Archive for September, 2022

Nei Gong Notes, September 27, 2022

Sep 27 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

My sleep was better this week; I did quite a lot more shutting down after exercising (especially the standing exercise that I’ve been doing), and my hypothesis was that it helped? My doctor didn’t think that that standing exercise was relevant to my problems, though, so I’m probably wrong about that.

At any rate, I’m going to switch back to some of the basic standing exercises for a while now, Dantian Gong and Wu Ji and Ji Ben Gong or something like that. The Chen Qingzhou version of Zhan Zhuang actually was starting to get slightly interesting, probably helping my legs more than some other exercises that I do, but I think right now I’d rather avoid doing an exercise that sends energy straight to my head like that. And hopefully if I get better at relaxing my legs during Wu Ji then I’ll be able to get more benefits on my legs that way as well.

Not a ton to report on Tai Chi, though I’m glad to be going through the Jian again, I definitely have fine ponts to work on there. When practicing push hands, I asked my partner to try out the exercise where one of us pushes harder and harder on the other person’s torso and that person tries to ground it; kind of interesting, though I think I’ll need to try it a lot to get significant benefit out of it? I don’t think he’s interested enough to want to work on it regularly, though, but maybe I’ll be surprised, I’ll see if he brings it up.

I haven’t been doing a ton of Tai Chi practice on my own, I should get back to that; this week was a little busy and while my energy levels weren’t horrible, they weren’t enough to get me actively excited. I did at least work on the Guan Dao a couple of times, though, so I’m pretty close to having the stuff that we’ve covered in class so far memorized. Which is good, because I’m going to have to miss the next Sunday class, so it’s important for me to keep up with things on my own…

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Nei Gong Notes, September 20, 2022

Sep 20 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a lot to say for Nei Gong this week: I’m just doing the Kidney (and sometimes Spleen) exercises, and for standing I’m doing a standing exercise from my Tai Chi teacher instead of any of the Nei Gong ones. I’ll probably stick with that one another week, but then I’ll stop; I don’t feel like I’m getting anything specific from it, and my Liver Heat problems are coming back, and I’m worried that that exercise might be sending too much energy to my head. And also I feel like I should get back to my Wu Ji, and it would be good for me to do some standing Dantian Gong too, I think.

Tai Chi was interesting, though. My teacher went over my form this week, even though he’d just commented on it the previous week at the teacher certification. Here are my notes:

  • When going forward with my left elbow before the uppercut in Jing Gang, I should strike forward, not at an angle to the side. And the elbow should be a little isolated from the step forward.
  • In Dantian Change, don’t focus on a smallish ball in front of me: instead, turn noticeably to the left at the start, and after that farther than I had been to the right, and let this help me to expand my chest more when drawing the silk.
  • In Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, turn as I push, so that shoulder goes forward as well and more of the body gets involved.
  • I have “sharp corners”: in punches and similar moves, I stop suddenly and the suddenly move into the next move, I should connect them more.

In general (this is my interpretation, not his), this is another sign that I’m too drawn in on myself why doing Tai Chi. I want to continue to lean into feeling Qi in my body, especially my arms and spine, during both Tai Chi and Nei Gong, hopefully this will help with that.

And my teacher did go over that standing posture I’d been working on; he confirmed that my feet should be parallel and my weight on my Bubbling Spring. (And he reminded me that I should repeat four sounds in my mind while doing that, which I forget most of the time!) And I asked him if I should stretch up my right middle finger, and he seemed to think that it was okay to do that! (Though now I’m wondering if my Liver Heat means I shouldn’t.)

Also, when doing the part of the Jian form where you turn forward (bringing the blade over, up, and down), I feel like I need to work on my choreography there: I want to spend some time thinking about what parts of my body are going up when and what parts are going down when. And I should point my left foot down when it’s raised.

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Nei Gong Notes, September 13, 2022

Sep 13 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

In terms of Nei Gong this week, not a ton to report. I had not great sleep most days; part of that was the heat but I’m not sure what’s been going on the last few days? Nothing awful or anything, but enough to affect my practice. So no particularly long practice sessions, but I’ve been keeping up with stuff. And actually the Water Hui Chun is starting to feel subtly different, in a good way, e.g. stuff seems to be moving down the front of my body a little more clearly during the bit when you go down from the Bai Hui to the Dantian?

Also, in general, just while sitting around, I’m finding myself randomly paying attention to my body, and relaxing while letting bits of it expand. Which seems like a helpful thing to be doing? Pleasant, too.

And I just got the e-mail that the local Nei Gong course is starting back up. Looks like just Rick this time, I don’t know if that’s a permanent change or if Joyce was busy for this one. Three days in October; conveniently, a Friday through Sunday, so I won’t have to juggle my work schedule. This one is just labeled as a Foundations of Nei Gong course, I wonder if they’re starting the sequence from the beginning. (No complaints if that’s true!)

In terms of Tai Chi, I led Silk Reeling this week, so I’ll get my form reviewed next week. And there was a Sunday Tai Chi class, including the level 1 instructor’s test. I think I’m close to getting caught up on the Guan Dao, though there’s one bit I haven’t gotten right and some other bits I’m iffy on. Should be within reach to catch up on my own, at any rate; which is good, because the Nei Gong course conflicts with the October Sunday class.

The instructor’s test went fine; people had a lot of corrections to give me, but that’s expected, and I didn’t get nervous and mess up or anything. They had me go over the Diagonal Circles and Lie Splitting silk reeling exercise; when doing the Lie Splitting, I should be moving the lower hand slightly up so the two hands put pressure on a hypothetical opponent’s arm between them. In the first form, I should expand more, and let energy go to the tips of my fingers. (E.g. in punches, when flipping my hands, when stretching up in Golden Rooster. This actually probably dovetails well with my feeling that I should relax and let energy fill my arms more, though this recommendation is more active than that feeling.) In Reverse with Spiraling Forearm, my arms should circle back more instead of just going up. I should relax more betwene postures. In Backwards Trick, I should strike with my elbow.

My Jian form wasn’t very good, it sounds like I have a lot of work to do there conceptually. I should extend out into the sword, I should move more like a dragon (whereas, in the Dao, you move more like a tiger; dragons flow more than tigers), and I should take more time (I started off at a good speed but then I rushed it). We’ll see whether I make progress on that sort of fine point while we go through the form this time in class; if not, I should ask Tony to review my Jian form every so often. And probably my Dao and Spear forms too…

My TCM doctor says that my Kidneys are improving noticeably. Which seems plausible just based on how my Dantian is feeling. Would be nice if I could get my sleep working well and have more energy during the day, though.

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Nei Gong Notes, September 6, 2022

Sep 06 2022 Published by under Uncategorized

Pretty mellow week. I got my second shingles vaccine shot on Wednesday; as predicted, that had me basically knocked out on Thursday and didn’t have me feeling at full strength on Friday. I did do some Nei Gong on Wednesday morning, but nothing super special or anything.

My teacher was out for Tai Chi on Saturday, but one of the more senior students watched my form and gave me some advice. And I went through the form a couple of times in an analytical way on Sunday. Here’s my combined notes from that:

  • In the push to the left just after the start, I should sink into my left Kua more.
  • In Jing Gang, I should end with my hands in front of my Dantian; they’re too high most of the time now.
  • In the push in Six Sealing Four Closing, I should experiment with sinking into a tuck in my tailbone.
  • Before I step to the left in Dantian Change, I should make sure I’m sunk into my right Kua. (In general, if I’m stepping out and feel slightly unsteady, that’s a sign that I should sink into the Kua that I’m stepping from.)
  • I am very good at forgetting the details of the transition from the first punch into Jing Gang, though I think I’ve got it okay right now.
  • In Reverse with Spiraling Forearms, I should make sure my heel has gone down before pushing forward with the opposite hand.

I also experimented with some tweaks to show respect (saluting at the start, and doing an extra 180 degree turn at the end); not sure if I’ll put those in when doing the teacher certification exam on Sunday. If it weren’t so incredibly hot and I could get in multiple solid practices this week, that would be one thing, but I don’t know that I’ll be able to practice much tomorrow, and I’m not sure about Friday either.

We had the last class of the summer Tuesday session tonight. My teacher mostly talked and answered questions: he went over the answer to one question on the written certification exam that I’d asked him about, and he answered some questions about Silk Reeling. The main one that caught my attention there was in Spine Stretch: he was leading with his chin, whereas I like to lead with my Baihui, and we talked about that. He said both were possible approaches, as long as you know why you’re doing it; leading with your chin is good if you want your back moving in both directions, leading with your Baihui is good if you want to focus on extending your back.

And he also answered a question I had about two hands fixed step Push Hands. In what he calls part 3 of that, if I’m receiving the push at that point, I should indeed be blocking with my hand, but I should also be rotating my body to the right; and then, in part 4, when my partner traps my hand and continues pushing, I should use my Dantian and body to sink in and rotate to the left. (So the rotation to the right feels more like a swivel, whereas the rotation to the left gets more of my body involved while sinking.)

And, watching him there and working it out with my partner, I think I figured out the difference between the 1-2-3-4 that he teaches to learn it versus the ongoing continuous version that people normally do. The continuous version is more like the 3-4 repeated on both sides; so the 1 basically goes away (it’s an extra push), and honestly the 2 part feels a little short to me, when I learned the 2 part I didn’t really appreciate the rotation to the left there.

It’s been a little hard to tell with the vaccine side effects and the hot nights making it hard to sleep, but I continue to think that the TCM treatment is helping noticeably with tiredness; I’m looking forward to that continuing to get better.

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