Understanding Changes doesn't it?

Postby Wushuer » Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:09 pm

My legs have reached a new level after the seminar. I used to do 20 flights of my stair walking exercises every day. Two sets of ten flights of stairs.
Add to that 45 minutes of Chi Kung and form exercises every morning, at least eight to ten repititions of the 13 posture hand form every day, and at least two one hour sessions of broadsword training a week...
I used to think my legs were as strong as they'd ever need to be.
I was wrong.
Day one my legs were tired, not too bad, but tired.
Day two I could barely stand by the time I made the 45 minute drive home. I was good going to the car, but after sitting for 45 minutes my legs locked up and I didn't have the strength to fight my way back up.
After day 3, I literally crawled up the short 5 steps to my front door. Couldn't stand.
Day 4, which was day 1 of the sword seminar, let me know my legs had never felt pain before. The funny thing was, I was totally numb by the time I left.
Day 5 started out bad, I could barely crawl out of bed, but by the time the day ended I had passed some kind of plateau, because I have never had that kind of energy in my legs.
Day 6 I felt like an ambulatory mountain. I was simply amazed at how strong and solid my legs were.

Now, I have to do two sets of 20 flights, that's 40 flights of stairs, up and down, every day since the seminar, in order to even begin to make them burn a bit.
It's been great.
Yet they're more flexible than before, they seem lighter and more ready to do what I want them to do.
My upper body went through a similar transformation, but I'm outta time for right now.

Oh, my legs are bigger, meatier than they were before, but without any tension or hardness in them.
It's kind of weird.
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Postby Kalamondin » Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:22 pm

Hi Wushuer,

Glad you liked my prayer drum image. I also learned a warm-up that looks even more like a prayer drum: feet shoulder width apart and using the waist, swing the (very relaxed) arms in great arcs that wrap around the body sideways, striking the kidney region in back (lightly, lightly!) with the back of one hand while the other arm wraps around the front middle—then swing the other way. It brings energy to the kidneys and generally gets the chi flowing.

Man, I wish I could have been at that seminar… anyway, I remember the pain from other years. It really taught me how to relax—nothing like pain to tell you where you are carrying tension. When I was a beginner, I didn’t really understand the value of holding stationary positions—but when you’re stuck in single whip while M YZD corrects 70 other people, you really learn how to relax that right shoulder!

One of these years, I’d like to go to a seminar in a place that has a number of experienced push hands players attending so I can further my understanding. It’s always fun to meet and learn from new people.

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Postby Wushuer » Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:44 pm

That warm up sounds like a beefed up version of the one I was talking about.
Wu style first warm up is sorta like this, only you make arcs from up above your shoulders to down on each side, then back up, in one quick jerk. I usually get every joint in my fingers, wrists, elbows and shoulders to snap when I do this. It feels awesome. You have to finish by holding your arms above your head and squeezing and releasing your fists a few times.
So you can squeeze the blood back into your arms from your hands.
Awesome stuff.

Yes, posture holding is a very familiar training session for me. It's been done at every school I ever attended.
I found out I had quite a bit of tension in my right shoulder for some reason. After a day or two at the seminar I could barely lift my right arm, due to so much pain from the release of tension in that shoulder.
Then we started the sword seminar, and that really got the tension out of my right shoulder. Master Yang Jun had to tell me, "Shoulders down, elbows down", quite a few times the first day and a half or so.
Oh, who am I kidding? He had to tell me that the last five seconds of the seminar, too.
But the first day and a half of sword my right shoulder would not go down, for any reason.
The pain was unbearable for a while. I honestly thought I had done some kind of damage.
But after a few hits of advil and some judiciously applied ice did nothing to help me, I began to realise it was the release of tension that had caused me so much pain.
My neck, shoulders, upper back and chest, not to mention my waist, have all opened up quite a bit and I'm more relaxed than I have been since before my automobile accident.
I got quite twisted up from that, hadn't realized until just this past week how much tension my body was still holding from that, and it was years ago.
But I seen to be working through it more each day and I'm feeling much better.
I have more energy than ever.
I just got back from doing my second flight of 20, and I barely broke a sweat.
The fact that I'm using much more of my body to do anything now helps, I'm sure.
I can tell the difference, I'm making more body moves.
I still remember Master Yang Jun saying: "With waist, turn body.."
And "Waist, body, turning, one movement".
I did my best to do it like he did, and I seem to do everything a bit easier now.
I can't wait for the next seminar.
Wish I could make the Michigan seminar. Damn job!
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Postby Kalamondin » Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:21 pm

Hi Wushuer,

<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR><font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">
I got quite twisted up from that, hadn't realized until just this past week how much tension my body was still holding from that, and it was years ago.
But I seen to be working through it more each day and I'm feeling much better. </font><HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

Sorry to hear about your car accident, even though it was years ago.

Isn’t it strange how the memory of ancient physical trauma can come up when you practice tai chi intensely? I’ve found this is true for me too, and that the greater the area of tension, the greater the trauma and the more layers of events there are that are associated with it.

I’ve heard it said that the body retains its own memories and the release of tension can let those out of the box, if you will. For a few days the memories and feelings associated with the event are usually more intense as you integrate the experience, and then fade as your body lets go of the tension.

It goes for emotional stuff too. One year, my grandfather died four months before the seminar. I thought I was done with the grief, but on the fourth day of the seminar I started weeping uncontrollably and could not stop. When I was done, however, I felt better than I had in months.

Too bad I can’t practice that intensely year-round. I know what you mean about having more energy afterwards! Just imagine what we could do if we could practice the recommended 8 times per day!

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Postby The Wandering Brit » Tue Aug 03, 2004 2:45 pm


Thankyou for your first post...I just found this thread and your list made me laugh out loud in recognition...coming back from class last night with my head spinning (from trying to work out exactly how I got bounced across the room, which hip to tuck during which posture, the concept of spiralling, and 101 other things)all I could think was 'In the short time I've been studying Tai Chi I've learnt a lot, yet I know an awful, awful lot less than I did when I started my first class...
The Wandering Brit
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Location: Colchester, United Kingdom

Postby Wushuer » Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:23 pm

The car accident was a turning point in my life. It messed me up, badly, for a long time. In fact, according to my PT and Orthopedic Surgeon, the damage to my neck and upper back is permanent. I have a heck of a time any time the weather changes, and when it's cold...
Let's just say I have it worse, and we'll leave it there. I don't want to carry on about it, there's no point.
TCC is what it took to get me back on my feet. My PT is convinced that without it I would likely have had to have a lifetime of PT, non-stop. My surgeon says he can't think of anything else that could have gotten me back on my feet, especially as my condition is inoperable due to the location of the actual damage.
I was clinically incapacitated for nearly two weeks, flat out on my back in traction, and then it took me nearly another six months to get back to anything close to full mobility (which I still don't have, don't know if I ever will have).
It didn't manifest until nearly half a year after the accident, that's the weird part.
I felt fine after the accident, never even felt like I had to see a doctor, much less go to the E.R. or anything. It happened right at the beginning of summer, during the warm weather and it seems cold weather is what really makes the problem noticable.
It wasn't until about six months after the accident, when deep winter hit, that I first began to notice a problem. When I could no longer feel the left side of my body less than a month later, that's when I decided I'd better seek help.
That's when I found out how badly being rear ended by a moving truck can mess up your neck and spine and you won't even know it until later.
It took traction, PT and TCC to get me moving again. All the professionals agree, it it hadn't been for the TCC I would likely have to be in traction during at least the winter months for the rest of my life.
I'm very happy about TCC.
It is it's own traction and it's own PT, all rolled into one.
AND, it's cheaper!
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Postby Kalamondin » Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:04 pm

Well, Wushuer, I'm glad you're still alive and kicking. Thanks for sharing your story.

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