Friday, July 27, 2012

Soft but note easy!

I have read a number of books on taiji (and websites are legion) that suggest taiji is an easy option for those who don't want to do "real" sport — that is anything that requires effort. This is because taiji is "soft."

After my first forays into taiji I discovered aching limbs, sore knees and a body that just didn't want to want to do what looked "easy" and "soft." In taiji "soft" does not equate with "easy" and "without effort." Though a great master makes taiji forms look "easy," the "ease" comes from many thousands of hours of taiji play. The "soft" refer to taiji as an "internal" martial art, more to do with the movement of qi — energy — than with simple muscular strength. And that requires much.

All by way of saying that this week's intensive taiji training has been hard work! Session five we continued to work on the Chen Old Frame. By the end of the three and a half hour morning session, my body was asking for rest! Master Jesse told us that after the hard work of Chen style, when we play with Yang, Sun or Wu styles, they feel very easy.

A nice Mexican meal followed by dipping my toes in the ocean was a nice tonic. I was unable to get to the sixth session. As it happens, an early night was quite welcome. My body is still on east coast time, though beginning to adjust to west coast time.

Today we have two qigong sessions. Looking forward to it.

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