Ron Tisdale wrote:
Fred Little was working with me at Abe Sensei's seminar, and as I was struggling with some of the technique, he suggested that I bring my shoulder blades together, and it seemed to make a huge difference right then. Then he reminded me about 'closing your waki'...kind of like trying to hold a couple of small nuts in my armpit without dropping them. Peter Goldsbury has also mentioned the waki, as have some others. Ellis Amdur has added the eight brocade exercises/warmups to some of his teaching I believe, and has spoken of chinese arts that focus on the power and use of the spine in different ways. These are some of the things that brought this to my attention.
Just as a side note, I'm not sure you'd want to lump the "eight brocade exercises/warmups" in with the rest of your discussion, Ron. What a lot of westerners call the "Eight Pieces of Brocade" is really more accurately called the "Eight Strands of Silk" and silk is a metaphor for the fascia and tendons that I keep referring to in the breathing and movement exercises of "qi/ki". In other words, that particular qigong is a full-blown, very complicated exercise routine that involves movement with intent, deliberate breathing, focusing of pressure, etc., in a series that covers the whole body and all the meridians. It shouldn't be confused with some "spinal" or "waki" exercise.