When I first started doing five golden coins every day, there was a lot of crackle in my movements. My knees and shoulders had small popping sounds, like bacteria were setting off small fireworks displays. There were weird pops and snaps from my arms as I moved through the form, and odd shifts from my neck as I turned my head to face first one way then another. The form magnified this experience, and I began hearing the same pops and crackles from my feet and from my ankles, from my hips, from my elbows. Gradually, more and more of my body experienced these sudden outbursts of noise and energy.
Let me emphasize that they do not hurt. They’re noise, and maybe a release of tension, but they don’t feel like or appear to be damage. They do usually occur during my tai chi work, though, and they’re pretty regular — often one or two during any set of Five Golden Coins, and then someplace or another on the form, and then during the repetitions of Eight Pieces of Silk.
Today, during eight pieces of silk, I got through seven of the eight postures, all of their repetitions, without hearing a single rice-crispie crackle. Not a one. The difference in experience was startling. During the motion called “joining heaven and earth” I actually was forcing my arms up and down trying to get a little sound, a little popping. This article suggests that even doing that is unnecessary and perhaps inadvisable, but at the core, what seems to be happening is that my joints are becoming more thoroughly lubricated, and staying lubricated.
I did have one – well, actually, three – joint crackles worthy of notice. During the high kick to the west, I felt an extraordinary popping sensation in my left hip, the side where the car hit me. I felt so good right after that I actually lifted my leg and did the kick twice more, each time feeling the crackle-pop. It’s not better. I wish it were. But it’s interesting that I’ve never been able to generate that particular snapping sensation before, on my own. If the experience I had during Eight Pieces of Silk, continues, it means that sooner or later I may be able to “pop” the sense of tension and injury out of my left hip completely, and be rid of it.
I’m looking forward to that.