One tai chi form and no other work today. Yesterday’s teaching gig was heavy-hitting. Despite going relatively easily, by then end of yesterday’s teaching I was drenched in sweat and heaving hard. But feeling great. It’s an odd combination, really: all worked up and heavily invested in the work— but also clearly doing a LOT of work. I think the students didn’t understand it at all. 

To them, we’re just doing these weird movements. They’re in days five and six of study of these movements; I’m somewhere around day 1500 (including all the haphazard time I spent studying it on and off between 1998 and four years ago), maybe closer to two thousand days. Who knows?

I’m also benefitting from the reintroduction, however lightly, of push-hands exercises into my routine. It’s so important to do this and I’d forgotten, being a solo practitioner for so long.  At its core, tai chi is a martial art. Doing it non-martially tends to mean that you’re treating it as a dance form, not as a potentially militant sweep of movements.  Yet when push-hands comes back into my practice, it’s startling to find how much I’ve learned. It’s opening a window and discovering a whole new season outside. 

Watching my students try to imitate my movements is eye-opening too. I don’t want to say anything that will embarrass them. So I’ll simply say that I feel much more confident in my abilities to move — but I look at them and wonder, “is that what they see?” I don’t feel that I’m moving that strangely. But maybe I am. 

Last thought. At one point I was dancing to music on Saturday night. And my girlfriend remarked, “it’s nice to see you dancing, rather than doing tai chi to music.”  Achievement unlocked, I thought: I was doing tai chi the whole time. I’ve become a dancer in my form.