I am spending the day at friends’ house in Maine, and one of my hosts is a tai chi practitioner. She does eight pieces of silk, too, but she calls it eight pieces of brocade. The form she does has a slightly different set of movements, and there are only eight repetitions rather than sixteen. Having this combination of experience in the room is proving very useful. We get to see the historical divergence of practice here, and recognize that different schools have different methods based on what’s been discovered and what works. Diversification of practice, while holding tolerance of the differences between different schools, is part of the program.
Daily practice today led to the pulsing sensation in my body that I associate with powerful chi flows. It was a quality morning from the point of view of the internal changes. But it wasn’t accompanied by the physical changes, like sweating and hard-muscle workout, that I associate with the external form. It’s really hard to get both in the same half-hour experience.