Nei Gong Notes, August 30, 2022

Aug 30 2022

Wednesday was my best practice day I’ve had in a while. Which is kind of depressing, because I think it was probably like a normal Wednesday a year ago? Shows how bad my energy level has gotten; hopefully it’s a sign that my TCM treatment is helping and the upward trajectory will continue, but who knows.

Anyways, I did the Water Hui Chun with 10 minute intervals. Which is an improvement over doing it with 3 minute intervals, if I’ve got the time, but it wasn’t as much of an improvement as I was hoping. So I’m thinking that, if I’ve got 80 minutes to spend on that, it might be better instead to do both Water and Earth with 5 minute intervals.

And then in the afternoon I had a good Tai Chi practice. I went through the Lao Jia first form three times, paying attention well and stopping and retrying bits as I noticed bits that were off. Some of the things I’ve noticed are things I’m pretty sure I’ve noticed in the past, I just need to have those changes stick. In particular, in Six Sealing Four Closing, when moving right at the end (just before the push), I should make sure my weight is fully shifted to the right before moving my left foot in. And, in Dantian Change, when turning to the right near the end of the move, just after putting my left foot out, I should turn into my right Kua. Also, earlier on in that move, when drawing the silk, I should have my right hand basically pulling from my left elbow.

On a similar note of weight shifts, I’m sometimes moving forward or backward in a way that has me a little off balance: e.g. when stepping back in Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, I should step back with my weight remaining on my front foot and then shift my weight after my rear foot has landed.

Also, I realized that I’m putting pressure on my left knee in Oblique Posture, and in fact my left knee is going forward over my foot; I shouldn’t go forward as much when bending down, so my left knee remains over or slightly behind my left foot.

And I also reviewed the Jian a few times (I’m doing it as my weapon in the instructor’s test in a few weeks), and finished going through the spear. And I went through the Guan Dao as well; I don’t think I made any progress in actively catching up, but at least I didn’t fall farther behind?

On Friday, my practice didn’t go so well; I was hoping to do the Water and Earth with 5 minute intervals, as I mentioned above, but I ended up being sleepy enough that I just did the Water. I did at least go through the first three Ji Ben Gong exercises in their Qi Mobilization variants with 9 minutes + 3 minutes Wu Ji on each; it was good to get back to that, I like how stuff moves around when I do that, I think if anything doing that with longer intervals (15 minutes, say) would be better than doing all 8 Ji Ben at once with only 5 minutes on each one. (And maybe I should do the same thing with exercises 6/7/8; I’m less sure about 4/5, though for 4 maybe that’s just another sign that my back isn’t up to snuff.) And I did some Tai Chi in the afternoon, but not a lot.

Also on Friday, I started going through the review material for the Tai Chi instructor’s test that I’m taking in a few weeks. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that; it’s a test for the lowest level of instructor certification that my teacher offers.) One interesting thing that came out of that was when I got to the discussion of Zhan Zhuang from a document my teacher shared from his teacher (Chen Qingzhou); it turns out that that version of Zhan Zhuang is different from what I think of as Zhan Zhuang. Instead of the arms making a curved shape in front, the right arm is in front but with the fingers pointing up and the palm facing left, and the left arm is behind your back in a hook. In retrospect, I had seen this before, I just hadn’t realized that Chen Qingzhou particularly recommended this one or what he called it. I might spend the next week or two doing it daily: I don’t have any standing exercise that I’m actively working on, so it could be interesting to see what it feels like?

Or at least doing it mostly daily: I’ve got my second shingles vaccine shot tomorrow, so it’s not clear to me how much I’ll be able to practice the next three days, the first shot had pretty noticeable side effects. (A little worse than the COVID vaccine for me, and that one was noticeable as well.) At least I’ll be done with the shingles vaccine after that; though there will be another COVID booster I’ll want to take at some point this fall, and at some point I should get a colonoscopy; so I’m not yet quite past the list of upcoming medical maintenance tasks…

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