Tai Chi Y3D131: Push

I’m continuing this series of poems with another one of the tai chi forms that gets repeated over and over throughout the form.  Push is the seventh movement from the beginning, after opening, circling hands, ward-off left, ward-off right, roll-back, and press.  Overall, it’s also part of a series of movements that repeat five times over the course of the form: 1) roll back, 2) press, 3) push, 4) single whip.  Again, I haven’t decided if I’m going to write new poems for those movements when they repeat, or use the opportunity there to correct issues that I wasn’t able to express or explain in the earlier takes on the movement.  Probably the latter, but you never know.

When press ends, the front right foot holds the weight,
but now at the start of push roll it back,
for if you continue forward, your fate
is to be pulled off-balance.  Give up slack —
separate your joined hands as you withdraw
and orient them so the palms face out.
The left foot moves not, so you let the law
of gravity help you. Act with no doubt,
pushing your mass from your left foot, to front
(make right hand stronger, since diagonal force
from left foot to right hand will push the brunt
of your mass on your foe). But stop — of course —
when your open hands are above your knee
for this disciplined balance keeps you free.


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  1. If you edit your poems as the movements come along again, until you are happy with them and then you rest with that for a time… perhaps as you repeat the movements you will find differences to write new poems about as understanding and practice deepens? After all that old Zen saying: You cannot put the same hand in the same river twice. So perforce the movements must be different, but the difference would also be very, very subtle indeed, right? Maybe this would be a way to sense the subtle differences?

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