Taiji Day 345: Counting positions

Today, mindful of yesterday’s speed freak fiasco, I consciously slowed down. The set of three forms took about 35 minutes, which is closer to reasonable. One of the ways I slowed down was to keep track of the postures and their numbers. In the tai chi form, apparently, there are sixty-eight postures.

Except that doesn’t feel right. Most such plays are sixty postures or twenty-four. For this one to be so much longer, and a weird number, feels wrong. So let me break it down so that repeated postures only count once. Grasping the swallow’s tail, for example, is four moves: roll back, press, push, single whip. So that’s sixty-four moves. And the grasping the swallow’s tail happens once at the beginning, once just before the kicks, once before cloud hands, once before the Fair Lady Works Shuttles, and once before the Windmill Kick. So, that is four moves, each performed four times, becoming sixteen moves… But those sixteen actually count as four. So from 68 I take away 16, and add 4: 56. Fair Lady Works Shuttles is also four postures but it counts as one. So I subtract three, and I’m left with fifty-three postures.

This already means that we’ve missed the sixty posture tai chi form, and we’re already gunning for forty-eight postures or lower. The block-and-punch counts as one posture, but I treated it as two. So that brings us down to … Forty-eight, so I think that’s the answer: I do a forty-eight posture tai chi form. But I don’t actually know.

If I think of any other postures that I counted as two, but which the traditional counting calls one, I may have to revise downward again.

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