Updated: Aug 2, 2019
Seize the moment. Relish it.
When it comes to testing, ideal conditions don’t exist for me. Maybe they don’t exist for anyone so we just have to do it.
I planned to test Taijiquan Part 3 Fast speed in April. Performing in front of others, especially Dr. Yang, still makes me nervous precisely because I’m supposed to be calm. The same goes for Shaolin but sometimes you can get away with tension whereas in Taijiquan, you should be soft most of the time.
In the big picture, my logical mind understands that you can only do so much and let go of things out of your control. It doesn't matter if I postpone the test. It doesn't matter if perform poorly and fail. It doesn't matter if I perform poorly and get a "mercy pass." It doesn't matter if I perform well and pass with flying colors. I won't stop striving to be better. (Also, it doesn't matter if, for some reason, I never train or test again.)
Despite this, my logical mind can’t convince the rest of me to avoid going through the same phases. 1) Anxiety, compounded when things don’t go as expected. 2) Deciding to do it anyway. Part of me finds comfort in being uncomfortable. 3) Relief that I didn’t back down.
I planned to arrive at YMAA Boston with plenty of time to get settled and mentally prepare. We left later than planned, turned back for a forgotten item, got pulled over for running a yellow light, and hit traffic in the city. I wasn’t late, but I was anxious enough to be shaking and breathing heavily. (I apologize if I seemed rude to anyone.) I had no logical reason to be so nervous but the emotions overwhelmed me. Dr. Yang saw how anxious I was and suggested I test the following day.
I briefly considered it but decided not to wait. I wanted to see if I could pass, especially while under stress. Would I be calm enough to deliver or would I choke? I really wanted to know!
“The power of the butt.”
It wasn’t my best but it wasn’t a complete fumble. Summary of Dr. Yang’s corrections: My hips/waist aren’t turning enough so I’m missing speed and maximizing power from the ground. Same injuries, same correction.
What is new is my understanding of the correction. I’m beginning to understand the feeling of manifesting power from the waist. That’s 3 layers of beginnings, making me an advanced beginner?
It’s difficult to describe. Physically turning the waist isn’t enough. It’s the intention behind it. We talk about having two brains in meditation and it feels like that second brain is at work when the intention is there. That’s my personal feeling.
Self corrections (some are forever corrections):
Fa Jing can always be sharper by being softer, getting lower, utilizing the entire body, finishing the techniques, more Yi (intention), etc...
Hua Jing can always be better with more Yi
Better focus and “disappear” into the movements
Deng Shan Bu (Mountain Climbing Stance): Turn the back toe in more (damn injuries).
Peng: The inside of my forearm should face me but for whatever reason, it’s facing down.
Kicks: I have trouble generating power in the kicks, especially the Liu Tui (Ramble Kick) from Deng Shan Bu.