while I’m there, but it’s easier to write the post from home.

I’ve noticed my body getting more relaxed when I do my sitting meditation: I start by trying to relax the muscles around my chest, and it feels that that’s less of a point of tension than it had been. And in general stuff feels more sinky while I’m sitting? Today in particular, I was sitting for 30 minutes, and without me trying to move it there, my attention ended up at my Dantian 15 or 20 minutes of the way through that, to the extent that, when I was doing a body scan of my head or neck, I felt like I had to reach up to do that.

I also noticed that it’s getting easier for me to sit in full lotus: that had been starting to get comfortable with my legs crossed one way, but today it was comfortable for 30 minutes with my legs crossed the other way. I was a little disconcerted to notice fairly dark blotches on the sole of my foot at the end of it, but they disappeared basically as soon as I uncrossed my legs, and I assume that that actually has been happening for a while (and maybe even when I sit in half lotus), I just happened to not have socks on today so I could see it. (Because my feet felt fine, it was purely visual.)

The sinking feeling is happening a little more than it had been when doing Wu Ji as well, I think? I’m not 100% sure, that one has had some level of sinking for a while. But it does seem like I’m getting more of a lasting sunk / relaxed feeling. Still not particularly close again to a breakthrough or anything, though.

Some notes from the Saturday Tai Chi class: in Small Catching and Striking, when you put your right hand under the left one after the shoulder strike, you shouldn’t just use your hand, use your Dantian as well and kind of fold in your body a bit. And I should keep in mind the application for the push to the left after Kick with Two Feet up: I’m sort of sweeping with my right foot while pushing to the left, with my left leg solid, to get uproot and throw my opponent.

And I was also wondering about one chopping move in the Jian form, where you shift your weight at the same time as stomping down; that seems very different from the bare-hand form, where you’re always supposed to act like you’re on thin ice. My teacher’s explanation of that is that, with weapons, your opponent will be farther away so you don’t have to worry as much about having your feet swept, and hence don’t have to be quite as cautious.

My local(ish) Lotus Nei Gong teachers are giving a course in March on the Ji Ben Qi Gong, which is a set that I’ve tried to learn from a book and that I do practice once a week; hopefully I’ll be able to go through that, it’ll be good to learn it in person, I’m sure there will be tons of aspects of it where I can improve.

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