Today I repeated the experiment of yesterday, based on Friday’s visual cue: I did Five Golden Coins using each posture as a pause for meditative posture-stance-holding. Then I did Eight Pieces of Silk as normal, and the Tai Chi form as normal.
I can’t say it was an unmitigated success, but I don’t think it was a failure, either. Judging from yesterday’s work, Five Golden Coins should have taken me 23 minutes instead of the usual 4-5. It didn’t take 23 minutes, but it did take 18 minutes. So I missed some steps along the way and rushed quite a bit. By the end, I’d built up quite a head of steam, in the form of tinglies and chi circulation in my extremities.
The result was a much slower and more precise Eight Pieces of Silk, and a similarly slowed down Tai Chi form. Hardly perfect, but better than they had been. And I feel that this is a breakthrough, of sorts. I’d been having trouble slowing my tai chi down on my own; here, suddenly, I was doing fine at managing the work at a much slower pace. As a result, it’s much easier to see how qi gong forms can be used ‘fast’, with many repetitions, to achieve some flexibility; or they can be used as practice postures to slow down the body’s energy to the point where the slowness of the main tai chi form can be achieved.