Saturday, July 16, 2016

"Cold Hands, Warm Heart" but in Classical Tai Chi where's the "Yi"

Please view a tiny video snippet first at that link above before reading: Examining my own movements I discovered that simply opening the hand, straighten the fingers more solved the problem of "bending the arm at the elbow". I think you will be pleasantly surprised, especially musicians, dancers, typists, etc. who use their hands alot.
Here is a golden rationale for this from Master Stephen Hwa
"For some students, “Yi” (intention of movement) is fairly easy to develop. For some students, it is quite difficult to be consistent – other intentions creep in subconsciously from time to time. Students who have studied dancing or are interested in dancing have such problems. Normally, the fingers become very warm after playing the Form even in cold weather. One of my students here who had already achieved good internal movements complained about cold fingers. Upon close examination, she frequently had small flourishes in her hands and fingers. After reducing that flourish, her problem of cold finger improved. Extraneous motions, or nerve signals, along the path of Qi, such as shoulder, elbow, and arms, have the same effect of disrupting the flow of Qi between the body and the fingers. People who use their hands intensively, such as dancers, typists, and piano players could have such problems. It is important for them to keep localized nerve activity dormant and let the Qi from the body take over. This is a good reason to learn the square form from which the practitioner will get used to movements with steady arms and hands without localized impulses. The focus here is on the arms and hands not on the legs and foot. The reason is that during form playing, the lower limbs have definite functions to perform and its energy and Qi are already integrated with that of the torso. During Form playing, the upper limb’s function is entirely abstract and mental and is easily distracted. ******************** S. T. writes: I have finally finished the “parting the wild horse’s mane” lesson. I thought I had learned earlier lessons well, until I saw myself practice these lessons in front of the mirror. I realize I looked pretty bad. What a wake up call!
MASTER HWA’S RESPONSE: This is on par with most students at this stage. This is your first stage in learning those lessons. It will take quite bit more practice to make it look decent. You see, your eye is now much more discriminating than what you can actually do, because you have watched my video for so long. You know what the form should look like. You can actually correct yourself by watching yourself play. Mirror is convenient but not very ideal, because you have to turn your head to watch yourself in the mirror, which will distort your form playing. The ideal way is to use video to record your play and then analyze the problems from the video. At this stage, you want to watch out not only your form position and timing of movements; but also those little extraneous movements unconsciously added to the form, a little shrug of the shoulder here and a flick of hand there etc. These extraneous movements are difficult to get rid of. ************"

My additional thoughts: 

"The fingers are not rigid when straight, they are energized. Where is the intention "Yi" going in a hand with fingers that are bent as opposed to a hand with fingers that are straight? If fingers are bent isn't the direction you are going even skewed? Also, with straightened fingers I can use the fingers like a spear or sword tip but I can quickly bend them to a fist, it gives me more option. With bent fingers and no intent if I connect even with soft tissue, I may break a finger. With straightened fingers I feel the sensations of "qi" in my hand, with bent there are none. Pushing on my chest with straightened fingers is the first time I felt one of Master Hwa's applications and he said " forgot this one..." I had asked him about applicaitons for the grasp bird's tail series when we first met and was showing off what I had learned in Toronto...MY Bad.

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