Ninety times out of a hundred, I do my taichi first thing in the morning,as I did today. It was a pretty normal practice. I was a little headachey, and a little stiff from not sleeping very well, but it went ok. I feel much better, in fact, now that I’ve done my morning routine.
Yesterday, though, I couldn’t do my tai chi first thing in the morning. I had a very busy day, I’d been up very late in Friday night (into Saturday morning), and I’d given myself permission to sleep in. All of a sudden, all of my time to do the tai chi and qi gong forms evaporated — there was a great host of errands to do, and I was stopping in over the course of the day at three different gatherings, and… Well.
What with one thing and another, I didn’t do tai chi until after midnight. Id been awake since 9:30 am, so it’s sort of the same day. But I was falling-down tired at that point, and to say that my tai ch practice was not up to its usual part is to underestimate how terrible it was.
I think this highlights for me one of the keys of a martial arts practice, though. I can’t very well do my practice effectively when I’m tired. If I were a martial artist training to fight, or worried about getting attacked daily, I’d have to set the correct schedule of sleep, because I’m not going to be effective when I’m tired.
The whole situation also highlights the Vladimir Horowitz quotation about practice. “when I don’t practice for a day, I notice. When I don’t practice for two days, the orchestra notices. When I don’t practice for three days, the audience notices.” I let yesterday’s practice slide by me until the very end of the day — until I climbed into bed, opened a “new blog post” window, and yet wrote nothing while I drooled myself to sleep. And waiting that long to do the work resulted in an off practice today. Tomorrow will be better, I’m sure.
But at least ninety percent of the reason for a good practice will be that I’m doing it in the morning.