Umm…Say What Now?

I was asked teach a new student yesterday. I knew I would need to eventually, but I thought I had a bit more time to mentally prepare before being cast into the fire.

We did the usual warm ups, 30 minutes of silk reeling, then the bomb was dropped.I was to take the new student to the other studio and teach the first move of the form. My brain had a mini aneurism. It was as if every ounce of what little knowledge I obtained had packed up and headed straight for the door. Suddenly, I was just some Joe off the street again, what business do I have teaching someone?? I had to struggle just to remember the form during warmup!

There was almost a haze in my vision as I struggled internally to calm myself. After several deep breaths I, barely, was able to grab the coat tails of my fleeting knowledge and drag it back into the entryway. It’s still fixing to leave…but at least I had a hold of it.

The session actually ended up going just fine. I was certainly nervous and spent the first several minutes fumbling around my descriptive imagery, but eventually came through and was able to teach the rest of the first move. The lead up to it however, left a disturbing unfamiliar residue on the hallways of my mind that I’m not quite sure what to make of.

I can’t recall anything similar to that experience in my past, nor can I remember reading anything that sounds similar. That makes pretty much a full week of new experiences and situations…. I am venturing into uncharted territory my friends. Let’s hope I packed everything I needed.

Sunday’s practice:

1.5 hours primordial Qigong

30 min silk reeling

30 min 24 teaching

Today’s practice:

24 form x4

83 form x1

2 hours silk reeling

Fierce and Full

In the private lesson yesterday, my teacher pointed out to me that it looked like my lower and upper body were holding back.

This really struck a chord with me, as its is something I have been acutely aware of in other aspects of my life.

I have always felt like I was holding something back. Holding back ideas, holding back my passion, holding back interest…just holding back something. Never pushing myself to that extra limit, always pulling up before reaching my potential.

People that know me would say…

“If that’s holding back, I don’t want to see your at full throttle.”

And they are right, I get intense when I am really in to something and yet despite that, I still always feel I am holding back…. 3 years of intense obstacle races, years of drunken out of control parties, crazy hours working on school projects, intense singular focus on work projects…. Yet, still always had the feeling that lingering feeling. Almost like I am waiting for something worthy of my full attention and intensity.

My mind can be a highly focused whirlwind. When it gets pointed at something everything else disappears and I live and breath that thing until I take it to the edge its capacity. More often then not though, I learn it doesn’t have the promise I originally thought and move on without looking back.

In the past, it has led to bad decisions, bad relationships, and tricky situations in general.

I never wanted Tai Chi to be that way. I started slow… For me :)… I went to class 4 times a week and practiced every morning for 2 hours. I learned the first form pretty quick…. At least the over all choreography (I hope to never stop learning corrections to the form). It took over my exercise routine time. So to me, it was just exercise and nothing more. I of course was really in to it, but it was kind of a probing cursory interest for about a year.

Well, I turned a corner one could say. I find myself wanting to take Tai Chi to that place I have never been. The place where I take it past my comfort zone, right past the point of passive interest, and straight past the point of no return.

I have amped up to next level and as a result I had yet another breakthrough in my form this morning:

Fierce and full.

Those were the concepts I was left with after my private lesson to kind of start exploring.

Fierce.. Not in a vicious way. Fierce like…. This is all of me to my limit. Not angry, not vicious, fierce just completely taking up the space my body and presence require. Fierce like, I am here, in the present and you have my full undivided attention.

Full, very similar to fierce. Full like my body is completely extended, my legs and arms released from inhibition. Completely involved and focused in each move, expression of intention from ever limb and every part of the body with a purpose.

With that in mind, My form completely changed. Half way through the first run through, beads of sweat started forming on my forehead. By the end, my arms had a layer of sweat on them as well. The speed did not differ from my usual (still too fast), yet my body and mind were fully engaged in each moment. This was a completely new feeling, allowing myself no distracted thought. Fully in the moment of what and how my body was moving. I think this was a taste of what Tai Chi is supposed to be. At least its a glimpse of a new level of practice
Three more times I did the form just like that. I have gained a new respect for the form and each movement.

Going forward I will be fierce and full. No more holding back and no more excuses. World of tai chi, here I come.

Todays Practice:

After the intensity of that form practice I got pretty tired later in the day. Took it kind of easy in the evening Dynamic Qigong class.

  • 24 form 4 times intensely
  • 120 pushups throughout the day
  • 14 pullups
  • 30 squats
  • 1.5 hours Dynamic Qigong

Day One

I couldn’t think of anything better to title this,  but I suppose it works as good as anything.

I had a revelation the other day. I realized that I want to commit my life to Tai Chi, I suppose that could be considered odd… But I gave up not being odd a long time ago.

Tai Chi,  when most people think of that they think of old people in the park moving really slowly. To be honest, when I thought of it that’s what I immediately went to as well.  Then I decided to do it. Something happened almost immediately. My stress dissolved. It was like all the anxiety and stress from the last several years was a frozen mass ice and Tai chi set a flame thrower to it. It all melted instantly escaping through every energy channel possible out my feet. I was hooked.

It’s been about a year and a half since I have started practicing.  The first six months I did it everyday,  almost religiously. Practiced the 24 move from mostly,  but through in some of the qigong excersizes here and there,  but I was mainly focused on memorizing the form. The next six months were focused on the more subtle aspects of the moves, I started doing a private lesson a month and getting direct coaching from my teacher to correct my particular habits.

All the while I was taking dynamic qigong classes, as well as primordial qigong (which is essentialy cleansing of the energy body and gathering chi). These classes are by far the most beneficial I have noticed. They break down individual moves and are learned through repetition.

Now I am taking one private lesson a week, and have just enrolled in the teaching certificate program through my school. This certificate was offered to me as a kind of a in between step of being a full disciple. I don’t feel like I have earned the right to ask to be a full disciple yet and I don’t want to ask until I feel like I have. These classes are taking up the majority of my free time each week, yet I haven’t considered committing myself to it until recently. Strange one I am, or just slow on the uptake.

My favorite thing about this particular certificate program is that it is qualitative based NOT quantitative. My teacher believes, and I agree, that Tai Chi is a lifelong art. It’s also an art that is purely based on the individual and their practice. You only get what you give in to it. With that in mind there is no time requirement for this certificate but rather you must reach a certain understanding in your practice. Once example is you must “have” your dantian. You must be able to feel it, be aware of it and be able to move from it. The dantian is the center of all movement in Tai Chi. Right now it is just a vague concept to me that is right on the edge of being made up :). I still have many years ahead of me of study clearly.

Anyway, I have lost track of what I was talking about. I am going to document here my path towards making Tai Chi my main focus in life. I am currently working in the game industry and I have tons of student loans that I am still sitting on. There is still a shit ton I need to do and get taken care of before I can start doing it full time. I figured I may as well put it down here just so I can look back and remember where I was and how I felt.

 

Todays Morning Routine:

  • 45 minutes of a mix of dynamic qigong excersizes
  • 1 time through the 24
  • 20 minutes of Zhang Zhuang meditation

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