Two qi gong forms, and four tai chi forms. This is starting to come together. This morning’s practice was under some pressure to write about Fire, since I wrote about Air a couple of days ago, but I was also focused on things like tablet weaving yesterday. There was also myrrh burning in my office/studio/dojo/temple space this morning. While myrrh has some resonance with fire, I think of it as a very earthy scent; maybe my years as a high-church Christian, considering the ways in which myrrh was resonant with the tomb. Anyway, it’s hard to muster much enthusiasm for the idea of writing about fire.
I’m going to try, though. When facing south this morning, I was trying to call up in myself the fierceness, the warmth, and the energy of fire into my practice. This introduces greater force into the outward movements, and tends to speed them up. The movements are performed more energetically, more deliberately. The gaze is made more frowning, more angry, more outwardly and obviously aggressive. The defensive measures are performed with much more rigidity in the limbs, more anger. At the same time, though, the movements should be controlled; and emphasis should be placed on upward and outward movements — because fire does not usually sink down, but only rises; and if there is fuel, it expands to the fuel, rather than vanishing.
This is not an ideal sort of way to practice tai chi regularly, I think. Which is part of my reason for writing about it somewhat reluctantly. But I think that finding that fire within yourself and manifesting it from time to time is useful. And it’s so uncommon to find it in tai chi practice at least at the beginner and intermediate levels, that I wonder sometimes if it’s part of a secret teaching.