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March 2002

01: Friday

St. David's Day. Put a leek in your buttonhole!

One set. And I noticed that when I assume starting position, the sun in no longer shining in my eyes; only when I "sink" do I need my hat. The sun is moving north; spring is coming.

02: Saturday

Ma and Jo and I went to class, so David had a full house. I think he enjoyed that.

It was a good workout. The basics always are.

I got confused by Parting Horse's Mane. I never really "got" the hands "passing through the dragon's mouth" thing before. It was clear when David was showing us, but now... There's a dragon's mouth on both hands, so which hand passes through which mouth? I think I've been passing the downwards moving hand through the upwards moving "mouth," and I've got the feeling that it should be t'other way 'round...

Another thing: I haven't been keeping my head up. I've been doing that a lot lately. I've got to stop doing that.

03: Sunday

No practice. But I've been puzzling about that dragon's mouth.

04: Monday

Three sets. Some qigong. Not very good. I'm not concentrating as I should.

05: Tuesday

Two years ago— exactly!— I learned Parting Horse's Mane for the first time, two years I've been practicing it, and tonight I learned new things about it. For instance, I learned that I was moving my hands too slowly: they weren't in position when I arrived in Forward Bow Stance— and I learned that I was pushing myself too far past my toe line going into that!

I got the dragon's mouth thing sorted out, too— aaaarrrrrggh! I can't remember if the dragon is the ascending or descending hand! But I swear, earlier tonight, I knew. I did. Really. For a little while, it all made sense.

Tonight David began with a reading, "Crane." When he read the title, I went into Crane posture (hands up like wings, standing on one foot— you know: Chen style, like in the Karate Kid posters), and David looked at me and said, "Stay like that while I read." I said, "Okay," and just as I got settled into it— I hadn't been "settled" cuz I was really screwing around when I assumed it— Ma reached over and pulled on my arm saying, "Cut it out!" cuz she knew I was screwing around, and I lost it, but David noticed and said, "Hey, she just got settled!" Anyway, I resumed the posture, and, just to bust me some, David dawdled before he got around to reading. I held the posture, though, until he was done— it wasn't really that long, maybe five minutes— and I think I made points for that.

06: Wednesday

I didn't practice. Even though this is the second anniversary of T'ai Chi lessons, I didn't practice.

But I did take a card and some goodies over to David from me and Ma. Thank you, teacher.

07: Thursday

Six sets; a little qigong.

I "got" dragon's mouth! I wasn't thinking and I got it. I probably flatter myself, but I think my hands are getting more like David's.

Errata: I over-balance on all the "pushes." I'm too far over my toe and my heel comes up. Also, my waist is causing my hip problem in Hands Unfold Like Fan. When I let my waist go, my hip loosens, and I can turn my foot... I suppose my waist is causing me any number of other problems, too. Well, at least I'm learning.

08: Friday

Two sets. A little qigong. The Snake is not good. But — almost— Wave Hands Like Clouds comes together. Peacock improves...

It felt mild, but I could see my breath.

09: Saturday

Six sets and qigong.

I'm on a new awareness curve. I'm noticing more: balance, coordination of hands and feet— Wave Hands Like Clouds is very interesting when the hand/foot coordination is there.

The creeping snake continues to elude...

But the dragon's mouth is there now, and it makes a big difference.

10: Sunday

I didn't practice. I was going to, but I was too stressed from Saturday's adventures. By the time I got to even thinking about practice, it was cold and windy and I said, "To heck with it!" and went for a long walk.

11: Monday

Three sets and qigong. Cold today. My fingers were freezing during the first set; I could see my breath when I began.

Today I wondered about balance and coordination. In Press Hand, for instance, does/should my foot touch down before I begin to turn? Or is that wrong?

12: Tuesday

What a workout! David kept us at it the whole lesson— I wish I'd had my camera, too. He had us working on Snake Creeps Down and he was showing Ma and — seeing them doing it in tandem was priceless! Oh it was funny watching her get so turned around trying to follow him— once she stopped thinking aoubt it, though, she got it!

David was in a very good mood tonight. We did the forms three times though in succession, and we did them quickly, at about four-and-a-half minutes a set. It makes you keep the flow going he said. It'll take some getting used to, though. My balance went all to blazes.

David was also very interested in showing us the applications tonight. He demonstrated on me how Snake Creeps Down works. Cool.

It was an excellent class. And David announced that we would all be getting together for World T'ai Chi and QiGong Day on Saturday, April 6th. Yay!

13: Wednesday

No time to practice today. I feel guilty. Last night's class was so good.

14: Thursday

Today is gorgeous. 60 degrees. Sunny. Light breeze.

I spent some time figuring out Kick with Left/Right Heel. As David pointed out in class, I was kicking in the wrong direction— especially to the right. I was keeping my leg in, instead of kicking towards the direction to which I would be stepping out. Once I figured that out, the step into Box Opponent on Both Ears worked much better— and so did my balance!

Grasp Peacock's Tail is bugging me now. I know I'm not transferring my weight correctly and am double-weighted through most of that form, except the Forward Bows. Rats.

Today, in addition to doing kicks in a continuous series right and left, I did four sets— rather quickly in comparrision to my usual speed— in succession. I ended four boards over from starting position. I'm not sure that means anything other than that I am fitting myself to my practice area. The other night, in class, I know those three sequential sets took me backwards and to the left quite a way. I should bring a marker.

15: Friday

Three quick sets and a little QiGong. I noticed that I wasn't coordinating hand and feet while stepping in Wave Hands: that was corrected on the third pass.

I think I'm still not kicking properly— it's hard to tell without a target to aim at. I'll work on that tomorrow.

My right foot tensed up in the first set and threw my balance off. I concentrated on rooting (and relaxing) it, and it did. As well as it can.

16: Saturday

No practice.

17: Sunday

Six sets, and, because Strum the Lute in the left-hands sets was bugging me, I spent a goodly time on it. I Brushed Knee into it, strummed, and Repulsed one monkey, then brushed the opposite kneww into the opposite strum, repulsed another monkey, brushed atain, and so on. By the end I was strumming right and left to my satisfacton, but had managed to make my lower back ache.

In the sets I felt very... inconsistent. I concentrated on hand-foot coordination in Wave Hnads when I remembered. Ditto for Snake Creeps Down.

So very much there was to remember! So very much there is yet to learn! At one point I noticed, in Brush Knee, when brushing right, how stiffly I was moving my left arm. I've been holdingit stiff all this time, I guess. When I concentrated on relaxing it, it felt so very different...

And today I had to work on not stepping out too far in Press, and on keepng my weight on the flat of my feet in the last sets when I was getting tired...

I s'pose I should be glad I'm noticing my mistakes now.

18: Monday

No practice.

19: Tuesday

Tonight's lesson was... excellent.

When David arrived, I was doing a set. I had placed a penny at my starting point so I could see where I ended up when performing "without bounds." I was doing Fair Lady Workds the Shuttles when David called out, "What was that?" I knew he was talking to me, but I mostly ignored him, and finished up, ending about a foot-length behind where I started— but it was an unmindful. unbalanced set, so I don't think it really proved anything...

Anyway, when I was done, David told me to do Fair Lady again, and I tried, but I couldn't change gears quite, so I went for a drink, and he hollered, "Get back over here!" He was laughing, and I told him to go ahead and laugh at me, and I went for that drink. When I got back I went up to him and said, "Okay, what am I messing up now?" He had me do Fair Lady again and then came over and started working with me on it.

It seems I was turning my waist as I was stepping out. That's wrong. You're supposed to put your foot out, plant it, and then turn your waist as you slide forward into bow stance. Makes perfect sense. I said so, and told him he should have mentioned it before. He said he had, and I said he hadn't. Then Dennis chimed in saying he'd probably told the Saturday class, not the Tuesday class. David laughed and so did I. And that and me wlrking the shuttle became the joke of the evening. But the best part was that that little episode answered a shole lot of my questions about coordination for Press, Peacock, Fair Lady, and— it answered a lot of questions. Excellent.

Jo told me that she saw colors on our hands as we did qigong at the beginning of class. I wish I could see the colors of chi. All I saw was a sparkly migraine "c" pattern later when we were practicing push hands. Jo said it was a chi headache I had. Maybe it was. There was a lot of chi flowing in class. It still amazes me.

After class, out in the parking lot, we had a snowball fight. Neat! The little bit of snow we had yesterday was just right for snowballs.

20: Wednesday

Sometimes an excellent class makes me skip a day of practice. Maybe it's because I have so much information to process.

21: Thursday

Five full sets? I lost track. I got to closing form on one set and it was buggin me that Embracing the Tiger wasn't working equally well on both sides, so I stopped to work on that. The problem seems to be my left foot not grounding— rooting at all points...

After that, I got to working on Wave Hands for the same reason: left foot. Boy! Is that ever bugging me!

Press is buggin me, too. Ever since class I've been working onmaking sure I plant my foot then turn my waist, but in Press I just feel completely out of control. I've been pivoting onone foot, then going into the foward bow to press... Not right. Not right at all. Rats. Got to go in for regrooving on that one!

I did some qigong to finish up.

Some days, like today. I find t'ai chi very frustrating, and it seems as if I'll never learn anything, which is really silly when I consider how much I already have learned in two years. If only it didn't make me so aware of how much I still don't know!

This evening David was the guest speaker at our Energy Circle meeting. He talked about t'ai chi and led us in some neat qigong exercises. It was excellent!

22: Friday

Way too cold and windy for practice today. Thirty degrees with forty mile an hour gusts. Pfui.

23: Saturday


24: Sunday

I practiced, but I don't remember it.

25: Monday

I "hugged a tree" while I waited for my tea water to boil. I didn't feel any strain....

There was only time for one set, but I did it mindfully, and it felt good.

Last week, when David made me work on Fair Lady Works the Shuttle, he demonstrated for me and I got to see exactly how the hand throwing the shuttle moves. There's a graceful little reverse right after the leading hand glides through the dragon's mouth. As the leading hand turns over— the trailing hand is still separating until the turn over, at which time the shuttle hand reverses and "throws." Very neat. Very graceful. I hope I've got it right.

I'm still having a terrible time with Press and Peacock. I haven't found the balance points yet. I know I will find them eventually, but I am very tempted to ask— even knowing how badly that usually turns out!

At least now I know it's the difference in the strengths of my legs that makes returning the tiger so difficult to perform symetrically.

26: Tuesday

Had an email to today from David saying he had had a slight accident over the weekend and would have to cancel class. Rats! It seems he scratched his eye and had to wear a patch and it was bothering him something awful.

Paul and I went to Jo's for supper. Afterwards we practiced. Two sets and then bits and pieces. We also did qigong— tree hugging— and the cool down exercises.

I didn't find the practice satisfying. I prefer solitary practice or class.

Sometimes I feel as if Hubris is going to overtake me. I'm not so very hot at taiji, but, at times, I feel miles ahead of the others in class. Perhaps I shouldn't, but I do. Even knowing how much I don't know, even knowing that I don't practice nearly enough, I feel... more accomplished, and I worry that I'll pay for feeling that.

27: Wednesday

Another day I got up too late to practice. I did so some practicing in the stacks while I was defragging the public computers, but not enough. I'm really feeling the lack...

28: Thursday

Full moon today. As I drove over to the garage to fetch Ma, I watched it. Huge. Warm, peachy yellow. Gorgeous blue sky.

Three sets today in the bright spring weather. No qigong. I think I'm getting the power to flow better, but I'm still messing up Press. When doing it, I've tried to plant my foot and then turn my waist as I slide over, but I haven't got the coordination right yet. My feet must be planted wrong. I can't/don't feel rooted. I wonder what the "trick" is.

29: Friday

Today, for a while, I hated t'ai chi. I was in the third set, Parting Horses's Mane when I noticed I was moving my arms instead of turning my waist— moving like a novice! When did I start doing that?! What happened?!

Up and down the porch I went until I had corrected it— but I still wasn't doing it right. I did a third set and qigoing, but I just wanted to quit and never have to bother with t'ai chi ever again. The rest of the day wasn't much better.

30: Saturday

No practice.

31: Sunday

No practice.

Copyright © 2002 New Moon

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