It’s a little known fact that you can resteep tea up to seven times, and each steeping of the same tea reveals new layers of taste and experience. I know with black tea the first steeping can be a bit acidic while the second steeping of the same tea becomes sweeter and deeper, more earthy. The seventh steeping, according to tea lore, brings an experience of nirvana.
I’ve applied this concept to tai chi a few times, doing the complete form 7 times in a row only once many years ago. Each “steeping” reveals nuances and experiences that are new. Last week, I steeped the form two times in a row, and the second time, I compressed into a more small circle, more compact, much shorter steps. It was the short stepping that really informed the experience. When we practice, we look to create the proper distance between our feet, and as part of practice, we push ourselves so that we can get our stances to where they need to be. But shortening the distance in the stance while remaining centered and grounded is very cool. I’ve noticed in some xing yi performances the feet are very close together.
When we resteep the tai chi tea, if we know the form well and have practiced for a long time diligently, the form becomes more creative and spontaneous and more revealing.
So give it a try and tell me what you think or experience!