Friday, September 30, 2011

Level 1 - Moving From the Center Drill

Basic Principles that apply to all movements.  Practice incorporating this core/basic principle into each movement of the Tai Chi Form

1. Knees are always slightly bent
2. Weight is more back than forward and knees are always aligned/over your feet.
3. Hips are facing front
4. Shoulders are down and relaxed
5. There is good spacing under your arms, as if an orange was there
6. All steps under control ( being able to stop at any time and be balanced )
7. Your height stays the same through all movements and is governed by the height you can maintain during the most challenging move
8. The pace of each move is the same and is set by the Preparation ( first move )
9. One thing moves everything ( not rooted ) moves.
10. All movements start from the center.

The Starting Position:
1. Feet are a fist width apart. Make this adjustment without looking down at your feet
2. Knees slightly bent and aligned/over your feet. Weight is more back than forward
3. Arms at your side just outside your body and slightly in front.
4. There is good spacing under your arms
5. Head is Suspended as if being held up by a string attached to a helium filled balloon

The Preparation Right:
1. Turn your upper body (only ) to the left ( Hips stay facing front) … and at the same time shift your weight to the left. NOTE: The goal is to make this ( all shifts ) throughout the entire turn.
2. Turn your upper body back to the front and while turning step to the Right onto the middle of your right foot, to a shoulder width stance. Your weight is balanced equally. NOTE: The goal is to make this ( all STEPS ) throughout the entire turn.
NOTE: A) Land on the middle of your foot.. Feel your whole foot on the ground before you shift your weight, to a 50/50 balanced position.

VISUALIZATION: As your are stepping visualize a very soft, small ball
( the size of a ping pong ball ) stuck to the middle of your foot. When your foot lands the middle of the ball is on the floor. As you shift your weight the ball compresses. If your toes are up, or your heel is up, or if you land on the side of your foot … the ball will squeeze out of the side of your foot …instead of compressing

Getting Back to the Starting Position:

1. Turn you upper Body to the Left and shift Left
2. (Here is a cognitive challenge) Turn you upper body Right .. to the MIDDLE… and bring your Right foot back (LEFT) to the starting position.

Movements 2. Preparation Left and Back to the Starting Position.
Same as above but opposite. Practice alternating Preparation R, L, R, L with each move flowing into one another.