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


  • 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]


Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM


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]


7:00 PM

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in rate]



7:00 PM

Coming   soon…

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





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WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog


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

Kathleen Rice     


One thought on “Velvet Bricks: United Tai Chi digest 11/27/13

  1. Pingback: Reboot: United Tai Chi Digest 9/16/14 | United Tai Chi

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