Brocades

The Brocades are a series of exercises designed to utilize the “sense memory” of effort in graduating degrees. Consciousness is important.

These Brocade exercises will start with and return to the Wu Chi posture – simple standing alignment. One might use the outside edge of a corner, perhaps the edge of a door. The alignment cue is three contact points: sacrum, between shoulder blades, base of the skull. The heels are slightly behind the edge so that you are not leaning back. Feet are parallel, toes pointing forward; weight is on Yong Chu’an (K3) sole of the foot. Now relax, allow the cervical and lumbar curves to open and straighten a bit, allow the Bai Hui (top of the head) to lift elongating the spine, the knees unlocked. (A mild “Chin Tuck/Posterior Pelvic Tilt.”) The hands are alive, backs of the hands turned slightly forward.

Hold the Ball – As you drop slightly from Wu Chi the arms lift. The round shape of the ball includes the torso: the roundness extends from the knuckles to the shoulder blades. Allow the forearms to have some angle to them, that is, wrists & elbows are at different levels.

Support the Sky – Roll the ball inside out, and continue to roll the ball over head with palms facing up, fingers pointing at fingers. Joints never lock, always keep a little reserve, a bit of cushion. Hold the weight of the atmosphere, 14.7 pounds per square inch at sea level, and push the sky back up where it belongs. Spine doesn’t move; release, return.

Moving Heaven & Earth – Roll the ball to stretch it vertically, one palm pushing up, the other pushing down. Balance the sky on one palm, balance the earth on the other; pry them apart. Spine doesn’t move, scapulae move in opposite directions; release, return.

Draw the Bow – Roll the ball to stretch it horizontally, right palm pushing out to side, left elbow pushing out to opposite side with elbow flexed, palm facing out. Follow the right palm with your nose, Right cervical rotation. Right index & middle fingers lift to vertical, left index & middle fingers point to the right. Forearms are horizontal.  Expand the shape, full expansion, release, return.

Turn to Gaze – Maintain knees in line with toes, wrists in line with shoulders. Trunk rotation to right. As you turn, allow palms to face outward with neutral or slightly flexed wrists (no wrist extension.) Look through the space between your hands. Can you maintain the pelvic tuck through the trunk rotation? Is there superfluous tension at work? Release, return.

Cha Hu – Shift weight to Left and raise Left palm overhead with Right palm against Right thigh. Allow Right palm to slide down side of leg, maintaining weight on Left and shoulder/hip alignment. Push Left palm toward sky, release, return.

Dragon Looks at Tail – Left palm out from forehead, Right palm out from Lumbar. Rotate trunk to Right while maintaining knees in line with toes. Bend slightly as you rotate, look at back of Left heel. Push out with palms, release, return.

Alternating Central Equilibrium – Left palm up by Left hip, Right palm faces out, wrist in front of shoulder, Right elbow @ 90 degrees flexion. Without changing alignment of shoulders over hips, drive Left fingers forward & up, pull Right palm down, to reverse positions.

Throw it Off – Hold the Ball. Allow it to become larger…larger…larger; gather it up and  throw it off.

Shake the Dust off.

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