The exercise today was to practice push hands with Sifu online. I visualized Sifu in front of me, I tried to feel his arm as we were doing the exercise. When I was pushing his hand it was easier to feel the connection but when we reached the point of changing the roles (his pushing and me receiving), sometimes I lost the connection, so I waited a few moments, until I started to feel his push. In the end, I realized that I can feel the connection better if I relax the abdomen.
Other take home messages:
1) remain on the river of Tao;
2) watch like a child (open, without preconceptions, directly absorb the knowledge);
3) copy what you see, become what you follow 😊
It’s been a while lately I haven’t felt such strong energy flow as during this zoom push hands session.
I had time to reflect on “hands finish first, weight-shift after” + “sleep shoulders”, thus let the arms loose while practising push hands together + with Sifu, my forearms + palms filled up with energy / vibrations and arms were moving lightly from elbows and wrists.
Observe – perceive
Follow what you see – become what you follow (?)
During push hands with you, my hands felt tingly. AT times it felt like my forearms were moving in pre-set paths.
I have recently been reading research about “flow” states. Steven Kotler observes extreme adventure sports athletes and one of the findings in flow states is the “shutting down” of the neocortex. I interpret that as “thoughtless awareness”. One of the benefits of this is better decision-making i.e. perceiving.
During push hands, I noticed how my mind was getting caught up overthinking. Internally, my body felt centred and there is much more movement around the hip. I noticed the play between the hands pushing and a turn coming from the hips.
The question that occurred to me is whether there is a difference between the full forward extension after receiving with the left or the right arm. For example, with left foot forward, it appears to me that after receiving with the right arm, the full forward push is beyond “straight at the wall”. However, after receiving with the right arm, the full forward push appeared to pretty much only go as far as “straight at the wall”.
Anyway, the other observation during push hands – both when practising by myself and today during class, is that there is a lot of tightness and tension in the bottom of my spine, where the hips meet the spine. I suspect these are muscles and tissue moving in ways they haven’t moved for many years.
I was confused as to which arm received
Now clarified either/ both fir R&L
I am feeling the movement is flowing more freely
Lesson flowed very well and I felt very relaxed and in touch with everyone
Today felt settled all around without previous issues of technical or zoom medium blues so everyone felt focused on the lesson.
I felt early on in the warmup to follow Sifu was to push hands with Sifu and instead of mirroring or copying was responding. Probably was most connected at that time. Noticing everyone else was mirroring / copying I made myself conform so as not to be out of step with the group.
There was more mental control or engagement in my case when compared with the ladies, who had more intuitive / perceptual engagement.
At the end, watching Sifu showing a different push hands pattern, my mind and observation jumped more to the fore again. Still retain the memory video of it though.