Archive for October, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, October 31, 2023

Oct 31 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Still more tired than I would like, my sleep’s a little interrupted, but practice is going okay despite that? I’ve started getting back to stretching before Nei Gong on my days off; I saw a note in the IAA Discord that made me think I should do planks, too, so I’ve done that once or twice but I should do that more. And I went through the Ji Bens for the first time in ages; nothing huge to report there but I was glad I did that.

I mentioned last week that my right leg was feeling super tight; still not sure what caused that, but I’ve been decently diligent about touching my toes regularly to stretch my leg and back, and it’s definitely helped, it’s almost back to normal now. And I feel like I’ve also made progress in my range of motion while doing that, so hopefully I can maintain that as my new normal and improve further.

And, tiredness aside, I’ve actually been feeling energetic in other ways? Like, yesterday I didn’t get enough sleep but I took a nap in the morning, and I felt actively good in the afternoon, with my body feeling active inside but also with me just feeling more energized. So hopefully I can get the sleep problems tamed a bit and, if I do that, maybe I’ll find myself having made progress in other ways?

In terms of Tai Chi, in a couple of videos Damo’s mentioned sinking still more into your Kua before taking a step; it really does work to generate a feeling of release in the other foot coupled with stability on the leg that you’re sinking into. I’ve always had trouble with the step forward in Jing Gang, but doing this sink seems to help with that; I want to experiment more with that this week but I’m optimistic.

I wrote up some notes about the Silk Reeling course I taught earlier this year on my main blog.

Comments Off on Nei Gong Notes, October 31, 2023

Nei Gong Notes: October 24, 2023

Oct 24 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Not the most productive week for Nei Gong. I had to work on Wednesday, so I didn’t do a long Nei Gong practice then, though I did do longer than normal Nei Gong practice last Monday to partly make up for that. And I was tired an unusual amount, so in general my practice wasn’t going great; e.g. I’m not sure I even did a 40 minute Hui Chun this week? Fortunately I think the tiredness is starting to get under control: I think it was primarily caused by sleep and the sleep problems were caused by me eating too much, so I’ve been eating less the last few evenings and sleeping better. We’ll see how this week goes.

In Damo’s Tai Chi class I did the lesson on Ward off Left; not a ton to report there. Though it was making me think that I should get back to Wu Song Shen Fa 3; I did that once or twice this week for the first time in several weeks, I should try to mix that in.

In terms of Chen Tai Chi, I’m continuing to notice that I’m doing a better job of having my pelvis rotate after I sink into my Kua, which is making me quite a bit more stable; and I think it’s also helping me adjust my back so my Live Gate is more full? And even though I was tired I did still manage to review all of the forms there that I know except for the Lao Jia Erlu; I should start working that in this week, my hand has recovered enough that it’s fine. And I think I’m liking the angled ruler a little more, though it’s still not my favorite thing; I’m just not that into Qinna…

I listened to an interview with Nabil Ranne on the Drunken Boxing podcast that was saying similar things about Chenjiagou Chen Tai Chi that Damo says (e.g. Fa Li / Fa Jin confusion); makes me wonder if Beijing-style Chen Tai Chi has an approach to Jin that would match my interests more? I’ll try to ask my teacher about Fa Li versus Fa Jin at some point.

I finished reading Chen Taijiquan Illustrated; I quite like the visual presentation, and the concepts seem good (and I appreciate how it focuses on principles instead of teaching a form). Though the flip side is that I also didn’t see specific ideas in there that made me think that I should spend the next few weeks with those ideas in mind.

My right leg was feeling funny the last couple of days, in a way that made me wonder if my back was being problematic again. I hope not, and that instead I strained a leg muscle; today I’ve been using that as an excuse to stretch my hamstrings quite a bit more often than I normally do, and fortunately that seems to help. And that stretch is a good thing for me to do even if it’s not related to this, so I’ll try to keep that up this week; I might want to take some anti-inflammatories too, though. I can’t think offhand of anything in particular that I’ve been doing that should actively be causing problems with my back, but maybe I’ve been missing something? Or maybe it’s just me being tired and slouching too much.

Comments Off on Nei Gong Notes: October 24, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, October 17, 2023

Oct 17 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Pretty reasonable week, I think? I took Wednesday easy because of the COVID vaccine, but honestly I was basically fine that day. This was the week that I started only doing acupuncture every other week, so no acupuncture on Friday; did decent Nei Gong and Tai Chi sessions, nothing special but fine. Also on the Tai Chi note I did the Guan Dao on Sunday for the first time since I broke my hand; didn’t feel completely wonderful, I’m glad I held off until now, but I think it’s safe to restart? Good timing, too, I mostly remembered what to do but there were some bits where I wasn’t sure.

In Damo’s Tai Chi course I got up to the lesson where he introduces Push Hands in the regular (non-push-hands) videos; the two hands sequence is different from what I’m used to, and I don’t think I’m going to try to teach that to my partner, but the one hand is what I’m used to. Nothing too surprising there, but it basically confirmed my feeling about what I was thinking was the right way to approach that: do a Peng and then turn, and maybe try to sink the force to your feet while doing the Peng. (I think I’ve watched this video before, which is probably why I was thinking that!)

And in the push hands part of the videos, he had a “flesh separation” standing practice where you sink your bones while leaving the flesh up (instead of the reverse), either standing statically or moving up and down. Interesting exercise, it’s kind of intense; I don’t know that I’ll do it a ton but I should probably keep on doing it sometimes.

Good Wu Ji today, I felt like my structure was working well and my sinking was working decently too.

Comments Off on Nei Gong Notes, October 17, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, October 10, 2023

Oct 10 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

I went through the opening lesson from the 37 form in Damo’s Tai Chi course. Pretty interesting, a surprising amount of stuff moving through my body; I guess the preparatory exercises have had some effect in terms of preparing me!

On Wednesday, I went through the Spinal Dao Yin again; and, partway through, the feeling there changed. The stretching and relaxation in that exercise felt like it was affecting a much wider area of my back than normal, instead of being strictly localized in my spine. And also the stretch went farther up and down my back than normal.

At the end of acupuncture on Friday, my doctor was very surprised at how strong my Qi levels were. He said that this meant that my channels were opened well; I think that must be related to what I was noticing on Wednesday. Also, starting after last Friday I’ll only go every other week for a while, so I’ll skip acupuncture this week.

On Saturday Tai Chi we did some Angled Bang exercises; basically it turns out to be a way to practice performing / dealing with Qin Na on yourself. Not the most interesting thing to me, I don’t know that I’ll stick with that? Hopefully I’ll like some of the Straight Ruler / Bang exercises better.

Sunday Tai Chi this week; pretty good, I’m keeping up with the staff and noticed a few things in the Xin Jia Yi Lu. I’ve decided to start keeping a directory with notes about particular subtle points of specific moves in the different forms; I’ve been writing those down here, but this isn’t a great location for me to come back and remind myself once more than a few weeks have passed.

I got my COVID vaccine yesterday and am pretty achy today; so probably I won’t do a ton of Nei Gong tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll be back to normal on Friday.

Comments Off on Nei Gong Notes, October 10, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, October 3, 2023

Oct 03 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

I said last week that I was optimistic that I’d be able to normally practice longer amounts; I was wrong! Or at least wrong for this last week. Mostly because my sleep was bad; maybe somewhat due to Velvet, maybe somewhat due to me eating too much, I’m not sure. Not horrible or anything, but not great practice, in fact I only managed three good Hui Chun sessions instead of four.

I went through the Wu Song Shen Fa 3 video again on Tuesday, and just watching the video (and practicing along with it) was surprisingly intense. I did mixed standing practice this week: sometimes doing that, sometimes doing spinal waves, once doing Spinal Dao Yins, once doing the Dragon Dao Yins, and once doing the four energies drill; I’ll move along to Damo’s next Tai Chi video this week.

Tai Chi class was pretty interesting on Saturday: I was feeling particularly connected in my body, and also particularly stable. (Sinking into my Kua and letting my pelvis slide under me is definitely helping.) And I did push hands with somebody that I don’t normally do push hands with, and that was a very interesting experience: I got to feel what it felt like pushing hands with somebody who is good at grounding, and it was pretty odd just pushing away with my right hand and having it seem like it wasn’t having an effect. Definitely something to work on.

I got some new Tai Chi shoes. They seem fine; not necessarily better or worse than my previous ones, I like the purple that I was using and they’re a tad long, but their width is good, they’re nice and flexible, I like the leather they’re made from, and, their soles grip a little better. So at the very least I at least now have a not-out-of-business source of Tai Chi shoes that I like.

Speaking of soles gripping, I found it easier to do Ma Bu with the new shoes without my feet slipping too much. But it was harder than I would like for other reasons; I need to get back to that and do it longer; maybe a little to build up my strength but mostly to improving my ability to relax properly.

Comments Off on Nei Gong Notes, October 3, 2023