Archive for November, 2023

Nei Gong Notes, November 28, 2023

Nov 28 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a lot to report in terms of Nei Gong this week; the only unusual thing that I noticed was that once, when doing the Kidney Hui Chun, I had an interesting feeling of expansiveness in my upper arms / shoulders during the part where your arms are lifted. I’ve been feeling open shoulders for a while, but this is different from that, it stretched across my body more broadly.

I’ll try to do Ping Heng Gong this week; at least I’ll watch the video and take notes, but hopefully I’ll find some time to go to a park as well, we’ll see. I did get a good park suggestion from one of my Tai Chi classmates, at least.

In terms of Damo’s Tai Chi, this week’s lesson was on the standing version of Ward Off Left. Which was pretty interesting; more moving and adjusting in my body than I expected. I think I won’t do a new lesson this week, Ping Heng Gong can be my lesson for the week; I might start alternating the two courses, I’m not sure. The down side with alternating is that there are a few seated exercises coming up in the Nei Gong course, and I really do want to be doing MCO prep and Hui Chuns regularly. Having said that, though, spending an occasional week doing something different probably wouldn’t be the worst idea in the world? We’ll see.

As to Chen Tai Chi, my teacher went over my form on Saturday. There were some small things I got wrong in the initial Jing Gang and in Grab and Tuck Robe; and I’d been wanting to spiral with my left arm in Ground-Hacking Dragon, but I was thinking that that was probably a Xin Jia thing, and indeed, in Lao Jia, your arm mostly stays straight. But not entirely: it spirals a bit at the end, with the movement coming out of your body.

In general my teacher thought my form looked solid; he did say that I was breaking my Live Gate sometimes, so I should continue to work on that, and he also said my eyes should be looking out more. And I asked him about moving energy around; his recommendation there was that I should pay more attention to my Dantian and how force comes out of it.

I’m continuing to feel that my Kua is doing much better. (So my shoulders and Kua are both improving!) Ever since I started turning into it more when shifting my weight, I’m feeling more stable and also I’m getting a much better feel for what it means to have my weight stably on one leg, and that’s also translating into my Kua feeling more open. Still probably not as open as my shoulders, but it’s definitely progress.

I realized that I’d skipped working on the staff for several weeks; I should get that in shape. Fortunately, the next Sunday class isn’t until December 10, so I’ve got time; I spent some time on it this past Sunday and I did a decent job of reviewing what I’d learned before and trying to learn the next two moves (I missed the November class because of Rick’s workshop), so I should be fine.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 21, 2023

Nov 21 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

Not a ton to report this time. Nei Gong wise, I spent the week working on the Awakening Dragon; the main thing that I noticed beyond what I’d noticed in the workshop was how much horizontal circular twisting there is in the form. It really is a neat set of movements; and my torso (especially my lower spine) does start to warm up noticeably while doing that.

Also, I wasn’t feeling great for a day or two, and on those days, I did a really minimal amount of Nei Gong, literally only a minute or so of Wu Ji. But I was surprised to find that, even with that amount of practice, I feel Qi being present and active in my body. Not sure how much that’s a sign of my body getting better internally, how much is me being more sensitive, and how much is aftereffects from the workshop; we’ll see if it sticks around or not.

I didn’t practice Tai Chi much this last week; I should get back to that this week. I led silk reeling on Saturday; it went fine, we’ll see what my teacher says when reviewing my form this weekend. And we started doing the Tai Chi straight ruler (we’d done the angled ruler in previous weeks); not super interesting yet, but maybe it will get more interesting or maybe there’s something more subtle going on internally that he’ll talk about this week, we’ll see.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 14, 2023

Nov 14 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

The big event this week was a three-day workshop that Rick gave. Up in Arcata, so I got to drive a little over five hours each way; that was fine, I’ll probably drive again instead of flying if he keeps on doing that, but next time I’ll arrange my schedule so I can drive up during the day, I think.

The main topic of the workshop was the first of the Dragons. My first time learning one of those in person; it seemed like I’d actually done a decent job getting the basics down from the videos, but there were definitely some details that I was getting wrong. And also I should stretch a little more forcefully, and I should (sometimes) think a bit about what the stretching is leading me to do, that’ll help me appreciate how it fits together.

Other than that, my diaphragm is probably a little higher than I’d been treating it as being. And I should spend more time paying attention to my liquid center of mass and, once I’ve got it in the right place, leaving my attention there (at least for exercises where that’s a natural thing to do); as the workshop progressed, I had some pretty good effects doing that.

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Nei Gong Notes, November 7, 2023

Nov 07 2023 Published by under Uncategorized

It’s been ages since I’ve done a long standing session; I don’t think I’ve done Wu Ji for more than 30 minutes at a time since we got Velvet, certainly not since I broke my hand. And since I’ve got a workshop with Rick coming up, I’d been thinking I should figure out how worried I should be about that. Also, it had been ages since I’d done the regular Dantian Gong; I’d done the advanced version every so often, but not the regular version. So I decided to try to do a full standing Dantian Gong set; that takes a little over an hour, and while I don’t find it quite as strenuous on my legs as Wu Ji (maybe because I’m doing it wrong, but also in Wu Ji your hands are helping you sink), still, it is an hour of standing with your legs in a potentially uncomfortable position.

I did that on Wednesday; somewhat to my surprise, it was totally fine! I mean, I wasn’t super comfortable by the end, but also I wasn’t totally gritting my teeth and hanging on for dear life either. So hopefully I’m in good enough shape for the workshop? I also did a ten minute Pushing the Tides session today, to work on that form of pain; though Rick actually likes slightly different arm / shoulder stretches, probably I should have done some of his instead? Anyways, that went fine too.

In general I will say that I’m feeling a lot more space in my shoulders than I was a year ago. Also I was noticing at some point this week that I was feeling the effects of standing with pressure in my Yong Quan more broadly than I had been: e.g. I was feeling it some on the sides of my rib cage, even though that’s pretty far from my spine, which had been how it was making it up my torso.

Sadly, something came up at work, so this weekend was pretty busy; in particular, I didn’t do as much Tai Chi practice this week as I would have liked. Though at Saturday Tai Chi class, I tried out one of the push hands exercises from Damo’s class, where you pressdown on your parter’s arms, trying to feel their feet, and then bounce them to the side. Didn’t work at all at the start, but eventually we figured out how to get it to start working a bit. So that was interesting; don’t know if we’ll make a habit of it or not.

The lesson this week in Damo’s Tai Chi class was on Single Whip; a little more different from the Chen version than I expected. I’m not super confident that I’m remembering it correctly, so I’ll review it again tonight instead of moving on to a new lesson.

Looking forward to the workshop; it’s this Friday through Sunday. In Arcata, I can’t say that I’m thrilled about the drive but I don’t blame Rick for not wanting to make the drive in the other direction! And even when it’s local it’s not super local, so the good news is that I won’t have to wake up early on Saturday and Sunday to make it there.

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