Tai Chi Notes, February 11, 2020

Feb 11 2020

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’s 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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