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The Dragon's Head Blog: Coiling and Other Treasures, Denver, CO Workshop

June 9 and 10 temperatures in the Mile High City of Denver soared into the high nineties as the Colorado Branch hosted 91 participants for its annual Taoist Tai Chi® arts International Workshop. It was Colorado’s turn to review instruction from CIT week in Orangeville in May.

Practice, practice, practice

Saturday we focused on the tor-yu. We were asked to shift our weight from first the front foot, 100 percent and then from the back foot, 100 percent. Once we practiced the weight shift, we focused on our arms and transcribing a circular shape as we moved forward fully in the tor-yu.

At the front of the tor-yu, a surprise—a rotational unfurling of the forearms and hands, driven by the spine, called “coiling.” We intently watched demonstrations and then broke into small groups to help one another, drinking gallons of water to ward off the dry heat and practiced some more.

Later, we applied what we learned to the first four moves of the set and were reminded to stand up fully and step with our toes up. We discovered 100 percent weight shift tor-yus and opportunities to coil everywhere—hidden treasures of subtlety in each and every move.

“Coiling is helping my shoulder and the bone structure in my arm,” said Doreen Morishige of Lakewood, Colorado pointing to an arm on which she had extensive surgery. “This has been a miracle workshop for me.”

Story Time

After a lovely dinner provided by a busy kitchen crew, we gathered our chairs for traditional “story time” Saturday night. We discussed the multitude of tasks involved in orchestrating the International Center Florida Grand Opening in Dunedin in November. There is much to do from planning social media for the event to arranging parking logistics and a huge Grand Opening celebration with music. We were all asked to step forward to lend our “many hands to make light work.”

Putting it all together

Sunday morning brought an opportunity to chant as well as learn about energy movement and the meaning behind several short chants. Next, we explored pressing down with the palms of our hands as well as pressing up with the palms in the dan-yu. We found chances to coil there too.

Finally, we put all of the principles from the dan-yu and the tor-yu together for the Strike Tiger sequence—shifting our weight fully and coiling to realize additional internal benefits. We ended the day saying goodbye to life-long friends we would see at the next workshop, more open than when we started and with much to take home.

“Attending the workshop in Denver, I was at once impressed by the sense of community within the Society,” said Tammy Valdovino of Flagstaff, Arizona. “The members in Denver, different U.S. regions and other countries were all very welcoming. The stories of how people’s lives were changed or improved by Taoist Tai Chi were also encouraging. As I return home, I will have the word ‘coiling’ embedded 100 percent into my mind—to be incorporated, I hope, more fully into my form.”

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