Taiji Day 282: 8-count

Yesterday, I was walking down a street when I saw a car make a right-hand turn the wrong way onto a one-way street. I shouted “wrong way!” and ran down to the car before an accident could occur. A passer-by saw me and gaped. “I didn’t know big guys could move that fast!” he said. Maybe the ones who don’t do tai chi can’t. I don’t know. But I did feel like I did that pretty well.

There’s an underlying strength that comes from this daily work that’s hard to measure, but appears in unexpected ways. Today I decided to do an eight-count form. Each time I came to a pause in the form — that is, at the diagrammed posture I have seen from the manuals — I did an eight-count breath in that posture. This meant holding that position (some are quite difficult, with hands akimbo and legs in the air) while I breathed in and out four times.

I’m now wreathed in a thin glaze of sweat. Not enough to be called a heavy workout, but enough to count as “light aerobic exercise”. I’m embarrassed to say, it was easy. The underlying strength of my body has grown even from the relatively casual work I’ve done for the last few months. I didn’t feel like I was ready to pump up my practice, and so I delayed, and delayed and delayed. And now, I’ve found that a serious method for pumping up my practice is also… Easy. Maybe it’s just the first time, maybe tomorrow will be harder. But it feels like I might be ready for an eight-count posture + eight-count transition (the process of really slowing down the form, so one holds each pose for eight counts and then transitions to the next pose for eighth counts).

In other news, yesterday was a heavy, sad day, and I’ll write about it shortly.

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