Tai Chi Y3D244: Ward off Right

Today’s movement is Ward-Off Right, which I first wrote about as a tai chi sonnet on Y3D128:

With feet spread apart and left foot in front,
shift most of your weight from right foot to left,
to close up the gap where you bore the brunt
of the last attack. Let the right foot drift
alongside the left — and hands carry ball,
this time so left lifts, and right pushes down.
Swallow-tail the right hand to make a wall,
as right foot strides out on the way to town.
Let right wrist to left foot be a steel bow,
a tense curve of line that holds open space
between right hand and sternum;  let all know,
how dynamic and flexible this space
for the hands block whatever approaches,
and push back against all that encroaches.

My effort at a drawing?  Mmmm.  Not as good as the sonnet, I’m afraid:wardoffright In retrospect, I can see how I might have split it up into four or five steps or stages:

  • carrying the ball on the right hip
  • Swallow-tailing the energy from left hand to right
  • Shifting the weight from right foot to left
  • stepping out with the right foot
  • lifting the right hand to block
  • filling the space behind the hand with chi.

But I’m out of time to work on this drawing at the moment, and I’ll have a chance to revisit this and other drawings later in the sequence. It’s hard doing this — and Quin, you should feel free to decide that the drawings I’m doing are inadequate to the job of teaching you a tai chi form, and decide not to carry on your part of this project.  But I’m coming up on a big push of work at school (end-of-quarter reports and grades), and the images may get spotty for a few days.  Thanks for your concern about illness, but the worst of it seems to have passed.

That said, the last three days (Monday to today) of tai chi have probably been the hardest of my three years to date. Doing Snake Creeps Downfor example, put unexpected pressures on my belly that made me queasy.  There’s a knot of dehydration-related muscle tension in my neck that kept me awake through the night, and challenged me during today’s movements.  Whenever I don’t feel like getting out of bed in the future, I should remember today, and think, “It could be worse.”

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