The last few days, I’ve been quite conscious of when my core muscles are engaged, and when they’re not. More often than not, these last few days, they’ve been engaged and actively working in ways that I’m not used to. My abdomen is tighter and my flanks — my external obliques — seem to be stronger.
A lot of it is the twisting motions of the movements called Bend the Bow and Bend the Bow to Shoot the Hawk. These two movements generate their force at about the hip and buttocks; the first projects first one hand and then the other hand out in a straight line from the body, while the upper body twists perpendicular to the direction of the feet… and the second movement takes the posture of the first movement, and then moves the bow rapidly out to one side, and over the shoulder, as though to “shoot” a moving target with the arrow in the opposite hand. Both movements generate a lot of power in the abdominal muscles and obliques external and internal.
The result is that the belly feels flatter and the muscles which support it feel stronger. But, more than a feeling, there’s a change in how I sit and how I stand, and in what clothes fit me and what clothes don’t. It’s odd — I was beginning to accept that tai chi wasn’t really sufficient exercise for me to get and stay fit. And yet body changes are beginning to accumulate, and appear faster, around fifteen months into the program. Weightlifters wouldn’t accept such slow results, frankly. And yet, the work continues.
Update: Oh, right. Forgot to mention. This is my 3,300th post on WordPress, and sometime on Friday I crossed the 75,000 all-time visitors mark for this blog. How’d that happen?