Time spent with the teacher in class is for assessing progress, reviewing the last class, learning new material, watching the teacher demonstrate, and answering and asking questions. Each week offers the student a time to evaluate themselves too from that experience. Did I practice daily? Did I experience any improvement in the areas identified needing priority attention from my last classes? Do I have a plan for next week?
Currently, we have been focusing on the five stepping methods that result in the 5 stances. Give yourself a quiz.
What are the three requirements for every stance in general?
What are the five stances and what are each of their specific requirements?
How are the 5 basic Skills used in each of the 5 stepping methods, to generate each of the five stances?
If a student cannot answer these questions confidently, they serve as questions for their next class. Being observed by the teacher (assessment) provides an opportunity to identify and seek resolution to gross flaws, which leads naturally to refining smaller flaws.
The lower body performs two basic functions;
Stability in motion, and the root power to move the body, and extend its power into the hands. Using the five Skills to move from the Center, it is possible to “always be stable” regardless of where the weight is being supported during the dynamics of stepping, or while in the stillness of stances.
Remaining Song; relaxed continuously is the key to maintaining stability constantly. Our body has to change appropriately to address the needs of each new element of a step and each new alignment of a stance. Remember we are not trying to perfect stepping and stances (Forms), but are using them as an exercise to improve the body and mind (Function).
Be clear. Anyway in our daily life that we step or stand, while using the body to perform work, is no different than this formalized study and practice of stepping into stances. Attempting to perform detailed choreography using the mind to direct and the body to discern using a feedback loop of sensation, is the means to becoming more sensitive to what is actually happening in real time. Feel Tai Chi.