Today I did a complete set: 20 push-ups, two qi gong forms, and all eight of the movement-style focus groups: upward, downward, inward, outward, splitting, breathwork, footwork, and moving through water.  In one way it feels like an accomplishment.  In another way, it feels like I wasn’t working hard enough.

And that’s really the problem, isn’t it? I mean when you’re doing this on your own, how do you know what’s “good enough”?  I wasn’t sweating or working as hard as I should have been.  I wasn’t physically overwhelmed by the work as I’ve been in the past.  Part of that may be that I’m developing the necessary chops or strength or endurance to be able to do all eight sets.  But it’s also a question of resistance— how do I make sure that I’m doing the isometric component of each exercise properly?

In part, the answer is that “I don’t.” I’m here to run a marathon, not a sprint. I don’t mean I’m out to run 26.6 miles in a few hours; I mean that I’m after the ability to do tai chi day in/day out for at least a few more decades.  And that means, not getting stressed about whether any particular day is good enough.  The practice evens out over the long haul. That will have to be enough.