No excuses, i was an idiot....And can't complain, because I did it to myself
Did not pay attention to what I was eating for the past 2 days and I was eating things I never eat. Had breakfast 2 days in a row, of Frosted mini-wheats (basically sugar coated cereal), have not had those in many many years, also had Ice cream on Sunday (more sugar) and followed that up with some potato chips (more salt). Monday breakfast, mini-wheats again (convinced myself the wheat bit was good for me, sugar be damned). Then headed off to work, a co-worker just got back from India and he brought in chocolate from Dubai, as well as some sort of treat from India. I had some of the Chocolate from Dubai (pretty much a truffle with a lot of sugar), then I went for the Indian thing (whichm as it turns out, is a rectangle of condensed sugar.) Then I started to think, I was way off my diet and needed to bring it back in. So...a cup of green tea, which was great....however finishing it off with Pretzels (salt to the power of 10) this was not so good, as a matter of fact it was very bad.
For the record I started noticing hip discomfort after the Dubai Chocolate, but that did not deter me from the Indian Sugar cubes. Noticed a little more issue about an hour after that.....but what the heck, I.ll have some tea...tea fixes everything..... Still feeling hip discomfort, what the heck, dive into the pretzels....and that is when the real pain began, within minutes of the pretzels walking became quite painful in my hips
Now something those with inflammatory joint issues should know (and I did know prior to the 2 day sugar coated salt feeding frenzy); 2 big things that one should avoid, if one has arthritis, sugar and salt, both are very good at causing inflammation. Well, apparently my brain took a couple of days off and I went nuts because I sure did not seem to remember that.
Result, by the time I got home from work last night, the hip pain was so bad that it took me 5 minutes to get from my car to my house (about 30 feet), got really hard going from the car to the door, no support to hold on to. Got in the house, brain was back by then, and I made salads for my youngest and myself for dinner, and then took about 800mg ibuprofen. After I went and sat down and it did not hurt when sitting, thought the ibuprofen was kicking in. Sat and relaxed for 30 minutes, got up, and literally could not walk due to pain, not even with a cane. Took me 5 minutes of standing there just to painfully move my left leg, but the right leg would have none of this silly moving stuff. To walk, for 15 minutes, I was pretty much dragging my right leg, while using the cane, and walking was still not easy. Finally thing began to loosen up and so I could walk almost normally, with a bit of pain, with a cane. Had to sit down to check something on the computer, decided I would only sit for a minute and get right back up to avoid the foot dragging. Nope, not gonna happen, all it took was a minute and I was right back to standing, trying to move, moving painfully while dragging my foot. That was my evening...until Mrs Xue arrived...
Well when Mrs Xue got home, after asking me what happened, and me being dumb enough to tell her exactly what I thought happend....she spent a good amount of time (about 30 minutes) telling me how stupid I was for doing this to myself. I however having absolutely no leg to stand on (figuratively and literally) to defend myself, sat and listened. After my scolding, she did acupuncture on me and I went to sleep.
Got up this morning, left hip not bad, right hip still not happy, but I could walk, almost immediately, with a cane, without the dragging foot. I'm being much MUCH more careful with the diet today, took ibuprofen right after my breakfast of wheat toast. And around about 12:00PM EST I was able to walk without the cane. Things are getting better, slowly.
However if I still can't sit to long, if i do, it hurts to stand, but nothing like last night. A few seconds and I am walking, without the cane
Moral, do not eat things you are not suppose to when you have something like arthritis, it will come back to hurt you....literally. And diet, is very, very important for everyone, doubly so if you have a health issue
But if there is an upside to this, I took today off from work to recuperate....time to go take more ibuprofen, later
Arthritis Foundation - foods to avoid with arthritis
Recovery from aurthroscopic surgery, at least for me, is slow, but I am listening to the Doctor, for a change. Had to get into my 50s before I started that, by the way.
Been able to start doing some exercises on the TotalGym and the exercise bike. And working with Taijiquan short forms.
I was trying to work with Xingyiquan foot work to help the knee, but it did not seem to be doing much other than make the knee feel like it was swollen, when it wasn’t. So I decided to go back into my CMA closet and work with my Baguazhang that has been laying around getting dusty.
Been working with Baguazhang stepping and although I am not 100% sure, it seems to be helping.
Over my brief years in Baguazhang I learned 3 different major ways to step while walking the circle. One the mud walk, one more of a heal toe walk and one similar to the mud walk, but the foot does not actually stay on the ground. The leading stays about an inch off the ground, until the end of the travel.
I have been taking it slow and all walking is currently linear.
A short video that talks about basic Bagua stepping from Flying Tortoise Kung Fu School
Zhao Da Yuan - Liang Baguazhang
Interview with Ba Gua Master Zhao Da Yuan – Part 1
An Interview with Ba Gua Master Zhao Da Yuan – Part 2
And hopefully I'm not whining.
Time to get serious about food, I have said on may occasions that I am returning to my almost vegetarian ways, and I have started, but then rapidly failed miserably. And when I eat meat, especially if I eat too much of it, I feel horrible. And I am realizing that what is too much for me is barely an appetizer for many
Saturday, I cooked the sausage, by Monday I had eaten all 5. I have eaten an entire ½ pack of (5) “aidells, All Natural, Chicken & Apple, Smoked Chicken Sausage”, and they are not small.
Add to that Saturday eating ham and Sunday eating chicken… this morning it all caught up to me. I felt horrible when I got up, everything hurt. Knee that had the surgery woke me up aching at 5:00am and kept hurting for 10 minutes after I got up. The knee let up and then the hip, that had the cortisone shot, started hurting from my hip to my shin. and it is still bothering me, just not as much. And now the knee that did not have the surgery is bothering me as well. And don’t get me started on how my stomach and head felt this morning.
Since my surgery I have not been able to do much in the way of exercise and I have been eating entirely wrong for me, not feeling well and gaining weight. I was getting some exercise in but then, just about 2 weeks ago, I hurt my back.
Mrs. Xue is not happy about my weight and eating habits, I'm not happy about it, the Physical Therapist thinks the added weight it is not helping and the doctor I see next week (about the knee) will tell me about it as well. And my GP will likely lecture me at my next physical if this keeps up. I am also guessing the cardiologist who kicked me out of his office for being too healthy a few years ago (I was pretty much a vegetarian then) would simply say welcome back if I walked into his office today.
Adding to this, there are foods that folks with Osteoarthritis, such as myself, should avoid. Most of those meat proteins, they cause joint inflammation in the arthritic.
I have to start getting serious and get the will power working again. Time to stop giving into the table full of cookies, candy and various forms of junk food that I see every time I leave my desk. Time to stop justifying the cookie because I at a salad. Also, time to stop eating a health lunch to justify eating an unhealthy breakfast and dinner.
The only exercise I have been able to do for a week now are the knee exercises, that is all. Last night was the first time in several days I was able to do the short Sun style taiji form and I started working on the CMC taiji form again, and so far, today I have managed a short walk (actually hobble)
So, I am starting down the vegetarian path again, going to work really hard to get back on it, and stay on it. Breakfast today was not great, but there was no sausage, and lunch was a lettuce, tomato, cucumber and humus sandwich and dinner this evening I am planning on a salad.
And I am finding none of this is as easy as it used to be, guess it comes with the territory when you are close to 60 than 55. But there are folks much older than I am that are in much MUCH better shape than I am (Sam 'Sonny' Bryant Jr. comes to mind), so if they can do it, so can I. And if I want to keep at some form of martial arts the rest of my life, and not spend most of it walking with a cane or riding in a wheelchair, I better start taking care of myself.
Why am I typing this all out? To put it down someplace where I can see it and use it to hopefully keep me on track. And to look at later when I have gotten to where I wanted to go, to keep me from backsliding.
Wish me luck.
Back to almost vegetarian and back to taijiquan, and if the knee ever straightens out and the hip lets up, possibly back to Baguazhang too… I’m done
Oh, and for all of you baconists out there, if it is any consolation, if I were starving and only had 2 foods to choose from; bacon or kale, I would likely eat bacon, before I’d eat kale. I don’t like either of them, but kale, IMO, is much worse than bacon….but I’m still not going to start eating bacon.
And it’s sneaky too.
I was pretty much clueless about all of this, prior to the knee surgery, but apparently as osteoarthritis progresses your body slowly changes the way you stand, walk and move to avoid pain. It will naturally and automatically readjust you posture, muscle usage and alignments to avoid pain and discomfort. Eventually, as with my hips, over time it gets to a point where it can no longer adjust and then the pain begins. A few weeks ago the muscles in my right hip had the consistency of a rock. I have been shown I can alleviate this with heat and stretching and as long as I stretch it seems to be ok, for now.
But that is only part of the insidiousness of osteoarthritis. Apparently because of the arthritis in my knees and my knee surgery my quadriceps have been taking over more and more for the glutes. And at this point they are taking the lions share of the burden of movement and the glutes are mostly napping and taking a break. The Physical therapist noticed this in how I totally fail at walking down the stairs normally. Basically the glutes are taking a nap and the quads are tired of carrying the lazy glutes, and because of the surgery the quads are now refusing to do what they have been doing and some of what they should be doing, thereby getting even with me, and those lazy glutes, by causing me a whole lot of pain going down stairs normally and in a few other movements we generally take for granted are not easy as well.
So the 4 to 6 week, possibly 8 week, recovery time is now in its 9th week and now I am doing knee exercises and gluten exercises.
The interesting thing about some of the glute exercises, I can absolutely see, and feel, where the quads have been doing more than their job and the gluten have been doing next to nothing.
Why am I posting this? Well, as a bit of a heads up to the other old geezers out there doing martial arts. If you have arthritis, especially osteoarthritis, you need to watch what you body does very closely because your body will slowly, over time, adjust itself, without you actually being aware of what is going on. And stretching, is very very important, however you also have to take in to account that some of the stretching, if painful in the joints, is not good, and it is time to let that stretch go and look for another one that achieves your goal, that does not cause you joint pain.
Enough from me…I’m done
Note: I am not a medical professional, so what I am saying here is all based on my personal experience and what is working for me and it may not work for others...basically, your milage may vary
I was driving home from work, last Tuesday, and I heard the song on the radio “All This Time” by Sting and these lines in the song sent me down this route with push hands
"And all this time, the river flowed
Endlessly to the sea"
Not sure why that started me on this path thinking about push hands, but it did.
Push hands, I have on more than one occasion, labeled a tool, and only a tool, that has nothing to do with fighting. However, when I said that, I was wrong, in taijiquan it has everything to do with a confrontation, if you are going to apply taijiquan correctly. You have to stick, follow and redirect all while staying relaxed. As far as kicks, punches and qinna, that is part of taiji for fighting too when necessary, and all found in the form, and also done while relaxed, but relaxed does not mean limp.
The song started me thinking about what my Yang Taijiquan Shifu said about getting better at push hands. He said “you have accept losing”, which is basically the same thing as Bruce Lee’s “Invest in loss”. I saw this again in Wolfe Lowenthal’s book “There Are No Secrets” ….. “Do not be afraid to lose” when he was talking about his teacher (Cheng Manching’s) view thoughts on push hands.
We get hung up on winning, particularly in the West, and we are for the most part, afraid of losing. Especially in something like push hands. Two people start pushing and before you know it they are both using all their strength trying to beat each other because they don’t want to lose. I have been there, done that and still do much more often than I should. It is all good natured, there is no animosity, but you just do not want to lose. So you push and push hard, trying to push each other off center. The relaxed approaches gone and it becomes force against force. Basically what competition push hands is all about
I have been lucky to do push hands against some pretty talented, old school, Chinese martial artists. My Yang Shifu, who is always relaxed, with a bit of a smile on his face. It does not matter how hard you push, he remains relaxed, calm, slightly smiling and then you find yourself on the ground looking up with little idea as to how you got there. Another was a Dachengquan shifu, Wang Rengang. He too stayed relaxed and the entire time talking to you about your mistakes, in a calm voice, without losing control, without applying force and staying, what the Chinese refer to as, sung. Sung is relaxed, but not limp. It is where the whole cotton covered steel analogy comes from. Even Yang Jwing Ming who stayed relaxed and then...applied qinna and dropped you to your knees.
I want that level of skill and understanding in Taijiquan, or any neijia art for that matter. And apparently, to get there, you need to lose…a lot. I’ve done a lot of losing to in push hands and although I have glimpses of this, I can never keep it. I always find myself doing push hands with someone and using all my strength after several minutes. and I am using my arms way to much and my root not enough.
Then while reading Wolfe Lowenthal’s book two things hit me. First, Cheng Manching telling him that the arms were like the bumpers on a bumper car. The car is what pushes, not the bumper. This is the whole; Power comes from the root, is directed by the waist, and manifests in the hands, thing. The arms do not move independently of the body more than an inch or two. That actually hit a chord with me, I have used arm strength, by itself, from time to time. I was rooted, but I was not using the power from the root like I should. It was more like putting your back against a tree and then pushing, and that is not how push hands is supposed to work. Sadly, it is how competition push hands tend to work, but it is not the correct way and not the traditional way.
Then I came across something else I had heard before, in Wolf Lowenthanl’s book.
“Water will not resit; if you push it, it will yield. If you can be like water, no one will be able to resist you, no matter how big and strong they are”
which is pretty close to what Bruce Lee said when he said
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
And I have heard many of the water analogies before, and tried to apply them before with some modicum of success, but I would eventually, after a long push hands session still find myself right back to applying way too much power and being way to stiff.
But it was this, from “There Are No Secrets”, that put the whole thing together for me and made sense of the entire relaxed watery mess for a change
“Water is not afraid”
Which took me right back to being afraid of loss. It is not a situation where if I lose I die, or I get punished, or chastised, or kicked out or any other bad or ridiculous thing I can think of. It is, however, all Ego. I am afraid of looking bad, in front of all these young guys, after all these years of taijiquan (even though I have not done push hands much in years). I don’ want to lose, I must win, it’s the American way after all, I must dominate. But, that is not how you learn how to “Properly use” and apply taijiquan as a martial art. And Taijiquan is Chinese, not American. You have to relax, you have to not compete, you have to accept loss, it is the only way to learn this stuff.
Finally, this seemed to all tie in with the song..... of course, by this time, it was Thursday
And all this time, the river flowed
Endlessly to the sea
I am not able to go to push hands at the moment, while I am recovering from the knee surgery, but when I got back, I plan on getting my butt kicked for a bit and see where that takes me, and work to not forget what I am doing about 15 minutes inn and stop. Myself from forgetting upper and lower unity, and stop myself from depending on my arms.
In my basement guan this evening, after finishing my knee exercises and the Sun taijiquan short form, I began to look around my entire basement, when I realised, the only thing older than my old Everlast kick bag in my basement..... me....and then I remembered there was one other thing older than the kick bag
But I am still older than both of them...
I got both of them sometime around 6th grade and the kick bag has been through Japanese Jujutsu, TKD, Karate, Long Fist, Taijiquan, Wing Chun, JKD, Sanda, Xingyiquan, Bagua and probably a couple more I'm forgetting.
A few years back I did buy a newer, heavier, leather bag, but I just did not like it as much as my old kick bag, So the new one currently sits in the corner and the old one, that is close to 50 years old, is still hanging there getting hit. It is not getting hit as much as it use to, but it is still getting hit.
This summer I may refill the new bag with a different material and start using it, but I have grown attached to this old beat up, torn up kick bag. It has taken a beating. And as bad as it looks, it is still taking a beating. And it is the oldest piece of training equipment I have
Oh, and I like the book too
I have been on the injured/recovery list since the first week in June due to knee surgery. During that time, I have been going a bit crazy not being able to do any taijiquan. I have been doing a lot of reading, and for some reason I have been reading mostly books and articles by Cheng Manching or his students.
About 4 weeks into recovery I found I was able to hobble through the Sun short form I know. But I kept wanting to do more, but my knee was not for that, so I spent a lot of time sitting down with ice on my knee. Then I remembered something I read that was written by Cheng Manching in his book
Cheng Tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Cheng Man-ching's Three Treasures of Tai Chi
1) Practice as if you are suspended from a string.
2) Connect with the bubbling well.
3) Chi must flow into the Tan Tien
In being suspended from a string he is referring to a point on the top of your head called the Baihui
And connected to the bubbling well he is referring to a point on the bottom of your feet called the Yongquan
So I decided to apply the 3 treasures to basically standing up a walking with my cane. I feel more relaxed, I feel a lot like I am doing something relatively close to taijiquan and it has helped my posture, which was getting pretty bad walking with a cane.
So for now, I have the short Sun form and walking and it seems to do the trick
I just found out this evening that Benjamin Jeng Pang Lo passes away last October. He was a highly respected student of Cheng Manching and very knowledgeable about Taijiquan
1989 Tiananmen Square protests
Tiananmen Square survivor reflects 30 years later: "I'm heartbroken"
My wife was a doctor there, and lived about 3 blocks from Tiananmen when this happened, she heard the shots, she had collogues in the square at that time helping sick students, one who was shot, but survived.
Something to note. Very few people, especially those 30 and under, in Beijing, admit knowing anything about this. Also, when I was in Beijing, years after the incident, everyone there did know, that the quickest way to get into trouble and get arrested, was to start any trouble, or even start handing out flyers, in Tiananmen square
Just wanted to put this out there. I have not been feeling well for a while now; occasional light flu like symptoms, fatigue, increased joint pain, and I have lost a lot of my already, age related diminishing flexibility (arthritis) ever since the whole Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever diagnosis. I am now, supposedly clear of the Rocky Mountain stuff, but I do not feel a whole lot better, which is why I am being sent to an Infectious Disease specialist in a couple weeks. The joint pain went to a surprising level a week ago today, my left knee stopped working, so I spent about 5 days in a knee brace and walking with a cane (which, by the way, being the martial arts crazy Mrs Xue calls me, got me thinking about Hapkido cane stuff ), and getting acupuncture. More recently, yesterday, for no apparent reason my low back started to bother me and wanted to spasm. Mrs Xue did acupuncture and cupping on me and things seem to have calmed down in the back, still feels weird, but no spasms. Add to all this that I have been walking like a 90 year old man for the first few minutes after I stand up, which was getting rather annoying, but now I seem to find it is rather amusing for some reason.
This has been a big issue when it comes to training anything. I have been able to do the Sun style I am learning, but no Yang and most certainty no Xingyiquan. Even missed push hands this week. Although I was back training Santi Shi of Xingyiquan, before the knee stopped working, and that did seem to help with some of the knee and hip pain. I had not done Santi Shi for 3 days prior to the knee taking a vacation.
But this post is not all about me whining, I thought of something a few days ago, “qigong”. I have been trained in a few styles, but I have not been doing them regularly. I started working with a Daoist form a couple days ago, that I learned a few years back, and I have started feeling just a tad bit better, but it did not do much for the joint pain, but it does not hurt when I do it, so it stays. Today I re-introduced Baduanjin (eight pieces of brocade) and some stationary Chen Silk Reeling, and I have to admit, I felt a little better after Baduanjin, joints and physically. I do not think the Chen silk reeling did much, other than make my right knee tell me I should stop doing it now. But I do want to get back to silk reeling when the knee allows, so I will try a bit every now and then to see how it goes.
To clarify, I am not saying this will make me better or cure me of anything I might have. I am still going to the MD in a couple of weeks, and if the knees continue to be an issue I will be calling my Orthopedic MD this week too. But I am going to keep at the qigong and see where it takes me. Also very seriously considering changing my diet back to a being an ovo-vegetarian. I felt a whole lot better as a mostly vegetarian, of course I was a little younger then too.
Now it is wait and see what happens and find out what the Docs say.
And like that... it's gone.
Finished the Wu style competition form, apparently it was something I had to do again. I learned it from my first shifu about 25 years ago, but I had to stop training it since it seemed to bleed into every other taiji style I was learning at the time. But for some reason I had to do it again. So I relearned it using a DVD of Li Bingci that I had, from China. Worked on it, finished it, and got it back....and then....let it go.
I apparently no longer have any desire to do the form. I am back to Yang style and learning Sun style, without any Wu
I have no idea why I needed to relearn the Wu Competition form and I had felt I should re-learn it before. Started and then stopped before I finished. But it came back, so I did it this time. And now that it is done, I have no problem letting it go.
I learned a lot about the taijiquan I do from the Wu style. It also got me thinking and working harder at taijiquan again. And it got me to a book that has also giving me a lot of insight into things taijiquan.
Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style - translated by Yang Jwing Ming
Enough from me
I have been reading a lot lately about Taijiquan and Taoism and I read something today that had an immediate effect on me and has made a big difference for the entire day, so far, as well.
I was rereading
and at the bottom of page 26 it was talking about Lieh-Tzu (Liezi) and there was a short summary to something Liezi was saying
I have no idea why it hit me the way it did, or why it made me think this. But my immediate thought was, "I'm fighting my arthritis and not accepting it" That also meant, to me, that there was no way to find balance unless I did accept it, and live with it.
I was sitting in my little Aikidoka's dojo, during her class, on a hard wooden bench when I read this. I was uncomfortable, my hips hurt (arthritis) my knees were not all that happy (also arthritis) and I had been trying, unsuccessfully, for the last 20 minutes to find a comfortable way to sit.
After reading that and thinking I am fighting my arthritis, I decided to stop fighting. The effect was immediate. I was not pain free, but everything seemed to relax and the pain did subside considerably and I was all of a sudden not so uncomfortable on the bench.
I then decided to do wrist stretches, like I generally do while she is in class and I am just sitting there. However the wrist stretches always hurt these days. This time, I took it a lot slower and only went to the point where it started to hurt (again, arthritis) and then backed off a bit. It worked rather well and my wrists felt better after stretching as apposed to the pain I usually feel when I'm done.
Got home and did Sun Taijiquan and it was better, more relaxed and I made it through the form with no pain. Then did the Yang Long form and got through that with much less pain. Then moved on to Xingyiquan stationary drills with the 5 elements in the heavy bag. OK Piquan and Bengquan still hurt the wrists, but I was able to figure out a way to strike with less pain. Prior to that (the last couple days) I just said to myself; "You have arthritis, its going to hurt...keep on hitting the bag"
I guess what this comes down to is that we all have something that we are not happy about, that we really cannot do anything about. Be that externally or internally, so we fight it. Maybe not physically, could be mentally, could be both. Now I have had a lot of things externally over the years that I was not at all happy about, but could do nothing about, so I just went with the flow and it seemed to workout. However I have never applied that internally. I have always attempted to work though something or tell myself it was not that big an issue so deal with it. There have also been those times I could not do that and was forced to accept the situation, no matter how much I did not want to (see detached retina). But aches and pains, PFHHT, no big deal, work though them, they'll go away eventually, just do your best not to re-injure yourself. And I think we, as marital artists are all incredibly guilty of that one.
However, arthritis is not something that is going away, but I was treating it like it would, fighting it, not accepting it was now part of me, and mostly complaining about it. But it absolutely amazed me at how fast the pain and discomfort alleviated when I simply accepted it was now part of me for the rest of my life. it is the nature of things for me and I stopped fighting nature today....well, at least as far as the arthritis goes
Just wanted to put that out there
Happy New Year
Happiness and prosperity
and just about everything else too...
Centering, with respect to your root, is important, and without it you cannot know substantial and insubstantial (more on those later). You also need to understand your own center, and where it is, to be able move freely, sense the center in others and avoid double weighting.
From the book
Tai Chi Secrets of the Wu Style
Written by Yang Jwing Ming
Much of the book is taken from the book “The Lecture of Taijiquan” by Wu Gong-Zao, published in 1935
We are told about the Dantian in Chinese martial arts, especially in the “internal” styles and Qigong. We look at it as the center and when we stand it is easy to find, but when we move it changes and it should always be thought of in respect to proper rooting and your substantial and insubstantial legs. But there are many, myself included, that do not always pay attention to it at every single moment while doing the form, especially when sparing or doing push hands, and this then, in my opinion, changes things from Taijiquan to something other than Taijiquan. It becomes a dance, or a wrestling match and taijiquan is neither of those.
After reading the words of Wu Gong Zao, translated and explained by Yang Jwing Ming, I did the Yang Long form and realized that I was not sure of where my center was at every movement, and in every posture, and I need to be for proper taijiquan. When doing the form, I am a big believer that there are no stops. Postures have a definite beginning and end, but there is no stop between them. One posture flow into the next from the beginning of the form to the end. However, I wanted to concentrate on knowing where my center was in every posture, at every moment, throughout the entire form, from beginning to end. So, I did it again making sure to pay attention to my center. But at times, to discover exactly where my center was required me to stop, and hold the posture to locate my center, and/or then get my center where it was supposed to be relative to my root. It was one of the most amazing learning experiences I had in Taijiquan in a long time. It was also one of the most relaxing and meditative experiences I have had in a long time as well.
I then realized I have never considered my center in the Sun style short form I know or the Competition Wu form I am working on. So, I did the Sun form first thinking of my center, my root and the substantial and insubstantial and it became a different form. It became one that I can understand, that up until this time I was struggling to understand, it needs more work, but it has become much less daunting a task. Power generation even became clearer the form became more relaxed, and some applications that I had no idea what they were prior, became obvious. Then it was time to try the Wu. This style is much more difficult for me if I considering all that needs to be considered due to the stance being more forward leaning than Yang and much more forward leaning than Sun.
Wu Style Brush Knee
Yang Style Brush Knee
Thinking of the center in Wu with respect to the root is not as easy, although a couple stances got a little easier and one of the major weight shifts to a one legged stance also got easier, while other postures got harder. I can say the postures, like brush knee, now feel less extended than they did before. It will take more time to get right, but I believe it will make it better taijiquan. And overall, even the Wu, though harder, felt better. Also, this gives me more of a reason to better understand Wu, since It is just another aspect of Taijiquan, another persons view (Wu Quanyou). I also now feel much of the knee issues, that are attributed to Wu style, have a lot to do with not knowing where one’s center is as it with respect to your root while doing the form.
I highly recommend that those that do Taijiquan, Bagauzhang, Xingyiquan, Yiquan and even Liuhebafa look at what they are doing based on where the center is and how that associates with proper rooting and movement throughout the entire form. I would also like to hear from people from other Chinese styles and non-Chinese styles how something like this might, or does affect their training. I think in more than a few non-internal styles and non-Chinese styles it may make a difference. I saw it today in my daughters Aikido class when the Sensei demonstrated what he wanted to class to do and it was rather an amazing thing to watch, and I have been there and watched him move many times over the years I just was not paying attention like I should. All his movements came from his center and his root was perfectly aligned with that center too.
For that matter, simply paying to attention to you center while going about your day; standing, walking, sitting, driving, climbing stairs, bending over. I started paying attention to it whenever I sit and it has changed my posture while sitting and but much less strain on my back.
And if you do it long enough it becomes natural and you no longer need to focus on it. It is just there as are the benefits from training it.
Well that is enough from me.
Note: Wu Gong Zao is the Grandson of the founder of Wu Taijiquan (Wu Quanyou) and the son of Wu Jian Quan (who modified Wu style)
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