Somewhere in the middle of the qi gong forms, I realized that I was not doing qi gong. I’m not quite sure what I was doing, but it wasn’t Five Golden Coins, and it wasn’t Eight Pieces of Silk. No, it was this weird, swimming hybrid of the two. It went something like this:
- Join Heaven and Earth
- Picking Apples
- Bend the bow to shoot the hawk (with this movement, I switched over from Five Golden Coins to Eight Pieces of Silk)
- Spreading Heaven and Earth
- Bend the Bow (and… switch back to Five Golden Coins)
- Touch Earth and Hands to Heaven
- Shoulder turn (and… back to Eight Pieces of Silk)
- Off-hand punch
- Carrying Milk to Heaven (back to Five Golden Coins)
- Toe touches (back to Eight Pieces of Silk)
- Spread Wings Like Heron
- Toe rises
Oops. Eight and Five is thirteen. I did all of the movements of the tai chi form… I just didn’t do them in anything resembling the official order of either set of movements. I got a great workout, and I did push-ups before and afterward. Progress on many fronts.
But I’m concerned about the degree to which I went off-script. Does the order of the movements matter? Have I changed the nature of the qi gong exercise, or screwed up the flow of my chi through this set of actions. It’s difficult to say. I must admit that I got sweatier than I have in a while. I was more challenged than I’ve been in a while, to make sure I got all the movements and didn’t miss any. It was a brain workout as well as a body workout.
Afterward, my tai chi practice went fine. I didn’t miss any steps, and I didn’t rush particularly. It wasn’t as slow as it could have been. But, I was also surprisingly tired from the workout I’d just completed. Going off-script added a layer of complication that I hadn’t expected.
At the same time, it was a productive workout. I felt challenged and interested, and I needed to move deliberately while also letting my body figure out which movements it hadn’t yet done. I could have said “no” and stopped, and started over again. But somehow, saying yes gave me an expanded range of opportunities that I hadn’t expected.