Yesterday I met with my instructor for my last private lesson. Our six-month contract has expired. We talked at length about my progress and what I should be concentrating on in the months ahead. I’ve learned enough to study independently now, and I just need to devote time to practice and to improve upon the base we’ve established. I intend to take some group lessons in the Yang form and contine to study Chen and Liu He Ba Fa using instructional DVDs. I’m still very much a beginner, but I can now count this goal as accomplished and turn my attention to continued practice and study. I’m very glad I chose to learn Tai Chi and I look forward to integrating its philosophy and movement more and more deeply into my daily life.
usa.taichiproductions.com/TaiChiDVD 8 Easy Lessons on DVD. Try a Free Lesson with Dr. Paul Lam
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TajLV has written 19 entries about this goal
I will be concluding my private instruction after six months of weekly lessons. It has been a great experience. I’ve learned a lot. And the teaching style has been so well suited to my pace of practice and study, that I find it hard to imagine learning Tai Chi any other way.
But in 2007, I have some pressing medical expenses coming up and $200 a month currently spent on Tai Chi lessons will go a long way toward handling them. Today I informed my instructor that December will be my last month with him. We talked a bit about the free group lessons (Yang style) offered near my home as a way of continuing to expand my Tai Chi knowledge, and he cautioned me about things to watch for (how proficient is the most advanced student, for example, and some foot positions to avoid, if taught).
I’ve looked forward to my private lessons each week. I’m sorry I will not be able to complete the entire LHBF form we started, but I will continue to practice what I’ve learned so far, and I do have the DVD to keep me on track. Perhaps, in time, I can resume learning the form.
We are continuing with the Liu Ho Ba Fa form. I’ve bought a DVD? to help me with the first half. It’s getting a bit more fluid for me, and I can see why it is often referred to as Water Boxing. I am very fortunate to have an instructor who teaches it. I understand it was only taught in secrecy until after WWII, and there are very few places outside Taiwan/China to learn it.
This Liou He Ba Fah is a pretty complex form, so we are taking it in manageable chunks. My instructor thinks I can incorporate lots of new positions each session, but I’m less confident. I need lots of practice, and I do not want to stop practicing the Chen short form either. I want to get fluid with each segment, and it can be a bit overwhelming. I still have trouble with balancing on one leg and the turns are not easy. I am seeing progress, however. With luck and perseverance, I may be able to do the complete progression by the end of the year.
We continued to make corrections in my Chen short form. Both of my instructors say I’ve got it. I just need to keep practicing. Today, we started a new form called Liou He Ba Fah with 137 positions in eight segments. Today we practiced the first segment. It’s not easy, but surprisingly easier than the short form was at the beginning. I actually think I am starting to get the hang of this. As a kind of reward, I bought a Tai Chi uniform for myself … heavy cotton for fall/winter. I’ve tried it on, but not practiced in it yet.
Today was my last lesson till October. I have a conflict next Thursday, a sales training I need to attend. My instructor worked with me today on Chi Kung and the Chen short form, making corrections here and there. One big area I need to work on is keeping my spine straight and not hunching over in certain positions. Otherwise, I seem to be doing quite well. I’ve got lots of homework now, strengthening my legs and doing some repetitive moves to help my body learn correct form. I need to put in about 30 minutes a day till my “make up” lesson on October 2nd. What’s amazing is that I can now do the entire short form from start to finish. When I first saw it on DVD, it looked next to impossible. Small steps can cover a long journey. I certainly feel I’ve accomplished a lot in the past three months. This is well worth doing.
Oh my aching legs! Today we did some correction work, and I’ve been given the task of strengthening the muscles of my lower extremities. My instructor showed me some exercises to do when I’ve got downtime. No grace without strength. But there was some good news: Apparently my posture is quite good as I move through the form, and my footwork is improving. More practice, practice, practice.
Yesterday we covered the last two positions of the Chen short form. Theoretically, I can now do the entire form, but it’s not fluid yet. I still have to think far too much about each position, so instead of a continuous path of movement, I do it like a lot of loosely connected actions. And I’m still shakey on the positions that immediately follow the turn.
My instructor tells me that now I need to “relax” in the flow of it. Ah, there’s that word again. He suggested that before the cooler weather sets in, I should try going through the form in a swimming pool, chest-deep in water. The bouyancy is supposed to allow me to achieve the three-pointed suspension (two wrists and crown of the head) that allows the rest of the body to follow instead of resisting or leading the movements. An interesting idea, but it may be hard finding that pool. I shall have to be resourceful.
Last week we started the turn, and this week we completed it. Ouch! Do my thighs hurt. And it requires balancing on one leg while kicking in slow motion. This is going to take a LOT of work. On the positive side, I’ve pretty much learned the first half of the form, and once I get the turn down, the rest is almost a repeat of the first half. My instructor wanted to teach me the last part of the form today, but I asked him to slow down and do it next week. I really want to get the new positions down. It’s a lot to learn.
I missed a week of instruction while caregiving following my girlfriend’s surgery, but now I’m back on course. Today I needed to review a bit with my teacher and he corrected a number of my moves.
There is so much to think about: where the distribution of weight should be, when to turn a foot outward, rise up on a toe or plant a heel, which direction the palms face, breathing, keeping shoulders down. I sometimes feel very uncoordinated. But then I realize how some of the previously “difficult” moves are now rather easy. I just need more practice, practice, practice.
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