Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Structure and Smoothness

When you are listening to someone speaking and they change their mind mid sentence as to what word they are going to use next, it is often easy to know what they were going to say but chose not to.
This is because when we converse we are already formulating the next word before the previous one is completely finished. We have the whole thought or sentence in our heads which means the mind is slightly ahead of the mouth and this causes the individual word sounds to run together.
Of course, before having the ability to converse naturally, we have to learn the individual words, if the words are not precise enough the sentence is incomprehensible.
When kids learn to talk, they learn the individual words for things, but often when they start making sentences the pronunciation becomes blurry and is unintelligible to all but the parents. Later as the words are practiced, the sentences become clearer.

A few years back Luo laoshi taught a contained walking practice which he said was a good way to practice important attributes in a limited space and with limited time. (These attributes are consistent for the practice of all the form work.)
The practice was to walk circle, but with 3 different intents -
1) No intent. Calm the emotions, quiet the mind.
2) Structure + Single point focus
3) Smoothness + Continuity

1) No intent is completely natural with no conscious attention.
2) Structure is akin to pronouncing words individually, separately and clearly.
3) Smoothness is akin to eloquent conversational speech.

The goal of this Bagua circle walking practice is to focus on each part separately until it is possible to tie all 3 parts together to get the 'chewy' feeling of movement found in the 'swimming dragon' style of the Yizong system with a calm and still mind.
The analogy would be to have a precision of annunciation and pronunciation of every word part, whilst still keeping the whole thought in mind and beyond, to keep the meaning clear ...... oh, and the ability to change seamlessly in mid sentence.
Reciting Shakespeare comes to mind with some improv added for good measure :-)

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