Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hiatus / Qi gong study

Our newsletter is on hiatus this week while we study Bagua animal Qi gong and golden lotus Qi gong with Master Wei Lun Huang at a workshop in scenic Wakulla Springs FL. See you back here next Tuesday night, or see our daily updates on. http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

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‘Dem Bones: United Tai Chi digest 10/23/13

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  • Halloween merriment finds many a skeleton adorning doorways, front yards, punch bowls and pet costumes.  I even saw a skull in the back of a blue Kia this morning (that had better be plastic, or I’m finding a new walking route).  Yet in Tai Chi and other internal arts we know the importance of your bones as a hallmark of your structural integrity and alignment.  We have heard stories, anecdotal and scientific, of bone mineral density (BMD) improvement with Tai Chi –even our own Irene has achieved this.  It reduces fracture risk in the elderly, important since nearly one third of those aged 65 and over experience a fall, commonly resulting in fractures or head trauma.  “Tai chi is a weight-bearing exercise involving constant shifting of weight from one leg to another, which facilitates improved dynamic standing balance and strength in the lower extremities. You spend more time one leg compared to when you walk…multiple longitudinal and cross-sectional studies show improved lower-extremity strength following Tai Chi training. It also improves torso and limb flexibility and range of motion, with is an essential component of postural control.”   (The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi, by Peter Wayne).  And in our own classes we learn how spinal alignment and relaxing the tailbone helps you to improve your duration, speed or comfort in many physical activities.  We wouldn’t want to be sidelined like mid- 80s Redskins quarterback Joe Thiesman by not giving our bones some TLC with a few weekly doses of Tai Chi.  (A pro-sports reference this week for those of you disinclined to my Broadway or film references.).  An early Happy Halloween to you all, as the digest will likely be on a travel hiatus next week, but watch for occasional Facebook updates while I’m away. 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Listening to your bone marrow. Tricking our brains to combat mental blockages to physical breakthroughs, i.e., the ‘pick up a bucket’ mental imagery for the right hand in Play the Pan Pan to help balance.  Sometimes a silent run through of the form “let’s you discover your own gifts” of what you have learned/what you have already grasped, versus just echoing the instructors voice with your body.  Line drills on individual postures.  Tai Chi walk. “Are you breathing?” Examples of conserving energy by utilizing structure and alignment rather than force or muscle.   Inner ear bones.  Finding your center the coffee way.  Dragon tongue kick analysis. 

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events: Excited that a contingent from United Tai Chi will be travelling to a workshop in Wakulla Springs FL very soon to study with Master Wei Lun Huang (“Sifu”) for Bagua animal qi gong and Golden Lotus qi gong.  Paul will cover the morning Y classes, Sue the afternoon, Deb at East Bradford.  The Upper Main Line YMCA in Berwyn is hosting a bone marrow registry drive on Saturday October 26 from 7am -2pm for those aged 18-55. Those of you having a virtual party in honor of Keith Urban’s 46th birthday on Saturday …oh wait, that’s just me, he he.  Welcome to our new Twitter followers this week, who were no doubt spurred on by a certain someone with his “Saturday saludos!” PR (gracias).  Thanks for our WordPress readers from the UK recently –has Prince Harry seen my newsletters? (Is he still single?).  So far “The Apollo Ohno” is in the lead for naming one of our callisthenic warm-ups, edging out Eric Heiden and Hans Brinker…but turnout at the polls has been lackluster thus far. Let’s get out the vote people! http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

 

  • Emily Dickinson shout out:  “A bone has obligations, a being has the same. A marrowless assembly is culpabler than shame.” 

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENINGS

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Private paid lessons available   upon request –check with instructor for scheduling

Monday nights in the fall: 7 week   beginner class ordered through Chester County Night School

 

  • 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    

Gut Feeling: United Tai Chi Digest 10/16/2013

SecondBrain

  • Just as our instructor Christian has often lauded the lower tan tien importance in internal arts, likewise a Tao Internal Detox video lesson of Mantak Chia’s discusses the “Second brain” and reiterates the gut has a mind of its own.  Just like the mind brain, the lower brain sends and receives impulses, records experiences and responds to emotions.  The lower brain can upset the upper brain and vice versa.  (For NCIS fans, Agent Gibbs’ frequent lower brain insights tell me he is guided by his abdominal tan tien).  The Wellspring by Christopher Dow also comments on this “enteric  nervous system” in your gut and teaches us the intestines release more serotonin than the brain–and even when  isolated from the brain, the bowels continue to perform peristalsis/undulation to move food through.  Others share that the lower tan tien is the most useful place to store energy and that these stores can “help combat stress in all forms — negative emotions, unhealthy food, toxins, thoughts, physical trauma, or people driving slowly in the left lane.” (Sifu Anthony K). And right here in our practice we learn that our physical life gate is housed in the lower tan tien and that is where we must strive to be rooted before we can expand on our emotional and mental life gates. I don’t know about you, but it sounds good to have a ‘second brain’ –but how come it didn’t help me with high school algebra?

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Ten breaths, thirteen postures, palm rounding and hiding your deltoid intentions, notes on the Wipe Off.  Ray’s question about the back foot in the apparent closing –seems it’s not really a drag back to center, but rather carrying it aloft back to your supporting weighted leg.  Revisited brush knee, and the Relax/Expand posture after Single Whip. Pull down and shoulder strike.  Shaking our jar of rocks. Relax into a posture rather than muscle yourself into an uncomfortable position. The coil and uncoil of Play the Pan Pan.  Go slowly so that you can read and listen to the ‘words’ of the postures and not skip over things into a misunderstanding.  

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events: Thanks students, friends and visitors for stopping by the United Tai Chi booth at WC Growers Market or joining our DVD night this past weekend.  For those of you who have pre-registered, Jose is teaching an Ikebana workshop at Jenkins Arboretum in Devon on Friday October 18 — send me a photo if some UTC students attend, I’ll share it on our FB page. Christian may be adding a 2nd night class at the Lionville Holistic Health Center –one night mainly concentrating on Tai Chi for students so inclined, and one that is a mix of several internal arts’ instruction.  Let us know who is interested in a Tai Chi night and who is interested in adding Ba Gua, Qi Gong, Hsing-I and other forms into the mix.  I’m attending a two night reflexology workshop locally this week.  Best of luck to Liz G from her Tai Chi family regarding her surgery this week. Thanks Dot for the Pinterest follow. Thanks @BeanCurdBoxer for the re-tweet!  I caught a bit of a Fred Astaire film (Royal Wedding) on TCM. The scene in the physical therapy/fitness apparatus room.  I had not seen him in action in awhile –now there is someone who was very in tune with his physicality.

 

  • Fun Follower News of the Week:  @ErnieBoxall from the UK held a Tai Chi session in July to raise funds for the “Polar Bears and Paddleboards” team’s expedition to take the sport of stand-up paddle boarding to the Arctic glaciers. 

 

  • Etcetera:  In the Taoist tradition, the human body is a microcosm of the natural world. Our physical anatomy is an inner landscape with its own rivers, forests, mountains and lakes that reflect that reflect the harmony with the outer landscape of the planet Earth.”  (Mantak Chia, Lesser Kan and Li)

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENINGS

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Private paid lessons available   upon request –check with instructor for scheduling

Monday nights in the fall: 7 week   beginner class ordered through Chester County Night School

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Kathleen Rice    unitedtaichi@gmail.com     

Stand Down. United Tai Chi Digest 10/9/13

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  • Retreat.  One of the connotations of the phrase ‘martial arts’, for the uninitiated, suggests the concept of fighting.  Yet there is a difference in the aggression of an offense, versus the acquiescence of a controlled defense.  Receive. Understand. Redirect.   We’ve talked here about topics like transforming conflict (Qi Gong Radio’s Dan Kleiman), humility (The Wandering Taoist), situational awareness and training yourself to discern antisocial aggression versus asocial violence (Survive the Unthinkable). Indeed our own instructor calls for us to communicate from the back of our spine not the front of our chest, and to ‘retreat until you can’t retreat anymore’.   And recently Ziva’s warrior girl persona from NCIS finally coming to terms with her past and deciding to start over—telling Tony there is someone crying for everyone she killed. Our anthropological instinct –part time predators, part time hunter/gatherers, is challenged with the internal arts. Yet here we are ready to embrace the noble art of retreating, the peacefulness of Receive, Understand, Redirect.  This week will you be more like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (“best way avoid punch, no be there”),  or like Bruce Springsteen in his 1984 cut from Born To Run, “No retreat baby, no surrender”?    

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Drills on in-line Grasp the Sparrows Tail repeaters and palm changes; and holding Single Whip hand postures. Brush knee mechanics.  Eight pieces of brocade.  Drills of individual postures done to both sides. Dave K’s question about leg traps.  Dolores is the new Barbara.  Ambidextrous: work on that. Neck stretches and Cow Gazing at the Moon. Line drills of Grasp the Sparrows Tail. Path to your center with Thirteen Postures. Yang 108. Martial applications and palm positions of Look/Gaze. Finally, practicing Part I of Yang 108 at several different speeds to gauge the different sensations or things you notice when it is sped up or sssslllloooowwwed down.

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events:  United Tai Chi will be at the West Chester Farmers Market this Saturday October 12 from 9am to 12pm. If you attend, could you snap a couple pictures for our FB page (I’ll be elsewhere working). Welcome back Irene. Safe travels to Christine H.  Welcome two new students on Tuesday afternoon.  Chris S thanks for the LinkedIn endorsement. Grand birthday wishes to Claudia.  Best of luck next week to Liz G with her surgery. Welcome aboard all our new Facebook followers and WordPress visitors this week. And a shout out to West Chester Chiropractic (we’ll blame it on Adam’s rib).   Tai Chi DVD night will be Friday October 11, 8pm at the Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center. Please let me know how many of you will be there and if you can bring a small snack or beverage to share (e.g., tea, water, fruit, nuts, etc). Christian will have a few videos from some of his past Wakulla Springs sessions to share, all are welcome.   

 

  • Etcetera:  If you missed out on the FREE Friday Amazon purchase of Paul Read’s “One Last Thing: The History of the Martial Arts Philosophy” it is now just a $3.99 Kindle download, and it is crazy funny. And Deborah it even includes Rocky!

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENINGS

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Private paid lessons available   upon request –check with instructor for scheduling

Monday nights in the fall: 7 week   beginner class ordered through Chester County Night School

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Kathleen Rice         unitedtaichi@gmail.com    

Waiting to Exhale: United Tai Chi Digest 10/2/13

breathe

  • Breath.  A rose of another name would indeed smell as sweet, as some find it synonymous with it Qi or Spirit.  Latin scholars among you know it as spiritis. Internal arts practitioners are enamored with the importance of breath in all its forms. Breathing patterns (microcosmic, embryonic), types of breathing (normal, abdominal, yin yang, etc.), and health impact of breathing techniques (massages the heart muscle and helps circulate the blood to the organs and extremities) are elements one gets reacquainted with as we travel our Tai Chi path. Yet beginners like me still struggle with the challenge of achieving deep, long or relaxed breath and malign our own shallow inhales. Or, dare we say it, hold our breath. Students blog about its rhythms, cycles, clarity and grounding power (http://www.claudiahasyourback.blogspot.com/2013/09/be-you.html ). Tai Chi master’s write about it:  “When separate breathing techniques cease to be the mind’s focus, then breathing, physical movement, and energy become undifferentiated. They are seamlessly integrated into all aspects of the tai chi form from the very center of your internal being.” (Bruce Frantzis, Tai Chi Health for Life).  Something that was once so intrinsic, natural and involuntary becomes cause for reflection, study and practice in the world of internal arts.  When asked if his injured nose hurt in the 1974 Polanski film China Town, Jack Nicholson’s character J.J. Gittes replied, “Only when I breathe.”  Here’s hoping for a painless journey exploring your breathing practices, and until then, take comfort in the late 2001 country music hit by Chris Cagle about how the story teller is coping after a breakup:  “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out”. 

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Eight pieces of brocade. More work on Play the pan pan (shoulder and hip changes, timing of the hand and foot movements). A nod to the Chinese element of Metal and lung/respiratory health this time of year.  Ten breaths. The Charleston. The Bourne Legacy.  Another of our “Eight Powers” –this time, “Elbow”.  Broke down Play the Pan Pan into it’s individual calligraphy brush points (see 9/25 newsletter).  Paul took us through some Brush knee footwork drills on Friday. Line drills on pieces of Grasp the Sparrows Tail. Thirteen postures tips. Discussion on the representation of the spine in our palm (life line) foot and ear.   Tuesday: drills on another of our Eight Powers (“Ward Off”). Revisiting ‘scoop the water wipe the brow’ posture. And  the importance of developing your Yin or rooting. 

 

  •  Student News and Upcoming Events:  Thanks for another peaceful Qi Gong session in the park led by Christian this past weekend, good to see Becky and Fran try it out (joining Chris M, Deborah, Steve, Chris S and myself).  Welcome two new WordPress followers these past couple of weeks.  I ran into Esther recently, she says hello to everyone. She was out with medical issues then travelling this week, but hopes to join us mid-month.  Tai Chi DVD night will be Friday October 11, 8pm at the Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center. Please let me know how many of you will be there and if you can bring a small snack or beverage to share (e.g., tea, water, fruit, nuts, etc.). Christian will have a few videos from some of his past Wakulla Springs sessions to share, all are welcome.  

 

  • Etcetera:  Good quote from a current Wu Wei blog  http://www.altering-perspectives.com/2013/09/wu-wei.html    “Many of the things you want are, in fact dead weights – prisons you create for yourself. Sometimes the deeper spiritual part of you, the infinite self within, protects you from disaster. You’ll head off, trying to achieve something that the inner spiritual you, the deeper subconscious self, doesn’t actually want. So it will make sure you arrive late, or the person you seek will not be there, or the check bounces, and things generally don’t work…and you have to think, do I really want what I think I want?

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENING

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Kathleen Rice       unitedtaichi@gmail.com