On Monday, Sep 28, 2020, Master Chen Zhonghua instructed on the move “Turning Flowers and Playing with Sleeves” fromduring the online class. The requirement was to jump off the left foot, rotate 360 degrees in the air, and land on the right foot. I had so much difficulty doing it during class. I was tossing all over the place. Master Chen said he would check on us again a week later. This was the benefit of having such a regular class. I had been practicing for four days with little consistency. I could only jump for about 10 mins before I got so tired. I tried to see what was wrong with my posture, and correct my posture. I found my lower back not straight. I was jumping up slantedly. I tried to keep my central vertical rod straight in the air, my up, look forward during the , and delay the turn like a figure skater. I broke down the movement. I started to rotate only for 90 degrees a few times, then 180 degrees, and slowly increasing the amount. It helped a bit, and I was able to get to 360 degress sometimes, but not constantly, and the landing was still not stable.
Today, Oct 2, 2020, John Upshaw, Edward Liaw and I got together to focus on practicing just this move as our exam was coming up in a few days. We had a breakthrough this time. We started out practicing the move a bit, and watched each other. A question came up about what the non-pushing leg supposed to be like in the air. We then watched the following video from Master Chen:
The video was in slow motion, and it made the jump very clear. It reminded us a few things:
- We must rotate in the air with a non-moving vertical rod.
- For the first jump, the right foot pushes off, and the left foot lands on the same spot where the right foot was originally. Shift to right leg totally before pushing off the ground, and jump vertically up. I picked a square on the interlock as the designated spot for the pivoting foot for this practice session.
- Lift the left knee, and open the left kua without pulling/moving the right knee or right foot.
- The left knee helps kick start the horizontal .
- Master Chen reminded us that should be to the left for 360 degrees although this particular video was not showing that.
- As the left leg drops to prepare for the landing, the right knee will come up to create a vertical .
- When the left foot lands, the ball of the foot touches the ground first, the left knee and left ankle act as shock absorbers. This makes the landing much softer.
- The movement never leaves the dantian.
- For the 2nd jump, the left foot pushes off, and the right foot lands on the same spot where the left foot was originally.
- Rotate to the right in the air for 135 degrees.
- After the right foot lands, shovel the left foot out along the 45-degree line.
- While the first jump is vertical in the landing, the 2nd jump is horizontal.
- The arm movement also creates a vertical .
- The two jumps have the same vertical rod in the air.
We then practiced a few jumps without the movement of the arms, and focused on the vertical rod, and the placement of the foot during the landing of the first jump. I tried to land on the same square on the ground. The idea of not letting the movement leave the dantian really helped. The slow motion video started playing in my. The turn became quicker, and the land became softer and much more stable. We added the arms later, and they were also in more control, and not throwing the body off the vertical axis. We could also do a full 360 .
This felt like working on moves at the Iowa camp. Totally awesome!