Photo by Bill S.

Weather Channel: United Tai Chi digest 1/19/15

  • This weekend the North East and Mid –Atlantic region of the US were showered with a coat of freezing rain, resulting in many automobile accidents. Concerns of flooding grew as the temperature rose a bit later in the day. These are examples of water’s destructive rather than creative personality. In the Five Elements of Chinese Medicine, water is associated with the season of winter. During winter in this hemisphere, some humans tend to “hibernate”, not unlike bears. It is a darker season, with short daylight hours and less incidence of pleasant outdoor blooming flora. With less light in our eyes, some experience a phenomenon currently known as Seasonal Affective Disorder –an anagram that literally spells SAD. It is important to note at this time of year (though many lose interest), physical activity is one of the major deterrents of SAD. Internal arts practitioners would certainly include the practices of Tai Chi, Qi Gong and meditation. On an icy surface, people are more likely to fall, so developing a greater sense of internal and external balance, intention, leg strength and flexibility come in handy. We become more aware of our surroundings. Be sure and get some “golden light” in your eyes in the coming days. Giving back to others is one of those “lights” –share with us how you spent your Martin Luther King day of service.
  • Shares/Finds: For those studying the 24 Form (sometimes called the Tai Chi short form), Best Tai Chi Videos site posted this video.
  • Student News & Events: Appreciation for those of us who joined UTC for Christian’s Qi Gong workshop at Kokikai Akido School this weekend– a study in connections and internal balance. Master Armstrong encountered weather/travel issues this weekend and will reschedule his monthly Sunday morning session at Dragon Gym. Sincere condolences from our Tai Chi family to Martina on the loss of a loved one last month. Anyone with birthdays to share in February, let me know for a blog mention next time. Hello to our snowbirds who are spending the winter in warmer climates, hope to see you back in the spring.
  • Social Media Roundup: Welcome our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) @YjtcNpc , @goldduster96 and @dogperson77. Our friends at Lighthouse Tai Chi in the UK report snow and ice there as well. (Facebook) Maria M and Raydoune Z joined us recently. (Pinterest) Check out the boards of our new follower Joseph M. (WordPress) Thank you for making our last blog –Year of the Goat our third most read title in the past 12 months!
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Year of the Goat: United Tai Chi digest 1/5/15

  • We have just christened 2015, the year of the goat. One of the yin Chinese zodiac signs, the goat is stable, sympathetic, kind-hearted, compassionate and willing to sacrifice his or her own interests to help others. Goats in different birth years are linked to different elements. Many water goats (b. 1943) share the art of music–including Janis Joplin, George Harrison, John Denver, Barry Manilow, Joni Mitchell and Jim Croce. Known for his environmentalism, Denver seemed to be aligned with the Taoist principles of communing with nature, respecting and drawing inspiration from earth’s elements. Harrison, known as the “quiet Beatle”, had an abiding interest in Eastern philosophies, instruments and meditation. Creative thinkers like Bill Nye, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were each born in a wood goat year, 1955. After Jobs’ death, internal arts blogger Paul Read (bean curd boxer) wrote of him “let us welcome the new interpreters, the Yang Chen Fus and Chen Man Ch’ings. Those who evolved the art and took the risk of rejection…just like the I Ching tells us to do. Just like the applications teach us to do.”  Were you born in a year of the goat? Share your story with us. And let us start out 2015 with compassion, kindness and sacrifice.
  • New Event & Class Alert: Christian will be holding a Saturday QiGong workshop on January 17 at Kokikai Akido School (1209 Ward Ave in West Chester). Time slot is 10am to 12pm, and pricing is $20 per hour. He is also a returning Tai Chi instructor for the Chester County Night School program. Dates January 7th to February 11th at Henderson High School in West Chester. Fees $62 bulk rate per person for six classes. Wednesday nights at 7:30pm. Register at this link. Also, regarding some of our Lionville YMCA classes, the Tuesday/Thursday afternoon class has changed temporarily during construction to 4.30pm and last 45 minutes. Join us Sunday January 18 at 10:00 am for a session with Masters Tolbert and Armstrong at Dragon Gym in Exton.
  • Recent Quotes: “As a tool for developing life skills and improving my life, I can think of few things that have done me as much good as starting martial arts training.” Mike Massie, Martial Arts Business Daily
  • Student News & Events: Chris M shared with me via Gmail this great story of enlightenment in her search for Crane vs. Snake debate answers. “On the way to yoga I looked along the roadway at a bird that caught my eye–a white crane! It had a snake in its mouth. The snake was contorting itself in all ways possible. The white crane, with its elegant, elongated curved beak, had all the advantages. White crane trumps snake. That crane, as fragile as it seems, has all the advantages. It speaks tai chi principles on several levels. Words that come to mind: don’t muscle in to a tense situation.” Our condolences to Marcia on the loss of a loved one after an illness. Pray for the families of those lost on AirAsia 8501. Thank you to the Tolberts for hosting many Tai Chi friends at a post-holiday social this weekend. I am watching my new betta fish DiNozzo, who demonstrates the principles of snake spine, bones like water, adapting to your environment, and moving meditation. Master Tolbert introduced us to Qi Journal which you can check out here.
  • Social Media Roundup: Welcome our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) @MUNIOdefense , @QiGongiiQG, @LucasKitchen and @FerguJames. (Pinterest) Check out the boards of our new fans Sara A and Dominic B.(Facebook) Ben T, from whom I found Martial Arts Business Daily and Monica C from the Azores.  And thank you Sifu Chris Bouguyon (National Qi Gong Association board of directors) for connecting with me on LinkedIn.
  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com

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A Look Back, Part II: United Tai Chi digest 12/22/14

  • In the previous blog we reminisced about the first half of 2014 for United Tai Chi. Some say the sequel is never as good as the original, but let’s give it a go.
    • In addition to the class locations mentioned in Part I of the newsletter, added sites in the latter half of the year included Kokikai Akido school, more Chester County Night School sessions, and the Sunday mornings at Dragon Gym with Masters Armstrong and Tolbert. Our mentor Wei Lun Huang held a weekend workshop in Broomal PA that several of our students attended. And Phil represented UTC at Master Huang’s annual Wakulla Springs tai chi retreat. Christian held an outdoor weekend QiGong seminar in August. And followed Master Huang to a learning session at Boston Healing Tao this fall. UTC was also represented at the Blue Buddha anniversary party.
    • Field trips or shared events included Christian, Phil and Deb joining Master Armstrong in Philadelphia for a community festival and Tai Chi demonstration. Likewise some attended an Internal Arts weekend workshop lakeside at a fellow practitioner’s cabin. Steve and Phil conducted a Harvest Moon internal arts evening to celebrate the cosmic event. John C travelled to Hawaii to cheer on his son in a prestigious triathlon. We read books such as “The Power of Tai Chi Chuan” (R. Gamble) and “The Old Man From the Hill” (S. Zimcosky).Ray welcomed a new grandson, Jaclyn travelled to Croatia, and Christian’s uncle had an art exhibit at the Rosenfled Gallery in Philadelphia. Our annual tradition continued in supporting a youth from the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity with Angel Tree gift donations at the local YMCA.
    • Newsletter blog essays in the ‘living the art’ theme included: the effect of utilizing sound or music versus no sound. Mood disorders or depression and the Taoist principles of meditation, fitness and access to daylight. Medication black box warnings about side effects as a story framing agent to discuss the positive “side effects” of tai chi. Letting things go via listening, receiving, flexibility, communing with nature and animals, and comporting ourselves like ‘velvet bricks’. Goal setting in our daily lives as well as our internal arts practice. The assistance of smart phones in your search for videos, class locations, tweeted articles, blogs, or connecting with practice partners. Recovery from personal traumas using an analogy of cups full of pain that spill over versus those that allow room to let the goodness in. Layers (gum, Ogres, and the Human, Earth and Sky stages of tai chi). And finally, oral history and generational influences.
    • Thank you for making the following our most read blog titles published in the second half of the year: “Reboot”, “Labor Day”, “Sounds of Silence”, “Goal Tending”, “Thanksgiving”, and “A Look Back, Part I”. The Bee Gees said, “its only words, and words are all I have”. I hope, from me, it’s been so much more than words. Merry Christmas.
  • New Class Alert: Christian will be teaching through the Chester County Night School program. Dates January 7th to February 11th 2015 at Henderson High School in West Chester. Fees $62 bulk rate per person for six classes. Wednesday nights at 7:30pm. Register at this link.
  • Shares/Finds: My recent book review “The Old Man From the Hill” for the Tai Chi website Slanted Flying. Thank you Steve Zimcosky and Guy Tomash for your faith in me.
  • Student News & Events: Marilyn, thanks for a nice Open House party for tai chi friends and neighbors. Good to meet folks and discover more about purple pool water, Ray’s grandson, Jiji’s humor, Chris’s Michael Keaton film recommendations, Jose’s ikebana plans, and Dick, thanks for the Elf on the Shelf comment. Affinity groups are so helpful this time of year. Internal art, open heart.
  • Social Media Roundup: Thank you to our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Facebook) Charles, Andy-Janelle, Joey, Sajad and Paulo. (WordPress) First time readers from Columbia and Cambodia this month. Canada and the UK, thanks always for your growing support. And a shout-out to our one reader in Finland –original home of my late grandfather. (Pinterest) check out the boards of fans Dominic B. , Adam R. and Sara A. Thank you Sifu Anthony K of FlowingZen for your forthright revelations and investigation regarding a troubling subject.
  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com

Photo by Bill S.

A Look Back, Part I: United Tai Chi Digest 12/8/2014

  • The end of 2014 is nearly upon us, so once again I take this time to reflect on some of our UTC markers that we shared in months past, taken in two parts—herein, we focus on the first six months.
    • We held classes and workshops at such diverse sites as Chester County Night School ,Eat Drink Om Yoga café, Lionvlle Holistic Health Center, Blue Buddha Studio, Miller Park, Kerr Park, Dragon Gym and our local YMCA. Events we shared included World Tai Chi Day (“one world, one breath”). Master Wei Lun Huang’s workshops at Boston Healing Tao, and the Dragon Gym, while Master Huang shared with us his stories of his tai chi teaching cruise in Asia.
    • Some students embarked on late winter or early spring travel excursions, Bikram Yoga studies, assisting in equine therapy, a Chinatown (Philadelphia) field trip in search of tai chi swords. Read books like “Laoshi: Tai Chi, Teachers and Pursuit of Principle”.
    • Enhanced our tai chi practice with Golden Lotus Qigong, Bagua Animal stepping, Hsing-yi, and Part III of the Yang 108 form. Dabbled in a few more pop culture connections to our internal arts like Kenny Loggins (“Don’t Fight It”), Keanu Reeves (“Man of Tai Chi”), and films like “American Hustle” (from the feet up) and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (importance of being grounded in the lower tan tien).
    • Newsletter blog essays in the ‘living the art’ theme –connecting our tai chi principles to our daily personal, professional or emotional lives. Such discussions included the impact of tai chi on cross-training fitness; push-hands and the notion of understanding or re-directing your partner or opponent (personal relationships, tennis, work life); monkey mind and Amish youth’s Rumspringa; how tail chi makes us more adaptable travelers and opens up world cultures to us; self-correction in tai chi linked to career or life change (Julia Child, Sting, Walt Disney); Dyer’s “The Power of Intention”; moving meditation, relaxation and the de-stressors of ‘happy hour’; storm black-outs and how disengaging ourselves from our electronic umbilical cords returns us to mindfulness; the importance of the armpit glands in our chi flow; daylight savings time and the effect on Seasonal Affective Disorder; trust or leaps of faith in finally learning to ‘cross the street’ alone; how the art of branding is akin to principles of Taoism; and how a profoundly deep understanding of ourselves helps us define our interview pitch in the job transition arena.
    • Thank you for making the following our most read blog titles published in the first half of the year: “The Return”, “Elevator Speech”’, “Balanced”, “The Armpit Monologues”, “Force Majeure” and “Passport”. Stay tuned for ‘A Look Back, Part II’ in the next blog in two weeks.
  • Shares/Finds: In case you missed it in our August newsletter, here is the link again to download Ted Nawalinski’s “The Science of Qigong Healing” booklet –which cites case studies, applications, and references on the effects of qigong.

 

  • Student News & Events: A big thank you to all who participated once again in sponsoring a child with holiday gifts for the Angel Tree program at the YMCA for the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity. I hope you all had a great time at our annual holiday/birthday breakfast on the December 5th at the Lionshare—it was wonderful to see so many students in attendance, and was greatly appreciated by Christian. You can see a few photos of it on our Pinterest page. Marilyn B’s open house holiday gathering and perhaps some other events coming up later this month. Good luck to Claudia in her travels soon.
  • Social Media Roundup: Thank you to our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) Jean @jeancox92. (Facebook) A big growth week, we have hit or exceeded 1,500 fans! Welcome Simi, Khey, Darren, Benny, Iraida, Nathan, Christopher, Keounda, Manual, Cheryl, Edward and Frank. (WordPress) Hello to our first reader from Panama. Thank you to Sifu Anthony K’s Flowingzen.com for being one our referrers. (Pinterest) check out boards from new follower Chi Shirt. Slantedflying.com’s Guy Tomash has invited me to review internal arts books by Steve Zimcosky.
  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com

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Thanksgiving: United Tai Chi digest 11/24/14

  • Oral history –stories, teachings, principles and concepts passed down through the generations– has been a touch point this weekend. In my professional work, I came across a video-taped oral history with one of the early pioneers of qualitative market research, William Schlackman. A popular television pastor was also discussing the generational influences and direction of his father and grandfather, whose hard work and sacrifices had helped pave the way for his current flood of goodwill. And our own local instructor Christian was at a workshop in Boston recently with Master Wei Lun Huang. Sifu Huang can trace his internal arts lineage back to Liao Fo Hi, and Lou Tzi Ling (himself a student of Yang Chen Fu). Many of us will be fortunate to witness some of our own generational oral histories this Thanksgiving week. Internal arts such as tai chi are rife with this kind of oral history. Again part of my “living the art” theme I have explored in previous blogs. I found it interesting that one of Mr. Schlackman’s advice notes was, “the most important interview you do is on yourself”. Yet another concept we find in tai chi. Peace and blessings to you all this Thanksgiving.
  • Schedule update/alert: After Tuesday night November 25, we will no longer have a night tai chi class at the Blue Buddha yoga studio in Glenmoore.

 

  • Shares/Finds: This Paul Read / Bean Curd Boxer blog on tai chi and snow removal reminds me of Christian’s snow tai chi video last winter. Eagles NFL fans, we all know from The Tao of Chip Kelly football, internal arts (and life) are about adapting to your opponent, humility, favoring the process not the result, flexibility, and empowering your players with equal importance.

 

  • Student News & Events: Thank you to those who joined UTC at the monthly Exton Dragon Gym Sunday session this weekend. Birthday shout-out to Janet, Son and Dot. Sorry I didn’t hear about Sifu Huang’s workshop in Boston this past weekend until a few days beforehand. If you were there, report in! Local students, if you received my note about the YMCA’s Angel Tree program to collectively purchase holiday gifts for one child in the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity community, please return your gifts to me or Christian by or before Sunday November 30 (so everything can be wrapped/bagged/tagged and dropped off at the Y, Monday 12/1). And I would be remiss not to mention a certain instructor’s birthday coming up before our next newsletter is out –from your students and everyone you have influenced, have a peaceful and meaningful day Christian. Details on our annual combo holiday + birthday breakfast coming soon.
  • Social Media Roundup: Thank you to our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) Daryl @dmuran1, and @WillieWil1 from NYC. (Facebook) Welcome Michaela and Gregg –locals from Chester County PA, Chris K from Oregon, Brandon in Alberta, Ernie in Massachusetts, Alianza in Florida, K Bar from Nashville, Bigpapa from Chicago and Jessica from Nashville. The windy city and music city, representin’. (WordPress) We have reached over 4,000 views since I started publishing there in June 2013. Thanks for our recent growth this month in readers from Europe. And as always, our neighbors to the north continue to be our #2 readership.
  • General Weekly Schedule:
DAY LOCATION PRICE TIME
Tuesday Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

** Last class at Blue Buddha is Tues. Novem25 **

Membership

$20 p/hour

4.45 pm

7.15 pm

Wednesday Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA Membership 7.30 am
Thursday Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

Kokikai Akido School  1209 Ward Ave, West Chester (2 hour class, at $20 per hour)

Membership

$20 p/hour

4.45 pm

7.00 pm

Friday Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

See instructor

7.30 am

See instructor

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com

Layers

LAYERS: United Tai Chi digest 11/10/14

  • In many parts of the US, in recent weeks folks have begun the process of layering. Dressing their children to wait at the bus stop for the early morning chill, or preparing ourselves for outdoor activities to be reactive to the changing temperature as the day’s light and sun position play our their autumn story. Nielsen consumer insights in 2012 had included in their Breakthrough Innovation Awards program Trident Layers And of course Ogres (Shrek), like onions, have layers. And here is the fun ‘living the art’ part. Just like gum, Shrek and kids winter clothes, our tai chi practice has layers, or if you prefer, levels or stages. The Human Stage, the Earth Stage and the Sky Stage. The human stage is punctuated by lightness (qing), slowness (man), circular movement (yuan) and constant rate (yun). Through years of practice, one may next reach the earth stage, with its principals of agility (ling), relaxation (song), and sinking (chen). The next goal is the sky stage, with its focus on the mental training. Emptiness and solidity, breathing, consciousness, void and stillness (xujing). These stages are covered in more detail in Tsun Hwa Jou’s “The Dao of Taijiquan: Way to Rejuvenation”, which some of your fellow local students have a copy to borrow.  What is your story of layers this month, or how have internalized a picture of some of your own goals?
  • Shares/Finds: A fun lighthearted look at speed Sifu training. An article on how Tai Chi offers anti-aging benefits at the cellular level. And in case you missed it our book review for Robin Gamble’s new The Power of Tai Chi Chuan online here

 

  • Student News & Events: Join us for the monthly Exton Dragon Gym Sunday session with fellow instructors Al Tolbert, John Armstrong and Ted Nawalinski on November 23 at 10 am. Please join me in thanking all of our veterans this week (and every week), including our local instructor Christian! If local students would once again like to participate in the YMCA’s Angel Tree program and collectively purchase holiday gifts for one child in the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity community, let me know and we can get this organized soon. You guys did such a great job of this last year.
  • Social Media Roundup: Thank you Guy Tomash of Slanted Flying, and Robin Gamble of Warrior Strategy for the book review commentary. Thank you to our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) Lori @JujitsuSensei and Rick @chevyrep. (Pinterest) check out boards from new fans MartialArtsConnect and Simone T (Facebook) Welcome Gal from Brooklyn, and Albert from El Paso to our FB fans page. (WordPress) Welcome first time readers to our blog from Denmark, Poland, Thailand and Romania.
  • General Weekly Schedule:
DAY LOCATION PRICE TIME
Tuesday Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

Membership

$20 p/hour

4.45 pm

7.15 pm

Wednesday Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA Membership 7.30 am
Thursday Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

Kokikai Akido School  1209 Ward Ave, West Chester (2 hour class, at $20 per hour)

Membership

$20 p/hour

4.45 pm

7.00 pm

Friday Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

See instructor

7.30 am

See instructor

 

  • Follow these links to our social media presence on the web:

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi

WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog  http://www.unitedtaichi.wordpress.com

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

Have a great week, and may all your armpits have tuna sandwiches.

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com