Had you told me a year ago that I would have trouble with my qi gong practice, I think I’d probably have laughed. Not meanly, you understand, because I’m not that sort of guy, but laughed nonetheless. Qi gong is after all easy. Do x repetitions of this move, then this move, then this move, and so on. Stop. Do y repetitions of these six or ten moves, and voila! You’re done.
Maybe for a monkey. But it turns out that the two qi gong forms that come before tai chi in my morning are the movements that are giving me the most trouble. They’re challenging my balance, for one. I don’t lose my footing in tai chi, ever. I lose it in qi gong, usually once in any set of moments, at least these days.
That’s a lot. There are five positions in Five Golden Coins, and sixteen repetitions of each move or position. So five slips or unbalancings, is 1/16th of the total of eighty movements, or 6.25%. In Eight pieces of silk, there are eight repetitions of each of eight movements. One slip in each repetition is 8/64ths, or 1/8th of the total, or 12.5%.
Except that it’s not just one per movement. On “Milk to Heaven”,which is the last movement of Five Golden Coins, it’s more like three or four unbalancings, as I struggle to find the place where my equilibrium and my practice meet.
It feels bizarre to calculate my error rate for tai chi, or at least for qi gong, but by the time I accurately tabulate all the mistakes, I think I’m up to over10% errors.
My dad and my engineer friends are of the opinion that the first ninety percent of the work takes 90% of the effort, and the last ten percent takes the other 90% of the effort. If 581 days equals 90% of the effort, then correcting all the challenges I currently notice will take another 581 days, at least. Which is a little bit over three years and two months.
It’s nice to be able to set landmarks.