Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: refinements

Taiji, refinements, weapons, life

I’m roughly 90% healthy after my run-in with my nemesis, gluten. I spent all of yesterday feeling punk. I ate crackers (gluten-free!!!), chips, and chicken nuggets (with plain rice). I was still bloated and uncomfortable, and I still had to run to the bathroom more than I wanted to. I had no motivation to do anything (well, even less than normal), and I just felt gross. Today, I have, well, no motivation, but I don’t feel as miserable as I did yesterday.

With that out of the way, let’s talk taiji. One of my best traits is that I learn things quickly. It’s also one of my worst traits because it makes me lazy. I don’t practice as much as I should because of it, and I’m resistant to changes even though it usually doesn’t take me long to incorporate them. Wait. That’s a different problem. Anyway. Let’s talk about the Solo Form, long since the bane of my existence. I’ve been honest that I hated it when I first started taiji over a decade ago. I thought it was slow and boring and SO FUCKING SLOW AND BORING. I sucked it up because it would get me to where i wanted to be, which was the martial art applications. Weapons? Uh uh, no. Never in a million year, not for me, thanks, mate (watching too many British YouTubers).

Begrudgingly, I learned the Solo Form. Begrudgingly, I practiced it in class. Begrudgingly, I started doing a bit at home, but that was years later. I reached a point of neutrality with the Solo Form and I was able to see why it was beneficial. I mean, I was always able to see it, but I could tell the positive effects it’s had on my life. I was able to move through crowds by ‘seeing’ the gaps. I didn’t actually see them, but I felt them. I wasn’t as uncomfortable in a large crowd (still didn’t love it). I injure myself much less even if I’m not any less clumsy.

The problem is that once I ‘learned’ a movement, I stopped thinking about it. That doesn’t mean I perfected it, of course, which is part of the problem. Part of taiji is refinement but because I don’t love the Solo Form, I don’t put in conscious effort to refine the movements. It’s funny because Fist Under Elbow used to be my least-favorite movement (well, one of two least favorites), but it was one I knew the best because I had to take more time than usual to learn it. It’s the same with Cloud Hands which is everyone’s favorite. I hate it, so I know it well. I had a classmate who liked to recount how I taught it to him so well that he got it the first time. Again, because it’s my least-favorite movement, I’ve put a lot of thought into it.


Continue Reading