The Taijiquan Journal Logo Copyright © 2001 New Moon

Go to previous pageGo to Index pageGo to next page

September 2002

Hachimaki © 2002 New Moon

Copyright © 2002 New Moon

01: Sunday


It's 46 degrees out there! I can see my breath. Cloudy, though. I lit the lanterns and candles.

Five undistinguished sets. The creeping snake is driving me nuts. I know I've got it dead wrong. I get so tense worrying about screwing it up, that I screw it up.

One thing I have figured out: I need a new pair of Chucks. The liners are so worn— they're what's bothering me, not my socks. Of course, part of the problem is that my feet are changing. Truly. Tiger toes. I never would have believed it.

Still, I feel very discouraged about t'ai chi.

Thursday David emailed and said he couldn't print out the schedule and forms for the Chinese Martial Arts meet in CT. (The files are PDF. His computer caught a virus last week and he figures he must've blown his Acrobat Reader.) So I ran off copies and left 'em on his mailbox when I went walking. (In the rain. It was wonderful!)

02: Monday

Rain. It's a little warmer tonight. 56. Again I lit the lanterns and candles. And tonight I have new Chucks. They work much better.

Three sets left, and a lot of qigong.

The sets weren't— I wish I could get back the feeling of relaxation. I can remember feeling relaxed. I can remember how the forms flowed then. I remember feeling the chi. But that just isn't happening— and I don't think it's because I'm trying too hard. I think it's the result of a natural physical "low." Biorhythms.

Or maybe I just stink. I don't know anymore. Every night I feel like saying to heck with it. But then I feel guilty, and I think that I must practice because this time I might make the breakthrough that will left me out of these doldrums. So I practice. And it stinks. I've tried saying, "Oh, just relax and enjoy the feeling of the movement." But that doesn't work.

We have this Tuesday off. No lesson. School is starting and we'll be going back to the Levy School Cafetorium next week. The summer seemed awfully short.

I tried the new qigong, the "punch and—" I don't know what to call it. Begin with both fists clenched lightly at the waist. Punch across and then open your fist and drag the chi back across in an ess— well, ess on the left and zee on the right— and bring your hand back to your waist. It reminds me of the silk reeling exercises I learned from T'ai Chi Magazine. Powerful stuff...

I've been neglecting the silk reeling of late. In fact, I tried to do it, and couldn't remember it. I'll have to look it up tomorrow.


Eureka! I have found it! A hit of bilberry "juice" (150 proof— it's good for your night vision) before a set makes it flow. I was certainly relaxed. I had just gotten up, and wandered downstairs in my nightgown. I made some tea, then had my daily dose of bilberry cordial. Next thing I knew I was going t'ai chi and it felt great! I'm glad to know that I can do it well sometimes.

03: Tuesday


I'm so tired. No practice tonight. I walked in the rain, and transcribed my journal, and ended up talking with Ma about how I wish I could show David how the Dojo works. If David taught the way Sensei teaches, he could build up his student base, and he could teach more students and teach them better...

But how do I tell David about this? Do I?

04: Wednesday


I'm trying to keep my faith in David alive. To trust that he is going to continue to be my teacher. That he is going to teach me more. But it is very, very difficult. We don't talk easily. That's the problem.

05: Thursday

06: Friday


50 degrees and clear. I can see my breath.

Five sets? The first in T'ai Chi shoes didn't feel very stable, so I put on my new Chucks. Better, but my left leg seems to have deteriorated— or maybe it's just that I'm so tense and worried about t'ai chi. I know that each time I practice I worry about how bad it will be. So, of course, it's bad.

Before I settled down to practice, I was on the phone. I stepped up and down the porch in my T'ai Chi shoes. I just didn't feel right— or relaxed.

Today David did answer my email, but he didn't really say anything about the seminars:

"Thank you for the copies you made. All of the seminars look good. They are only hour or two long. Good for introduction into each topic."
I wrote back:
"As to the seminars, I was wondering more about whether I would be at a level to benefit from the teaching. I wouldn't want to be wasting the teacher's time, or my own...

You know, David, as my teacher, it is your duty to direct my learning. I think you should make recommendations. Didn't your teacher actually take you to workshops and seminars? You're the teacher now. You have a responsibility to your students to see to the furtherance of their education. You should be taking your students out and exposing them to other schools and techniques, making recommendations for learning new things. Isn't that what Pin Pin did for you? I would love it if you did take us places and expanded our t'ai chi horizons. You think about it, okay? It's the next logical step, you know, teacher. Truly."

I wonder what he will make of that. Will he ignore me completely? He might. It depends on how serious he is about teaching. I hope he is serious. I hope he decides to truly be my teacher.

07: Saturday

+/- 14:00

I'm tired. I got up early to make up a karate class (missed Monday because of the holiday). The class went very fast. We worked a lot on kicking and naihanchi nidan. I wish I could remember that kata.

08: Sunday

- 13:00

Yesterday, around five-ish, it got quiet, and I'd had a nap, and it was nice out on the back porch, so I did some t'ai chi. This time— all three times— there was— in places — a flow I haven't felt before. I noticed it first in Repulsing the Monkey when it suddenly became one continuous move instead of four separate executions of the form. Interesting.

Late last night, I cleared a space in front of the TV and practiced karate kicks. I tried to remember naihanchi nidan, too, but could only remember parts, not the sequence. Frustrating that. But the practice will help. I won't appear to be quite to spastic in class. I hope.

I still don't trust David to do his duty as my teacher. I can't seem to give him the benefit of the doubt, either. It makes me sad...

It's stupid. David hasn't ever hurt me... he has disappointed me a few times. But maybe that was my own fault for expecting too much...

But there is an obligation and responsibility inherent in assuming the position of teacher. And I feel David has not met those. Not always...

There are lots of butterflies about today. Bees. The "helicopters" are launching from the maple tree. Summer is nearly gone. Yesterday, as I walked by the heron's pond, I smelled the heady aroma of grapes...

I think I am very hard on people sometimes.

09: Monday


I did some silk reeling today, and qigong.

(And that's as far as I got journaling. So tired.)

11:00 +

I've been doing a lot of cleaning up lately. Yesterday, I cleaned up the back porch and got rid of a bunch of old plastic pots and planting trays, and finally got around to mounting the shelf unit I've been using for my gardening tools. After I swept up, I felt I needed some relaxation. I remembered I meant to look up that silk reeling article in T'ai Chi Magazine. It only took a few minutes to find the article— and the diagrams. So I spent some time silk reeling...

It's been a while since I did it last. I notice now that my knees and ankles and waist are all more flexible, easier to relax....

After that, I did the "punching" qigong David taught us a few weeks ago. It's almost the same as making t'ai chi circles, but even more... hypnotic. I don't know how long I spent punching and circling. It's very relaxing.

Later I found myself stepping, but I never did get around to actually practicing the forms.

I spent most of last night working on the web site. Sometimes I hate the thing and think it's stupid. I know it isn't well written, but then it not supposed to be a formal, edited account.... Still, I wish I had the time to make the writing good.

I called work and told them I wouldn't be in today. I need time to myself. I feel as if I'm at sixes and sevens and nothing will ever be right again.... There's so much that needs doing around the house...

The only thing keeping me sane is my commitment to t'ai chi. If I didn't have that, I 'd probably just give up completely.

And then there's the karate. I see the karate as an aid to developing my t'ai chi. It's making me physically stronger, and I need that. And also, the excellent energy at the dojo is helping to sustain me. Perhaps without that I couldn't go on at all...

T'ai Chi is my path. I like and respect the karate, but my heart is with t'ai chi, and it's unquestionably mine.

Much as I resent the "wall" between my and my teacher, I have to acknowledge that it has done me some good. If I had become close to David early on, I might never have known whether I loved t'ai chi, or whether I was enthralled in my teacher's enthusiasm and love for it. And, too, if he hadn't seemed to become so withdrawn from his teaching, I never would have gone looking and found the Dojo. Nor would I have looked so hard within myself for the truth of my feelings. So, in a way, it seems everything has been for the best.

I renewed my subscription to T'ai Chi Magazine today.

Lesson are to begin again tomorrow. There is a worry lurking in the back of my mind. I hear it saying that David will announce at the very last minute that there will be no more lessons forever.

10: Tuesday


Jon received his yellow belt tonight. Sarah, his daughter, my niece, was there watching. Yay! I loaned Jon the money to buy the new belt.

I still can't remember naihanchi nidan.

I noticed in transcribing this journal that I never made an entry for the t'ai chi lesson of August 20th. That was the night David taught us the "punch and circle" qigong exercise that had Ma seeing auras/chakras again. (This time it was black! She's seen black ones before. They seem to be indicative of people who are in the process of self-destructing. I'm glad it wasn't my aura she was seeing.)

11: Wednesday


I dreaded going to t'ai chi tonight. There was no real reason, just my unfounded fears whispering to me, but I felt dread. I went to class, though.

And it was only the five of us. Ma, me, Dennis, Michael, and David. No new students, even though David said five had called to say they were coming. They didn't show.

It was a good lesson. David showed me a few variations to Fair Lady Works the Shuttles, and we worked on lots of things... The reading was "Change." You can't move without change.

After class, just as Ma and I were leaving, David called out and said to me, "It's entirely up to you which seminars you take." Surprised, I wandered back over to him. He was packing up, and we talked about the seminars. He said he thought I might get something out of the Applications seminar, and perhaps out of the Relaxation one.... We were talking, and we talked as he packed up and then we talked as we walked out to the parking lot...

I screwed my courage to the sticking point and I mentioned that I was concerned about where my lessons were going. I said I wanted to learn more. David bristled a bit at first, but he quickly understood that I was sincere, that it wasn't a matter of my ego feeling slighted— that I wasn't suffering from a lack of humility!

As we talked, I discovered David has been putting as much thought and worry into his classes as I have. He wants us to succeed. He wants to teach us everything he can. But it's very difficult....

David doesn't really have any advanced classes. Some students are more advanced than others, but all the classes are a mix of levels. We talked about how difficult it is to have new students joining the class because then the "advanced" students feel held back. And we surprised each other by confessing to the same thing: We were both relieved that no new students had shown up because now the class could go on to more advanced things! It made us laugh.

We talked for an hour and a half out there in the parking lot. And Ma stood by and listened and watched... David was teaching me the first section of 42 form when Ma finally, regretfully, said she needed to go home. And so we parted. A step closer to being friends, I think.

I know David better now. I know I can trust him to try to do his best for his students. He is serious about teaching. And he wants to establish a dojo of his own. He will teach me. He said so. But we will both need to be a little patient. Patient with the world, with ourselves, and with each other. David said to me as we walked away, he to his truck, I to mine, "Don't worry. We'll get there." And now I believe him.

12: Thursday

13: Friday


Tiger Balm on my lower back tonight. This morning I reached up to water the hanging begonia and I felt a spasm. Too much kicking and Bo practice at karate, I think. But it was all the subsequent hours of sitting at the computer that did the damage.

Up and down, and up and down the stripe while I drank my tea. Every once in a while I noticed myself "coming up," especially when back stepping. It's because I forget to slide my tantien across, keeping it at the same level. One of these days, though, staying level will be automatic.

I emailed David to thank him for talking with me. I kept it very simple. I'll leave it at that.

Three sets tonight in the twilight. They felt very good— the chi was flowing. The other night David told me he had noticed how soft I had become. I remember a time when I thought I'd never hear him say that to me. What a long way I have come!

Yesterday, before karate, I did a half-an-hour of silk reeling and qigong. It really helps my kneeling.


Went to sleep with the comforting, cinnamon smell of the Tiger Balm and its hot tingle on my back. I feel much better.

The other night in the parking lot, I told David I had practiced Lotus Kicks for a while, but stopped because I didn't "have anything to do with them." He said to work them into my routine. The comment surprised me. I had never thought of varying the routine on my own— though... I did think about inventing a t'ai chi tango.

14: Saturday

Three good sets and cool down qigong. Snake gave me little problem today because I caught the trick of it last Tuesday. I had been turning my foot too far, too fast. The chi was flowing.

As I told David the other night, I'm working on looking where I should be looking, instead of at myself. A bad novice habit, that. And I'm working on making the forms flow into each other, instead of remaining separate forms within the set. It's kinda like the problem I have with reading music. I have a tendency to play each bar separately. I see that line on the staff and there's a hesitation, a very brief "stop," before I play the next bar. You can hear it when I play. It's very subtle, but it keeps my music from flowing.

I guess I see the world modularly. Separate and distinct pieces that all fit together, but remain discreet. It comes in very handy for programming computers and analyzing systems. But it has its drawbacks, and so I have to work on ignoring the parts and seeing the whole— to find out how to get everything to flow.

I learned so much talking with David the other night. Thoughts continue to surface, ideas to coalesce. I'm sure I'll be "discovering" new things for quite a time to come. It's really quite wonderful....

Greedy me, I hope David and I have many more long talks about t'ai chi.

15: Sunday

16: Monday


It's rainy and cool, and muggy, and warm— and windy. The wind feels very cool, and yet I'm sweating.

Five sets and cool down qigong by lantern and candle light. Some parts flowed nicely... but I thought about Snake and it didn't go well. (When I tense up creeping, I have a nasty habit of bringing my thigh up and across when going into Rooster. A twist, almost. Very bad.)

I tried to keep my eyes looking ahead; I tried to stay level... I seem to be noticing more and more details that I want to work on. Truly this t'ai chi is a lifetime endeavour.

My chi was flowing tonight. My roots... I'm just now getting a feel for what this "being rooted" is all about. Oh, I know the feeling when I begin, when all is static; but when I'm moving—! That's a whole 'nother story. I haven't figured out who to go from foot to foot and always be rooted.

Yesterday, I was working on stepping and making the steps— on making my feet come down ever so lightly and then roll slowly into contact with the ground... then I'd roll up and off, ever so slowly— like peeling tape up. It's an interesting problem getting this stepping and rooting worked out.

I find I'm still very apprehensive about t'ai chi. I'm still afraid David will fail as my teacher. I know he was sincere the other night; I know he's very serious about teaching; but, my fears haunt me. I love t'ai chi too much perhaps.

I've always been reluctant to love anything. That's because I always seem to get hurt. I've been well armored against love for many years. But t'ai chi snuck up on me. I'd be better off if I didn't care. Much better off.

17: Tuesday


Sometimes you feel it really ought to have gone better than it did.

Three sets, and cool-down qigong, and the odd White Crane practice. I was trying to get the crane to spread its wings more smoothly when going left. For some reason, my hands are inclined to collide than to glide smoothly through the dragon's mouth on that side. I think my left wrist is too stiff— but I'm not sure.

I practiced in the dark, with the Yin music. It's cloudy, but there's light behind the clouds, and the humidity is almost fog, reflecting what light there is.

This weather is the pits for practicing. It feels cool at first, but it's so muggy you're dripping with sweat after one set. Yeeeccch! Though, I have to say, the chi was very strong.

Karate tonight was fun. I'm getting better at kicking, and now I have naihanchi nidan down. Watching Sensei do that kata, though, I despair of ever achieving a credible execution. I haven't the strength. Ah, well. I can work on my roots and drawing chi. That's important, too.

Before class I did a half-hour of qigong and silk reeling. It does help my knees.


I was just now doing laundry, and I found myself leaning on the washing machine watching the clothes agitating, and I got to remembering tonight's lesson...

It was great. When Ma and I arrived, about 10 minutes early, David was practicing 42 Form. He said hello when I came in, but didn't stop. I got behind him and tried to follow along. When he got to the end of the segment, he saw me and said, "Okay, come on. We'll go through the first part." And we did. Twice. Excellent!

I still haven't got it in memory, of course, but I have the "cheat sheet" David gave me with all the four sequences of the 42 From, and David explained what was "going on" in each form, so I'll probably be able to figure it out. I hope.

We worked a lot on Repulsing the Monkey and Snake Creeps Down. Ma was getting Snake pretty good, but she found out that she'd been tensing up too much to let her feet turn.

The chi was really flowing tonight. David showed us some excellent new qigong ("Gathering the Ocean," "Gazing at the Moon," and one other I don't think had a name), and he was really cranking. I saw it the moment I arrived. The chi was strong.

Tonight David was truly my teacher. He gave me good, solid comments on my form, things I could go home and work with. And best of all, he was listening to me and watching me. We were talking about rooting at one point, and I started to say something about it, but stopped myself, remembering how, in the past, I had been given non-answers to my questions. But this time he asked me to go on with my question.

I told him I could feel my roots grown down into the earth in Opening Form, but when we begin to move, I lose them— though I can still feel the chi, I don't feel I'm connected to the ground. David explained that the chi is always coming up through the yung chuan of the "rooted" foot... I have to work on that concept. I makes sense, but I have to understand it... Anyway, the nice thing was that David and I were communicating. And it was wonderful.

Monday night David began a new class down at the Center. He had 19 new students! He spent the whole class and an hour more teaching tee-stepping. I'm so glad he has lots of new students. Quite a few will drop out, but even if half of them stay, it's excellent. I am so happy for him. I know he was discouraged about the lack of new students on Tuesdays.

As we were leaving class, I heard Ma say to David, "You a good teacher, David. Believe in yourself." I think it surprised him. It took him a minute to think to say thank you.

The air is cool and clear tonight, the moon bright as a spotlight. I was just out on the back porch going through naihanchis shodan and nidan. I know the moves, but I can't seem to discover the power or the roots— maybe I'm trying too hard? Maybe, right now, I should just try for precision and let the power find itself.

David told us tonight, rather casually during class, he'd had news that one of his previous students (no one we knew) had committed suicide on September 11th. In the closing circle has asked for us to send energy to the surviving wife... David must have been upset to have mentioned it at all to us. I guess he didn't quite know how to deal with it— who does? But I wish I had been able to say something other than, "That's very sad."

18: Wednesday

19: Thursday


I came home from karate last night feeling discouraged. It's not that the lessons are too difficult, or that the process is a long one ("It will be three to five years before you can kick correctly." Now, where have I heard that before?); but it's that my personal demon keeps whispering, "You've been wasting your time." Meaning the last two and a half years I've spent on t'ai chi, and I'm wondering, Why it's so easy for me to slip into believing that?

Before karate, I practiced silk reeling and the new qigong exercises. After that, I still had some time (I was more than an hour early), so I stood post. Two of the younger (teenage) students came in while I was standing and I could hear them giggling. When I was done one of them asked me what I'd been doing. I explained I was working on developing my chi and my roots so I'd have a good, solid Horse Stance like Sensei. they were skeptical. Very skeptical.

I suppose, when you think about it, my whole life is a waste of time. "Live is what you do while you're waiting to die." If I have a purpose, I haven't a clue what it is. I do try to leave things better than I found them— people, situations, whatever comes within my small orbit. But, when I'm gone, I won't be remembered long, if at all.

In all my life, I've never been really good at anything. I'm naturally good at a lot of things, but I've never cared enough about any of them to pursue them to excellence— until t'ai chi. Now I do care. And it's daunting to look at David practicing and realize how very long the road ahead is, and how late I started...

My demon bids me give up, saying, "You'll never catch up, nor be as good. Quit now." *sigh*

I should practice.


Three— extraordinary— sets. The first set was better than usual. In it I found a new balance in Parting Horse's Mane. Then, when I got to Snake Creeps Down, I found myself settling low and sliding up into Golden Rooster— easy!

The second set felt very smooth— it flowed, and I didn't "stop" after/between each form. (I did wobble on the first Snake when I suddenly thought I had forgotten to rock back!)

The third set was amazing. From Opening Form I visualized the chi coming up through my feet; in each form I felt it rising through my rooted foot, keeping me steady... I lost a little of the feeling towards the end of the set, but it felt amazing. Especially, I remember feeling my feet comfortable during Snake. I came up easily into Golden Rooster, solidly rooted— both sides! Wow.

Cool-down qigong also felt good.

I am truly amazed by some of the things that have been happening lately in practice— Take that you stupid demon!

20: Friday


Bright moonlight— a beautiful night. Cool. Lots of noise from the wildlife. I put the music on, but didn't light the lanterns: plenty of light.

I filed dismally at repeating this afternoon's extraordinary success. Part of the reason was that I chose to wear the t'ai chi shoes. I can't balance in them— yet. Ah, well.

After cool-down qigong, I worked a little on karate. Naihanshi shodan and niahanshi nidan. I still don't "get" it. I do think I should concentrate on being precise, not powerful. I've got to: I don't have any power.

I was reading "Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah" by Richard Bach earlier this evening. Sensei sells copies at the dojo. the sign in the case says, "One of Sensei's favorite books." It's an old book, copyright 1977. I don't think I read it before— though I did read "Jonathan Livingston Seagull" by the same author. I liked this thought: "What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly."


Stepping. The wind has shifted to the southwest. As I practiced, I swear I could hear Yin music far away.

21: Saturday

Full moon, equinox, warm, humid: bad day... Of course, I could try to change my thinking around... hmmmm....

There's a wind today, out of the west mostly, but it shifts. It's disquieting, too. the trees seem very agitated. Everything is antsy, maybe every one is, too...

It was a gorgeous night last night. When I came back from Ma's around 1:30, I stepped out onto the back porch. The sky was milk and the moon white light. I was tired, but I settled into a set. I was in stocking feet, though, and they caught on the boards; and the antsiness I had felt all evening didn't drop away. I stumbled through to the end of the set.

I thought about changing to my shoes; I thought about trying again...

Sometimes, it's best just to go to bed. So I did.

22: Sunday


I'd like to write here that when I got around to practicing (early this monring— I was baking pies for the dojo picnic), that I performed three sets and that they were well executed. Alas, the sets— all three— stank. My balance was gone. the flow was gone. the chi was gone— until I did the cool-down qigong. then it manifested full force.

It was a beautiful night. I didn't need lanterns. But I was lost in the dark.

There's a little pressure now in the back of my mind because David has begun teaching me 42 Form. Even though I've only done it four times (six, if you count both World T'ai Chi & Qigong Days), I feel I ought to be able to remember it.

23: Monday


Three sets.

24: Tuesday

25: Wednesday


Tonight David showed us an exercise called "Circling the Qi." Interesting, but not as powerful as the punching— well, maybe I need to practice it.

The reading tonight was "River." We should be like the water, "gathering in the deep, dark, and dirty places..." I made a joke, and that led to the song from Paint Your Wagon, "The Best Things in Life are Dirty." ("The best things in life are dirty. The worst thing in life is waking up clean without a bean...")

We worked on Grasp Peacock's Tail and on Repulse the Monkey. We had some fun. After class, when we went to get out stuff, Cindy saw my 42 Form "cheat sheet." I had brought it so I could make notes on it. David took me through the first sequence before class, but Cindy was late and didn't know about that. When she saw the sheet she asked, and then, because Cindy is an advanced student, too, he took us both through the first sequence a few more times.

26: Thursday


Three sets and twice through the first sequence of 42 Form. I'm a little lost in Deflect and Push on Both Sides, but I made a stab at it— it's just what it says it is, after all. Only the transition into it has me confused...

The regular sets were okay. I'm noticing that the push in Peacock isn't balanced, but I haven't worked out what I'm messing up— yet. I think it's a matter of hip alignment.

My "orbit" has changed again. Now when I go to kick, I'm not as close to the house as I used to be, and I don't scrape my hand on the house. I'm ending inconsistently, but mostly a foot-length ahead and 4 to 6 boards to the inside.

Last night before karate, I spent an hour practicing qigong in the small dojo. I could kneel easily when the time came.

The lack of strength in my left arm and left leg is beginning to manifest in practice. The elbow and knee don't have enough muscle support for control in blocking and kicking. I'm going to have to be careful— I may have to join a gym!

27: Friday


Three sets right, and a couple of attempts at the first sequence of 42 Form, in the humid dark, listening to the light rain. We're expecting the tail end of a hurricane— high winds— so I battened everything down before I practiced.

Some parts felt amazingly good. Repulsing the Monkey, for one. That work we did in class helped. It felt very coordinated and balanced.

I'm finally getting my left shoulder to un-hunch when I make the transitions from side to side in Peacock. It feels much better when the shoulder is down. Now if only I can figure out the balance in the pushes!

I still can't get the full first sequence of 42 Form worked out, but I like what I've got, and it's nice to have something new to work on.

28: Saturday


The wind arrived just as I was preparing for practice, and so did the warm, humid air. It was rainy and foggy earlier, and cooler. The chill was in the house when I got home, but now the air is very warm. I lit the lanterns and set them on the porch floor, else the wind would've sent them flying.

Four sets to music, four attempts at that first sequence, and then some cool-down qigong. Parts of the sets felt very right and flowing; other parts were... lousy. I wasn't connecting through my feet tonight. But my hands had plenty of chi. I've got to figure out how to get the flow to go from top to toe and back again.

29: Sunday


I feel stupid and disconnected and ... I don't know. I can't seem to get my feet under me. All I have to hang onto is the t'ai chi... Time to practice in the dappled shade.


I had to sweep the porch before practicing: there were pine needles and leaves and "helicopters" from the storm. I don't always, or even usually, sweep, but I'm glad I did today. Today I leaned how to sweep. It seems I've been putting way too much effort into it all these years. Today, though, I relaxed and applied t'ai chi principles, and sweeping became easy and relaxing.

Six sets, three each side. Some of the forms felt excellent... And I felt something I haven't felt before: the inside calf muscle of my left leg. I sank onto my left leg for Snake Creeps Down and I felt that muscle "kick in," working to stabilize me. I'm very pleased. I had thought I'd never get the use of that muscle back. I thought I'd spend the rest of my days trying to find ways to compensate for that missing muscle. This is very encouraging.

I was telling Jo yesterday how my left side is still stiffer than my right, how it lacks the spring and flexibility. I was feeling discouraged about it— even knowing that I have improved over the years since starting t'ai chi. But now I know for real that practice really is paying off. I spent some time after the sets just working on the pull and push of Peacock because I discovered it's the stiffness in my left leg and hip that makes me feel so unbalanced when grasping the tail to the right. It's nice to know that, one of these days, it will feel just right.

30: Monday


Two good sets. But I'm not happy with the transition from Snake to Fair Lady. It's been in the back of my mind for a while that this transition is quite sloppy. I'll have to work on it.

* Please note:

The times given are in 24-hour military notation. 01:00 is one o'clock in the morning. 13:00 is one in the afternoon.

Copyright © 2002 New Moon

Go to previous pageGo to Index pageGo to next page