The Decemberists: Year in Reivew (United Tai Chi digest 12/11/13)

A friend's pup watching the snow fall on Sunday

A friend’s pup watching the snow fall on Sunday

  • First snowfall of the season in our area and after your turkey and tree decorating, many articles abound with end-of-year reflections and review of how we spent our time these past 12 months. Things we learned, saw, tried, enjoyed, felt, ate, wrote, dreamed, heard, wanted, built, or changed. Herein is my reflection on 2013, the year that was, for United Tai Chi.


  • Winter, quarter one.  Our first foray as an organization into social media with the launch of our Facebook and Twitter pages. Classroom learning included silk reeling or coiling, first looks at the Thirteen Postures (8 powers and 5 directions), comparing the three different Single Whip postures in Parts I & II of Yang 108, spinal corrective stretches, standing meditations, rooting, folding, eyeballs in the palms, the challenge of trying salsa music as an accompaniment, and navigating the transitions between postures.  Events included Christian’s travel for personal study with Master Wei Lun Huang in Miami, and the continuation of our night class at Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center.  In student news, welcome Roger; Ray and Jose try out a morning class, many students were impacted by colds, Steven’s snowboarding excursion, John C completed his Reiki atunement, and Judith’s travel to Egypt.  Interesting E-digest moment –my St Patrick’s Day mention of the ancient Celts whose calendar and alphabet were based on tree names, honoring knowledge and learning as gifts from the tree spirits.


  • Spring, quarter two.  Hitting our stride with an event-filled quarter and new growth in the classroom(s) and parks. Our first video testimonial from student Ray C.  Our path to learning and sharing included trying some more Qi Gong (Eight Pieces of Brocade, Golden Lotus, Growing Like a Tree, Five Colored Clouds Around the Mountain), sinking and raising the kidney, palm connections to the foot, exploring all locations of the three tan tiens –not just of the torso but of the foot, hand, fingers, arms and legs; the kwah (of the groin and of the armpits), more on White Crane, Play the Pan Pan and Ward Off; Intention, the many chapters of Brush Knee,  breathing paths and orbits, and our bubbling well of the foot.  In essays, my newfound obsession with the balance between work and rest and getting over the Western guilt of not having enough work or learning to appreciate “rest”.  Events included our annual participation in World Tai Chi & Qi Gong Day at Kerr Park, our first round of United Tai Chi t-shirts, Christian’s first foray into Chester County Night School as a sub, a new outdoor night class at Boot Road park, and a local weekend seminar at Dragon Gym from visiting Tai Chi master Wei Lun Huang that several from UTC attended.   We welcomed several new students this quarter including Becky.  John C and I participated in Team Trivia Night at the Y fundraiser. Paul’s trip to Ireland, Jose in Barcelona, Claudia off to Italy, and Christine H learns where to find her spleen. Janet’s commentary inspired my good natured Info-graphic of a hair-off between Chuck Norris and our instructor Christian. And by late June I had moved our newsletters to an online portal at


  • Summer, quarter three.  High noon and the heat of the day.  Stretches and body openings, alignments, transitions, the world in your tailbone, health of the ‘three rivers’ and saliva notes, elongation, body bites, parry re-direct, slant fly and repulse monkey, ten breaths, finding your center, using the notion of the circular path to find your next move when you get lost in the postures, the pelvic curve or full body hugging the tree, re-adjusting the inner ear bones, snake eyes, the fountain of youth and your navel, posture drills done to each side, balancing, heaven’s bridge and the unbroken circle, stories of the Phoenix, more review of the Eight Powers.  Events included the first two of our outdoor weekend Qi Gong workshops, Boot Road Park outdoor and Chester County Night school tai chi classes, the growth or reach of our Twitter followers and influencers. In student news, the sad news of the passing of family members for not only Doris, but Ron and Joy as well. Summer student travels included Linda’s camping, Ray’s Paris trip, Christian’s Grand Canyon excursion, Jaclyn at the National Qi Gong Association weekend in King of Prussia, Jane, Janet, Martina and Christine H also traveling, Jaclyn’s trip to China, and my weekend trip back home to New Hampshire–which yielded one of my favorite WordPress newsletter weeks (“On The Waterfront” 8/7).  Growth of our WordPress readership to other parts of the globe.  Landing a Facebook follower in Sifu Carl Romain who shows “Dr. Oz” viewers the health benefits of Tai Chi.  And the surprise of a large and positive reaction, in readership and commentary for our “Spirituality in Internal Arts” newsletter topic.  And a fun, quirky, yet little read “De La Mancha” newsletter, relating the different styles and voices of “To Dream the Impossible Dream” to likewise finding a variety of styles in internal arts and Tai Chi.


  • Fall, quarter four.  Changes in the leaves and the crispness of the air.  Continuing our classroom study with the Chinese element of Metal for respiratory health this time of year, drills on grasp the sparrows tail, more on the Eight Powers, attempts towards the ambidextrous, leg traps, practicing the form at different speeds to gauge the different sensations you notice, relaxing into an uncomfortable posture rather than muscling in, shaking your ‘jar of rocks’, silent run through to “let you discover your own gifts”, bagua animal stepping, self-correction, cold room warm-up calisthenics,  eyeballs in your fingers to ‘see’ your spinal health, more on ‘folding’ vs. ‘bending’, addressing questions about relaxation of the back and the disappearing of the front of the spine, finding the ‘flavor’ of a posture again once you’ve tasted it, and the importance of spending time in your center “where you can process things and heal”.   Another event-filled quarter saw several UTC students (and teacher) off to study Golden Lotus and Bagua Animal Qi Gong for a week with Master Wei Lun Huang at his Wakulla Springs Florida workshop, a DVD night for us to study videos of other students, our sponsorship of holiday gifts for a youth in the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity “Angel Tree” program, another new night class venue at Radley Run Country Club, a final outdoor Qi Gong in the park workshop of the season, a UTC booth at the West Chester Grower’s Market, viewing party (and pizza) for the Keanu Reeves film “Main of Tai Chi”,  and finally our annual holiday appreciation breakfast for Christian at Penn’s Table last week (thank you everyone who participated, great turn out this year!).   In student news, hip surgery for Liz G, travel for Christine H, welcome new student Beth, Jose’s Ikebana workshop at Jenkins Arboretum, Christian invited to lead another Chester County Night School session in January, welcome back Ron, Joy and Marilyn, our Twitter network is growing to reach more countries, and, most recently reaching 1,000 Facebook likes to end the year on (see Christian’s thank you video  Well received or well read WordPress titles for us included my post-Wakulla opus “Epicenter”,  breath discussion in “Waiting to Exhale” and “Gut Feeling” about second-brain.    


  • I will have one more regular newsletter next week, and then a Christmas Eve break. And for 2014 of course hoping to build upon our stamina and good will, with the help of our enthusiastic and supportive students who share their interest in the health benefits of Tai Chi each week. 


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



WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog


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

Kathleen Rice    


3 thoughts on “The Decemberists: Year in Reivew (United Tai Chi digest 12/11/13)

  1. Claudia Pietzner

    Dear Kathleen,
    this was so very nice to read! Amazing what has all taken place and so good to take a moment to reflect upon it. The joy, enthusiasm, love and interest in Tai Chi and Qi Gong and in the people that participate sounds through everything you say which makes it so special to be a part of it. I am so grateful to be in a group with such dedicated practitioners, to have Christian as teacher and you as the heart and soul of it all to whom we can turn with questions and concerns. ~ Claudia

    1. Ray Chevallier

      I agree with Claudia’s sentiments. So much learning in a year with great classmates, a terrific teacher and you, Kathleen. You provide cohesion and reinforcement for the group. Pretty cool stuff. Ray

  2. United Tai Chi Post author

    So glad that we have been impactful in the local internal arts community this year and it is good to know the things we have shared have not fallen on deaf ears or blind eyes but rather continued to build an appreciative grass-roots following. It has been an honor and a privilege to have had some small part in it. – Kathleen


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