Tai Chi Y3D125: Opening

It was a pretty good day for tai chi. I did ten push-ups in the kitchen. I have to say, the quality of my push-ups is still really uneven. Some days they’re good and I can crank out 15 no problem, like yesterday. Some days, like today, I get ten really cruddy ones.  Building strength is hard, especially when you have to start out moving three hundred pounds this way.

Then I went outside to do Eight Pieces of Silk, the druidry exercises, and Five Pieces of Silk. And then the tai chi form.  I did the first five or six postures, and then slipped from there to the last sequence that begins with “fair lady works shuttles.” Ooops. I had to start over again, slower and with more deliberateness, to get on the right track.

And I had it in mind to write some poetry about each of the named steps in my practice:

At the opening, breathe in deep three times,
and soften the eyes to see land and sky —
Begin at once, at the day’s dawning chimes,
before the pigeons have a chance to cry
or the wren has chittered in the branches.
Begin with bent knees, but so your toes show;
tuck your buttocks in and tense your haunches;
begin to move, and turn from the waist slow.
Lift the left foot, and widen out your stance—
lift both hands, and then push down and away.
Move, as in syrup, in water, or trance,
with muscles in tension and mind at play.
Be all curves, and relaxed in this rebirth,
suspended from heaven, anchored in earth.

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25 comments

  1. Are you committing to making drawings before I would need them for each set of moves? Does 11/22 still work for you? Let’s keep this realistic– I can adjust the start date.

  2. Andrew, you’ve written an epic piece of poetry, and expressed an interest in seeing somebody making the attempt to try to actually learn Tai Chi from it. I’m game; I’ll give it a go, with a commitment of thirty days starting from 11/22 to 12/21. After that I’ll reassess methods and goals. I’m not promising that I’ll get through the entire poem, it seems pretty massive. But I’ll work for at least that long, and attempt to use the poem as my primary teaching source.

    It’s already clear to me, though, that I’ll need a little bit of backup from another source– images of some kind would be ideal. I can probably find a book in Japanese on the form. Any online recommendations? (And, just to be clear– since I can’t quite figure it out from this– which form is it?)

    • Hooh-boy! That’s a pretty brave commitment. Yikes.

      How about this? I want to try to make drawings of the postures… so why don’t I make the drawings? Maybe if I shift the attention away from the writing, I can make the drawings…

      Am I really committing to making the drawings? Eek.

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