Bill and I recently taught a master class on weight shifting in the form. The principle of “sinking” into one side before shifting to the other side was the emphasis of the lesson. Correct transitions between moves are more difficult than settling into the correct posture. In the beginning classes, postures are emphasized so that students can learn alignment and active relaxation in a stance. Hands on adjustments can help the student achieve this. When moving between postures, the student is often unable to maintain the principles and the strength and power are lost. This is a more advanced skill.
The key to correct movement is to be correct before moving. Slow practice helps the student to carry the principles through the transitions. Focusing on leveling the hips, pushing and pulling from the feet, and engaging the hamstrings all facilitate staying strong while changing the weight.
I love taiji as a metaphor for life. I am about to make a big “weight shift” for myself. Before I retire, I am doing a great deal of preparation to make sure that I am stable before this change. I need to be stable mentally, financially, and physically so that I don’t lose my alignment during my shift. Sometimes people who retire lose their way, and have trouble finding meaning in life after their career is finished. I am taking the lessons I’ve learned from my decades of taiji practice, and applying them to this life change. All of life’s lessons can be found in the principles of the form, according to our teacher Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang. As I move into this next phase, I will be aligned and relaxed, and I will then be able to find correctness in my next posture.
I will begin offering private lessons at the Taoist Sanctuary starting in August. I am excited to return to teaching and sharing my understanding of this amazing art that has shaped my life.