I was not sure what to think about my Tai Chi classes. Even though they are interesting, they do feel slow compared to my Karate classes. I knew that going into it and one of my reasons for taking it was to slow down and relax but I was still a little unsure about it.
Tonight was a little different. We have been doing the same movements for all of the classes and although I feel that I am progressing, I am used to doing something a little different. Tonight, we did the same movements, called our preparation movements, like we do each week but after we finished those, we did one of the first movements in our first form.
A form in Tai Chi is much like a kata in Karate. It is a series of movements with a meaning behind them. It can be a type of self defense movement where the person uses the opponents energy against them. It can also be considered an exercise or a way, that some feel, to increase the flow of energy in the body.
After doing this first, simple movement, I am starting to understand a little more about what we are doing. The movement reminds me of a short back stance with a knife hand block although the movement is distinctly different. Instead of using power and force, we slowly move into this short stance and turn our body at a 45 degree angle. The front hand is held below chin level and loosely open and the other hand is about rib height and loosely open. We then move from facing forward and then into the 45 degree angle while lowing our stance. I cannot remember the name of the movement and I will ask again in my next class but to make a long story short, I am starting to become more interested now that I am seeing some of the movements that I will be learning as time goes on.
When I started taking this class, I thought that it would be much easier than my Karate training but I am finding that the movements are so different and using different muscles, it is much harder than I expected. I do feel there is some benefit to my Karate training by taking these Tai Chi classes and I think I will keep it up for a while longer before I decide if I want to keep doing it or not.
I didn’t take Karate class on Friday and Saturday at the recommendation of my chiropractor. He knows that my test is coming up soon and he felt that both my wife and I should take it a little easy. We still helped out with the classes and I ended spending most of one class on Saturday in a horse stance helping one of the students who didn’t have a partner for pad work. I at least felt that got in a little training doing that.
The Tai Chi movements are much different from my Karate movements. I want to tighten up my muscles at the end of each movement like I do in Karate but that is not the intention of Tai Chi. There is one movement that is in a short horse stance where we move side to side and I keep trying to force the move instead of just letting flow but my teacher cleared some things up on how the movement should be done and I really made my hips feels loose.
Even though the movements look easy, they are certainly not. Doing one movement for 10-15 minutes straight is very hard no matter how easy it looks to the casual observer. I am working different muscles compared to those that I work in Karate and at the gym.
So far, it’s a good experience and I hope to keep taking the class. My main goal is to have it help me improve my Karate and so far, I think it will.