Thursday, 22 May 2008

I am learning waterbending

I am learning waterbending Tai Chi!

As mentioned last post, I am starting Tai Chi. The sort-of-first lesson was on Tuesday. I dusted my tracksuit (and by gods, it was dusty), and made it, despite being terrified.
I had found out about the class online, where it said that demonstration classes were on the 13th, 20th and 27th. What it failed to say was that it wasn't OR, as I read it, but AND, and it was a little three class course, for a small fee. So I turned up for the second class, with not enough money to pay the lesson. I think I started panicking, because the instructor said that it was ok, I didn't need to worry, that I could pay next time. So it was all ok, but I kept wanting to run away for a long time. Similarly, it took me a while to relax when we started the class, although after about 20 min I finally got the flow of things.

I enjoyed Tai Chi. It reminded me of fencing and ballet (both of which I've done), together with waterbending (which I've watched plenty of; see end of the post for an explanation on what I'm going on about). The feet position is very similar to fencing, so I can just default to it without even thinking about it, and the arms move delicately, like in ballet.
It didn't feel like exercise as I'm used to, mainly because it wasn't aerobic and I didn't end up sweating and out of breath (my heart beats stupidly fast, so I get tired really fast). However, holding some of those positions is tiring, and my legs started shaking towards the end, so I'm gathering that's good.

There isn't Tai Chi next week, because it's half-term and the school we do it in is closed, so I'm very glad I didn't pick next Tuesday to try it, it would not have been good for me. After that, the course proper starts the following Tuesday, lasting 16 weeks.
Now that I have overcome the initial fear, I think I'll be less scared next time I go, especially because I know I can do it (both going there and the actual martial art). When I go to the doctor next Thursday, I can finally tell him that I'm doing some exercise and, as it focuses on control and relaxation, it should be double bonus to help me heal.
I just need to be good and don't ask too often when are we getting the buckets of water!

In the cartoon Avatar, some people can control the elements, and people who control water are waterbenders (see them in action!). The bending of each element is based on a different martial art: waterbending is based on Tai Chi, earthbending on Hung Gar, firebending on Northern Shaolin and airbending on Bagua.
I really enjoy Avatar, despite its apparently random schedule, and would really recommend it to everybody. Waterbending is what I hope to achieve with my Tai Chi classes when I get good enough!


  1. very cool! I never say anything from Avatar before but I like it... love the waterbending!

    did tai chi once before as a teenager, but was too stressed to enjoy it, maybe I should try it again...

  2. Glad you liked the tai chi. I've done ballet also and found parallels to it, but I've never tried fencing!