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 Art in Martial Arts - July 28, 2014
For many practitioners, the phrase “martial arts” doesn’t do a particularly good job of encompassing the complexity of the systems we study. There is also a certain oxymoronic tension between things martial and things arty and serious trainees often prefer to emphasize the physical efficacy of these systems.
Empty and Full Moon Breathing Exercise for Abdominal Muscles - March 17, 2014
For this exercise, we will focus on the physical muscles surrounding the lower energy center area. This skill, coordinating the movement of the abdominal and back muscles with the movement of the lungs and diaphragm, should be practiced and emphasized on its own. This exercise is one of those pillar principles that should eventually be incorporated into every mind/body prescription throughout the Sunset Tai Chi program. It is ultimately used with every breath you take.
Tai Chi Wall and Tree Push-Ups - July 1, 2013
Face a wall or a tree, with your feet together and your toes about two to four feet away from the wall or tree, depending on your height and how much resistance you are looking for. The farther away from the support you are, the more resistance you will add to the muscles.
Thoughts On Tai Chi Form And Drills - April 15, 2013
During my twenty plus years of training full-time with world-renowned Chinese masters and leading Yoga teachers has rewarded me with gold medals in the solo Tai Chi form and Tai Chi sword, as well as in fighting competitions in North America, and Europe, in China, as well.
Tai Chi "Fire Set" Exercises for Leg Strength - March 11, 2013
The following three exercises make up what I call the “Fire Set,” which are “Walk and Kick Back,” “Walk Like a Warrior,” and “Up Like Smoke, Down Like a Feather.”<br>I designed this exercise after many years of experience working with martial artists as well as elders, and stumbling into many issues of leg strength, as well as osteoporosis and sarcopenia.
Traditional Tai Chi Ball Training - September 11, 2012
The tai chi ball is a traditional training tool used to strengthen the muscles, joints, and bones. It is also a method used to open and strengthen the circulation in the belt vessel. You may use any kind or size ball or any object that will fit between your hands for this exercise.
Hamstring Stretches - July 30, 2012
Because the hamstrings are the most stubborn muscles in our body, we need to constantly stretch them. If you think about it, the hamstrings are one of the muscles that do not have any strengthening exercises.
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”
Shu-ha-ri - The Phases of Mastery in a Dojo and with a Pen - September 19, 2011
It’s not unusual for martial artists to talk solemnly about “the Way” and how the life lessons that have been created through training spill over into the rest of our lives.
The Setting Sun and Tai Chi Drills - August 16, 2011
If you have an opportunity, perform tai chi drills as well as the tai chi form in the setting sun. Relax, but do not collapse your entire body and surrender physically and mentally to the gentle warmth and to the powerful drawing and cleansing energy of the setting sun. Of course, second best would be indoors while the sun is setting.
Channeling Sekishusai - July 18, 2011
One of the most important aspects of martial arts training (and the thing that first attracted me to the activity) is the linkage between things of the body and things of the spirit. There’s a lot to be said for the physical aspects of training—and if most people are anything like me, it’s almost addictive.
More Benefits From the Sunset and Sunrise Tai Chi - May 2, 2011
Most of us are shallow breathers. Some of the mind-body prescriptions from both series, Sunset Tai Chi and Sunrise Tai Chi, will introduce you to various breathing techniques, which will develop your lungs and over time you will become a deep breathing individual.
Benefits of Sunrise and Sunset Tai Chi Series - April 25, 2011
Most of us experience relief and joy when the end of the working day has come. For our own health, when the end of the day is here it is time to change pace and let go. This “letting go” can be different for each of us as it is a time to relax and recharge. The faster we let go of past activities and focus on the present to refresh, gather forces, and dissolve the tension and stress from the day, the quicker we will be able to enjoy the rest of the evening.
Tai Chi Intervention for Fibromyalgia - November 29, 2010
Over the past eight years I was given the opportunity to collaborate with Tufts School of Medicine researching the philosophy of Tai Chi and its effects on both arthritis of the knee and Fibromyalgia. I was asked by one of the researchers at Tufts School of Medicine to design and implement an intervention for both debilitating diseases.
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.