Gregor’s Tome

Gregor Ptokgregor

I started learning Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan under Master Ric Lum in November 2005. It has weaved its way into all aspects of my life, providing immediate benefits in my day-to-day life and health, whilst also allowing me to catch glimpses of the eternal, ever-changing, un-changing energy of life. Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan to me is a craft so rich and intricate it will provide years of learning and development. I enjoy sharing it with others. Below are some of the experiences I have had along the Way.
– Fri, 30 Mar 2012 10:18:40 +1100

Gregor's patch
the Melbourne “patch” is in the far shade of the two gum trees, facing the “wall” of the houses.

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  1. A cool, crisp morning. Yellow autumn leaves cover the ground, get blown in the wind. The hands are cold. The rest of me warm.
    Saturday morning in Ardrie Park.
    Danced S1 “around the world”. Noticed tension in my shoulders release, my posture change. Opening up. A deeper level of “sleep shoulders”.

  2. Subject: Stuckness, mistakes, and learning

    The student was caught trying to follow instructions, but stuck in a particular thought about something he wanted to learn and revise.
    So Sifu asked “what happened?” and a conversation about learning and different approaches between east and modern west ensued:
    • The western education system which minimises errors, compared to the arcane system which allows for self-discovery. The difference between instant coffee and a slow brew?
    • Children learn through play. Play involves trial and error.

    “If you tell me what you think the problem is, I can understand what you think the problem is. If you show me, I will know what the problem is.”

  3. Re: Skype lesson MEL-SYD

    Dancing section 1 together side-by-side, me on right.

    Felt being moved and more of the interplay between the knees, hip, and hands. Like wrestling a giant squishy ball. Less so when following you (without inner attention). I regretted having chosen the right side as I only just began to feel the connection. It made me slower on the turn, had to catch up 1/2 a move ….

  4. Finished “Constant Rate”. Did S1 , twice,
    with a sit-down with Sifu in-between to help focus on my feet. At first I felt the back of my hands resting on the sofa, and the soles of my feet resting on the ground.
    After a little while, my feet seemed to be like nothing, there seemed to be nothing to focus on. A short while later, my focus seemed to be inside the area where my feet are and later, seemed to be between my feet. But the whole area south of my knees felt quite diffuse, dissolved(?).

  5. Subject: Match report

    This morning was interesting. Driving to my park, I found my vision at times in “soft focus”. In S.1 I noticed myself several times adjusting the angles of the feet and feeling the wobbles. However, especially in S.2 and S.3 I felt more grounded. I was able to retain focus on “b-f” for decent stretches, but noticed myself also paying attention to my hands and arms. The whole form felt more connected. I thought of leaving at the end of S.2, but continued.
    In S.3 I missed a couple of turns. At times a lightness seemed to break through – fascinating!
    Timing was odd, too. It seemed to go on for quite long and for long stretches I felt very slow. But getting back into the car, I think it only took around 45 – 50 min for the whole form.
    Afterwards I noticed soreness in the right pelvis / upper thigh. Later in the day my lower left calf and knee felt like they were re-adjusting. Something is re-wiring ….

  6. Today I felt very strong flow throughout most of the form. The stillness was amazing.
    I’ve got the feeling I have arrived. Since starting to learn Tai Chi in November 2005, I have moved twice (including to a different State/city), worked in four organisations in seven different roles, and became father, twice. I have arrived. In Ardrie Park, Melbourne. It might explain some of the challenges around “progressing”.
    I also realised one more thing to let go of during the dance – the thoughts “I have to remember xyz to jot down after I’m finished”. As soon as I let go of the need to remember, flow returned.

  7. Today’s match report:
    Back on the patch in Ardrie Park. Autumn leaves falling. A cool, crisp morning.
    Generally good flow, I got the transition from Downward dominance to Golden cockerel. A couple of areas requiring additional attention:
    – Move, bar, punch in S1 & S2
    – Character ‘ten’, thread hands & Step up, 7 stars

    Towards the end I remembered the idea of focusing on the whole body, not following the rabbit of the mind. I started with soft focus vision, and sought to expand my awareness to take in all of the body and surrounds. It seems a huge step to let go. A vast, empty space opens up, away from the chatter of the mind. Scary, but beckoning for more exploration.

  8. Saturday’s match report.
    More changes …. this time I did the dance in the front yard as Dinh wanted to join. I was point, she behind.
    The form went well, we just took a shortcut after 74 – bypassed Golden Cockerel to second Downward Dominance.

  9. Match Report for Saturday, 9 May

    It was different to last week. I rode my bike to the patch and there was a pretty tight schedule after Tai Chi. I was struck by one thing I love about the new patch: autumn leaves. It’s in an old park and the trees change throughout the year. Lovely.

    In terms of the form, I flowed through S1 and S2, but got muddled in S3. The mind followed the rabbit, thoughts went wandering and pondered all things mudane.

    Next time I will try and shift focus: from the mind to the body.

  10. Match report from Saturday in Ardrie Park.
    Felt very different today. S1 and most of S2 was spent in wonderment and savouring the moves. Moving slow, slower than usual. S3 was a bit of a blur (i.e. sequence a bit muddled). After driving home, I just enjoyed sitting in the car. Calm. Still.

  11. Report from this week’s Skype lesson with Sifu.
    Sifu first asked me to take off my glasses and just to “apprehend” him, how he was holding his upper body / hands, / as far as visible. Apprehend his whole being. Then close my eyes. Neither assist nor resist.
    I was moved and had a number of experiences, the highlights were:
    – experiencing a different move toward the front, where energy came up the legs and pulled my hips to the front in a way I can’t remember having moved before.
    – a greater range of movement in the hip (shifting front and back) without “toppling over”. A broader platform of balance, I would call it.
    There was also the mind talking and asking whether I should let go when my feet were “holding on”. It seemed that towards the front there was a clearer limit / farthest extent to which my lower legs shifted at which point it became a question of step or stop.

    Sifu then offered for me to watch or follow the next segment. I chose to follow. He did ‘Cloud Hands’ from entry/ set-up to end of high pointed ‘Single Whip’.
    As I was following, my attention jumped from weight/ foot movement / hand movement and my reaction was “I know what this is meant to be, but I just don’t recognise it. It seems like a different form”. But once we got into the sideways moving part, it became clearer, though I became aware of little double-pivots at the end of each side. There was just too much information to process.
    What I felt? In the confusion, in following, I felt connectedness. Grounded-ness. And, in a few instances, especially toward the end, being moved.

    For the final segment, Sifu asked me to watch, compare and contrast. He did ‘Repulse Monkey’ and then ‘Brush Knee’.
    He then asked for observations on the physical as well as the subtle level.
    Physically: there appears to be a similar action in the shoulders between the 2 styles, as they turn around the center spine. Also, movement in both is a backwards and forwards action.
    On a subtle level … At the very beginning my feeling was .. They are the same, just in reverse. Like the valve gear on a steam locomotive.

  12. Sifu offered to either watch or to follow him in the next segment. I chose to follow. He did cloud hands from entry/ set-up to end of high pointed single whip.
    As I was following my attention jumped from weight/ foot movement / hand movement and my reaction was “I know what this is meant to be, but just don’t recognise it. It seemed like a different “form”. But once we got into the sideways moving part, it became clearer, though I became aware of little double-pivots at the end of each side. There was just too much information to process.
    What I felt? In the confusion, in following, connectedness. Grounded ness. And, in a few instances, especially toward the end, being moved.

  13. Standing up at the start of a lesson by Skype, Sifu first asked me to take my glasses off and just to “apprehend” him; how he was holding his upper body, hands etc.Then to close my eyes, to “Neither assist nor resist”.
    As a result I was physically moved and experienced several things of which the highlights were:
    – experiencing a different move toward the front, where energy rose up my legs and pulled my hips to the front in a way I can’t remember having moved before,
    – a greater range of movement in the hips (shifting front and back) without toppling over. A broader platform of balance, I would call it.
    There was also the mind talking and asking whether I should let go when my feet were “holding on”. It seemed that towards the front there was a clearer limit / farthest extent to which my lower legs shifted at which point it became a question of step or stop.

  14. Subject: Melbourne match report

    Today it was once again me, my wandering mind, and the 108 ….

    It was a beautiful, crisp Melbourne morning with the first signs of autumn in the air.

    Come Jade Maiden, my mind was exhausted enough to give it a rest for a few moves … Geez it’s tiring. In moments of clarity, I noticed movements slightly more supple and subtle than usual – the hands felt softer. Also, in Grasp Birds Tail, my left hand straightened a little more, changing the alignment with my forearm.

    I realized that I might be able to start the dance earlier, at 7:40 again – the kids pretty much entertain themselves in the morning.

  15. Dear Sifu,
    What a ride that was this morning!

    Some reflections:
    – Where my attention went, that’s where I usually ended up.
    – each time when I ended up on my knees and got back up, I needed time to “come back down”. My head got very busy, but each time you waited for me to be grounded again.
    Instead of physical exertion, though my muscles were working, it seems to have been more of a subtle body workout …
    – “Mirror me” had me intrigued, where does the mirroring stop? That question had my mind a little puzzled ….
    – I believe I caught glimpses of the Dance that Push Hands can be. Just observing where the energy takes us, along for the ride, and a laugh!


  16. A big day today. I was able to catch up with Sifu.
    The last few Saturdays I had continued my practice of the 108, but being in Sydney for business offered the wonderful opportunity to meet up with Sifu again. We spoke, and it was fascinating to observe the conversation. When the issue was done and a solution found, the energy shifted and we continued our walk. Sifu invited me to neither assist or resist, and I felt the Chi more strongly than before. It felt quite different to the last time we had done it. Thinking about it, that must have been almost two years ago? Wow. And it felt like home again. Observing my awareness, it shifted and rested in my lower belly whilst being moved. We then also had a short go at push hands, and that was where my intellect kicked in again … However, reflecting on the experience afterwards, I can see what it ideally is like: two objects or drops of water, playing with each other whilst floating down the river. There is no winner or loser, just a playful dance. Thank you!

  17. Subject: Two match reports
    Today was wild. Got to S3, and the joy at doing Wild horse ruffles mane and then “freestyle” was beautiful. ’twas overcast today and windy, but the animals were out in force. Swallows flying low and a dog coming close. Once I really “let go” and forgot all about the styles, I ended up in Jade Maiden at odd angles. But I was feeling the extent of my reach, moving low, and the movements flowed …. Yes, I went mystical – eyes closed and singing a German hymn …. The highlight was that a dog who was playing nearby twice decided to lie down between my legs!!! Joy, exuberant joy.

  18. Subject: Melbourne match report

    It was just me today, although a curious magpie came as close as 3m to me at one stage.

    I was a bit apprehensive when starting – hadn’t found time to practice during the week and also not been ale to locate the DVDs, or taken up Rodney’s kind offer of skype practice, so there I was, knowing I’ve got a stuck spot which I was going to hit again: 34. Step up, Grasp bird’s tail. And yes, hit it I did. I came at it a couple of times, skipped, but my mind / memory of “not knowing it” kept getting in the way. I kept going past it and hit another block at 44. &Step up, Pound earth. I was getting frustrated, looking at the list of styles on the iPad, trying to make sense of it all. So then I slowed down and let my body remember – and remember it did!!! I “got” 34. Step up, Grasp bird’s tail. I realised (again?) that the mind really does get in the way sometimes. It is so important to just let go of the thoughts- the memory of not knowing, the words that describe the styles, the desire to “see” someone else perform. The movement is there. Once I got that, the movements became a lot more flowing and that was also the point when the birds came closer. I began to feel connection between leg and arm movements, noticed my elbows. The latter part of S2 will still take a bit more work, but both 34. and 44. were good.

    ’til next week!

  19. Report from Melbourne
    Environment: Clear, sunny and warm day. The trees around my patch give a nice, dappled shade.

    Since Tai Chi 2 weeks ago I have been on a juice fast and lost 7.7kg. I feel very good and noticed yesterday that I am able to squat down with the left foot flat on the ground (something I hadn’t been able to do before). I enjoyed Tai Chi today with everyone there. At times the kids ask a question, but generally they are fine. And I just need to keep an eye on them now and then. The movements going “Round the world” felt strong and at times I seemed to have more supple awareness, especially when it came to hand movements. After Dinh and kids left I got into S2. Overall I covered the major parts except the Strike Tigers. Transitions are still fuzzy, got stuck again in 34. Step Up, Grasp Bird’s Tail. This week I will find the DVD and use it. I will also build in at least one practice during the week.

  20. Dear Sifu,
    Rodney and I have just finished our first Skype practice.
    After raising the Chi, we did S.1 twice, followed by some elaboration on Strum Peepa. We have loosely arranged to catch up every two weeks, esp. once I’m back from overseas, with short Q&A sessions if I get stuck in-between.
    Mentally, the practicalities of Skype and doing TC indoors preoccupied me at first. Towards the end it was more around how to build my practice regime and the best use of Skype.
    In terms of feeling, the form just flowed a lot more than when I tried doing it by myself. I didn’t feel much in terms of chi flow on my hands, but noticed towards the end better posture.
    Thank you to Rodney for his time.

  21. Subject:MATCH REPORT:Cheng Man-Cheng ‘day’
    Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2012 08:49:50 +1000

    1. “Follow me”: As mentioned on Sunday, there were times when it was clear to me I was following you. These usually coincided with the sensation of “being moved” rather than actively moving myself. The movements also became precise.

    2. At this point I cannot report any difference in perception to how I normally watch. I believe “watch like a child” can = “follow me”, but believe this will require the learner to be well-connected to the flow. I don’t really see myself quite there / or if so, I am not conscious at this point in time.

    Overall – the session was very intense, and though my legs were sore at the beginning, towards the end the movements got lighter. Following you was strongest during “Repulse Monkey” for me; I felt energy around my elbows, especially the left elbow.”

  22. Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2012 15:21:37 +1000
    .. doing S1 and S2 to end of “Cloud Hands” was fantastic. Pretty much throughout my torso and arms felt slowly guided by the Chi. If I went too fast, the sensation faded, if I went slower, it became stronger. I didn’t push the other way to go slower than seemed appropriate, but the Chi was the strongest and most consistent I have felt in my 6 1/2 years of learning Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan.
    Looking forward to Saturday and Sunday!

  23. Subject: Saturday dance
    Date: Sun, 12 Feb 2012 21:51:37 +1100

    Saturday, 11 feb 2012
    The dance: it was quite amazing – my focus was very much on those at Fire level, and it felt that we moved in absolute unison. Ray left wing, Magda point, me between Ray and Magda, and Danya opposite me on the right side. Gliding through the moves with the others filled me with such joy. The words that came to mind were “band of brothers” (and a sister).
    “Cloud hands” in S.2 stirred up the waters a bit, but we soon found our groove again. Really, it was only minor turbulence. The unison was in fact so strong, that I found myself doing version 2 of “Brush knee” (which I normally don’t do).
    My focus was very much on those in Fire level. When focussing on the others (and I tried it twice), I seemed to get tired and yawned (hence stopped that experiment).

    In S.3, after the first set of “Cloud hands” and “Downward dominance”, my focus was more on just my experience, detached from the band of brothers and sisters. My movements again became more purposeful, pronounced and lower, they also got a lot more bounce, even in “Cloud hands”. In my excitable German way, I would describe the experience as truly exciting and exhilarating. It was also quite exhausting; in a couple of leans I was worried my leg might give way (it was shaking from the strain).

    Also, earlier in the form, my focus went soft, and there appeared to be no boundary to my hands. They seemed to move through the air like through water, sweeping and pulling contrails. I couldn’t “see” them, but that was the image that came to mind.

    What a privilege – thank you to the band of brothers and sisters and all others who were there, who “carried” the form and thus my focus wasn’t too caught up in making sure I didn’t miss a turn ….
    Thank you also to Master Ric who explored and charted the space we move in.

  24. Subject: Notes from today
    Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012 15:01:31 +1100
    My journey in Yuan-Chi Tai Chi Chuan

    I had pulled my right shoulder in the morning when changing Kian(my infant son). Sifu asked me to sit on the grass and started to touch my shoulder… pretty much as soon as he touched my shoulder, I felt warmth and could hardly focus on the pain; it was gone. A couple of hours later, a little discomfort remains, but other than that … Fine.

    New step: Mongolian Stance. Before showing me the step, we spent time “limbering up”. Sifu guided my body through a bend over forwards. It felt like each bone in my spine was moved individually. The whole movement felt straighter than I could have done it. I had my eyes closed throughout and felt a force enveloping me.
    The actual practice of the step initially appeared comparatively easy, but I feel that my “best” attempt was the {1st, as} with every other attempt, my movement became less precise. My legs were getting tired.
    We went on to do some Push Hands, and after just a few rounds, I became exhausted. We were going quite slow and the energy was getting too much.

    Afterwards, conversation was almost too much for me. I caught a train to Redfern and walked home from there. After having some toast, I just sat, looking at the clouds.

  25. Subject: Some reflections
    Date: Sun, 22 Jan 2012 21:19:47 +1100

    Thursday – beginning the lesson, “raising the Chi” with the new student, I felt the Chi on my arms very strongly. After that, when we did S3 with Parvati, I didn’t feel anything strongly. However, there seemed to be a field of connection encompassing the three of us.

    Saturday – being one in from right wing had its challenges and was initially very unsettling, especially as there were different tempi around me. Towards the end, I again perceived the “bubble”. Regarding my lesson, I observed the interplay of the two elbows. Not that I came to any conclusions, but it was an additional question to the one I stumbled onto on Thursday (-?). Towards the end of section three, at the beginning of the last “Single whip” there was a noticeable change in the energy for me. I was (almost violently) pulled down and my movements became much more pronounced, present and what I would call black & white. It feels like I had been granted a greater presence and connection and felt like I was absolutely there. Bang! Aware, moved, and much more at peace. It reminded me of my lesson on Thursday a few weeks before Christmas when “S3 wanted to be performed”. I was gripped and moved by the Chi.

    Afterwards, the group felt very lighthearted. Ray and I had been doing Tai-Chi Sauna (ie. wearing wet weather gear and getting very hot & sweaty) and we all had a good laugh about it. Amazingly (as usual), the whole form didn’t appear to raise your temperature one bit.

  26. Subject: Skateboard
    Date: Sat, 17 Dec 2011 23:00:08 +1100
    What a day! During the Form today, in “Jade Maiden threads loom” I was very aware of my legs. Magda’s comments of the skateboard on the halfpipe comes to mind. There was a clarity of movement, beginning and end, up and down. Wonderful!

  27. Subject: Today’s class
    Date: Thu, 17 Nov 2011 22:48:42 +1100

    – Doing Push Hands, the lower part of my brain felt comfortably numb whilst (JSM) my arms moved very easily.

  28. Subject: Observations
    Date: Fri, 28 Oct 2011 19:58:20 +1100

    Reflections on Thursday’s lesson:
    · I can’t remember having worked that hard at Tai Chi, I was sweating quite a lot. A proper work-out and at least twice I was just about ready to stop because my legs were so exhausted. But then I was able to continue and though tiring, my legs also felt very loose. But they also felt very strong, at times like they were gripping the earth.
    · A very paradoxical experience. Working my way through section 3, I lost my way several times. Once I found myself in Cheng-Man-Ching form, then lost count of the repulse monkeys and cloud hands, and a couple of times I had to stop and re-start. It was quite funny and I had a bit of a giggle a couple of times.
    · But, at the time there seemed to be no room for anything else. S.3 wanted to be performed. And at times I felt “yes, I got it, I got my lesson!”. I was wondering whether I would be able to maintain that presence and was surprised that I did pretty much until the end of S3. Although you were there, no instruction was necessary. Doing the form, I was on autopilot and at times found myself moving in ways I did not recognise or remember. It was a blast!

  29. Subject: “WALK WITH ME”
    Date: Mon, 8 Aug 2011 21:11:32 +1000

    Breakfast: Shri Annapurna mantra and keeping attention on Sahastrara makes food intake much calmer and satisfying. Boy, do I usually gobble! “Throw away your crutches” – we have them in so many areas and ways.

    Walking, following you: The length of my pace changed, became shorter but more efficient. Towards the end walking was more like a continuous shifting and rolling…
    it sometimes felt like there were strings of energy (like roots) that gathered in whenever my foot lifted… and other times it felt like I was walking on “autopilot”.

  30. Saturday, 2 October 2010

    Following you – this Saturday just gone was again very big on the “being moved” aspect of Yuan-Chi Tai-Chi. Especially in the first part of the session, I felt like at times there was simply no other way to move than in sync with you. At one point my upper arms felt incredibly dense and heavy, but that dissipated later on. The focus of the energy seemed to be above the solar plexus. Again, there was much more intricate and interconnected movement than when I practise on my own. And a couple of times, joy came over me when I observed how I moved in sync with you

  31. Saturday, 25 September 2010

    What makes Yuan-Chi Tai-Chi different from other styles of Tai Chi Chuan? Last Saturday I observed, towards the end of the form, how S. did a grading or some other display with the other group. His movements were very – how should I describe it – controlled, forceful? It seemed like he was pressing his body into various precise positions, like play-dough into a form. I can see the temptation, the feeling of power and control that would come with that. Whereas our Tai-Chi seems more like a meander through the forest. You can’t always make out the path, but keep moving along. Actually, a lot of the time it’s like you are being moved along. I guess I prefer the mystery over the power.

  32. Sent: Sunday, September 19, 2010 11:06 PM
    Subject: Following?

    Following you yesterday in “Turn, chop fist“ and “Move, bar, punch” highlighted again what makes Yuan-Chi Tai-Chi unique. As Ray said, there were movements within movements, nuances within each other, which we, practising on our own, would simply not be able to emulate. But more than that, at times and especially towards the end, I felt “bigger”, like my body did not end with my skin. It seemed like my boundaries were softer, expanded, rubbery, denser. My movements were more connected and flowing. When discussing our experience afterwards, the reason to follow you, rather than focusing on our particular lesson step, became apparent – only in this way are we open to experience the full lesson and be exposed to mastery way beyond our current state. I believe it is called “direct transference”.

  33. Sent: Saturday, August 28, 2010 11:47 PM
    Subject: Today’s dance

    This morning’s dance was quite different. The formation was: Danya – point, Magda – left wing, I was right wing, Ray was backward of point and Mick was bunny. The only way I can describe it is that my body felt more connected (e.g. arms with legs, etc) when moving. I also noticed my stance was lower. After not being there last weekend due to school reunion, it was a very nice experience. There were intermittent moments of thoughtless awareness, too.

    When mentioning these sensations whilst getting water afterwards, Magda reported similar feelings, especially the greater connectedness.

  34. Sent: Sunday, May 30, 2010 9:29 PM
    Subject: Bird & Tree

    During the form yesterday I was on the right wing, leading “Wild Horse Part Mane”. I had the usual conversation going on in my head – “Am I too fast? Too slow? Etc.”. However, there was also a feeling of peace and flow. At one point, there was one particular bird that was walking on the ground and came within less than a metre of me. It did not seem hurried or worried, but went about its business. I was surprised by its trust. Then I realised that I felt very rooted in the earth. I doubt I would have been able to jump suddenly if I had tried. However, there was no need or desire to do so, just contentment. Very briefly, I felt how the bird might have perceived me – like a tree, part of the landscape. A very memorable encounter!

  35. Sent: Saturday, March 27, 2010 9:33 PM
    Subject: My lesson

    Focussing on “U-Knee” is like discovering a whole new story. The story of the weighted point is familiar, but the U-point opens the gate to the effortless flow. I found myself switching / jumping between the two stories. The image of the infinity symbol came to mind, with one story being one loop and the point of switching the other loop. I thought about my “discovery” at various points throughout the day. The “U” is the equal, but often neglected / forgotten (in everyday life) rarely known “other half” of existence. It is the meditation / ethereal aspects and seems to be the first time, in learning Tai-Chi, that a completely different area is accessed. I also found more places in the form when I was being carried and moved than I used to. Still only sporadically, but nonetheless more than before.

    I am just amazed at the “parallel universe” that is there in the form, hidden in plain sight. Though you see, you are blind – comes to mind. Looking at my day-to-day life through this newfound lens is somewhat disturbing. Work, Routine, Reading, TV, Computer work is all on the Yang / “hard work and straining” side of the equation. There appears to be very little on the other side ….

  36. Sent: Sunday, July 12, 2009 8:04 PM
    Subject: Reporting Q.2?

    .. I just remember footage of an elephant charging, and he seemed to move at a constant, fast pace. The fascinating observation was that it could almost be described as dance …. the bulk / body of the elephant seemed almost level, whilst the legs were “dancing” underneath the body, propelling the elephant at quite tremendous speed.

  37. Sent: Tuesday, July 07, 2009 8:07 PM


    “constant rate” of movement, keeping the ball rolling – that is what my perception of the lesson is. No more stops and starts, acceleration or deceleration, but simply a constant movement, much like walking to a steady beat. Whilst it may appear to require more concentration, I think it actually uses less effort than the stops and starts.

    An interesting footnote: after the lesson I had the best “run” of the traffic lights along Glebe Point Road I have ever had. Green all the way to Uni of Sydney. When I began to get excited about it and drawing parallels to the lesson, the resistance grew and a couple of times I had to wait for quite some time.

  38. Sent: Sunday, June 28, 2009 6:18 PM
    Subject: It’s OK..

    – Perfectionist ambitions and inflexibility – it was good being able to lead someone who picks up things easily, which showed where I was being inflexible in my approach. And really, all first-timers need is to get to that point where they have done a particular style by themselves once or twice. There’s usually plenty more opportunity for refinement and revision, hence don’t have to get it 100% right the first time.

    – “Once Around The World” felt like new. I was moving lower than I had in the past and it felt more like riding a wave. In hindsight, trying to describe it, “Downward Dominance” comes to mind.

  39. Sent: Sunday, June 14, 2009 8:38 PM
    Subject: Lessons

    Words truly are no good when teaching Tai-Chi, at least in so far as beginners are concerned. They direct attention and exaggerate whatever was mentioned in importance. As such they will be used by the student to cling on to, thus giving the words far more weight than they were meant to.
    Twice I gave in to the temptation to say something – the first time I did, it made things worse, whilst the second time, something completely different to what I wanted to communicate was received instead.

    The first time was at the turn from “All-Pervading Ultimate Manifests” to “Left grasp bird’s tail” in S1. Miranda and I noticed that “E” was not pivoting on her heel. Miranda asked me whether we should say something – initially I didn’t, but then couldn’t resist.
    I pointed out to “E” that she should turn on her heel. And voila, what do we get? She turns beautifully on her heel but in doing so, her weight distribution is now all wrong!

    The second time was in “Left grasp bird’s tail”, where I tried to correct her left hand. She took it to mean that I was talking about which way to hold her right hand!

  40. Sent: Friday, May 29, 2009 12:55 PM
    Subject: Health

    Tai-Chi has led to greater balance and grounded-ness. I feel a lot more stable standing on one leg, for example, when putting on shoes or socks, than I did when I started Tai-Chi, or even one year ago. I also feel stronger in both legs. I also believe it is assisting in preventing re-occurrence of DVT (deep vein thrombosis), which I had in 2007.

  41. Sent: Wednesday, October 01, 2008 8:24 AM
    Subject: Contentment

    Last week, a feeling of deep peace and contentment came over me; walking to work and suddenly, at Wynyard park, I just stopped and stood. I have seen so much, am so tired of external things and my attention flitting from one thing and person to the next. Yearning for a slower pace, greater groundedness.

    Another layer peeled away, and greater joy and delight in the relationships I have. Physically, I feel like I have more movement in my knee towards the back, when straightening my legs. It feels more even, too – like my knees now are able to straighten properly, the way they are meant to. Also, I recently did some kicks and found myself reaching higher whilst maintaining my balance more than I remember doing before. Other physical changes are being able to flatten my feet more when spreading my toes and, something I am quite excited about: being able to walk from home to the station, maintaining soft focus in my vision pretty much all of the way!

  42. Sent: Saturday, May 03, 2008 2:30 PM
    Subject: Today was different

    Getting there before everyone else was good, and I was actually singing a song I hadn’t remembered for ages. It was a blessing from my days in church called “Now unto him”. Leading Mick I thought worked well. The main observation on this part was: it seems that when you show styles, they appear to take longer than when I actually do them. They seem a lot more intricate, too. I noticed this before as well, today was just very pronounced. I also noticed how when doing the turn, I feel quite twisted and tense.

    What was different today was that I think today was the first day leading on left wing when my mind didn’t stray too far throughout the form. I felt very much connected even during the latter part of S.2 and S.3, which is when I normally “drift off”. It was very beautiful.

    Thank you.

    Funny, the mix-up with restaurants, too. Anyhow, after lunch I actually had a nap and my legs felt very heavy and dense when I woke up. It was not unpleasant at all. I actually lay awake for some time, until I was ready to get up and just took it slowly.

  43. I have been learning Tai Chi Chuan with Master Ric since November 2005. What words can describe my journey and learning so far? They seem paradoxical, but at times it is exactly so:
    Effortless and trying too hard. Progress and consolidation – perceived and yet not seen. Believing I understand and finding I don’t. Knowing and forgetting. Feeling at times utterly foolish and yet, at other times, absolutely right. In learning: puzzled, perplexed, frustrated, delighted, amazed, and grateful.
    Through Tai Chi Chuan I am faced with myself and my place in life. I find that I am now leading a more balanced life than when I started, externally and internally. I no longer react if unable to remember what I just saw or learnt (which occurs quite frequently). When first starting out, I used to berate myself for “not getting it” and got quite frustrated. Now I am more accepting, and know and trust that in good time I will “get it”. How can that be? It comes back to the most fundamental lesson I have learnt so far:
    “Come to Class.” Or, as Woody Allen once said: “80% of success is showing up”.
    Friday, April 11, 2008 6:35 PM

  44. 15th March 2008
    As we were setting up for the form, for a very short time, I was seeing everything around me, wasn‘t focussed on one particular thing. During the form my hands were very relaxed, it was exciting to see that flexibility. When you “see” your hand connected to your leg, it’s quite intriguing.

  45. Sent: Sunday, February 17, 2008 7:33 PM
    Subject: Reflections on yesterday’s lesson

    I would describe yesterday’s lesson as intense for me.
    I have settled back into class very quickly after my longish absence in Melbourne. In fact my movements feel more connected now than they did previously.
    In particular yesterday I found that time seemed to stretch and there was an enjoyment about going with the form.

    Early in the form I realised that my way of thinking and perceiving has developed during my life so far in a particular way, quite heavily focussed on analysing circumstances and situations. I realised that this framework will not really help me move on in Tai Chi. I believe that as Chi is something which previously has been outside of my range of perception, I need to be open to experiences, feelings and ways of being which are beyond what I am used to. This will broaden my mind. I guess I am beginning to make room for this.

    During S2, I felt myself physically moved more than ever. This happened when I was not going with my preconceived ideas of what the form is like. When these preconceptions lagged, it flowed. A mask is dropping.

    Thank you.

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