Tai Chi chores

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    This isn’t precisely a martial question, but there’s no other place to put it.

    What I’m interested in is a non-martial application of tai chi principles: weeding, raking, and sweeping. The basic challenge, especially with weeding, is using a forward-weighted “weapon” (the hoe), where the head embeds in the ground in front of my feet with some force. It’s not purely a circular action, because the hoe often stops in the ground, and I generally muscle the hoe through the motions, ending up with sore shoulders and back (and I use a heavy hoe).

    What I’m trying to figure out is how to apply tai chi alignment principles so that I don’t strain my muscles or my back, and ideally spread the work out through my body. Unfortunately, no weapons set I’ve done even considers a hoeing motion, so I’m having trouble figuring out how to align my body to use full body motion for the stroke, rather than just shoulders, arms, and back.

    I’ve noticed there are analogous issues with raking and sweeping, where one is moving a working head along the ground.

    Any thoughts on how to do tai chi chores? Lean forward, loosen shoulders, and…? What about dealing with the shock of the hoe penetrating the ground?

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