Tai Chi Y2D347: Engaging the legs

Yesterday I ran into a guy in the neighborhood who helps teach a class at the local college on mindfulness, through tai chi practice.  His class isn’t open to non-students, unfortunately, but I mentioned Standing Bear to him, and he’s interested.  We made a tentative commitment to learn this qi gong form together this summer.  We’ll see if we can make that happen; I’d like to work with a partner from time to time.  One of the things I appreciate about the Standing Bear videos I’ve watched so far is that it seems to engage the lower body, the legs, far more than the three movement-forms I know already. Mostly in Five Golden Coins and Eight Pieces of Silk, I just stand in horse stance and move from the waist and up; Standing Bear seems to involve a lot more movement below the waist, and I definitely need to engage my legs more in my movements.  It also represents an increase in dynamic, as opposed to static or standing, balance.

My own tai chi practice this morning was not particularly challenging.  Breathing was good and regular, movement was good but a little fast, pelvis was properly tilted for the most part, and generally I stood in the right way and moved through the postures appropriately.  My first spin, right after Golden Pheasants, was a little heavy and there’s some post-movement tension in the left ankle.

It occurred to me that the tai chi form I know involves a lot of movement to the right. The first movement is to the right.  The first steps are to the right.  The body is turned to the right again after Stands like tree, and one advances in attack posture to the right after that.  One Spreads Hands Like Fan to the left, but then the whole next series of movements is a series of attacks to the right, a clockwise turn (or a turn to the right), and then a series of attacks to the new right.  And I wonder how I would go about learning or developing a counter-clockwise series of movements that served as the counter-movement to the main form.  Is it a thing worth doing?  How does one go about developing a counter-clockwise tai chi form that works the other side of the body?

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