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Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo
February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
Happy "Niu" Year! 2021—Year of the Ox!
February 8, 2021
To Chinese, this most important celebration of the year is known as "Spring Festival" (春節; pinyin: Chūnjié). It is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast (年夜飯; pinyin: niányèfàn) on New Year's Eve (除夕; pinyin: Chúxī). In Chinese societies, people may take weeks off from work to prepare for and celebrate this holiday. With about 3 billion passenger trips over the 40-day travel season, it is described as the world's largest annual human migration.
Undivided We Become Strong
November 16, 2020
The most frustrating thing is that I have never seen the division in this country between people, between government, between races, and between families. Is this what we want? I don’t think so. As a holistic doctor and teacher for so many years, one thing I am continually teaching is that negative emotions greatly affect our health and life. This division can only create more negative emotions.
How Chronic Inflammation Affects Digestion and Metabolism
November 9, 2020
Inflammation in and of itself is not a bad thing. In fact, inflammation is a critical process in healing. It is the body's normal response to acute injury or infection. If you scrape your knee or catch pneumonia, white cells within your blood release certain chemicals. These are called inflammatory markers. These markers tell your body to increase blood circulation to the affected area. Your knee, for instance, will start to look redder and feel warmer following the injury.
Understanding Our Digestive System
October 5, 2020
In 2012, an estimated seventy million Americans suffered from gastrointestinal disorders. Illness that arises from these conditions can cause a wide variety of symptoms and can lead to decreased quality of life. The resulting ambulatory care visits, hospitalizations, procedures, and indirect costs such as missed work tallied $142 billion.
Work, Love, and Acupuncture - August 5, 2019
A wise man once told me, “Do something you love for a living and you’ll never work a day in your life.” I have certainly loved my career in medicine and, though some days have been more physically demanding than others, I do not think of my livelihood as “work”; it seems more like my “life’s work”. These days, that sentiment is truer than ever.
Emotional Health, Sleep, and Disease - July 22, 2019
For many centuries, humans have appreciated the connection between our emotional and physical health. Sleep lies at the interface between these realms, influencing and being influenced by our minds and bodies. When we find our mind troubled, our sleep disrupted, and our body out of balance, it is sometimes difficult to determine the initial cause.
Brief History of Liuhebafa: Water Boxing - July 15, 2019
The origins of Liuhebafa, also called Water Boxing, can be traced to the Daoist sage Chen Tuan (A.D. c.871-989) also called Tunan and Fuyaozi. Chen is a mystical figure whose advice and perspective was sought by Chinese emperors during the period of the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms (A.D. 907-960) and at the beginning of the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279).
Water Style for Beginners (Liu He Ba Fa) Part 2 - July 1, 2019
Water style incorporates the qualities and strengths of the three internal styles of Taiji, Xingyi and Bagua, yet it is in a class by itself, a unique form of internal martial arts. Its movements are sometimes high, sometimes low, sometimes fast, and sometimes slow. These movements resemble floating clouds and flowing water that is sometimes calm, sometimes surging.
Water Style for Beginners (Liu He Ba Fa) Part 1 - June 24, 2019
Chinese martial arts are the essence of Chinese civilization. Several thousands of years in the making, it has developed into two major styles-namely internal and external. Both styles are again divided to include countless different styles. Among the internal styles, the best known and most popular are Taiji, Xingyi, and Bagua.
Juji Gatame: The World’s Most Popular Armlock - April 29, 2019
There are, fundamentally, two core ways of “locking” an arm. You either bend it over a fulcrum to cause pain or you straighten and stretch it over a fulcrum to cause pain. Juji Gatame is one of four primary armlocks that attack the elbow joint (as well as shoulder joint).
YMAA Tai Chi and Internal Arts Curriculum - April 22, 2019
At YMAA, students learn qigong (energy cultivation) as part of their taiji or kung fu classes. In ancient times, Shaolin monks trained the cultivation of qi (energy), and realized muscular power could be enhanced to a tremendous level, making martial techniques more powerful and effective. This was the beginning of internal cultivation in Chinese martial arts, starting around 550 AD /CE. In internal styles, YMAA focuses mainly on traditional Yang-style taijiquan which originated from Yang, Ban-Hou (楊班候).
The Three Building Blocks Of Learning And Training In Judo - April 1, 2019
In any field of study, there has to be some kind of structure so that the contents of that particular area of study can be logically understood, taught and learned, and ultimately passed on to others. This structure or framework must have a firm theoretical and philosophical foundation based on practical application and, just an important, allow for innovation to take place. It must be fixed, yet flexible so that the activity (in this case judo) has room to grow.
How Biomechanical Principles Apply to Judo - March 11, 2019
Judo is based on sound biomechanical principles. The more efficiently a person applies these principles, the more effectively that person will do judo. To do judo well, a person must know not only how to control his own body but also his opponent's. The Japanese phrases, terms, and names—in use since judo's inception and familiar to all judo practitioners—explain much of what judo is and does.
Judo Isn't Gentle - February 18, 2019
Is judo really the "gentle way?" In the popular meaning of the word, judo certainly isn't anything close to being gentle. To paraphrase the great martial arts writer Donn Draeger; "Judo isn't gentle." And while judo isn't gentle in the more common use of the word, it's certainly efficient; and because it's efficient, it's effective
Fighting with Weapons - January 28, 2019
Weapons are simply an extension of the fighter. The Samurai even considered the sword to be an extension of their soul. The weapon assumes the character of whoever wields the weapon, as the weapon is simply a tool that extends the will of the fighter. The principles of fighting with empty hands apply to fighting with weapons. A fight is a fight. But there are some thoughts about these principles that should be noted.
Increasing Reliance on Expensive Technologies and Medications - January 21, 2019
The commercialization of the practice of medicine is driving up the cost of health care in America. While many drugs, devices, and procedures available are truly miraculous, study after study has shown that commonsense approaches increase quality and length of life to a greater degree than do expensive technologies. These commonsense approaches are not new: regular exercise, not smoking, getting enough sleep, stress management, and an unprocessed diet that is rich in beneficial fats. These modifications increase healthy life expectancy by many, many years by preventing the onset of chronic illnesses. The Chinese have advocated similar strategies for thousands of years: inexpensive lifestyle changes are the cornerstone of Eastern medicine.
General Principles for Eating Well - December 3, 2018
The diet in the United States is very out of balance for the majority of the population. People eat too much meat, too many sweets, too much dairy, and too-large quantities of food. Junk food is very common in many households. Row upon row of processed foods line our supermarket aisles.
Combining Eastern and Western Medicine in the Treatment of Headaches - Part 2 - October 22, 2018
Other non-pharmacologic methods of treating chronic headaches have been recommended by the American Academy of Neurology. These include relaxation training, thermal biofeedback combined with relaxation training, or cognitive-behavioral training. All of these methods strive to decrease muscle tension that may contribute to the onset of the headache. This tension is usually found in the upper back and neck.
Combining Eastern and Western Medicine in the Treatment of Headaches - Part 1 - October 15, 2018
Twenty-three years ago, when Louise was pregnant for the first time, her truck was broadsided and jettisoned over an embankment. The force of the crash caused a severe neck injury and sent Louise into preterm labor. Her daughter was born eight weeks early, but grew from a sweet baby into a beautiful young woman, as though the accident had never happened.
Thoughts on Eastern and Western Medicine for Optimal Health - October 8, 2018
When people think of Chinese medicine, they most commonly think of acupuncture. When they think of acupuncture, they instantly think of back pain. It is true that back pain is the first ailment for which Western countries accepted Eastern solutions. However, there is a vast array of different conditions for which all components of Eastern medicine can be used.
The Beauty of Simplicity - October 1, 2018
We live in a very complex world. Many of us are overloaded with information, technology, apps, consumer goods, foods, clothing, stuff, activities, and events. Because of this, many of us feel overwhelmed, and don’t remember how to breathe anymore. Others may even feel they need to acquire more.
Calibrating the Moral Compass - August 6, 2018
The value of life involves two distinct aspects: the physical—life itself or the actual human “being” of aliveness—and the metaphysical in orbit around it that is everything we consider worthwhile in life—our loves, ambitions, and desires, including our sense of oughtness referenced within morals, ethics, justice, and rights.
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.
Let’s Heal Depression with Qi and Dao - July 9, 2018
Being a holistic doctor for so many years, I have seen many patients suffering with depression. How do I help them recover from depression? It is all about Qi and Dao: balancing their energy with “Qi,” and restoring their beautiful minds with the “Dao”.