Tai Chi Day 1

One of the things I discovered during last week’s two-day category-reassignment project on my blog (a database doesn’t work if you can’t use it to find stuff) was all of my tai chi work several years ago.  I did 100 days of tai chi back in 2006… and now, six years later, I find I’m deeply out of practice.

So I’m beginning again.  As of this morning, the illness has passed… I’m no longer coughing my head off or my throat, out.  I did my version of Five Golden Coins, and the Yang/Starfarm-style of the short-form, which is 60 postures or so (I see that my old teacher, Laddie, is now calling it taiji on his website… I probably need a refresher course at some point).

Five Golden Coins is a set of five moving postures done as a warm up.  From “horse stance” for the lower body, one raises the right arm above the head in soft-muscle, while the other arm descends in hard-muscle. Then they reverse position… sixteen times. Then one “picks apples from the trees in the orchard”, twisting first right, then left, above the waist but below the shoulders, sixteen times.  Then one “pulls back the bow”, with one hand going out, and the other hand drawing back behind the shoulder as the body twists, sixteen times.  Then sixteen toe touches.  Then a move which means something like “drawing milk up to heaven” but is close to CrossFit’s “burpee”but slower and more deliberate.  Sixteen times.  Those are hard on my knees.

During the short-form I got lost early on. I wound up doing the sequence from the first ward-off-right to spread-hands-like-fan twice, in two different facings, and wound up ending a quarter-turn further on from where I normally end up — north instead of east.  Not a big deal, but an important thing to be aware of.  Each sequence represents either a quarter or a half-turn, some moves are also maybe an eighth of a turn or even a sixteenth, so leaving steps out or adding extras in can mess with timing and arrival.  It will be better for my dancing when I can do this more easily, and be more aware of how much each piece, and sequence, ‘costs’.

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  1. […] Back on Day 178 this year, I was thinking about skipping a day. Just one. Would it be so bad?  I didn’t. And part of the reason why I didn’t, is that it’s too easy for one day of non-practice to turn into three or four.  And then you’re stuck.  I wonder if there will be enough of an energy boost from this year’s end, as there was last year, to feel impelled to keep going.  I hope so; because today was very similar to day 178 in some ways — finding the time to get started, and then the intention to begin, was almost as hard as at the beginning, back on Day 1. […]

  2. […] The second photo in this blog post is the “west front” of the kavad, which as you can see contains twelve niches.  I started out doing these with a ruler, and by the time I finished this side, I resolved to do the rest of them free-hand, because I’ve already decided this is a prototype. Except then I changed my mind again — which I can do, because I’m an artist.  The reason for changing my mind was pretty simple: I need to practice the skills of an artist in order to learn how to do the design work and artistic work necessary to make the object… It’s part of the model of creativity I talked about earlier this week… you have to have skills with the tools in order to do good work.  You need both the practice and the ideas. (And it occurs to me that I should start an artwork-a-day blog in order to practice these skills, too, not just Taiji). […]

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