Tai Chi Drama! Five Whips and Animals Everywhere! by Gabrielle Grunau, PhD ~ (Oct 2021)

When I traveled across country on September 15th, 2021, Hurricane Nicholas was giving my cross-country airplane quite a bit of turbulence. 

 

To pass time (and not be afraid) I put myself through all 37 positions of our tai chi rounds without moving a muscle (or at least I don’t think I moved a muscle). 

 

Here is the playful drama I created.

 

I am going on a journey through the jungle, which should be fun. 

 

Before setting out, ward off to the left and to the right just to be prepared in case there are animals along the way.

 

1. Quietly snap that first of five single whips

Remember be welcoming, even offer a hug or a shoulder to others until: Whoa, what is this? 

 

A Stork…it is spreading its wings. That’s a surprise! Brush it away to the left. Just relax. Play the guitar if it helps. Brush that stork away again. Not relaxed, yet? 

 

Step forward, parry, punch, withdraw and push. Then, cross hands and: Whoa, what is this?

 

A Tiger…Maybe it’s lost. Embrace that rascally tiger and send it back to the mountain. Start again.

 

2. Quietly snap that second of five single whips.

Remember to be thoughtful in fist-under-elbow—Rodin’s pose for the thinker! Until: Whoa, what is this?

 

Monkeys…There are so many. Probably best to repulse those silly monkeys first on the right, then on the left. Relax.

 

Think about clouds even if it means reaching to the heavens diagonally. Settle back and rhythmically wave your hands in the clouds. 

 

3. Quietly snap that third of five single whips

Remember to stay loose, so squat and stretch single-whip style until: Whoa, what is this?

 

Two Pheasants…They’re pesky. Step over them. Shoo them away like crumbs off a table! Yikes they are at your feet, so lift your legs, turn and kick, even brush them away like the stork. Left AND right and strike with your fist. Now, relax. Start again.

 

4.  Quietly snap that fourth of five single whips

Remember there is more than the jungle. There is great big world out there. Look around at the four corners of the earth. First, one corner; then, a second; then, a third; then, a fourth. Does that relax you?

 

One More Try: Let’s start that journey near the beginning. 

 

Before setting out, ward off to the left and to the right just to be prepared in case there are animals along the way.

 

5. Quietly snap that fifth of five single whips.

Remember to stay loose, so squat and stretch single-whip style and think of the earth and the clouds and “Seven Stars” until: Whoa, what is this?

 

That Tiger…ride that troublesome tiger! Why didn’t the tiger stay on the mountain? It won’t go away, so startle it with a 365-degree turn and lotus kick. 

 

That Tiger…Not gone yet? Take out your bow and arrow and shoot the tiger. That’s sad. Relax.

 

Step forward, parry, punch, withdraw and push. Then, cross hands. The jungle journey is done. 

 

Gabrielle Grunau has been studying tai chi with the TCF for a year. She is currently enrolled in the Fundamentals Level course. Here is her fun take on the Yang-style tai chi form.

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Images:

White Cranes by Yulimuli

Monkey by GlobalIP

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