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Poetry in motion, or so they say.

August 9, 2017

When you were young and heard the old line “Slowly he turned, step by step”,  did you ever try it?  Turning as slow as you imagined the person in the sketch.  I know I did.  I wanted to be able to sneak up and “terrify” those I were acting it out for.

These days I use the slowly turning and stepping as part of my daily Tai Chi and Qigong practice.  I find now instead of terrifying those who look on, it tends to mystify them.

I often hear “how can you move so slow and hold your balance and body position and make it look so easy”.  Well, after 22 years of practice it has become easier, but at the same time it has become harder.  The stronger and better I get at moving slowly and under control the slower I want to go.

In case you were wondering, it is true.  The slower you move the harder you work.

You see, in slow movement there is no momentum to carry you through the range of motion.  It is all control. You make each part of your body work. Beginning as a thought, to the final execution. Each muscle is guided, each joint asked to open and close, the core engaged to hold, create a turn or move the body through a shift of position.

And yet, it is all managed in sequence, with timing and precision. Movement with intent of positioning and placement.  And of course, with deep and gentle breath accompanying each movement.

I am an artist in my soul.  I found a great outlet for my creativity in the movement of Tai Chi and Qigong,  and the ability to create patterns and to teach others the art.  I do my practice for health of course, but I also do it for the feel and beauty of the movement, for the artistry of play.

Did you ever  ballroom dance? If so, did you ever play with what you knew, simply making up a dance with bit of pieces in a freestyle pattern?  That is how I play with my Tai Chi. True play. anytime, anywhere.

In classes I have students ask how I make it look so fluid.  I tell them it is not magic, it is not a big secret.  It is my interpretation of how the movement should be done.  and I do my best to teach them how to incorporate my ideas into how they do the movements.

The movement of Tai Chi and Qigong is poetic. It is a gentle flow, not of words, but of many parts moving in sync.

As my mom said one day after I demonstrated a three part form for her:  “my son, I have no idea what you just told me but I have to say, it was a beautiful story”.


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