22 March 2020

Study aids and changing hair styles

Lots more clips are being uploaded right now onto the Dropbox today (Sunday) for students' use. Get in touch if you study with any Great River instructor, or with Mark at The T'ai Chi Centre so I can send you the link.

Well, something I never do is watch my own videos, as they are made in the moment as study aids for those present in the room, the exact opposite feeling and intent of a 'presentation' for persons unknown. I am still relabelling and watching all the T'ai Chi clips I ever shot (the ones that I have, that is, there's probably a dozen more on folks' phones...) It is actually sweet and funny, standing here at my desk, seeing all the different rooms, all those little glitches and habits as they change over the years, all the moments of real flow, and not least the never ending hair changes. I do hope you have a chuckle too. I will rerecord Mark doing the Salutations as soon as I can, as the ending movement is now slightly different from what is in my old clips. But it's not urgently important.

What is important is anything that helps you physically practice. Personally I don't think you can 'learn T'ai Chi' from a video, or a book, it is an in-person art, taught by direct transmission. However, that's not what these videos are about, as study aids they are just fine. An aide-memoire, a prompt, will get your body moving again when your mind says 'what comes next?'. Everyone, Short Form Tooting Lido students included, has enough T'ai Chi to be getting along with for now: the whole warm up set, Five Elements Chi Kung, Front Heart Salutation, Short Form up to diagonal flying, I think. Even that would be a wonderful regular practice. Do not worry about getting things wrong. Just have a go, relax, let your body remember the feeling.

For all the students who have been with me for years, (some of you 16 years!) you know how and what to practice, to pay close attention to relaxing, letting go of self, outreaching to the horizon if you can, (or however you frame that feeling we were working on last Aberdeenshire classes). Left Side form video does not yet exist, and I will ask Mark today if he would let me film him. Partnerwork can be done with our 'imaginary ninjas' who always give us just the right push and never annoy us in class. I think we are all getting enough difficult pushes right now, however, so don't feel bad about the lack of formal partner work and pushing hands. Crikey, everything is pushing hands just now.

Uprightness, centre-line, the one root, rotation of waist, limbs especially, bees knees, open expanded awareness, no grasping anything, not even an idea, not even fixing the eyes in place...  Anyone needing more to work on, feel free to email me! More later, maybe check the Dropbox daily for now. Here's a pic from the first year I started taking photos at class.

Sandy does a good kick to my knee, 
Dance, 2009

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