Monday Morning Tai Chi Training Tip # 307
A Few Random Thoughts and Counting Moves
* Most people on the spiritual path spend much of a lifetime seeking self awareness or enlightenment. Periods of up are followed by periods of down, but the sincere seeker carries on no matter what.
* The masters I have met and interacted with all say the same thing – once you reach your goal you realize that “you were you” all along, only you didn’t realize it. Remember “you are You” – always have been and always will be.
* When thinking, I hear a voice in my head. It is always the same voice, same inflections. It is my voice as I hear it. One time during an intense meditative period, I heard a voice, only it was a different voice than ever before. It said, “ You are That which you are seeking”. It was an important moment in my life.
*In the Tai Chi Journey, you start at the beginning, move through movement changes, and end up back at the same place you started. We count moves (34, 54, 108, or whatever) and actually should realize it is all one movement composed of parts, like branches of a tree.
More about Counting Moves
* Speaking of counting moves, during one round of the 108 in the Park this week, I had one of those ah-ha thoughts. When we finished that round, I asked the group, “How many moves did we just do?” All said “108”. I said “ Sorry, but that isn’t correct.”. They gave me blank stares. What was my thinking?
Most players of the Traditional Yang Long Form count the moves as 108. Master Choy did. When we started the first lesson of learning the form, we were given a hand-out with the names of the moves, and they numbered 108. So that was always my thought. But wait.
In the opening sequence the moves are: 1. Commencement 2. Ward Off Left 3. Right Push Upward 4. Roll Back 5. Press 6. Push. These are the foundation moves of the form.
The names might be different depending on what they were called when your instructor learned them from his instructor. And you will mostly see this entire sequence (other than Commencement) called “Grasp the Bird’s Tail.”
Now here is where it gets interesting and tricky. This sequence is repeated eight times in the Long Form. But the counting of each move, as above, only happens once. The rest either count the entire sequence as one move (Grasp the Bird’s Tail), or as two moves (Ward Off Left, and then Grasp the Bird’s Tail).
This all sounds a bit confusing. When I lead the form, I call each move of the Grasp Birds Tail separately but that would make the number of individual moves 127, and so some early Master figured out how to come up with 108 names of moves to achieve the mystical connection between Tai Chi and Asian Philosophy, as explained last week.
So the bottom line is learn each individual move separately, especially the application, then work on stringing them together, finally making the form one flowing movement. At that point, unless you are teaching, just do it.