The First Rule of Self-Defense
April 8, 2019
I’m fond of telling my martial arts students that the First Rule of Self-Defense is “Don’t get hit.” After all, how can you be defeated if no one hits you? This rule makes perfect strategic sense from a pugilistic perspective. However, there is a better and more broadly applicable rule that I prefer to stand by: “Protect your best interests.” What is self-defense, really, if not protecting, or defending, your best interests? The advice “Don’t get hit” is simple and unambiguous, and therefore easy to understand.
Your Tai Chi Pelvis
February 11, 2019
Tai chi is a personal development discipline deeply rooted in ancient Chinese culture. One of the most basic tenets of Asian philosophy and of its many traditional mind/body disciplines is that neither the mind nor the body can ever be regarded as entirely separate from the other. This is a belief that I share.
Anatomy of a Warrior Spirit
December 23, 2018
Martial artists are, by definition, warriors. True warriors have warrior spirit. In martial arts, as in life, there are some people who are successful, and some people who are not. The most successful people are imbued with a warrior spirit, known in the Chinese tradition as Yi. Warrior spirit has nothing to do with fighting or aggression, even though skilled fighters often have a well-developed warrior spirit. On the contrary, warrior spirit is about having the wherewithal to resolve conflict or avoid it altogether, and most of all to muster the internal fortitude requisite to the process of mastering yourself.
The Value of Differentiated Movement
November 5, 2018
Your ability to move in a differentiated manner is truly a measure of how freely you can live in your own body. Differentiated movement is a foundational concern to all tai chi and martial arts practitioners and is important, as well, to many other sports and movement disciplines.
Tai Chi and Economics
July 2, 2018
Ordinarily the word "economics" conjures up thoughts of money, governments, budgets and expenditures – pretty boring stuff if you're not an economist. However, the word "economy" simply refers to the effects, as measured by the relative advantages or disadvantages, of any causal behavior within any system. The most important and immediate economy in your life has to do not with what's in your wallet, but in how you choose to organize and live in your own body.
Perspectives on Tai Chi, Somatics, & Life - April 16, 2018
Live In the Moment, Not For the Moment. One of the great benefits of martial arts practice, and especially internal arts such as tai chi, is the underlying theme of being present to oneself –of being in the moment.
A Melding of Philosophies—One for One, & One for All - January 3, 2018
This article will share thoughts on both spectrums – approaches for personalized individual direction, and for social strategies, i.e. codes of conduct if you will. Hopefully, you may find something here worthy of your review and consideration.
Fun with Words, Tai Chi Style—"TRUST" - July 3, 2017
"Trust" is a fascinating concept. Its presence, its absence, or its antithesis have shaped human history on its grandest scales as well as at every increment of human interaction.
Balance and Tai Chi - May 1, 2017
Balance, by which I mean physical balance when upright, is a concern often expressed by potential students prior to taking up their studies at Tai Chi. They want to know: can Tai Chi help them improve their balance? While I'm generally hopeful and upbeat about how Tai Chi can serve students in this regard, there are multiple factors and considerations that come into play where balance is concerned. I feel it is prudent to have a basic understanding of these different factors in order to fashion a reasonable and realistic approach to helping students improve their balance through Tai Chi.
The Traditional Way to Celebrate Spring Festival or Chinese New Year - February 4, 2013
Daoist monk Zhou, Xuan-Yun grew up in a small village, Liu Gang Zu, in Henan Province with about 100 residents. The following are his memories and comments about the Spring Festival.
Conflict-An Antithesis to Tai Chi - October 17, 2011
If someone were to engage me in one of those word association games-“Say the first thing that comes to your mind when I say...Tai Chi”
Kung Fu Nuns - February 7, 2011
The nuns at the Druk Gawa Khilwa Nunnery in Nepal train kung fu each day in the early morning. A few years ago, several Vietnamese nuns were asked to visit the nunnery in Nepal to teach Kung Fu there. Another Drukpa nunnery in northern India has expressed interest, and the Vietnamese nuns will go there to teach as well.
Daoism and the Sword (道教和劍, Dao Jiao He Jian) - October 4, 2010
Many people wonder why martial arts are practiced by religions like Buddhism and Daoism that teach about compassion and humility. The idea of a warrior monk seems contradictory because in people’s minds the martial arts are linked with violence.
Pilgrimage to Wudang Mountain - September 27, 2010
During the summer of 2010, my family and I brought several students along during our annual trip to Wudang Mountain. Bringing students to the mountain is one way to pay our respect to the origin of the Wudang arts.
Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle—Part 2 - August 9, 2010
Once enrolled in my class, she was all over the place swinging her arms as if dancing to imaginary music (fine at home, perhaps, but not in Tai Chi class). This woman completely lacked structure, but more significantly, she lacked any desire for structure or willingness to consider its merits.
Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle—Part 1 - August 2, 2010
When the average person thinks of Tai Chi, the image that I expect most often comes to mind is one of some person or persons practicing a slow motion Tai Chi form sequence. This is quite reasonable given Tai Chi’s usual portrayal in the various media.
The Importance to Your Health of Deep Abdominal Breathing - April 12, 2010
The all too common tendency to breathe in a manner that is shallow, or constrained, is one of the great banes of modern man. Habitual shallow chest breathing is a major precursor for cardiovascular problems, not to mention respiratory problems, as well as a host of other health issues.
The Dao of Kung Fu - 武道 - October 15, 2009
Religion is full of paradox, and Eastern religions are no exception. One of the most compelling paradoxes is that Eastern religions (Buddhism and Daoism) are closely linked with the martial arts.
Daoist Breathing Techniques - May 20, 2009
Daoist breathing exercises are designed to activate the diaphragm muscle, expand the lungs, and invoke the body's innate relaxation response. There are four major types of breathing (调息tiao xi) used in Daoist practice.
Growing Up Wudang, part 2 - December 17, 2008
It wasn’t until my third year at Wudang that I started to find the training interesting, and started to train harder because I was genuinely interested in it.
Growing Up Wudang - December 9, 2008
When I was in fourth grade my grandfather fell ill, and because we needed money for hospital bills, I had to leave school. I worked on our farmland, helping my family plant corn and cotton.