Stillness Is Death

When is the body ever completely still?

Only in death is there no movement.

If you are living, you are breathing.

If you are breathing, you are moving.

The movements of tai chi ride upon the breath wave

like flotsam following an ocean current.

The hip bone is connected to the thigh bone.

The thigh bone is connected to the shin bone.

The shin bone is connected to the ankle bone.

Thus when one thing moves, so does the next

and the next

and the next.

How could it be but thus?

As long as sequential movement is not arrested

by tension, resistance, and stress

the breath moves the body

and the body, in turn, moves the breath

and the chain is unbroken

so that the crown of the head

and the tips of the toes

are bosom buddies.

What affects the minutest part

affects the whole

and what affects the whole

affects the minutest part.

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Posted by on January 6, 2014 in Flow, Tai Chi


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“Monofocus” in Martial Arts

We have all met them: those individuals who have such a singular focus and dedication that they devote the entirety of their working lives to the development of a particular skill (or set of skills), and hence attain a rare and astonishing level of refinement of that one thing.

My suggestion: learn from them, as much as you can from as many as you can, but try to avoid becoming one.

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Posted by on February 17, 2017 in Learning, Martial Arts


The Way of Nature

There is nothing that does not follow the way of nature.  There is only that which, from our perspective, does not seem to follow the way of nature.  This, too, is the way of nature.

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Posted by on December 13, 2016 in Spirituality, The Tao



Maxwell Maltz on Life Energy

Excerpted from Psycho-Cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz:

The energy that heals a wound is the same energy that keeps all our other body organs functioning. When this energy is at an optimum, all our organs function better. We feel good, wounds heal faster, we are more resistant to disease, we recover from any sort of stress faster, we feel and act younger and, in fact, biologically, we are younger. It is thus possible to correlate the various manifestations of this life force and to assume that whatever works to make more of this life force available to us, whatever opens to us a greater influx of life’s stuff, whatever helps us utilize it better helps us all over. We may conclude that whatever nonspecific therapy aids wounds to heal faster might also make us feel younger. Whatever nonspecific therapy helps us overcome aches and pains might, for example, improve our eyesight, and this is precisely the direction that medical research is now taking, and that appears most promising.

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Posted by on November 9, 2016 in Chi, Health


The Marble And The Stick

In Western medicine, the body’s natural state is death and decay. Health is like a stick balanced precariously on its end, an unstable equilibrium the maintenance of which requires constantly inputting energy and impeding the natural progression of entropy. The role of a healer is to “prop up” the body’s state of health to prevent it from degenerating further. Being healthy means there’s nothing wrong with you, and this is the highest state one can achieve: non-disease and non-injury.

In Eastern medicine, the body’s natural state is optimal health. Like a marble at the bottom of a bowl, the body seeks this stable equilibrium constantly, and the only thing that can keep it from coming to rest there is persistent obstructive influences. The role of a healer is to remove the obstructions that are preventing the body from achieving optimal health. Non-disease and non-injury is the starting point for cultivating health, which is something that can be increased indefinitely.

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Posted by on December 31, 2015 in Health


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How To Achieve Tai Chi Posture In An Instant

To find your proper posture, visualize that you are wearing a heavy, lead-filled backpack, with the straps resting squarely on the bony parts of your shoulders.  What’s more, imagine that you will have to wear that backpack all day long, and stand so that you can bear the weight indefinitely.  This will make you sensitive to the slightest deviation from ideal alignment with gravity.

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Posted by on January 21, 2014 in Tai Chi



Unconscious Muscle Tension

For most of us, our body is in a constant state of tug-of-war with itself, as muscles use tension to counterbalance other muscles that are carrying excessive tension to begin with. This state of affairs is analogous to driving a car with the emergency break on. It limits our range of expression, creates wear and tear, drains our energy, and makes living and moving seem more difficult than it needs to. This tension usually exists below the level of conscious awareness, so that we do not even realize that we are carrying it, nor are we in touch with what it feels like to truly relax.

Where does this unconscious tension come from? From every negative emotion you have ever felt and not fully expressed. From every stress-inducing situation that did not come to a complete and speedy resolution. From every impulse you have ever had to control the way you appear to other people.

How can we release it? Through somatic therapy and emotional release modalities: somatic experiencing, yoga, hypnotherapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage, breathwork, meditation, qigong.

And, of course, tai chi.

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Posted by on January 13, 2014 in Stress


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