Surprisingly, my coworker wanted to tag along on my next taiji outing. This is great because I have been thinking about some different approaches to presenting taiji material. I wanted to focus a bit more on foundational training as opposed to giving him a bunch of little test tastes to wet one’s appetite.
This time, after the zhan zhuang centering, I had him get in a bow stance. Next, we just shifted the weight from front leg to rear leg. After a couple of repetitions, I introduced him to the double ward off hand posture during the forward weight shift. After a couple more repetitions, I incorporated the roll back hand postures on the rear weight shift. Next, the squeeze (ji) was introduced. Finally, the hand positions for the taiji press were brought into the mix.
Little by little, I was building up the gross patterns required for the grasp bird’s tail sequence. In my opinion, it’s better to teach people high level choreography and relaxation. Doing so, gives a feeling of accomplishment. This activity actually felt quite good and something I think I will incorporate more into my own training. There’s something relaxing about rocking back and forth, I’m not exactly sure what, but I’m assuming it’s related to the whole taiji ruler exercise, but I’ll save that linking connection for another time ;)
Next, I had my coworker follow in the Yang long form up to the first white crane spreads wings. I like this sequence and this is something I often practice in my own training. After four repetitions, you end up making a nice little box. The sequence is compact, easy to learn and contains lots of material to work on.
Since my coworker had not done any taiji before, I wanted to see his affinity towards Chen style, so I introduced the Chen Village single handed silk reeling. For this, I broke the movement down into 4 counts and highlighted the weight shifts, waist turns and hand placements. Next, I briefly showed him the Chen Practical Method positive circle and had time try to follow along. During this instruction, I felt a bit unease as I was still working on this material and don’t feel confident nor have I received the permission to teach the material.
After he mentioned some soreness in his thighs, I told him to just relax and I did a small demo of the Chen Practical Method Yilu for him. This felt good as I have been working on the Practical Method form and was glad to have an opportunity to practice it a bit in an open space.
Noting his vibe at the end of the session, I have a feeling he will continue to tag along and do some taiji over lunch with me. As such, I am planning a more formalized curriculum to cover. Right now, my plans are to start off with some zhan zhuang, then have him follow me in the Yang long form up to the first white crane spreads wings (dubbed hotel taiji). After which, I will give some detailed instruction on the movements, perhaps 1-2 movements per session. The session will end with another round of the "hotel" Yang long form. I think this will be enough to give a good primer on taiji and will give me some foundational material to work on. I still do my own training in the evenings, so I guess the lunch time activities is just bonus 🙂