Tai Chi Y3D250: The End in Mind

Begin with the end in mind...
Begin with the end in mind…

I woke up way too early this morning, after going to bed way too late. It’s comment writing season at school, and that means a lot of this late-night/early-morning work as I try to complete my seasonal writing chore.

Part of the reason that I went to bed late, though, is that comment-writing brought me an insight about my tai chi program.  With comments, I begin with the end in mind — my goal is to write 50-100 words about each child, and to touch on a few core issues in the last quarter.   And this means that I should do the same with my tai chi diagrams: If my goal is to be able to make a Book, and the book has to be fifteen pages, then I should be scaling my drawings to match. And that means developing a template.

Which I promptly did.  I went through my form, and thought about how many drawings would be needed to explain each posture; and how I might represent those postures on the page; and how many drawings each form would need.

I’m probably wrong.  But at least now I have a starting point.  I know about how many postures, and which postures, will be on each page from beginning to end.  And I did it in fourteen pages — which means that there’s still room for explanatory text and guidelines at the beginning or end.

The question of scale is potentially an issue.  Maybe Quin can give me a sense of how the scale works for these? The movement, of course, is Brush Knee with a Twist Step, which got sonnet-ified thus:

Draw right hand back, as though drawing a bow,
and shift all weight to the foot on the right.
Step with left foot, and be prepared to go
forward the moment things are even slight-
ly to your advantage. Thrust the right hand,
and sweep left hand and arm across, and down.
Sink the left foot, as though it were in sand;
right foot lightens as the movement makes known
the force from left foot to right hand expressed.
Left hand sweeps attacks to the knee and thigh,
and when all defenses are thus addressed,
the body is almost ready to fly!
But check the attack: re-plant the right heel;
your forward thrust, it will anchor and steal.

I’m not happy AT ALL with the drawings for today, I have to admit.  I don’t mean that I’m unhappy with the act of drawing; I mean that I’m unhappy with the content of them.  I don’t think they represent today’s movement particularly well, or even at all. But at the moment, I don’t know how to do it more effectively.  Maybe two of the postures should be from the side? I’ll think on it, and try again in the next round; this is one of those movements that appears twice in the form.

Today’s tai chi work was pretty simple and pretty easy, and pretty close to right: right speed, right depth of intention, right level of focus.  Pleased with today’s work.

2 comments

  1. Hi Andrew,

    As for scale, the 12-to-a-page grid you’re showing here works just fine. No problems at all! As long as it doesn’t crimp your drawing style. Is part of your self imposed challenge that you must draw only using the iPad? Can you not draw it first at a much larger scale, then scan and reduce it?

    The latest Sonnet’s writeup is here. I missed a day. I feel bad about it, but honestly I almost feel like I haven’t even started yet. It’s 99% mental effort at the moment, just sorting out intellectually what correct movement seems like it should be, in theory.

    That said, I forgot to mention a very good sign from the other day. On the day I began, I received a Facebook message from an acquaintance of mine who had given me a grand total of two personalized Tai Chi lessons (trying to teach me the 24-form) last year, before leaving for Canada. He signed off with “Keep up the Tai Chi”. (I hope he doesn’t think I’ve been practicing this whole time…)

    • Don’t feel bad. I’ve had a chance to read-but-not-resond to your other post from this morning. And I’m not surprised that you’re going slowly, and that there are things missing.

      I’m in the midst of writing comments for school, and I’ll be responding this afternoon to your “Ward off Left” comments after I’m done with that.

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