Notes from Students in Phoenix, May

by pingwei on 2020/06/11

Original Notes from students in my classes. Not edited.

Adarsh, May 7:

Here’s some notes for today. Please review for any errors.
1) Question about first move in sword. Step out with right heel and right hand into start of a positive circle. Then what is the right hand/arm to do? Doesn’t “matter”, the important part is the left hand. So the right can keep tight with the elbow close to the body or you can go wide with the elbow away from the body.
2) Yi lu we worked on parts of the 11 or 13 (depending on how you count) count section after the second brush-push. Important to not pop up or lean either forward or backward as you do the several rotations. Rotate on the heel by pushing down with the heel. For all rotations, keep center in place. In the part where the right arm is extended forward, push into the stretch with right foot and do not lean.
We then worked on a part of cannon fists which is comparable… right after the first brush-push. Bring elbows in and cross arms. Rotate on left heel then right heel and step through with left foot, maintaining the center (no pop up or leaning) and punch down with left hand. Begin negative circle with left hand and rotate on left heel, step back with right foot, after rotation, complete rest of movement.  Maintain center and even height throughout.
3) Cannon fist. When doing the sideways step/open/punch, keep head level. Only “legal” to pop up if you are doing jump in between rather than walking.
4) Sword – 1000-lb walk. We worked on this. Move sword in a U-shape but keep the move parallel both to the ground and between the two lines that you select. Helps to practice using the lines of a sidewalk. Sword should not be wandering all over.
In doing forward walking, can do a large wheel to help with stretching and chest expansion.
Adarsh, May 12:

1) Positive circle: as elbow coming in, fingers stretching out. Comparison to a spring. If you push in on the ends of a spring, it meanwhile is pushing out against your hands. This is in and out at the same time, which creates empty point in the middle. Applies to other movements besides positive circle
2) Turns – use your foot (turning on heel) to go halfway. Arms can also help in the movement. Another point, don’t over-turn (going too far). We practiced from last cloud hands to end of Yi lu. using the above-mentioned items. Do not turn too far! And of course do not pop up or try to use swinging momentum to spin.
3) Cannon-fists – in the double turn, use foot twice to complete. Also use arm each part to help complete the turn.
When punching, punch from your core as fist spirals out.
4) Sword – follow Po, he does everything really well!
Adarsh, May 13:

Hello, here’s what I have for today:
Master Chen has said there are three ceilings in your structure. The top of the head, the shoulders and the pelvic area/plane, which should be level. We worked on the pelvic area first. The tailbone is tucked in and down (sinking). This is more easily accomplished if you push out with the spine/muscle area that is a few inches above the tailbone. This pushing out seems to help prevent leaning forward or backwards, which you don’t want. This creates the pelvis as level rather than tilting. Can tuck in the chin a bit to keep head erect.
Now, try to keep this same posture in every move. HA!
Nest we worked on walking. To start feet are parallel, close together and hands on hips. Move one foot out by moving and stepping down on heel. Then put toe down and shift weight to the center. In beginning it’s okay if you feel like you’re “plunking” that heel down. As you strengthen, it will become smoother and will have the control to go slower.  Do not tilt pelvis to side, front or back as you move.
Now do the first 13 moves and try to do with proper pelvic plane and proper walking. Try to do the first 13 not using your hands for a really great brain challenge.
Ramona, May 13:

Stepping and Hip Stability
Pelvic Plane - pelvis needs to stay level and parallel to the ground while moving. The two hip points should remain level without one nor the other going up or down.
Exercise 1: Place hands on hips in horse stance and open the back of knee joint to send the foot out. This should result in hips staying level and not swinging out to the opposite side to compensate. At first you can just ‘plunk’ your foot out to make it easier to keep the weight in the middle and to get the result you want. After some time you can make it into a smoother movement.
Exercise 2: Place hand on vertical surface such as a wall or a tree to stabilize the upper torso then send the foot out as in exercise 1. The support of the wall gives the feeling of stability
Stepping to the side – use the strong inner thigh muscles to bring the feet together
Exercise: Stand in horse stance, shift weight to the leg on the side to where you want to move being mindful of keeping hips level. Drag the trailing foot in across the ground using inner thigh to meet the other foot. If necessary, take smaller, shorter steps. I can tell this is strengthening inner thighs!
There are 3 ‘ceilings’ - Head (most obvious), shoulders, and hips
Exercise: stand in a high horse stance. Think of the vertebrae stacking one on top of the other. Contract the abs to tuck tailbone down and think of moving the lumbar area out and back slightly. The 3 ‘ceilings’ should always be pressing down and level. When the spine and all the vertebrae are stacked evenly one on top of the other it provides a feeling of stability and moves the center of gravity down.
Practice the first 13 Taiji moves using these principles. At first you feel like you are taking some steps back in your practice because you are moving much slower and deliberately. However you are increasing the stability and integrity of the movements. It’s like starting to learn all over again. For me with compromised knees, this has been the hardest lesson of all.
Adarsh, May 19:

Very short and then I have a question.
Yi lu – talked about rotation although it applies anywhere.
For the first part of single whip important to focus on the center and keep the body stable. Rotate from the hip and once rotated then could move hand out farther. Used example of stick with a pine cone balanced on it.
This leads to my question: isn’t this the same as the Twist the Towel version I am doing now? i.e. the arms need to stay on the track as well as parallel to the ground. If done correctly the stick would stay level and centered.  Correct?
Cannon Fist – double punch is positive and negative circle together. Step in, use core.
Sword – Step and point without moving body up. To be worked on

Leave a Comment
Leave a comment on the content only. For admin issues, please click the "contact" button on the top left.

Previous post:

Next post: