Searching for Superhumans
May 17, 2021
I met David (Verdesi) in Moscow to meet Chinese qi gong healers that could send a current of energy through your body that was so strong it felt like you were holding both ends of a car battery.
January 18, 2021
Fights are not static. Things move. People move. Bear-hugs and headlocks and all that stuff happen sometimes in a fight, but they are transitional actions. You do not get bear-hugged just to be held (except by bouncers). A Threat wraps his big arms around you from behind either to pick you up and shake you (disorienting and intended as an intimidating show of strength) or to drive you into a wall. Maybe to throw you over a balcony. If you practice technique-based defense, will they work if the Threat refuses to stand there? If he is using that headlock to slam you from wall to wall?
The Lowest Level of Force
December 7, 2020
The Records area at Rusafa Prison Complex in Baghdad is enclosed by a chain-link fence and was almost always crowded. It’s a stressful place, with inmates being processed in and out, Iraqi military, police, corrections, advocates, politicos, and sometimes families of the convicts are present and a small handful of American advisors.
Tai Chi – A Tradition of Immunity and Health - Part 2
June 15, 2020
Observations and supporting research indicating possible physiological mechanisms of action underlying benefits, which may be unique to tai chi and similar exercises, is documented in my book “Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of Tai Chi.” A range of scientific studies and supporting case stories provide hope and a direction for further investigations, research which in time may benefit a surprisingly wide range of conditions. Related to current concerns, I will provide a brief overview of key elements related to immunity at the end of this article.
Tai Chi—A Tradition of Immunity and Health - Part 1
May 18, 2020
The question many may be asking is if tai chi may protect you from the coronavirus or other conditions. More research would be needed to determine this, and it is important for legal reasons to avoid making any claims that tai chi is a cure for any condition. But the preliminary research related to benefits for immunity and other conditions at least offers hope for enhanced health. And hope in many ways has been considered by many to be one of the best medicines. As noted by Orison Swett Marden, author and founder of Success Magazine, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” Here is hoping for a better tomorrow through tai chi.
Metarobics for Immunity - May 4, 2020
Researchers have also looked at the effects of tai chi practice on virus-specific lymphocytes. A study examining the effects of tai chi on varicella zoster (shingles) virus-specific lymphocytes found a significant increase in the number of these lymphocytes in a group of older adults after fifteen weeks of tai chi training. The tai chi group experienced an almost 50 percent increase in cell-mediated immunity to the varicella zoster virus despite not receiving the vaccine, compared to no change in a comparison group. A third group received the shingles vaccine, which resulted in a 75 percent increase in the number of virus-specific lymphocytes.
How to Cultivate Personal Power Amid the Coronavirus - March 30, 2020
Chinese Medicine focuses on preventing disease and illness from occurring. As Qi Gong practitioners, we view preventative medicine as true health care, because it is caring for our health while it is still… well, healthy.
Tai Chi, Metarobics, and Immunity - February 17, 2020
Tai chi practice has been shown to have beneficial effect on T cells. In a study conducted at the Chang Gung Institute of Technology in Taiwan, 12 weeks of tai chi practice resulted in a significant increase in regulatory T Cells. Monocytes (large white blood cells) also decreased significantly. Lower Monocyte counts are an indication of good health, since Monocytes increase in response to infection and chronic inflammation, indicating poor health.
Was St. Valentine a Qi Master? - February 10, 2020
This was the question I asked myself as I sat in a cafe some 17 years ago. Saint Valentine is particularly close to my heart. In early 2002, I was studying for my acupuncture board exams, and I noticed an article about Saint Valentine in the local paper. It gave a brief recount of the Saint’s life that I found fascinating.
Maximizing Metarobic Effects - December 16, 2019
Those forms of exercise that focus on relaxation, efficient movement, and slow, deep breathing yield consistently higher blood oxygen saturation levels, as well as feelings of enhanced oxygen diffusion. This includes relaxation- and breath-focused forms of qigong and yoga. Since one of the drawbacks of traditional formats of tai chi is the long learning curve, I developed an easy-to-follow format. This format consisted of shifting the feet back and forth in place through the range of movements found in tai chi, focusing on movements that maximize Metarobic effects.
Metarobics, Tai Chi and Alzheimer’s - June 10, 2019
Alzheimer’s is a scary disease. To go from having memories and full mental functioning to not knowing who you are, a decline in mental and physical functioning, and eventual death—what can be scarier than that? And as a disease, Alzheimer’s is becoming increasingly prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, death rates from Alzheimer’s disease increased 55 percent between 1999 and 2014. Approximately one-third of all people age 85 and older may have Alzheimer's disease. Although genes and environment can play a factor, much of the growth of Alzheimer’s may be linked to a more sedentary lifestyle.
Tips for Selecting a Tai Chi Class - January 14, 2019
To learn or practice tai chi for health, teaching ability can make more difference than the years of experience a teacher has in tai chi. This was also something hard for me to admit as a longtime practitioner. There are many traditionalists with a more martial orientation who may have incredible skill in tai chi but little patience as teachers. One of the largest barriers to learning tai chi identified in a survey of major programs in the United States was lack of patience on the part of the instructor.
Qi: Science or Magic? - November 26, 2018
Tai chi and similar exercises are yielding phenomenal results for a large variety of health concerns. When I began collecting case stories, I was amazed at the number of people who have benefited from these exercises, often in dramatic ways. That tai chi and various qigong exercises increase blood oxygen saturation indicates that it is no coincidence that the Chinese word "qi" (pronounced "chi") is so strongly associated with these exercises. Despite qi's common association with the metaphysical and energy work, at its most basic level qi is best understood from its literal translation as "air."
Essential Elements of Metarobics and Tai Chi for Therapy - September 17, 2018
Tai chi is fast becoming a popular exercise, resulting in a wide range of teaching methods. Some changes are beneficial, but others may reduce or even eliminate the unique benefits of tai chi. This chapter provides a brief overview of the development of tai chi for health and discusses what to look for when choosing a class to maximize the benefits of tai chi from a Metarobic and structural perspective.
Metarobics and Tai Chi: How a Student with Cancer Changed My Understanding of Exercise - August 20, 2018
My awareness of how the body responds to certain kinds of movement occurred over a period of several years, and quite by accident. It was a gradual process. It began with the first student who came to me convinced that tai chi had cured her cancer. Over time, I came to realize that a large variety of chronic diseases shared a common element—an element directly affected by tai chi and similar exercises, which have unique and measurable effects on blood oxygen saturation and diffusion.
Discovering Ancient Secrets for Modern Life - August 13, 2018
During college my greatest teachers were not professors, and the greatest lessons were not revealed in the classroom. The University of California at Berkeley, which I attended, was home to more than 20 Nobel Prize winning teachers, had an unprecedented research reputation, and was the number one public university in the country. Still, the wisdom I discovered came from teachers without doctorates who taught in a small building across town that I would never have known existed if I had not been lead there.
Tai Chi Dosage, and Making Tai Chi “Fit” into your Life - July 30, 2018
There is an amazing array of research studies supporting the benefits of tai chi and related exercises for a wide range of conditions. Metarobic theory explains how and why from a medical perspective, but there still remains the question of why some studies show conflicting results particularly in the field of cancer.
Tai Chi, Metarobics and World Tai Chi & Qigong Day - April 23, 2018
Every year thousands around the globe celebrate and promote tai chi on World Tai Chi & Qigong Day (WTCQGD). This event was founded almost 20 years ago by Bill Douglas, as a way to promote interest in these exercises. And it worked. Every year many schools who participate in this event bring in new students. And I am excited to announce that this may get even better – new research and the release of my book Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of Tai Chi, byYMAA, August 2018, holds promise for attracting even more to these health and life giving arts.
Introduction to Qi Gong Part 2 - August 21, 2017
I was ten years old, lying in my bed. My dad was standing in the door way speaking in a low deep voice, "10 feel your body relaxing, 9, going deeper now, 8 very relaxed, 7, your body is so relaxed that it feels like your floating on a cloud…" He was guiding me through a visualization. Every night before bed, either my mom or dad would guide us kids through a deep relaxation technique.
Introduction to Qi Gong Part 1 - August 14, 2017
Qi means life force energy. The ancient pictogram of Qi represented mist coming off water or steam coming off rice. The mist and steam signified that Qi was invisible. The rice meant that Qi nourished the body.
Introducing new YMAA Author! Lee Holden, Part 2, In His Own Words - August 7, 2017
For the next month, I would go to Master Chia's house and work out every day. We would train for about an hour and a half, practicing tai chi, qi gong, breathing exercises, and meditation techniques. What I kept realizing again and again was that this practice was not new age fluff, but a body-mind-spirit science. Master Chia was showing me formulas that had been tested for the last 4,000 years. He explained that these exercise and meditation routines were like a well-trodden path to the top of the inner mountain. If you practice them, you will reach the peak and enjoy the expanding vista of a clear mind and radiant health.
Introducing new YMAA Author! Lee Holden, In His Own Words - July 31, 2017
I was ten years old, lying in my bed. My dad was standing in the doorway speaking in a low deep voice, "10, feel your body relaxing, 9, going deeper now, 8, very relaxed, 7, your body is so relaxed that it feels like your floating on a cloud…" He was guiding me through a visualization. Every night before bed, either my mom or dad would guide us kids through a deep relaxation technique. By the time I was 15, I was proficient in self-relaxation and visualization techniques. I would use the technique to help with school, sports and martial arts classes (Karate, Kung Fu, and even Capoeira).
Simple Drills Worth Knowing - January 30, 2017
The following are important things, some little, some major, that lend themselves well to simple drills or exercises. Backing up is almost never the answer. Unless you are excellent at reading and remembering tactical terrain, you might not know what or who is behind you.
Evaluating Drills—Part 2 - October 31, 2016
I get especially annoyed with weapons. Unarmed defense against a weapon sucks. Never, ever, ever practice dying and do not train to be killed. The stakes are too high to blindly imprint a habit, even a habit as simple as handing a weapon back once you have disarmed someone.
Evaluating Drills—Part 1 - October 24, 2016
I'm not a big fan of most drills. There is a fine line, but conditioned reflexes are crucial in a fight and habits will get you killed. Conditioned reflexes are things you do without thinking about it. They are essentially trained flinch responses. If something suddenly comes at your eyes you WILL do something: block, move your head or, at the very minimum, blink.