Today I tried to take Alicia’s advice to heart. Alicia’s suggestion was to zip up and button up: to think of the navel or belly button as a button that needed to be buttoned — that is, pressed in toward the spine — and zipped up, so that the butt was properly tucked under and the pelvis was correctly placed relative to the floor. This would help keep me in horse stance in all the postures that it’s appropriate for, in both qi gong and tai chi. The result? I kept slipping out of balance. And this tells me something important.
I wasn’t in balance to begin with.
There’s two kinds of balance in tai chi, in my experience: static balance, as in qi gong,when one holds a posture for a period of time; and dynamic balance. The body is semi-rigid and relatively motionless in static balance. One holds a posture for a period of time, and then one shifts into the next posture and holds that, and so on. The goal is to find each posture’s position of balance and use that as the training posture to teach the position and e flow from one position to the next.
Dynamic balance is a little different. Here,a the emphasis isn’t on the individual postures, but the fluidity between them. In static balance work, the usual pattern (for me, anyway) is to complete one posture, and then overshoot the mark in moving to the next posture, and then reestablish static balance in the new posture. But in training for dynamic balance, the goal is to never overshoot the balance point, anywhere — neither in the final postures nor in the intermediate stages between the postures in the forms.
Horse stance pretty much showed me, today, that I’m pretty good at static balance, and not so good at dynamic balance. Every time I moved, I had to rise up out of horse stance, start the shift to the new position, remember “oh, right — horse stance!” settle back into position, and then try to move correctly. Oops. Not the fluidity and grace I was hoping to achieve.
I guessing am learning how to unlearn what I do. And that’s good. Pretty much the on
Y good part of today’s working.