Today’s student is my former Chi Leil teacher. To overcome some health issues so she swims hours every day. Her stroke was “old school” — reach out as far as possible and pull yourself through the water. Knowing that she is very aware of her body, instead of starting her at square one, I suggested one modification at a time (until I got carried away). Here’s her response:

HI Ellen,

Thank you so much for a fabulous hour in the pool! This new technique is the antithesis of so many elements of movement that I’ve used through the years. It certainly does require much less effort. I stayed in the pool swimming constantly for 2 1/4 hours total. I did do a couple of sets of other strokes, none of which I could figure out how to modify applying TI techniques. I wasn’t tired when I got out, except my back was fatigued.

As I swam more, I was able to get the head down and roll the arm up the front of my body, eliminating a lot of the “negative movement”. Also, I got to the point where the roll accomodated the breathing to the point that I was able to relax the head significantly more. I found that the “finger drag” helped me to get the arms in the water for the entire forward movement rather than keeping the arms out of the water for the reach. I also focused on reaching through & forward longer allowing for a glide, but that did seem to slow down my progress through the water. At this point I am not seeing how to really move through the water at more than a snail’s pace. I also focused on keeping the arms wider, thinking of the stick man right angles you showed me. Certainly the easiest way to get the arms in the water for the forward reach was to do the wrist drag.

At any rate, it was enlightening, delightful, & the dawn of a new era. The relative effortlessness of this technique is remarkable, even for a novice.I’m looking forward to playing with this in the days before I leave.

Thanks again for sharing your considerable acumen with me. I’ll look forward to seeing you after Thanksgiving. Have a great holiday.


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