The Joy of Grasping the Sparrow’s Tail

September 9, 2013 0 Comments

Luke 12:6 Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.

It is impossible to know the beginning roots of Qigong.  Legend has it that four thousand years ago an Indian Yogi travelled over the mountains to China.  Upon reaching the far destination, he encountered Chinese monks.  The Yogi introduced the monks to meditation and movement which evolved into Qigong, Tai Chi, Tai Kwan Do and other Chinese internal and martial arts.

Speculation is that the monks, in their sequestered lives high in the mountains, studied plants and animals around them to understand  the natural way.  Hence, names of many forms are named for animals.  Translated from Chinese characters, they are:  Grasping the Sparrow’s Tail; Repulsing the Monkey; Parting the Wild Horse’s Mane and so on.  The phrases are beautifully descriptive, yet sometimes hard to imagine as applicable in the modern world

Yet, this weekend, I believe I witnessed Grasping the Sparrow’s Tail in real-time.

Let me back up.  A few weeks ago, a lovely American Indian woman began attending my Qigong class.  She had a compression stocking on her right arm and moved with hesitation, yet grace as we went through our forms.  After class, Little Eagle (I’ll call her this to honor her spirit and courage) introduced herself as a 39 year cancer survivor back to the doctors with polyps in her neck and arm.  In Des Moines for six weeks for the recurrence of her cancer, Little Eagle was attending Tai Chi and Qigong classes for a couple of weeks to prepare for a Dr. Lam’s Tai Chi for Arthritis (TCA) Instructor Training, on Sept 7-8.

We talked for a while as I also planned to take the class.  Little Eagle explained that she was pushing herself very hard to prepare for two full days of training, most of it on our feet, learning Tai Chi moves.  She was concerned that she would not have the stamina for two full 8 hour days.

The weekend came, and LE, twenty other students, and I assembled in the conference rooms of the YMCA.  We spent the first day learning about arthritis, but mostly practicing six moves of Part One TCA.  By end of day, everyone including the 20-somethings was tired and sore.

Same for Sunday.  We worked all day and by four-thirty we knew all the forms and were ready to demonstrate and to receive our certifications. We split in two groups and took turns demonstrating the entire form to the other half of the class.  As I watched group two, Little Eagle was straight in front of me.  As I watched, there was a noticeable tremor in her arm and her feet were heavy.  She held herself erect and kept up with her team.  Afterward, as we were saying goodbye, Little Eagle, was glowing with pride.  I thought it was because she had completed the two days and had passed the test.

“That’s part of it.” she explained, “But let me tell you about my lunch today.  I reached in my wallet, pulled out my credit card and handed it to the cashier.  Then, I stopped and gasped at what just happened.  Becky, it has been nearly a year since I have been able to use my right hand in small tasks like writing or grasping, or handing.  Today, I handed over that credit card without even having to think about it.  Tai Chi is going to help me survive.”

At that moment in the cashier lane, Little Eagle grasped the sparrow’s tail in the form of a credit card.  It brought peace to my mind and hope to my heart. Namaste, Becky



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