Long set, short written response today. I did about 45 minutes of tai chi this morning. This amounted to two longer qi gong routines with a great deal of care paid to the individual movements, and four tai chi sets facing each of the four directions. I was hoping to do some additional work regarding Water this morning, paralleling Fire and Air, but I just wasn’t there this morning.
I would say that each of my tai chi forms was about nine minutes. They’re supposed to be 12 minutes, maybe fifteen if I’m really going very slowly. So, 12×4 is 48 minutes; if the two qi gong forms are each six minutes or so, I’ll hit my hour goal. Another way to hit my hour goal by the end of year four is to do a fifth, or a fifth and sixth tai chi form — which probably eliminates my time in the morning for meditation or writing, one or the other. Neither feels like a good choice at this time in my life.
Later today I’ll be teaching a group of my students at school a basic form of the work. I’m also not finished with this week’s Dabbling, which will likely run tomorrow rather than today — largely because I forgot that grades and comments were due this week and next. So rather than working on a comic this week, I was working on grading papers, writing comments and calculating grades for the trimester. Should be ready in the next day or so.
Andrew, I never understand your timing. I THINK you are doing the Yang Family Short Form? Nine minutes would be about right for that, based on how long it actually takes Chen Man Ching himself, and his grand masters. I don’t understand the benefit of doing it much slower than that, as a regular practice. Now and then, for awareness, yes. My friends and I do practice beginning all different directions, and that’s an eye-opener.
“Andrew, I never understand your timing.” Good, because neither do I. 🙂
More seriously, when I was learning the form, I was told that it should take 7-8 minutes for basic health, and 10-12 minutes for “something more”. I’ve been trying to achieve that 10-12 minutes reliably for a while, and I haven’t succeeded. But truthfully, I don’t know what the ‘something more’ is that comes from doing it for 3-5 minutes longer.
Yeah, I agree. I don’t know what the additional benefit would be. At least, not regularly. I can see trying to slow down now and then, if you think you’re getting too fast, and you’ve written before and I would agree that one really notices the DETAILS if you are doing it really slowly. Plus it can be good to switch it up now and then if … you either know what you are trying to achieve, or really actively searching for the “something more.” Not that I’m an expert or anything, but I think if you can mindfully achieve 10-12 minutes now and then, and consider it deeply, that’s good.
An instructor with whom I took one free class once during each of two summers concluded by saying “Tai Chi is life. Some days it’s easy and sometimes it’s not. You do it, accept it and move on.” I think you understand what she meant. She meant that some days we have it and some days we don’t, and not beat ourselves up over it. And maybe not look THAT CLOSE? The revelations may come when we aren’t looking for them.
Still enjoying your blogs. Everyone in my Tai Chi circle perks up their ears when I say, “Well, just yesterday Andrew mentioned…” Sometimes you are having the same conundrum we are having.