Underneath my yellow skin

Riding the high

I am not talking about drugs in this post, though I have done that in the past. I want to continue the Taiji/Bagua groovy train. I called the last post ‘Bagua is my life now‘ as a joke. Except, it’s not a joke. Not really. I tend to be obsessive when I like something. It’s one reason I’ve wondered if I have ADHD. When I am not interested, I flit from topic to topic. Once I am, I am all in. There really is no in-between for me. Bored as hell, or completely absorbed in it.

For example. I don’t like video games in general. That’s probably surprising to people because I fucking love FromSoft games. And roguelike-lites. And cozy games. But mostly FromSoft games. Outside of that, though, I could not care less. I don’t like FPS, most triple A games, other shooters, or any of the more popular games, really.  For example. I played about an hour of Red Dead Redemption II and hated it. I’ve seen GTA IV gameplay and REALLY loathed it. All the CODs and Modern Warfares are blah to me.

I can’t do platformers because of my limited abilities, and I am not interest in the Marvel Universe one whit. In general, I am not into pop culture. I hate movies and TV. Music is very hit or miss for me. And novels, well, I am a bit more open to books, but even then, they’re so limited.

It’s with this background that I want to hop to Bagua. Yes, this is my new love. I am infatuated with it and there’s a lot of NRE surrounding it. I want to talk about it all the time, and, honestly, it has injected my flagging love of Taiji with more enthusiasm as well. That’s what having passion for something can do–give you more passion for something else!

Resisting urge to go on a rant about how ethical nonmonogamy can be a good thing

I had a Taiji private lesson today–I suppose I should say Taiji/Bagua because we’re focusing on Bagua now .I told my teacher how Bagua has got me fired up, not only for Bagua, but for Taiji once again. She was showing me some of the applications for Bagua (and if you allow someone to pull you) versus applications for Taiji in the same situation.

I could not find my notebook today, unfortunately, but she had t he great idea to have me video her doing the first three movements. It’s, quite frankly, the best reason for having a cell phone. Notes are great; video is better.

It’s really hard to tell you how it feels to do Bagua versus Taiji. I’d break down Taiji even further because there is the solo form versus the weapon forms. Remember, the solo form is the basis for everything we do in Taiji. It took me probably the first year of my study to learn the solo form. At least the sequence. Back then, I had a really good memory and it was easy learn things; I’ve always been good at school.

I didn’t truly get it, though, until years later. In 2016 or so, I got into a car accident. I saw the SUV hurtling at me, and I thought, “I’m going to get hit.” I instantly relaxed, which made the difference between me being badly hurt and me walking away with only a large bruise on my stomach.

That was when I realized that Taiji had changed my life. Here’s the thing about practicing it. It’s a very slow-moving, incremental internal martial arts. Obviously, it can be used for combat and it’s lethal. But for practice, it’s more about meditation and being in the moment. Smoothness and ease, and it’s all good.

The  weapons forms, obviously, are a bit more muscular. You’re moving hunks of steel (or wood) in the air, but still keeping it as smooth and easy as possible. I can’t stress enough how you’re supposed to put as little effornt into it as possible. It’s not about giving 110% or pushing through the pain. It’s a mindfuck, to be sure, because in America, you had to push it hard all the time. Not just in jobs, but also in working out.

I have never liked that because I’m a lazy person. I don’t have the energy to do all that, and it’s literally impossible to give 110%. I really appreciate that Taiji is about using as little effort as possible to get a big result.

Bagua, on the other hand, is fierce. It’s all-out, and it’s brutal.  When I’m doing Taiji, I’m pretty relaxed and chilled. There’s a purpose, yes, but I’m not trying to be hurting anyone. I’m not aggressive, even when I’m doing the weapons.

Once I start doing Bagua, though, that all changes. I’m much more alert and ready to attack. I’m still not trying to hurt someone, but I’m not NOT trying to hurt someone, either. My teacher and I were doing some very light sparring, and I could see why she loved doing Bagua so much.

The two really complement each other. I have to be careful, though, not to get stuck on, “Oh, this is just like _____ in Taiji.” There are similarities, of course, but they are different martial ars. My teacher mentioned that, yes, they did have things in common because there were only so many ways you could move in an internal martial arts way, but she agreed that it was better not to focus on how we did things in Taiji.

It’s similar to how when you make a mistake, you should not think about the mistake–you should focus on the correction. There are many things that have been updtaed in the form, and she urges us not to think about how things used to be because it can get in the way of how things are right now. Which makes sense. If I think about how I fucked up or how we used to do a movement, then that’s what is fixated in my mind. It’s better to think about how to do it correctly so that is the image I am carrying forth.

I have more to say, but I got my COVID shot today. I’m tired so I’m ending it here for now.

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