On Sunday, my friend Hollie left on a three-month road-trip through the South and Southwest to explore the country she first explored twenty years ago and more. She’s keeping a blog of her experiences and her discoveries. Given that she set out in a snowstorm and managed to find a place to stay overnight with a complete stranger, it’s likely to be a wild journey and worth the read. Here’s the link.
Notice errors as they creep into your practice — or maybe took root from the start. They’re always there. Today, I went too fast. That’s error number one. Slow down. You’re not in any rush. Recall that this is not a race. It’s not a challenge. You don’t have to be done yet.
Second: concern yourself with the placement of the feet. It’s easy to make your stance too narrow, or too wide. Adjust your feet, and stand in a way that is both comfortable and appropriately energized: not too casual, not too formal. Don’t be rigid.
Tuck the tail-bone under. You are expecting to move, but you can’t move while your spine is out of alignment. Yes, it will be difficult to move this way. You’re not used to it. Practice moving this way.
When you bend over or bend down, root one foot in the floor. Do not do as I do — where I rise onto the balls of my feet in order to Grab the Needle at the Sea Bottom. Practice that maneuver again: this time, leave the whole foot on the floor. No, it does not feel natural; but practice this way — your goal is to work the muscles of the calf and ankle. This is how one does the work. When sinking low in a maneuver like Snake Creeps Down, pay attention to the knees, which should not be farther forward in the plane of your body than your knees.
Slow down. These kicks and leg lifts around the movement called Golden Pheasant are not to be rushed. Don’t rush them. Yes, you can kick hard, but then you draw the leg back in too fast. No, we don’t want to leave it out there for an opponent to grab; but this is practice. Strengthen the muscles in the legs, and learn to manage the slow extension, and the slow contraction. A little at a time.
Don’t rush through Cloud Hands or Fair Lady Works the Shuttles. Make them elegant, make them slow. That’s right. Be sure the position of the hands is correct. No, turn the wrist more, to there. Yes. Now, Ward Off Left, and again Ward Off Right. Slow down. What’s the rush? No hurry. Keep moving, but don’t rush.
And… close. Settle into the posture… done.
What?? That was only six minutes??
Try again tomorrow. But slow down this time.