I attended my first Taiji Zoom class in four months and it was both familiar and not. The first thing I had forgotten was that it was an hour-and-a-half, not just an hour. That was a change made just as I had my medical trauma and I never attended one of those classes. Class started late and I was nervous because I wasn’t getting in. It took ten minutes before I was invited in and then I remembered why the classes were so frustrating. For whatever reason, her connection is not strong. That means that I have a hard time hearing her. It was also partly a problem because I had done something dumb. I switched my audio to headphone/speakers because I don’t know why. I have a Lenovo Bluetooth speaker that I thought was hooked into headphone/speakers. It wasn’t until after the class that I realized, no, it’s just headphone. I don’t know why, but that’s the way of the Lenovo speaker.
I was the only person on Zoom. I have a hunch that’s the way it is most classes. I don’t know why, but it just seems like most people have moved on from the pandemic. I need to get my booster and then maybe I’ll feel comfortable going to an in-person class again. I wouldn’t before then, for sure. When I got to Cubs, there are maybe a quarter of the people other than me and the workers wearing a mask. I know people are tired of COVID, but it’s not done with us yet.
It started with warmups. It was as if no time had passed at all because it felt so familiar. And yet, I had forgotten more than one warmup in the process. Plus, there was an added one. Or maybe it was later. At some point, there was a change, which was exciting. Plus, during the Long Solo Form, the counts are different in a few places. It was the first thing I learned and yet, I still don’t like it. It’s gotten better over time, but I still will choose to do just about anything else before the Long Solo Form. It’s never felt comfortable or relaxing. It’s the basis for everything we do and it’s something I’ve done hundreds of times if not more. I should know it like the back of my hand and yet, I don’t. It’s partly because it’s been changed several times and I don’t know where it stands as of now. Changed by my teacher’s teacher. I was teaching myself the left side–ok.
Let me explain. Everything we learn in class in the right side. All the forms, I mean. And then we’re supposed to teach ourselves the left side. I have taught myself the left side of the sword and he saber, but not the Long Solo Form. As I said, it’s partly because my teacher’s teacher has changed it periodically. I taught myself 2/3rds of the left side of the Long Solo Form when my teacher’s teacher started really messing with it. He was changing so many things, I decided to wait until he was done before I finished teaching myself the left side.
It’s been many years later and I still haven’t taught myself the left side of the Solo Form. Any Solo Forms. I like the Medium Solo Form, but I only know the first section–it’s the fast form, which is lots of fun. My teacher’s teacher has changed the Long Solo Form and it’s the form my teacher is teaching to beginner’s first. Which means I need to relearn it because I may have to tutor some newbies when I go back to in-person classes.
In class, we did all the warmups and it felt just like before. Oh, my teacher gave a little intro of me before the class started. I wasn’t happy about it, but at least it was brief. After that, it was just like it always was. I had enough stamina to do what needed to be done and I was able to keep up until about the hour mark. Then I started flagging, especially as the internet got spotty.
We did the chi gong, which is my least-favorite part. Well, that’s not true. Meditation is my least-favorite part, but chi-gong is a close second. Honestly, I love the weapons–which is about all I care about. I like the warmups because they’ve kept me limber and supple. I didn’t use to do them before I ended up in the hospital, but then I started doing them after I got out. Why? because I was too weak to do the weapons.
Honestly, that was the worst thing for me in the first week out of the hospital. I wanted to do my weapons, but I couldn’t. I knew I had to be careful because I did not want to hurt my health. I had just gotten out of the hospital after serious health issues–the last thing I wanted to do was hurt myself again. I knew I just had to take time and get better before doing anything arduous.
But I had to try. I had to hold my beloved sword in my hand and swing it, didn’t I? I shouldn’t have, but I did. My metal sword. My baby. My first weapon and my beloved. I did the first three postures in the Sword Form before quitting. I was exhausted, but also exhilarated. My sword felt so good in my hand and like it had always been there. I had been low-key worried that I wouldn’t be able to remember the weapons form so the fact that I did eased my mind. Yes, it was only three postures, but I could remember past them even if I couldn’t do them.
I was really fortunate that I was able to remember all the weapons forms. Sure, it took the aid of my teacher’s teacher’s videos in some cases. but I didn’t mind. Now, over four months later, I have recalled all the weapons forms I once knew. Sword, left side and right side. Saber, right side. I have not tried the left side yet, but it shouldn’t be TOO hard. Double Sabers, right side. Karambit, right side, five of six rows. The eight postures of the Deerhorn Knives. Working on the third row of the Cane Form (four rows total). Doing some drills with the spear/staff.
I’m doing more weapons now than I was before the hospital. I am eager to learn more, but I’m trying not to wear myself out too much. I want to learn all the weapons, but I can only learn so much at one time. But at least I have my bonus days in which to learn more weapons!