Monthly Archives: June 2014

Match Point: United Tai Chi digest 6/24/14

tennisball

  • Crosstraining. We talked about this in January in another newsletter. Christian mentioned again recently how some of our tai chi principles have helped golfers with their swing. And that Laoshi book I often quote also repeats “Tai Chi helps with everything else you do.”  Last month I dipped a toe (and arm) back in some tennis practice, which I had been away from for many years. As a current internal tai chi student, I am finding moments in my tennis practice that align with, or benefit from tai chi.  Certainly there is the shoulder, rotator cuff, armpit opening in the circle of an overhead serve. The coil and uncoil of returning to your ready position after a hit only to prep for another shot. And our old friend the ‘bubbling well point’ of our foot, where we are poised always, to maintain a fluid continuous motion. The hip control of the torso turn.  The kidney story as the elbows exchange places. And who would deny tennis’s resemblance to push hands–sometimes referred to as ‘a conversation’. Tennis is not played alone, and doesn’t have quite the same mental feel of a more solo sport such as long distance running. Just as in push hands, you need to be able to intuit where your partner/opponent will be, even before they are there. Reading habits, diagnosing blockages or weak spots, patterns of motion.  On Bill Douglas’s site, worldtaichiday.org, there is also commentary about benefit to the knees –“Tennis players will also often discover less pressure in the knees after practicing Tai Chi. Consciously moving from the dan tien can bring less pressure to bear on the knees when coming to an abrupt halt because when the head or upper body leads the movement, the knees must work harder to stop your momentum.” There is a lovely tai chi tennis video here on vimeo you may want to take a look at and discuss. This is a great time of year to get outdoors with both your tai chi, and other of your favorite cross training activities.

 

  • Shares/Finds: This Huffington Post article by Karl Romain that Chris S shared about 3 ways tai chi trains your brain. And this reminder on a summary of Five Principles of Tai Chi.  Number five is the one that our instructor Christian calls Madge/Palmolive hands.   
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  • Wrap-up of recent classes: Forgetting yourself and your ego continues to be a main goal to strive for internal arts. Reminder of the yin and yang parts of each posture, elbow and kidney connections, sloshing your water all the way to the fingertips. And be cognizant that there is a little dot of yin in the yang swoosh and a little dot of yang in the yin! Bagua animal qigong. Breathing into your sore or tense spots and tricking your brain, relaxing your body. Welcome 2 new students to the afternoon class. Reminders about quality of practice versus quantity (‘we ordered the macaroni and cheese –there was a lot of it, but it wasn’t very good’).  Defining the edges or boundaries of the self. Left pull down/dragon tongue kick/parry re-direct practice. Weekend Blue Buddha or Dragon Gym classes included Hsing-I five elements, staff stance drills and the Little Dipper form. 

 

  • Student News & Events: Welcome back Marcia Z from some time away; and is Ray C back yet soon? Welcome back Steve from his Bikram Yoga studies in California. Thanks Deborah for sharing your story of utilizing tai chi principles while teaching your grandson to climb trees –reminding him to “stay close to his center for strength while climbing, and to grab the branch closest to the center of the tree trunk where it is the most stable, less likely to break or bend.”Hey we talked about Yin and Yang last blog and darned if I didn’t see another sign –the recent film 22 Jump Street had a small scene paying tribute to this integral martial arts principle too. And a pre-emptive thanks in advance for the birthday wishes this week for those of you reading this far, kudos.  Social Media Roundup: In the Twittersphere, welcome new followers @MastrYourHealth, and @RadDad64.  Reached/exceeded 3,000 total views on our WordPress page on June 10, thanks very much for your international support and readership! In this pre-football training season, don’t forget to follow @taoish (Mark Saltveit), one of the reasons I started putting our newsletter online last summer, and author of and Eagle’s fan reading list item, “The Tao of Chip Kelly”.  Welcome Leila W to our Pinterest followers. And hey, thank you Brazilians for your recent engagement or visits to our Facebook page –good luck in Group A (World Cup 2014).  This weekend our “most engaged insights” city was Rio de Janeiro.

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

 

DAY

LOCATION

PRICE

TIME

Monday

  • Fugett Middle School, 500 Ellis Lane in West Chester PA,  pre-pay multi-session class Mon/Wed , through Chester County Night School.   [ENDS June 30]

$52 whole session

7.30 pm

Tuesday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

Membership

 

$15 drop-in

4.45 pm

 

7.15 pm

Wednesday

  1. Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

 

Membership

 

7.30 am

 

Thursday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Lionville Holistic Health Center Natural Pharmacy, 309 Gordon Drive in Exton PA

Membership

 

$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

4.45 pm

 

7.00 pm

Friday

  1. Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

 

  1. Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

 

See instructor

7.30 am

 

See instructor

Saturday

  1. Blue Buddha Studio, 1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

$25 drop-in

(90 min)

12:00 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 

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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BALANCED: United Tai Chi digest 6/10/14

YinYangSoccer (2)

  • When more than one sign, hint, talk, message of a certain topic appears on your radar in the same week you can’t help but take notice. An out-of-state friend sent me a necklace in the mail last week with a Yin-Yang pendant, no doubt as a reminder to me to keep things in perspective and at peace. Likewise in our own tai chi classes recently there has been much more discussion of the Yin/Yang principles in our form work, including the grand example of the changing arc of Brush Knee. And lastly, this was mirrored by some interpersonal issues outside of class as well. The up and the down, the soft and the hard, the dark and the light, the earth and the heaven. In our internal arts study we learn that without yin, there can be no yang –a symbiotic relationship that keeps us from falling down, in more ways than one.  In  Laoshi: Tai Chi, Teachers and Pursuit of Principle, Jan Kauskas comments “Many people who come to study tai chi have been indirectly taught from a young age that expressing yang energy is wrong, and so they repress this energy, both in themselves and others. This does not mean the potential expression of yang energy simply disappears when repressed; it tends to resurface in various unhealthy ways. It disguises itself and emerges as passive aggression, depression, or other health problems. Because it is part of who we are, yang energy does not cease to exist if its expression is thwarted. It stays with us because there will be times when it is needed. Rather than deny our energy, we would be better off to become friends with it, to understand its place, or it may well destroy us.”  Every once in a while I come to see, feel, or reluctantly admit to myself that, for better or worse, I have often tried to suppress the Yang in myself. Externally expressing the soft, the quite, the reserved or the polite, a yin display.  But now the (golden?) roosters have come home to nest, and a keen eye might start to see the edges leaking out towards a path of depression.  But just as in at least one other of my past blogs that allude to patience , fortunately there comes along once in a while a golden light of conversation that lets me know when I am being too yin, tame, mild, reserved or polite.  Something reflected back in someone’s eyes, words or expressions. Here is hoping that you and I can all share in an equal amount of both sides of the circle.

 

 

  • Shares/Finds: One of our students Ted Nawalinski has some articles for Traditional Chinese Culture International’s blog site http://www.SilentTao.com  which is run by his training partner Shawn Cartwright.
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  • Wrap-up of recent classes: Reviewed a few pieces of the Golden Lotus Qigong set. Discussion about staying within your own frame or balance structure for difficult postures at first in order to feel comfortable in the position before you can grow. Growing like a tree de-stressor. In afternoon and evening class both, some more discussion and demonstration about Yin and Yang –the energies, the changeovers, showing where the yin part of a posture is and the yang (brush knee demonstration), also even in the eyes (yin/bedroom eyes vs. angry yang eyes).  Coiling and uncoiling and how we find that throughout. Drills on ward off and scoop the water. The tailbone of the palm as a driver and rooter. The ‘pump’ that is our transition from heaven hand to earth hand filling up our ward offs. NEW CLASS ALERT: Through Chester County Night School the next tai chi multi-session class is at Fugett Middle School, 500 Ellis Lane in West Chester; both Monday & Wednesday nights 7.30p, June 16-30, cost $52. Purchase  through Chester County Night School

 

  • Student News & Events: Christian and some of our United Tai Chi students joined Master John Armstrong’s group at a street festival for a tai chi demonstration and music in Philadelphia this past weekend, photos available on our FB page; great weather and a great time was had by those attending. While visiting Ireland last month, Paul M found an interesting Tai Chi apparatus on a footpath north of Dublin Bay, see photo on our FB page. Claudia is off to Europe to spend some time with her folks for a few weeks, we wish her well. New early morning Golden Lotus Qigong class coming soon. Thanks Janet Rouss of Get Real Branding for finding our blog and sharing it with your Twitter followers.  Social Media Roundup: In the twittersphere, welcome new followers @RaulPujolM, @JanetRouss, @RogerJahnke  and @torontoben.  Perhaps in prep for the Fifa World Cup Soccer tournament soon, a reader in Brazil viewed our Force Majeure blog topic.  Inching closer to 3,000 total views overall on our WordPress site soon. Hey local student Ellen W, thanks for joining our Facebook page!  Thank you to all of our Brazilian followers –World Cup 2014 futbol fans for sure (that’s soccer to those of us in the US).

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

 

DAY

LOCATION

PRICE

TIME

Monday

  • Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

 

  • Fugett Middle School, 500 Ellis Lane in West Chester PA,  pre-pay multi-session class Mon/Wed , through Chester County Night School.  Starts June 16

Membership

 

$52 whole session

7.30 am

 

7.30 pm

Tuesday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Blue Buddha Studio,  1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

Membership

 

$15 drop-in

4.45 pm

 

7.15 pm

Wednesday

  1. Lionville Community YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA

 

  1. Fugett Middle School, 500 Ellis Lane in West Chester PA, pre-pay multi-session class Mon/Wed, through Chester County Night School.  Starts June 16

Membership

 

$52 whole session

7.30 am

 

7.30 pm

Thursday

  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  

 

  1. Lionville Holistic Health Center Natural Pharmacy, 309 Gordon Drive in Exton PA

Membership

 

$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

4.45 pm

 

7.00 pm

Friday

  1. Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA

 

  1. Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request

Membership

 

See instructor

7.30 am

 

See instructor

Saturday

  1. Blue Buddha Studio, 1247 Pottstown Pike, Glenmoore PA

$25 drop-in

(90 min)

12:00 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 

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