From the Archive: back on day 36/year 1, I was experimenting with learning to do the tai chi form on the left-hand side of my body. That is, the tai chi form that I know begins by shifting weight to the left, opening to the right, and then attacking forward… I was trying to see if I could figure out how to shift weight to the right, open to the left and then attack. It was an interesting effort, but I never got very far. It was always do one or two moves, then forget where in the form you are because there’s no pattern recognition. That was challenging. I kinda gave this up. It was a lot of work, for not a lot of return in terms of physical exercise. I’m still not getting a lot of exercise from doing tai chi, although I’m definitely stronger and more limber. On Day 36/year 2, the issue was one of speed, and the difference between intentionality and unintentionally. Apparently I ran out of time that morning, and rushed through my tai chi form because I had things to do and places to be. No idea what I had to do or where I had to be, but I attributed it to something important.
I’m not sure it was.
I mean, I still wrestle with these issues. Both of them — frankly, I need the challenge of trying to figure out the left-side tai chi problem. And I need to learn how to slow down to the point where the form takes the amount of time it needs to take. I’ve learned it too fast, and now I have to unlearn it and relearn it at the correct speeds — slow, slower and tortoise. In fact, I think this is the overarching concern of my tai chi work; when I do a search for the word “slow” in the title, I come up with a lot of different possibilities for connection to earlier articles.
Today was really no different. I did the forms in a different order from how I usually do them: first I did Five Golden Coins, and then the tai chi form, and then Eight Pieces of Silk. I sometimes get a better workout if I do them out of order; lately I’ve been feeling stuck in a rut when it comes to doing the work, so it was good to change things up. But changing things up is not the key problem. Going at the right speed — much slower than I do now — is the right challenge, and the rest of it is just rearranging the furniture.