Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Cheng Man Ching's short/ shot form of Tai Chi, the half roots of me Feldenkrais/ Anat Baniel heritage

Cheng Man Ching
decided that he didn't want to do the "long" form, so he invented the
short form

Through some charming mistake somewhere along the way
this is called the "shot form."

Oh, well. If we watch this for a bit
(and in this day or Internet rush, rush, do we actually
have 7:41 minutes?
But surely we can hang in there for 3:33,
so let's see what we can see....
Be back in 3:33 (notice the simple minded rhyme scheme
creeping up on us.
Good, eh?)

Well, actually, he moves a bit fast for my taste,
kind of like I do on days I want to "get the form over."

However, he wasn't rushing, more like moving
seamlessly from one pose to the next
with no
"look at me, I'm here now"

His weight shifted slowly and completely
like sand going from one foot to the other.

His hands seemed to float,
and knowing what I do of the form as taught
by his pupils, I'll guess that he had a great deal of
in his hands

and feet

and spine

and feeling of soft arms

and knowing exactly where and how
his feet where.

Have you ever noticed that tai chi is a lot like walking,
weight on one foot and then weight on the next.

Unlike walking, but like some of the work we do in the Feldy/ Anat worlds,
his arms don't have a stable pattern vis a vis his legs.
In walking left leg forward pairs up with right arm forward.

In tai chi, many of the moves are like that:
in the punch (here right handed), the right fist is forward and the left foot

in brush knee, left foot and right hand and then right foot and left hand

However, many are right right and left left

the single whip is such a move

the kicks, which come later

and fair lady shuttles, again later, has same foot and same hand forward

early in the form here, the beginning,
pat the birds tail, or whatever it's called,
way at the start, coming to the front with the left foot and the left hand,

but hey:
don't watch him, too much,
don't listen to me

experiment on various moves that you make going more
or less perpendicular to the last direction,
change the weight of your feet,
and sometimes bring forward the opposite hand
of the foot forward

and sometimes the left left kind of pairing

it's pretty sweet

one, a tennis forehand
the other, the tennis backhand


And so it goes;

you/ one/ I could do worse than imitate Cheng Man Ching
for 30 seconds at a time, seeing if we can learn/ relearn the form,
bit by bit

(when I teach the form, I'll teach both ways, so everything can be done
equally to both sides,
and you can watch this video and do a mirroring version,
without having to "think"
of which foot is doing what

and that is good, too,
great actually
watching him not in mirror,
and seeing if you can translate translate translate 
right to your right, 
which looks "different" than his.

when I learned tai chi, the teacher turned his
back to solve this problem,
but it won't work on a video,
and I like the idea of facing my students 
as we learn along)

move slowly

put attention on gravity and both arms and both legs and spine

create variation in patterns of arms and legs


It's a dance, don't you think?

And what's the other half of my roots for the Feldy/ Anat work.

Well, maybe I should have been dividing into thirds
with one third good old fashion NOW

and one third the Gurdjieff meditation of keeping attention
all day in both arms and both legs (plus light and sound)

Or maybe four:
add to Tai Chi
and Now
and Gurdjieff
a love of nature, and how natural can we get by being attentive to slow and novel and delicious movements
in the so called "body"

Waking us to Now.

Tai Chi can do that,
and it can be a "thing" we do.

So can reading.

So can writing.

It's all the dance: am I awake now,
and if so what is my experience.

Is that a good question for you?

I hope so.

Chris on Wednesday in Austin, where the cold was last week
and then it got warm and toasty this weekend
and now the cold is back.
Cold means 40s, sissy winter for most of the county,
and "too cold" for the spoiled Texans and all the immigrants.

In May I'll be back in the Northwest,
and in March visiting No. Cal.
If you are interested in connecting,
let me know.

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