Monday, December 29, 2014

Taiji: Unsynchronizing the Arms

A few months back, while refining my Taiji form at TToPA,  I noticed a difference between what I was doing and what the instructor was doing during the transition from 'Serpent Slides Back' to 'Crossing Wrists' (at the end of each section of the Slow Form). In my case, the transition was somewhat symmetric, with the left hand and the right hand forming the same arc at the same time and concluding in the posture at the same time. By contrast, my instructor's left hand followed a much shorter (more natural) arc that was at a slower speed than the right hand, with both hands converging in the posture at the same time.

In TToPA, we are taught from the beginning that the arms often move at different rates even in seemingly symmetric movements (e.g. 'Conquer Tiger') but this was the first time I noticed it in a movement where it had not been shown to me explicitly.

Since then, I've worked on fixing the timing and movement of 'Crossing Wrists' and have become a lot more proficient at moving my hands unsynchronized while still keeping the movement connected. This has not only helped in those postures where I already knew that the hands needed to move at different speeds but has also allowed me to see other places in the form where the arms/hands move unsynchronized in much more subtle ways (e.g. 'Circle Foot and Carry the Hammer Forward').

I still have to concentrate when doing these movements otherwise I fall back to my synchronized ways but, when I get it right, it makes the transitions more smooth an comfortable.

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