Tai Chi – The Art of Precision
By Ramona Gomez
As we celebrate another new year, we should take time to reflect on the previous year and the one ahead. For the past few years I have continued to practice and enjoy the art of Tai Chi and hope to continue for a long time. There is much to be said for the accomplishments I have made and I am proud of them. Yet I see there is much more to work on.
After attending Master Chen Zhonghua’s seminar and workshop last month, I seem to have been left with lots of work to do on my form. My teacher Ping Wei always has good feedback for all students generally and also individually about being precise and following the rules and methodology of Tai Chi.
These are some of the constructive criticisms I have received as mypractice has progressed:
When moving through any form that requiresas in positive and negative circles, one must move only at the pelvis concentrating on the dantien.
Spine stays straight up and down as if it is a spiral like a hinge on a revolving door.
Keep the top of thepushing up as if trying to push the or preventing an object from falling off the .
Keep theat the same height not bouncing up nor down.
Knees stay fixed neither splaying in nor out. This requires much practice to ‘open the hips’.
Keep the bum tucked under as this provides more stability.
Drive the power down onto the ground through the feet and out through the middle finger.
Lead with the elbow into the ribcage with the hand only following without a bent wrist. Hand should not move, only follow.
Relax the shoulders down and avoid shrugging them.
Pay attention to the trailing hand and keep it engaged.
Finish every move completely.
You should apply all these rules while practicing the circles and. Also when practicing foundational exercises such as ‘twisting the towel, ‘fetching water’, and ‘six sealing four closing’ remember that the quality of the move is more important than the quantity.
To further improve my practice, I recorded myself doing. I noticed many mistakes that I cannot sense nor see in the mirror. I can suggest to any student of TaiChi that this is so helpful. Using recordings will enable you to track your progress over time. Pick one or two items in your list to work on until you get it right and move on to the next. Eventually your practice will look smooth, effortless and round even though you are working hard.
There will always be room for improvement.