To clear out energy blockages, P.M. T'ai Chi with expert CJ McPhee helps you realign the flow of chi through a series of forms. Starting with opening the major energy gateway to allow chi to circulate. Then aligning the spine to encourage free flow of energy to revitalize your body. Ending with cleansing the body of stagnant chi and restoring it with pure chi .I like what Carol McPhee describes about chi. In essence it is Qigong (or Chi Kung), not so much the science per se, but more the systematic study or practice of chi development.
Monday, March 31, 2014
Friday, March 21, 2014
Tao (pronounced 'Dow') can be roughly translated into English as 'path' or 'the way'. It refers to a power which surrounds and flows through all things, both living and inanimate. The Tao regulates natural processes and nourishes balance in the universe. It embodies the harmony of opposites, or Yin and Yang, which symbolize pairs of such opposites throughout the universe, e.g., light and dark, male and female, good and evil; none can exist without the other.
Wednesday, March 19, 2014
This piece by Harvey Summers is jaunty and spirited. One comment on YouTube thought it may not be suitable for T'ai Chi practice. By that, I take it to mean: It may be not suitable for his or her T'ai Chi practice.
If you haven't practiced to music, you may very well find that doing so changes the spirit, the mood, or even the stylistic quality of your T'ai Chi. If you're open to doing so, then let that change unfold of its own accord. Simply observe and experience, and take note.
Monday, March 17, 2014
You may listen to Harvey Summers' music while meditating or practicing T'ai Chi. In the early years of my study, we did T'ai Chi quietly in a spacious hall. On my own, though, I found that music was perfectly in keeping not only with the discipline but also with the beauty of this ancient art.
You may, instead, prefer to listen to this music, when you're simply relaxing in your family room. It's your choice.
Of course, you may decide to meditate and practice to other music, one that you like better and which may be conducive to meditation and practice. Give it a try, and note how you experienced it.
Friday, March 14, 2014
Whether it be fragrance, fashion or music, we have many avenues through which we build our confidence. You see, T'ai Chi by its nature is demure and humble. It doesn't demand of practitioners and would-be practitioners alike that it be the primary focus or activity. It doesn't demand anything really. But should we wish, and decide, to study it and practice it, it can serve as the ground, or the complement, or simply the spirit, with which we build our confidence. T'ai Chi can weave itself into whatever profession, art or discipline we pursue.
Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Fear serves a human function, much as many of us in Western culture may denounce it, diminish it, or otherwise dismiss it. Instead of doing all of this, let's experience our fear as it is. Sit with it, and feel it. In the process, we may understand it better and learn from it.
We practice T'ai Chi, we meditate quietly, we study and reflect on what we experience. Neither inviting nor resisting distracting thoughts and disturbing feelings. We see what we need to do vis-a-vis our fear, which may be nothing at all but which may also be something important.
In time, that fear works in our favor, it serves our purpose. In time, it dissipates.
Monday, March 10, 2014
T'ai Chi abides by Taoism, and Taoism demures when it comes to showing others what we can do. We build confidence through daily practice and study, but we keep it internalized. We keep the fire well under control inside our belly, so to speak.
Instead of saying "Watch me," then, we may simply go about our tasks, or routine, or responsibilities, with the mindset of always learning and improving what we can do. Other will see what they will see of us, and in time it will not matter all that much what they see of us.
That we are growing, and growing stronger, and abiding by the Tao, this is what matters.
Friday, March 7, 2014
This is a quick-paced video of several martial arts applications of T'ai Chi movements. We practice T'ai Chi slowly and meditatively and with full concentration. But obviously using any of the postures or movements to defend ourselves means using whatever speed is necessary to do so. We don't have to be lightning quick, though. We simply have to draw on our mind, body and spirit, in order to understand how and what to do in any given situation.
Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Many people think that taijiquan (tai chi) uses yielding as a primary strategy for self defence. The truth is that tai chi strategy is much more direct.
Ian Sinclair makes an important point: While T'ai Chi is soft, relaxed and circular, it does not mean that its martial arts applications are weak, passive or indirect. Still softness and relaxation, plus rooting and centering are the foundation of these applications.
The softness, for example, allows a practitioner to sense and absorb an opponent's energy, then redirect to his root and into the ground.
I'd argue, though, that yielding is a primary strategy for T'ai Chi self defense. It comes from wu wei, which some translate as yielding. But it means more like non-action, or more specifically following the Tao or the Way of Nature. So if an opponent lunges at you with a hard punch, the incorrect thing to do is to meet the force head-on and counter in kind. Instead, T'ai Chi says we can step aside quickly with a Ward Off, then a Roll Back in the direction of the attack. This way, we slip out of harm's way, while upending the opponent from his root.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Because T'ai Chi is a martial art, each posture and movement have a purpose for self defense. Jake Mace demonstrates well how this works for particular movements, including the opening one, simple as it looks. Remember what Bruce Lee taught, however: Anything goes in a situation, where your life or loved ones' lives are threatened.