Everything is in the Form . . . IF

Yes, everything is in the Form. . . IF everything is in the Form.

Last time we talked about practice, basically how to approach your home practice. But, WHY do we continue to practice the exercises?  Why don’t we just learn the Form? We continue to practice the exercises because without these exercises our Form will be empty!

Bear Sway is one of the very first exercises we learned as beginning students. Why are we still practicing Bear Sway? We “know” how to do it and yes, it’s relaxing but what  are we practicing in Bear Sway?

The first step in learning any the exercises or forms is to learn the outside of the form–when to shift and when to turn and what do you do with your arms, and where and when to step. But what is it we are learning in the practice of Bear Sway? The principles–we are learning the Tai Chi principles.

We learn how to shift.
We learn how to turn.
We learn not to move our bodies up and down.
We learn how to move our bodies in unison.
We learn how to hold our hands in Fair Lady’s Hand.
We learn the importance of sitting into the Kua.
We learn the importance of keeping the knee in line with but not beyond the middle toe.
We learn how to release our arms and joints.
We learn the importance of not stretching or shrinking.
and. . .

There is a LOT to learn in Bear Sway because everything we have learned and continue to learn as we practice, we use in the Form. The habits we learn in Bear Sway are fundamental to the way we move, shift, and turn.

But Bear Sway is not alone in its wealth of principles and lessons. Every exercise we do, Ape Steps Back, Tiger’s Pounce, Tuo Yue Gong, Xing Gong, any of the exercises we do is carefully crafted to teach us the various principles and so we fuss. We repeat and repeat and repeat, asking ourselves, “Am I on the right path?” As we practice we continue to grow in our understanding to help us embed those principles into our bodies so those habits, new and/or refined, come out in the Form AND as we move through our lives. Everything is in the Form, IF everything is in the Form.

Pam Hultgren
Lead Instruction, Northfield