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Roll With It

posted 8 Nov 2018, 09:22 by WestDevon Tai Chi   [ updated 8 Nov 2018, 09:26 ]
I am not much of a planner or a very organised person, as living in the now is a place that I endeavour to be most of the time. However, offering workshops to keen Tai Chi practitioners does involve some planning and organisational skills and, for the last two years, they have flowed really nicely up until last Saturday. On this occasion, Ben was all geared up to do his second workshop of the year and 19 of us were eagerly looking forward to a few hours of inspirational teaching. Rolling with it was put to the test that day though when Ben wife’s contacted me that morning to say he was really sick. With everyone arriving, I had two choices to send them away or step in myself. So with everyone being enthusiastic enough to stay we rolled with it!
Having just been up to Bristol the previous Sunday training with Ben, I focused on what I had picked up from that session; yet another understanding of relaxing the kwa or kua. This is the muscle on both sides at the inguinal crease at the top of the legs. Song Kwa-relaxing the kwa-is a term frequently mentioned in Taiji practice. The kwa facilitates coordinated upper and lower body movements. Through the relaxed kwa, together with the spiral turning of the waist, weight change in the lower body is smooth. Turning of the waist from left to right and the shifting of weight in the legs rely on the kwa being relaxed and loose. However, when the kwa are relaxed the weight burden on the legs increases! People often say to me-“I have strong legs”- but it soon becomes apparent that their concept of strong is totally different to the leg strength required for Taiji. Having done years of running I thought my legs were very strong but when Yuri introduced me to silk reeling, oh boy was I mistaken! Ben used the analogy of primary and secondary -primary being ‘off locking’ of the knees and secondary, relaxing the kwa-’sitting into your knickerline’-was a term Ben casually used, which has really stuck with me! Basically, you know when you have sat into it as you feel it in your thighs, they switch on! So, by doing standing mediation, silk reeling and the first few moves of the form we looked at relaxing the kwa. By the feedback afterwards it seems everyone had felt it in the legs-always a good sign you are getting the message across! 
Apart from being an intelligent system of exercise, the understanding of the underpinning philosophy can help one to grasp the fundamental aspect of the art. Like many ancient cultures, the Chinese philosophy is based on the concept of harmonizing with nature rather than dominating it in an effort to make it conform to human desires. One of the many things Taijiquan teaches us is to roll with changes, and what life guarantees us is that there will always be changes, positive and negative. It is the law of the universe, and the balance of yin and yang energies is always present.
Follow the rules, be flexable in applying them and remember,   

nothing is absolute
  (Chen Xiaoxing) 

Thank you to all who attended the workshop, for your support and words of encouragement, and so kindly donating towards the cost of the hall. Another date will be arranged for Ben, fingers crossed everyone will be able to come along but we will just roll with it!