I went to the wharf for the first time in quite a while, as the weather was warmer and the wind mild. The scene was right out of a romantic movie – the sky full of clouds of such varied shapes and sizes. They were slightly above the horizon level which left the snow capped Cascades and Olympics ringing the water, shining brightly. The sun appeared behind the mountains and lite up the sky in such a warm golden color. The birds started their morning meal time – swimming and diving. One lone seal (I wonder if it is always the same one). All in all, it was glorious.
It is so important for Tai Chi players to take the time to practice by themselves. The students who attend classes at the Studio mostly don’t because they have the opportunity to attend classes six days a week. Plenty of exercise, but being in a class led by an advanced Tai Chi player is not the same as solo practice. One doesn’t need to know what one is doing in a class – just follow along. Or one is learning a movement, so that is the focus. But to get out and just allow the learning to express itself, no matter how much of the form one knows, is so valuable.
Students say to me “But I didn’t want to practice incorrectly.” Don’t worry about that. One isn’t going to imprint incorrect habits in a few practice lessons. One needs to be realistic about what is going on in the mind and body so he or she can focus on what areas need more attention. When practicing solo, one can glean a great deal of information. So make an effort to get outside, hopefully into a quiet, interesting natural place, and enjoy the fruits of your study.
In a couple of days I am headed to a place that has a wonderful swimming pool. I love to practice in a pool. The resistance of the water illustrates so well how the torso is the prime mover of all movements. The water also forces one to pay very close attention to rooting, or else one will just float. The weight of the water necessitates using more peng to raise the arms, and more lu to lower them. Punching, kicking, stepping, brushing, etc., all take special attention. So informative!
My Tai Chi is always more focused after a session in a pool. I hope you can find a nice place in the water to play. Many lessons, and a lot of fun.