Tai chi today. Did Five Golden Coins, followed by three run-throughs of the tai chi form, followed by three minutes of standing meditation in san ti stance. This is a fighting stance that I learned from Dr. Yang and his students; Dr. Yang’s book, by the way, is called Taijiqian: the science of power, for those who are interested.
In the course of my three run-throughs of the form, I found myself concentrating on different things. The first time through, I focused on getting the footwork right, and trying to manage the “move as though through water” goal. Yeah… no. Not happening yet. I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet. The second time through, I focused on inverse breath — trying to breathe in with a tightening of the abdomen, followed by a release of the abdominals on the out-breath. Phew. Hard. I was sweating by the end of that. On the third run-through, I focused on trying to move as though through water, and with the inverse breath. By the end of that, I was sweating. Not profusely, but sweating.
I think the extraordinary thing is that I’m using basic techniques. This is the same tai chi form I I learned in 1997-98. I’m not going out of my way to do something out of the ordinary here; I’m just trying to apply Dr. Yang’s principles to the practice I already have. It’s paying dividends. It’s also clear that I have a long way to go.
Three years in, and I’m discovering how to be a beginner again.
In Other News: The head puppet for the Wizard of Oz is now in overdrive production, hopelessly behind schedule, and looks like a child’s garden of Easter Island statues. The month of January, the frame languished in a corner of the design lab because the kids assigned to work on it were reassigned, and I kept hoping they’d come back. It’s too large for one person to work on, though — especially with the show two weeks away.
A group of parents came in yesterday and helped me work on it, though, and we made some good progress — we attached some black foam for the teeth, and sewed two foam-fabric lips for it. Next, I have to figure out how to make the eyes look better than stick-figure eyes.