Tai Chi Y3D163: Step back to drive the monkey away

Successfully did 20 push-ups this morning without stopping. Then did, separately, one nose-to-the-ground push-up.  Hanging out at a beautiful cabin in Maine for the weekend, a lovely place to work the druidic form, in all honesty.  The weather is beautiful, and I was able to do tai chi and qi gong outside on the tiny lawn with woods all around me.  If you came here looking for the poem for the First Decan of Virgo working, on Sunday morning at your local sunrise, here’s that.

Today’s movement is Step Back to Drive the Monkey Away. I always liked its name, but I don’t really understand how it’s to be used. My teacher taught me that it was the retreat that follows the attack.  You may recall that in yesterday’s movement, Double Punch, I ended the poem not entirely happy with it. Still, both hands were in the air — our weight was balanced on the right foot —the left hand is positioned above the right; the left hand is flat, and the right hand is over the right knee and balled in a fist. And I note that I used “our” in the last sentence, kind of like a “royal we”, and I realize that I do tend to think of myself as many-parted: the tai chi-doing me often feels like a different me than the me that writes about it. Are they they same?

Too deep for a journal entry this early in the morning, really. In Step Back to Drive The Monkey Away, the body swings right, and the weight shifts right; the left foot steps back. The arms and body swing left from the waist after the weight shifts back to the left foot. The right foot steps back, and then the body’s weight shifts once more to the right foot, so the arms wind up in a position akin to Roll Backwith the right hand pointing up into the sky, and the left hand gently near or touching the right elbow.

The waist winds up, and tenses on the right,
and flinging both arms right, open-handed.
The risk upon your left is real, but slight —
your time with left foot forward is ended.
Shift your left-side weight to the other side,
and step back, to reduce flank exposure.
As soon as you’re firm, at once, start to glide
your weight to left foot, with calm composure—
and as you shift shape, swing both arms around
both open-fisted, and flat to the foe.
Do not attack forward nor stand your ground,
But once again rightward, your weight must go,
followed with flailing arms, pulled from the waist
the post on which this movement’s hinge is placed.

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