Nei Gong Notes, November 30, 2021

Nov 30 2021

This week’s lesson in Damo’s course was another Qi Mobilization exercise. I was curious about what the next one of those would be, because the previous three had been based on gathering Qi in your Dantian by doing the first three Ji Ben Gong exercises (and then letting that Qi spring out into your limbs), but the remaining Ji Ben exercises don’t have the same Dantian focus.

It turns out, though, that the next one was doing the same thing with the fourth Ji Ben Gong exercise, and that I’d been misinterpreting something in the prior ones: the first one was using your Dantian as a pump, but the second one uses your sacrum and the third uses the base of your torso. (Which explains something that I’d been wondering about, it felt like I’d been gathering Qi a little lower in my body when doing the third one and, yup, that’s indeed true.)

So the fourth one is doing that as well, using your spine as a pump; the mechanics feel noticeably different, but the principle is the same. Though that pattern will apparently stop after the first four, Damo says that the second four Ji Ben exercises are doing something different.

Also, most of the time I put all four of those together, and sometimes I even did 5 minute segments instead of 3 minute segments, so it’s either 51 minutes or 85 minutes; good to have another long exercise set, though actually now I might be getting to have enough of those that it’ll take a while for me to cycle through them!

One thing that I forgot to mention last week was that Damo had posted a video giving some Tai Chi theory that finally pushed me over the edge to start his Tai Chi course. I’m not entirely sure that that’s wise, maybe ideally I would have made it through one or two more forms in my regular Tai Chi course before adding in a different version of Tai Chi, but hopefully it’ll be okay? And I’ll probably take the course more slowly, targeting a lesson every two weeks instead of a lesson every week.

Anyways, the first lesson was on the Tai Chi version of Wu Ji. Which I’d been wondering about for a while, so I was quite glad to see that right at the start. I knew the arm position was different; it also looks like you stand higher, instead of emphasizing the sinking into your kua? And there were some other more subtle principles; e.g. when sinking my tailbone, it feels like more of a Yao stretch rather than a neck stretch, and sinking my shoulder blades ends up feeding into my elbows a bit?

(On the note of sinking my tailbone, it feels like something has changed there, where I’m doing it more naturally now, and where I’m really feeling like things are lined up vertically in a different way, even when I’m not doing Wu Ji or something.)

In my regular Tai Chi course, the main new thing is working on push hands. We’re going through the single hand forms for now; I’d been thinking this week that I’d spend more time focusing on sinking into my feet, and I still think that’s a good idea, but actually the most interesting thing that happened was that I started feeling like there was a ball in my Dantian, and that it was rolling around a bit with incoming energy slipping off of it. That definitely seems like it’s worth pursuing, hopefully I’ll be able to build on that.

We’re having significant work done on our house for the next week or so, so who knows how much I’ll be able to practice this week; hopefully some but certainly not as much as normal, I don’t expect to have a long practice on either Wednesday or Friday this week in particular.

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