Tai Chi Y2D158: find the full stretch

Today during the qi gong exercise called Eight Pieces of Brocade/Silk, I noticed that my left arm was slacking on the third movement. It’s the one that comes before the Head Twist and after Bend the Bow to Shoot the Hawk..

In this movement, one arm goes up into the air,with fingers pointing to the sky. The other hand sinks down, with fingers pointing into the ground. Then they each do a big circle, swinging around to trade places. And then the two hands come together, to hold a big ball of chi energy in front of the solar plexus — a ball that varies in size from day to day between a softball and a dodgeball. Then one reverses arms, and the arm that formerly sunk down, now rises.

Today, I noted that my left arm does not do the full circle. Instead, it performs a little wobble more appropriate to a Tyrannosaurus rex than to a tai chi maneuver. And so for the remainder of the exercise I concentrated on performing the full circle with both arms, in both directions.

Now my left arm hurts.

And this means That my left arm has been getting away with this weak and low-grade T. rex version of the movement for a while. Long enough, in fact, for my arm’s muscles and fascia to grow used to the limited circle with crooked elbow I caught myself doing this morning; and long enough for the correct full-circle movement to be a problem.

It’s continuing proof, I think, that we are not really in as much control over our bodies as we thi we are. This will be someone to watch out for, for a while.

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