Monthly Archives: November 2013

Velvet Bricks: United Tai Chi digest 11/27/13

balletshoes

  • Does this remind you of one of our principles in internal arts … “We need to become velvet bricks, soft on the outside and hard on the inside, and allow children to fail when they are young in order to succeed when they are adults.”  [Tim Elmore, president of Growing Leaders and author of ‘Habitudes’ book series].  As Tai Chi students, we strive to be more like iron wrapped in silk –the illusion of external formlessness and fluidity while maintaining internal strength inside our bones. Malleable, flexible, adaptable, yet not weak.  In the recent film “Man of Tai Chi”, one of the competition commentators pondered of Tiger Chen “He used a soft style in a hard way, isn’t that a contradiction?”  The Dao of Taijiquan  [Tsung Hwa Jou] might answer back, “At the point of maximum yin or softness, yang or hardness is born.”  Internal arts practice teaches us that two ends of the spectrum can exist simultaneously.  We learn to build up internal strength by breathing into our bone marrow, while an external softness helps us break up the force of a strike (you’ve heard our own instructor share “don’t meet force with force”).  Student athletes are shown that soft hands technique helps you catch the ball (and I’m sure more than one wannabe Ron Jaworski thought lotion was the answer). A needle in cotton.  Iron in silk. Velvet bricks.  But if I am hard on the inside does that mean I have to stop listening to Josh Groban’s “To Where You Are”?

 

  • Cold weather tips:  From Dr. Tai Chi Salford’s blog, a Lishi practitioner in greater Manchester UK:  “Warm-ups play an important part in enhancing the performance of an athlete and avoiding injury.  Warm ups gradually increase the heart rate and circulation in the body which loosen the joints and increase blood flow to the muscles.  This increases the core temperature of the body which also allows more muscle motor units to be recruited if needed.  Lengthening of the muscles prepares them for physical and prevents injury as does a lowering of connective tissue resistance.” Thanks to our Twitter connection Wan-Ley Yeung for the link.

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Digested hip and palm situations for ward off and play the pan pan. Scoop the water review. Nutcrackers and icing. Self correction and patience. Brain hemisphere and balance practices in warm-ups, armpit openings, knee height and flexibility discussion in Dragon Tongue Kick, and the origins of Yee-Haw.  Ron can’t get by with just phoning in the wrist exercises.  Our cold-room warm up calisthenics, and even one like that ice skater “Yoko Ono”.  Friday’s quote of the day… KR: “Shall we try Lion step again?” AF: “I don’t ever want to do that again.” Phoenix bagua.  Moving the Mountain warm-ups, and Balance practice postures (reminiscent of Growing Like a Tree qi gong).   

 

  • Student News & Events:  Reminder, no night class at the pharmacy on Thanksgiving Thursday 11/28. Likewise the Y will not hold the Friday morning class 11/29.  Thank you to our Radley Run students for our inaugural class in that location last week.  Angel Tree youth holiday gift sponsors, I’m turning in our sack to the Y this week, thank you so much to everyone who participated! (I hope to get a photo on truck loading day soon). Holiday thank you breakfast for Christian to be on Friday December 6 at 8:45am following the morning class, at Penn’s Table (268 Eagleview Bvd in Exton).  Celebrating over 1,000 total Wordrpress views since I started posting there this summer– thanks Ray, Deb and Jaime for your commentary on “Speed, and welcome one reader from Serbia.  Welcome @martialart_judo from Melbourne, @BigBearAcademy in Illinois and @arrow_mike to our Twittersphere.   Soooooo close –hey we are at 997 Facebook likes, still would like to see us hit 1,000 before year’s end.  It’s less fattening than Thanksgiving leftovers.

 

  • Etcetera:  “Forget using your head to train your body. Use your body to train your head. Muscles and ligaments remember better than your mind.”  [Paul Read, Ways of Learning]

 

  • Weekly Schedule:  [holiday alert, no class 11/28, 11/29]

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

Tuesday Night

Radley Run Country Club

1100 Country Club Rd in West Chester

[60 min, Pre-pay   in bulk $70 for 4 classes]

Tuesday

7:00 PM

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in rate]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Coming   soon…

Additional night class locally for a mixed variety of   internal arts  (Hsing-Yi, Bagua and   other modalilties) TBD

 

TBD

 

 

  • 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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Speed: United Tai Chi digest 11/20/13

Kathleen at the Country Music Half Marathon, 2009

Kathleen at the Country Music Half Marathon, 2009

  • Gordon Gekko, Michael Douglas’ “Wall Street character could almost have said:  “Speed, for lack of a better word, is good. Speed is right. Speed clarifies, cuts through and captures the essence of the evolutionary spirit. Speed in all of its forms has marked the upward surge of mankind.”  Some internal arts practitioners, masters or instructors are on board the speed train.  They hail the power, strength or fa-jing that speed supports.  For some, a level of proficiency or experience with the postures has as its goal eventual speed.  I however still align myself with the Slowskys  from a TV ad for a particular broadband internet service.  (Yes I know they have ‘turtle-back’ and we are supposed to be snake-spine, but go with me for a moment).  Back in my fitter running days, I was what running journalist John Bingham (“No Need for Speed”, Rodale Press 2002) has called a ‘penguin’ or ‘back-of-the-packer’.  The elite finishers from Kenya or Ethiopia never had to worry about me breathing down their necks at some of the Rock ‘n Roll Half Marathons, nor Broad Street Run.  I just wanted to cover the distance at my own pace, and enjoy the energy of the course.  I have taken the same approach to Tai Chi.  I enjoy the reward of the slow train, the measured lingering practice, the languid journey at taking your own sweet time to enjoy the energy of the course.   Sifu Domingo Colon writes, in practicing slowly “you have the opportunity to think about, analyze and feel what is occurring in the exercise. It is also easier to recognize and correct errors in balance, coordination, posture, etc. Moving slowly allows you to focus on relaxation during each movement and to coordinate your breathing correctly with the moves for the purpose of maximizing a strong energy flow.” So too our own instructor advises “If we slow it down, our bodies read the book better and we don’t skip over things.”  I’ll take Ecclesiastes for $500 Alex… (the race is not always to the swiftest). 

 

  • New class alert:  Tai Chi at Radley Run Country Club in West Chester, Tuesdays 7:00 – 8:00 PM .  $70 pre-pay for four classes.  Starts 11/19/13         (1100 Country Club Rd)

 

You can find Dan and his colleagues at Brookline Tai Chi in suburban Boston http://www.brooklinetaichi.org 

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  Eyeballs in your fingers to ‘see’ your alignment and spinal health issues, Ten Breaths qi gong, Grasp the Sparrows tail review, chewing your tongue. Inhale through your eyes and exhale through your ears. Review drills of White Crane Spreads Wings, done to both sides. A silent run through of part I of Yang 108 form.  Eight pieces of brocade. Review drills for Ward Off and arm intricacies for Dragon Tongue Kick. Hearing joint popping/opening sounds means you are on a path to progress. 

 

  • Student News & Events: Happy birthday to our dear Janet.  I tried to find a cardboard cut-out of Chuck Norris on the internet for you as a gag gift, but alas came up empty handed (aren’t you glad).  The Wednesday night pharmacy class you may have seen a flyer about is (a) temporarily on hold or (b) seeking a location.  Angel Tree youth holiday gift sponsors, thank you to those who have turned in your assigned items or chipped in funds, we hope to turn in the final container to the Y very soon so please turn in your items this week to me for the number coded container. Welcome back YuYin and welcome new student Tony to the morning class. Welcome @sihingdai from Ontario to our Twittersphere.  Please join our Red Cross blood drive at Lionville YMCA on Friday December 20  http://www.redcrossblood.org and use our sponsor code lionville to register.

 

  • 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

Tuesday Night

Radley Run Country Club

1100 Country Club Rd in West Chester

[60 min, Pre-pay in bulk   $70 for 4 classes]

Tuesday

7:00 PM

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in   rate]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Coming   soon…

Additional night class locally for a mixed variety of  internal arts  (Hsing-Yi, Bagua and  other modalities) TBD

 

TBD

 

 

  • 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     

Blood Work: United Tai Chi digest 11/13/13

bloodcells

  • Healthy circulation: it’s not just for periodicals (and WordPress blogs). Increased circulation of your chi with internal arts likewise increases your rate of blood circulation, resulting in “feeling stronger, more comfortable and more relaxed as you stand” (The Way of Energy, Lam Kan Chuen). Blood pressure is also positively impacted with Tai Chi and related internal arts, owing to their function as a stress reliever and relaxer –e.g., Peter Wayne’s Wayne’s Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi comments on studies showing decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings with regular practice of Tai Chi.  Blood is impacted by the healthy functioning of the liver, spleen and heart.  “Blood in Chinese medicine is the physical expression of a sense of self. It nourishes and moistens our self-esteem, providing a rich understanding of who we are.”  (Wood Becomes Water, Gail Reichstein).  Body and mind tension are related to the flow of blood circulation to and from the brain, and a shortage may rob you of “the juice to process information rapidly and make insightful decisions. Equally, when the blood does not drain from the brain, your thought process and internal dialogue may become busy, confused, overly involved and heavy” (Tai Chi Health for Life, Bruce Frantzis).  Improved blood circulation also assists our joints.  A fave of mine, the 1994 film “Quiz Show” about TV game show scandals of the 1950s, a contestant panders to the host and advertisers, saying his wife’s tired blood was helped with Geritol.  Perhaps she could have used a little Tai Chi if you ask me. Dexter, Shakespeare, Sam Peckinpah, Carrie, Dracula, Joel & Ethan Coen –they knew the importance of some quality plasma. 

 

  • Upcoming class notices: Tuesday nights at Radley Run country club in West Chester in the works Very Soon, and potentially a 2nd night class at Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center  added on to our current Thursday one (one night for Tai Chi only, other night for a variety of internal arts).  I have heard back from a few about Radley Run; other locals please voice your pharmacy interest.

 

 

  •  Wrap-up of recent classes:  Practicing sensing our internal connections during some of the postures and warm-ups (organs, joints, etc.). Thirteen postures.  A brief journey into Yang108 part 2 opening moves for a few of the afternoon students.  Introduced some bagua animal stepping like Bear and Lion (thanks Janet for the roar).  Standing 10. Reviewed some drills with the Neutralize posture.  Discussed palm changes controlled by the hip.  Yin palms and receiving/understanding.  Joint postures in opening bow (thanks Ellen for the questions).  Saliva, and health benefits when your “three rivers flow” (mouth, eyes, nose). Reviewed play the pan pan. Discussed snake-spine versus turtle back.  Quote of the day: “I hope she’s not pregnant” (chronologically mature student Dave, on his wife’s light-headedness).   

 

  • Student News & Events: Welcome new students, including Beth and Mike. Thank you Angel Tree sponsors who have signed up—those of you who chose chip-in funds instead of gifts please see us this week as are designated shoppers will be out this weekend. Best wishes to Chris M heading south for the winter soon.  Another viewing of the empowering “Girl Rising” documentary was attended by Judith’s church.  “Man of Tai Chi” on-demand movie and pizza night was grand Monday night, thanks to those who shared it with me.  Annual holiday breakfast thank you for Christian coming up this quarter, date TBD, watch for details.  A proposed internal arts sharing community (class or event or networking) with folks from Master John Armstrong and Dr. Al Tolbert’s classes –dubbed a “meeting of the three families” (do I need a blood oath?).  Irene indicates the women’s shelter in Coatesville is accepting household goods or youth items –Gateway shelter at CWYA 610-384-9591or http://www.cya.org.  Likewise the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County 610-431-3546 or http://www.dvccc.com/youcanhelp/wishlist.html.  Send your positive healing energy, and Red Cross support, out to families devastated by the typhoon impact in the Philippines.  Welcome @Jimmy_Lokrond  (Indonesia) @clinic_INMI (Ireland) to our international Twittersphere and readers in Hong Kong and Taiwan have found us on WordPress.   And finally, a happy 40th birthday on the 13th to my ‘baby’ brother Patrick.  Thank you guys for your continued dedication to internal arts and supporting our events and practices this busy time of year.

 

  • 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 min., small   class attention, *$25 drop in rate]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Coming Soon…

Tuesday night class at Radley Run Country Club in West   Chester [separate fees apply]

And potential 2nd night class at Lionville   Natural Pharmacy  [separate fees apply]

TBD

7p or 7.30p

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

 

  • 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    

EPICENTER: United Tai Chi digest 11/6/13

WS-12

  • “Center is a place”.  That is a phrase our instructor Christian has uttered at one time or another during our Thirteen Postures practice.  I spent a week at a workshop in Wakulla Springs Florida with a few others from United Tai Chi, studying Bagua animal qi gong and Golden Lotus qi gong, encouraged to try and find my center.  And while one of the main principles was to experience your physical center, I could not help but be drawn to search my emotional one as well.  Amid exploration of our lower tan tien, the tailbone, the perineum, the eyeball, palm and foot connections to your spine and bone marrow…what did I also find? I found a tree with a heart.  My first night back in town, the band at a church service shared a song that contained the line “rid me of myself” (Lead Me To The Cross, Hillsong United).  Insanely appropriate, as we all try to shed our inner demons, to forget ourselves so that we may understand others.  Tension, double-weightedness, poor breathing techniques and “turtle back” all negatively impact your movement.  So too do mistrust, skepticism, misconceptions, and holding on to past hurts.  With body openings, folding, breathing and meditation, we endeavored to learn how to self-diagnose our sore spots—physical, emotional, mental.  To stop driving the car without maintenance even when there is something wrong with it.  When you breached the exterior to arrive at your center, what did you find? And how did you get there best –with rhinoceros, lion, bear, dragon, rooster, snake, phoenix or monkey?

 

 

  • Man of Tai Chi”, Keanu Reeves directorial debut, is not carried by Regal Cinemas, only some far away AMC sites  –but it is available as on On-Demand rental $10 with Comcast. I still would like to have a movie night with you guys and share that (and snacks/pizza). Nights to vote on when I’m free: Sat 11/9, Mon 11/11, Tues 11/12, Wed 11/13, Fri 11/14, Sat 11/15.  Also, we still need more feedback on the proposed 2nd night class at Lionville Natural Pharmacy.  One night for Tai Chi only, and one night will be mixed internal arts (Tai Chi, Qi Gong, Hsing-Yi, Bagua, etc.).  How many would want a second night (e.g., for Tai Chi only) that will be likely Tuesdays at 7pm?  This is a paid class, separate from the Y. 

 

  • Student News: Welcome back Marilyn, Ron and Joy (and happy belated birthday to Joy). Thanks to our substitute teachers last week. Christian has been invited back to do a winter session of night time beginner Tai Chi classes for Chester County Night School (starts January 6th, stay tuned for updates).   And for my new Wakulla Springs Qi Gong friends:  thanks to Steve D for wrist exercises and the transportation; Carol for the chats and dating encouragement; Charlie, Constantine and Betsy for the humor; Sarah and Marie for the outdoor mini-massage; Lakesha for her grace; Jaime for being another model/mentor to us newbies; Phil for the biggest and brightest smile; Sifu Huang for the wisdom, humility and wrist therapy.  And to the Samuelsons, always my undying gratitude for everything they have done for me this year –support, encouragement, guidance and friendship.  Local UTC mates, thanks for sharing this trip with me –the dinners, swimming, manatees, picnic table squats (yikes), and the shared experience of our new found enlightenment.  Thank you to our WordPress readers for continuing to come to the table during our weekly digest hiatus last week and peruse back issues, and also to our Facebook followers who watched for our daily updates.   Local Wakulla attendees, if you have a few clear sharp photos to share with our online album email them to me, thanks   unitedtaichi@gmail.com.  Welcome Brazil —  @supremotaichi to our Twittersphere, and also @chmartialarts and Wellness Warriors.  

 

  • Angel Tree program:  Our local YMCA has continued their partnership with the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity organization to sponsor needy children with gifts for the holidays.  Our Tai Chi group would like to participate, and we need your help.  Please let us know this week how many of you would be willing to join us, so that we can determine if we want to pick one or two kids to sponsor.  The more who participate, the smaller the allotted contribution per person.  Also, once a child is chosen, we have 2 options – assign a volunteer among us to do all the shopping if we give them our chip-in funds, OR each of us buys separate items from a category on the youth’s wish list I will give you based on the suggestions from the DVCC.  If you have questions about the program call the Lionville YMCA at 610-363-9622 or ask me in class.  If you are ALREADY sponsoring an Angel Tree youth, please do not feel the need to also chip-in with us. 

 

  • 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

(variety of internal arts)

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

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

Thursday

(variety)

7:00 PM

EVENINGs

(tai chi only)

*Coming soon

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

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

Likely =   Tuesday (tai chi only)

7:00 PM

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

 

  • 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