Tai Chi Y3D146: Twist

It’s been a complicated day.  Christine, I’m very much enjoying the Kathleen Norris book on Accidie, and more on that when I’ve finished it. Right now I’m at about the half-way point, but I keep getting distracted or pulled away from it by various prep-work for the start of school, which is approaching like a freight train faster than I’d like.

This morning Dad took me to visit the pool nearby before I’d even gotten out of bed fully.  I did 20 lengths (10 laps) in the pool again, followed by my two qi gong forms and my tai chi form on the pool deck afterward.  And then, when I got back to mom and dad’s house after that, things got very crazy for the rest of the day.  I realized that tomorrow is the self-imposed deadline, as well, for an upcoming project, so I’ve been working on that, too. When did my life shift into overdrive as I got ready for school?  Something like six days ago, I think, except that it should have been two weeks ago.  Yikes.

There’s this little flip at the end of False Close, from yesterday, that really should have been included in that poem, rather than in today’s.  It’s not a separate movement, really, just a step behind, followed by a Roll Back.

So, think of it this way, as I’m trying to… first, False Close.

Withdraw the left foot and pull back both hands.
For now, keep your weight latent on the right.
Hands protect the face; beware shifting sands
underfoot, for now. Keep open a slight
distance between arms and line of the chest.
Fill this ‘balloon’ with chi for your defense.
Yet remember that left foot! Stand light, lest
you brace too heavily: be as a fence,
able to let the windy words blow by,
but strong and sure to keep the bulls away.
Yet stand softly, for your hands must deny
any strike that comes. For now, this is play —
imagine the foe coming from behind,
step back left and twist: defeat what you find.

From this ending position, which I’ve actually described incorrectly — note the part highlighted in red, where it says “Step back left and twist.” There’s a weight-shift in there, from right leg to left leg, and it’s actually the right leg that steps back.  When I think about it, I realize that the part in blue is wrong, too — it’s important to note that this is where the weight is supposed to shift from one foot to the other.  The twist doesn’t happen counterclockwise, from right to left; but left to right, clockwise. The step that gets taken backward is taken with the right foot, not the left.  How to fix this?

We need to take an editing pen to the mess:

Withdraw the left foot and pull back both hands.
For now, keep your weight latent on the right.
Hands protect the face; beware shifting sands
underfoot, for now. Keep open a slight
distance between arms and line of the chest.
Fill this ‘balloon’ with chi for your defense.
Yet remember that left foot: Switch weight, lest
you be caught off guard: left leg’s post of fence,
able to let the windy words blow by,
while strongly standing to keep bulls at bay.
Bend knees softly, for your hands must deny
any strike that comes. For now, this is play:
imagine the foe coming from behind,
step back with right, so twist comes as designed.

And now I look at my poem for ‘tomorrow’, namely the poem from a couple of weeks ago for the Roll Back movement.  A couple of small changes here, reveal that the motion of the right hand in the first line is upward, and the left hand’s motion is sidewise in line 3.  I read today that repetition prevents the build-up of gunk, so I think I’m going to review and edit a few small changes in the poems for the repeated movements, and then continue on.

From this braced posture, the right hand retreats, (swings high)
but right elbow remains just in its place
The left hand rises toomoves also, and it entreats (cuts by)
the opponent as it travels side-swipes through space
until fingertips graze the bent right arm.
Thus a right angle is ordered — and stands
between the forearms on the right and left:
This is a posture of defensive hands,
for the arms can shift with movement so deft
to deflect the strike.  Once the hands are firm,
weight can shift away from the front right foot;
the left leg can carry the weight a term —
but neither leg should move from where it’s put
Sweep both hands down and sideways to the left,
to guard the flank that in this move’s bereft.

So this holds up pretty well.  I can discern the movement intended in these two poems much more effectively now, and I feel that they’re right, despite the hiccups.  This process is not going as smoothly or as cleanly as I originally anticipated; but on the other hand maybe it’s for the best that I didn’t get through 20 poems without needing to make major corrections.

Sleep well, everybody. See you tomorrow.

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