Sr. Antonia's words from her June 2012 Newsletter are still floating through my mind. She reminded us (T'ai Chi Chih teachers) that TCC is done "mainly with the wrists and waist (and primarily below the waist)."
With tan t'ien (two inches below the navel) leading each movement, I'm well aware of how my waist moves, especially in side-to-side movements. During front-to-back weight shifts, on the other hand, the movement of the waist seems more subtle (even though it is not) because its actions feel more like an opening and closing (remember my long-ago reference to a bellows?) rather than bending and twisting.
The wrists are another matter. There are several movements in the form where we specifically circle and/or open and close the wrists (i.e., Bird Flaps Its Wings, Wrist Circle Taffy, Light at the Top of the Head/Temples). Otherwise, we need to closely examine our postures to realize that the wrists should--and do--lead our hand/arm movements as they float forward and back, side-to-side.
Joyous Breath offered me a stumbling block and opportunity. I recall from Justin Stone's TCC DVD that Justin leads with his wrists as he exhales and presses down. Me? I typically keep my wrists locked to maintain the tension/force that's the key to this movement. Today, though, I had an aha moment. During this morning's practice I allowed my wrists to flex softly as I maintained my mental perception of force.
What did I discover? It felt good! Yes, I'll continue to practice ways in which to soften Joyous Breath even as I perpetuate a feeling of tension. Who knows where this exploration will lead?