Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Speed up, Slow down

Tonight's class was fun, though small. Only 10 of us, which is funny, because not so long ago 10 would have been a big L2 class. Lately, what with slowing down a little to help out my butt-sword/trying to train with renewed post testing chi, I've begun to value the importance of both going faster and going slower. The trick is, trying to figure out when to apply which approach.

For my biantuis, slowing down is helping me refine technique and build strength and balance instead of kicking desperately and ineffectually. For my bawang zakui, speeding up and really punching with chi have helped enormously in overcoming my choking in the ceshoufan. Speeding up my tornado tonight seemed to help it a little too (though admittedly it is still a disaster until I can jump higher). Slowing down my forms in places has helped me find where my stances are still weak and my body is not extended. Speeding up in others has helped me discover now power in some of my kicks and strikes.

Though depending on the move and your particular obstacle sometimes one is more helpful than the other, probably every move can benefit from a little of each technique. Speed overcomes the over-thinking, the slowness cultivates a precision that is lost in speed. The one thing that doesn't help, which I found myself doing tonight during one of my xiao hong quans, is going at a speed somewhere in the middle. In a desire to not just walk through my form but also not go at full chi and over-extend my dumb hamstring I was doing my form at sort of 60% pace. When I finished I realized that I had really gotten nothing out of that round of doing it. I was just going through the motions without focusing on speed or accuracy or chi. So I took myself back to chuji quantao and worked through it sharply, with chi, but very slow to be sure I wasn't glossing over anything or forgetting details. It definitely helped me find where I was missing extension and correct form. So slow down, speed up, but no giving up.

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