Nei Gong Notes, September 26, 2023

Sep 26 2023

Another quite good week, at least by the standards of the last three months; hopefully this will be the new normal? I got permission to stop wearing the brace most of the time; so now I can do Nei Gong Wu Ji and other exercises that I couldn’t do at all, and I don’t have various bits of Silk Reeling or the Lao Jia first form that I wasn’t doing quite right because of the brace. The part of my hand around the bone that was broken (and is now growing back together but is still a bit weak) sometimes feels sore, but that’s manageable; and joints / tendons on that finger are a bit off, and my wrist flexibility is noticeably off. But that’s all expected; the only thing that was bad was something I’d already noticed, that my wrist not only has a noticeably limited range of motion when rotating my hand outwards but it also sometimes hurts in a weird way when I did that. But the doctor didn’t seem to see that as an active sign of problems; so hopefully if I move my hand around enough and work at stretching its limits, that will all get better.

And Tai Chi class on Saturday felt noticeably better, it felt like doing Tai Chi was helping my hand heal rather than hurting it. I still took it a little easy, e.g. not doing Flash the Back with anything approaching full force on my left hand, but I’ll ramp it up over the coming weeks. I even tried doing two-handed Push Hands; that felt a little odd, so I stopped after a pretty short amount of time (five minutes, maybe?), but I didn’t feel any adverse effects, so I’ll do that longer this week. Honestly, after the whole thing my hand felt noticeably better than it did after I’d gone to class the first time after the accident, even though I had the brace on then.

So yay for healing. In terms of getting back to normal: I’m still mostly doing Hui Chuns and spinal waves, but I’ve managed to work in some of the MCO prep stuff. I had an interesting time on Thursday where I did the Ming Line in the morning and then, an hour later, I was sitting and eating breakfast and all of a sudden I felt my upper back start to spread; not sure what was going on there, maybe some Yang Qi had migrated up my spine over that hour and decided to make itself known? And I did the Spinal Dao Yin sequence on Wednesday; I’ll probably do that once a week for the next few weeks. I won’t say I’ve done a ton of Wu Ji, but I had an interesting time on Sunday where, part of the way through Wu Ji, I felt some really strong inflation for a while, especially in my chest and arms; and then maybe five minutes later I deflated but not in a bad way, I just shifted back some and did a better job of sinking. And I feel like I’m doing a reasonable job of figuring out how to stand so my body hangs together while sinking, with my Yong Quan helping keep me upright.

As for Tai Chi: I went through all of the Chen Tai Chi forms I know once last week except for Pao Chui and the Guan Dao; those two feel like they’re probably strenuous in ways that mean that I should ease into them a little more. And I was feeling good enough that I was getting frustrated at doing the forms badly; not because of my hands but because, honestly, my standards are just not high enough for most of those forms. So I really need to spend more time in to get all the weapon forms that I’ve learned to a state where I can spend my time going deep into what it means to do them well, instead of floundering around at a superficial level. And, for the forms where I actually have started to address them at a deeper level, I also see more stuff to work on.

This, of course, all requires time. But I think I’ve got enough energy that I can do that; and I’ve found ways to carve out more time where Velvet lets me practice (whether Tai Chi or Nei Gong), instead of having her be a source of interruptions. And we’ve gotten her to mostly sleep through the night; sometimes I still wake up anyways (because she whimpers in her sleep and/or rattles her pen while moving in her sleep), but it’s a manageable level of interruptions, especially since the TCM treatment has gotten my Kidney Qi levels to a healthier state.

The other thing that requires time is Damo’s Tai Chi course. But I am starting to pick that up again; I reviewed the stretching exercises from week 8 this week (I think they’ll actually help my hands’ range of motion as well as my shoulders), and I’ll review the Wu Song Shen Fa 3 lesson from that same week tonight and start doing that some days instead of Spinal Waves. And then, next week or the week after, I’ll move on from that lesson.

It’s not internal arts, but the other thing that I’ve been getting back to is playing piano. The range of motion and the weird pain while rotating is definitely an issue there, but not enough to make it feel actively harmful; so I’m hoping that doing that will help my hands too? So I’m trying to do that a bit every day; I’m not working on actually making the pieces that I’ve learned recently sound better, I’m just going through them once each as a hand therapy mechanism. Hopefully soon enough I can get back to actually improving them on an artistic level. (Which is also motivation for what I want to be doing with Tai Chi: my playing of those pieces really had been improving in non-superficial ways until I broke my hand, so I know what it feels like to do that, I just need the same feeling when doing Tai Chi.)

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