Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: Weapon Forms

Internal martial arts are life

I love my weapons. I will just come out an d say it. They are my life, and the one hobby I would give up the last. Writing as a very close second, but something about the weapons just sing to me. When I’m practicing the forms, I am as light as air. Or as heavy as the earth. As hot as fire? Not particularly. But floating on air? Yes! Wait. The fire one is not necessarily true. As fierce as fire? Yes, there’s that, too.

One reason I was committed to my teacher was because she was very honest about what she knew and didn’t know. I asked a million questions and was a recalcitrant student. I had been burned by my first teacher (he was terrible), and I was not someone who trusted easily in the first place. She was very patient with me. If she did not know the answer, she would say that and tell me she would find out. Either by reading or by asking her teacher.

In addition, she never took what I said about Taiji personally. The complaints I made, I mean. I said that one posture/movement was the W. (George W. Bush) of postures, which tickled my teacher. I also said at one point, “Fuck Taiji!”, which also made her laugh. She repeated it delightedly, which showed that she had a healthy attitude towards her craft. Many people can’t laugh at something they love, which is not a good way to bring people in. Being defensive, I mean.

She was so patient with me. I told her at our last private lesson that I really appreciated how she took each student as they were and knew that every student learned differently. She did not try to impose her way of teaching on any student, and she was able to keep the impatience from her voice–most of the time.

I have told her several times that I was thankful for her graciousness to my surly attitude. I fought back against everything and made things much harder than I needed to make them. I’m better at it now. If she says something about Taiji (or Bagua), I accept it. She has earned that, and it’s much easier on me.

I will say that I really enjoy learning a new martial art. As I’ve said in the past, I felt as if I was in a bit of a rut with Taiji. Here’s my last post which was about how I find the way Westerners think about exercise to be toxic. It’s one reason I chose Taiji as the martial art to study, but I do like learning new things. I had put my weapon forms on hold because my teacher cautioned about learning them too quickly.

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Taiji and me

I have a Taiji confession to make. I do not like the Long Solo Form. This is the basis for everything we do, and it’s the first thing I was taught by my teacher fifteen years ago. I hated it then and resisted it with all my might. I questioned my teacher every step of the way, and I dragged my feet in practicing at home. As in, I didn’t. Practice at home, I mean. It’s the reason I slowly added a second class a week and then a third. I reasoned that if I wasn’t going to practice at home, then I better go to more classes.

The Long Solo Form is the Master Liang form. He was very much into dancing and made everything fit a piece of music. Everything was even counts and the movements reflected that belief. The form hurt my knees and my back terribly. I had to do extensive work to undo both (though, to be fair, I already carried a lot of body pain before Taiji. The Long Form just exacerbated it).

I cursed Taiji. I got my teacher to say ‘Fuck Taiji’ as a way of emphasizing with my disgruntled frame of mind. I had forgotten all about this until my private lesson today. In the backyard in 68 degree weather, by the way. It ‘felt like’ 103 two days ago. Madness! Anyway, we were working on the new Long Form and chatting about how much I hated the old one when I first started Taiji. She said she was working with a new student who was very skeptical about the benefits of Taiji. My teacher said she understood and mentioned she once had a student (me) who was exceedingly skeptical about Taiji, so much so, I drove her to say ‘Fuck Taiji’ about something or the other. I joked, “Did your hand explode? No? Then Taiji can’t be that bad.” That was something else I had said in jest–that I felt like Taiji would make my hand explode.

I have apologized to my teacher for being the biggest pain in her ass about Taiji. She shrugged it off because as she said, she trusted Taiji. She knew it was beneficial, and she trusted that I would realize it at some point. Now, I can’t imagine my life without it, honestly. Yes, it’s mostly the weapons, but I realize that the Long Form is important.

One reason I stopped practicing it is because right before the pandemic, my teacher’s teacher started to drastically change it. Or rather, he started teaching the Medium Form, which is very different. And tweaking the Long Form. I don’t remember how many years ago it was, but I was trying to teach myself the left side of the Long Form.

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