Slowing Down the Form

Discussion in 'Tai chi' started by Botta Dritta, Jan 6, 2019.

  1. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    It's been a about a week now now that I've been trying to do my Chen style 19 form every morning as part of a (probably misguided) attempt at being healthier. Remarkably I remember it well, and I have more than enough copious notes scribbled down that I can flick through to correct my most egregious flaws.

    However one thing (appart from my brick like relaxaed shoulders) is definitely off. The 19 form takes just under/over 4 minutes to complete and I am between 1 min - 30 seconds faster than the pace. I've timed myself and after a week of trying to slow down I still find myself being too fast, staring incredulously at the timer. It feels as If I'm racing through the last portion of the form.

    Here for Reference is the form I'm talking about:

    Any ideas or suggestions. Has anyone else found this after starting again to do a form regulary. It need not be be specific to Chen 19. Any suggestions/cheats gratefully accepted.
  2. ned

    ned Valued Member

    I'm interested why you think the form should take around 4 mins, in the clip Chen Xiaowang actually takes close to around 3min 20 .
    Imho it is better to concentrate on smoothness of form and whole body movement as one, than timing ( unless you are preparing for a competition where there are guidelines ). If you think you are moving too fast I would concentrate on your breathing, so it is co-ordinated with your movements (this is something you should be taught as you learn the form) which will help regulate your form, also later with fajin and interplay between 'soft' and 'hard' expression found in many chen forms ( Lao jia, Pao chui ).
  3. Dan Bian

    Dan Bian Neither Dan, nor Brian

    It's easier to remember the sequence if you do it a bit faster, so it could be that; because you're refreshing your memory of it, you're playing it faster than usual to ingrain the pattern.

    As you stop having to think about the sequence of movements, start to bring the mind back to aspects like regulating the breathing, moving from the center, softening the core, and directing intention. All of these things will help slow your form down.
    Then, once you can do all of these things conyinuously without thinking, you'll start to speed up again :)
  4. aaradia

    aaradia Choy Li Fut and Yang Tai Chi Chuan Student Moderator Supporter

    I would have to echo what ned said. That video is shorter, yet the person in it is going at a pretty slow pace. Do you really want to go slower than that video?

    I dunno, my instructor's and Sifu have told me you can do TCC too slowly.
  5. cloudz

    cloudz Valued Member

    what are you doing before the form ?
    if the answer is nothing, then maybe you could try some preparation like wuji meditation.

    In some forms like Yang style there is a specific Wuji posture right at the start of the form. This could serve to calm you down and put you in a conducive mind - body state.
    take 5 minutes there.

    For example.

    Otherwise, just simply slow down. I know that doesn't sound particulalrly helpful, but you have to foucus on smaller and finer details and take the time to experience them. The saying of going from feet to inches, smaller and smaller; is about the experience of ever decreasing incriments of movement. smaller and smaller. Where does that lead you ?

    You could also try holding postures through the form. You could count breaths for example. So you get to single whip; stay in single whip for 9 breaths or something. Find a few points in the form where you can do this and make a point of instructing yourself to move between them slower than your current pace.

    For me there's no such thing as too slow, it just alters the benefit to another direction or focus.
  6. Botta Dritta

    Botta Dritta Valued Member

    Apologies for my lateness in replying but I have taken all your suggestions in, I have just been really busy.

    Ned: Regarding the speed, acht..yes I didn't notice that in the video posted that Chen Xiaowang actually does it pretty much in the same time as myself. But I seem to remember taking longer when I used to take lessons with a note I scribbled at 4 min 15 sec when I timed my average years back Well it looks like the time is variable even for Grandmaster Chen himself who in the video below takes it near to 6 min (!) Obviously this is an instruction video so perhaps he is slowing allowing the viewers to follow the commentary and form.

    Dan Bian: Remembering the sequences and regulating my breathing wasn't the problem so much, though relaxing the shoulders and moving from the Dan Tien was/has always been tough for me hence my unrequited love for the art ( i like tai chi...but have always struggled with it).

    Aaradia: Too slow? please elaborate! I mean Obviously I wouldn't want to create Sloth Family Tai Chi Kuen. (Actually Sloths would probably be ace at Tai Chi...... Probably)

    Cloudz: I have a set of stretching exercises that we did as a loosening/activation exercise we used to do at the start of the class, which I do before the form as I do need to wake up after climbing out of bed somehow. The meditative exercises we used to do at the end of the classes, but I only really remember the simple Zhan Zhuang standing post exercise which just makes me want to crawl back into bed (lame I know). I However took some of your suggestions:, I tried to hold Middle whip a bit longer, but it didn't make much of a difference. What did make a difference however was slowing down the Conceal Punch (left and right) and the Two Side Kicks, which I shortened rather than kicking straight out. I added about 20 seconds changing those alone. Being overtly dynamic/Martial movements may have made me unwittingly speed up

    Still under 4 min, but better....
    cloudz likes this.

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