I went through the tai chi form once today, just doing the footwork. I let my arms hang at my sides, and tried to step through the form with the widened stance suggested by Dr. Yang and his students. There are some places where it’s difficult, based on what the arms are doing, to try to do this. On the other hand, I feel like I am starting to ‘get’ what the widened stance is supposed to do for me.
Part of me is wondering why I didn’t do this before. Part of me realizes that I didn’t do it before, because I didn’t have a reason to alter my thinking about my tai chi forms, so I didn’t think I needed to look at footwork explicitly. It was… I don’t want to say it was helpful, exactly. Mostly it was about discovering the ways in which your legs don’t really move very much. I feel like tai chi is very active and exciting; and yet it was interesting to see how little I actually move, and how regulated that below-the-waist motion really is. Definitely worth doing; but doing more than once is a push toward mastery; this was barely success.
Before that, I did the tai chi form the regular way, with hand movements and everything. It was an acceptable practice. Yesterday, at the end of the day, several kids were going through ‘fake fencing’ exercises, and performing actions that were — to my mind and training — risky. And so, I gave a little lesson in how to lunge properly, not rolling the back foot, launching from the back foot, and so on.
Today my left knee hurts. Today I remember why I was keen not to take up fencing again and fencing-coaching at my new school. Ow.