Taiji Tag-a-long

The last time a coworker wanted to tag along in my session, she basically said she would just like to try and follow along and do whatever I normally do. I told her I tend to start off with a bit of standing meditation before going into silk reeling and ending with form work. Being she didn’t want any formal instruction but wanted to just follow-along.

I did my normal routine. Some light stretching of the arms, neck, waist, knees, etc. After which, I went directly into about 20-25 mins of zhanzhuang broken down into quarters. I did roughly 5 mins or so of just wuji (hands at side), then shifted to another 5 mins of hand near dantien. After that, did roughly 10 mins of ’embrace balloon’ or universal post posture and ending with 5 mins of hands at side near waist posture. I recall peaking over to check on my coworker during the embrace balloon phase only to see her shaking a bit, so I asked her to lower her hands to about abdomen level instead of heart/chest level.

Fast forward to the next day, I asked if she wanted to come along and she smiled and declined. Because of this, I’m a bit hesitant of introducing newbies to things like zhan zhuang, static posture training, and isolated movement exercises. This is a bit saddening as I feel these are the core foundational exercises and things that will give you the most ‘bang for your buck’ exercises.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with a long-time taiji practitioner where he basically mentioned how people have preconceived notions about taiji. They think it’s just moving around all gently and soothing which results in a huge disconnect when they begin to realize it’s hard work. Sure, it may look easy just ‘standing’ there, but when you ask someone to do it for 5 mins, they cringe. Tell them a minor requirement is 20 mins per session and they think you’re nuts.   

Yesterday, another coworker wanted to tag along to see what all this taiji hub bub is about. Instead of going through my normal routine I started off with some silk reeling, then the first section of the yang form, followed by some taiji stepping exercises and ending with a very small bit of zhan zhuang. I told her the session was a high level overview and should be used to ‘wet one’s appetite’ about taiji. Since I’m all about being a ‘taiji-herald’, I want people to become interested in taiji, even if that means I must veer off my own training for 1 day :0)

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About wujimon

taiji, meditation and health
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6 Responses to Taiji Tag-a-long

  1. Rick Matz says:

    I remember when I first started the standing practice. In five minutes, I wanted to jump right out of my skin!

  2. Shang Lee says:

    Thanks for the reminder. I’m about to show a fellow taiji tag-along as well. Wouldn’t want to frighten the student off on the first day at “school”!

  3. wujimon says:

    Also, what I’ve done in the past when teaching ppl is to just do the ‘4 corners form’. This is basically the first 5 or so moves up to the single whip in either the chen or yang set. Once done, repeat until forming a complete box 🙂

  4. puredoxyk says:

    Darnit, and here I would pay good money for somebody to show me zhan zhuang, since we don’t do it in my class!

    (I could improvise, but taiji is so wonderfully specific about things, and I would hate to learn wrong…grr.)

    Good to see you posting more about it again! You’re definitely one of the more understandable authors in this area, to me at least.

  5. wujimon says:

    Hey PD:
    I’m often surprised about how few classes cover basic zhan zhuang. If a class teaches one to calm down and relax before the initiation of starting taiji, then consider it a slight form of zhan zhuang 🙂

    Thanks for the comments regarding my presentation of the material. I appreciate it 🙂

  6. Jakob says:

    This is exactly what I expected to find out after reading the title Taiji Tag-a-long. Thanks for informative article

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