Tai Chi is all about drill, drill, drill – at least at first. I’m working on the second lesson in Master Hwa’s course at the moment – beginning forms – and I find that I’m practicing the first three of these forms repeatedly, as they offer up a more ‘intricate’ set of coordinated movements between upper body and lower body than do the last couple of forms in the beginning set. I think I’ve more or less got them now, though, and am able to put the entire set of beginning forms together pretty well, considering how new they still are to me. Mind you, I’m not entirely confident that I could do them without the help of Master Hwa in front me to mirror after, but I’m getting there.
I’ve also been focusing solely on just learning what the forms are, what they look like, what they feel like. Once I’m comfortable with them, I’ll start looking a little more closely at exercising completely proper technique, or as much as a novice can manage at this stage in the game. I’m fortunate that the DVD software on my computer allows the placement of bookmarks in the DVD, and I have one set right at the start of where Master Hwa begins to describe the beginning forms in detail. This makes it much easier to start over quickly without having to adjust the marker back several times until I find the right spot.
Drill, drill, drill. That’s where it’s at. It’s a little bit of drudgery and frustration at specific moments when a nuanced move is difficult to grasp, but mostly it’s just plain ol’ fun that makes you feel good.