Sounds of Silence: United Tai Chi digest 7/8/14


  • Some folks enjoy the challenge of practicing tai chi to a background of salsa music, as we did try once in class.  Others enjoy a relaxing blend of strings and wind instruments. World beat music. Piped in recorded nature sounds of the ocean.  This weekend on my outdoor fitness walk I opted to try it without the ear-buds tethered to downloaded smart-phone music. And just like in some of our music-free tai chi classes, I found that my intention was clearer or purer, I felt less distracted, more efficient in the physical movement.  Recently I heard a reminder from my own local instructor about foot placement, parallels, and returning to the way we walked as babies. With the outsides of our feet parallel to each other, toes pointed forward, rather than knees and toes at an angle. People who sometimes hurt their pinky toe accidentally do so because of a more proper gait that matches the way we walked as a child. Those (like me) who stub or hurt their big toe come as a result of having travelled away from that youthful gait and are now leading with our toes.  Fortunately, on my silent (save for the bird songs) walk this weekend, I was able to pay much more attention –and intention –on trying to correct my gait, hoping to yield a more efficient physicality as I practice it more. I could not have paid as much attention to this self-correction if I had the music on.  Paul Read, in The Ways of Learning: A Handbook for Teachers and Students, talks about finding our own inner shuffle and learning to adapt to our own rhythm, our own movement and flow, regardless of which music or sound or non-sound is played in classes or your own practice.  That we can alter our pace and not try to copy the beat of the music.  For me at this level still on my learning path, I still find it more calming and ripe with intention, to be music free during my tai chi practice, and sometimes on my other cross-training like walking and hiking.  How many of you prefer your internal arts practice with music versus a more silent practice? Those of you inspired to hear the classic Simon & Garfunkel tune referenced in the title can find an early version here.



  •  July class with Master John Armstrong:  This Sunday July 13, 10am – 12pm, continue to share with our Philadelphia tai chi partner visiting Dragon Gym ( 267 S. Whitford Road in Exton PA ). There will not be an August class, so catch this one before the vacation break.


  • Student News & Events: Christian is enjoying a family beach getaway this week. Christine H says hello, has been having some musculoskeletal difficulties plus away traveling and hopes to see us again later. Jose feels that Christian’s new haircut reminds him of Agent Gibbs on NCIS. Irene F, great to run into you at Jersey Boys and thanks for letting me join you guys. Phil G, Deborah O, Christian and Chris joined Master John Armstrong at a weekend lakeside retreat recently, and I’ve read these positive notes from Phil: “What a blessing to learn from such great men, an art that I have just begun to scratch the surface. I am lucky to have teachers who live the art and teach from their heart. Campfire, open water, and good laughs only give me more reason to know this is my truth.”  Welcome back Irene and Ellen. Happy birthday this month to Doris and Annette. I saw a few photos from Deborah’s holiday weekend trip to Washington DC. Anyone wanting to share any summer vacation pics let me know.  Social Media Roundup: In the Twittersphere, welcome new follower @Feralogic from Australia, Randy @swimdragontaiji in the Boston area, and @YunisHadi.  Christian’s Facebook post showed downed wires from tree damage during Hurricane Arthur and said he was now “off the grid for the weekend”.  Welcome a reader in Morocco to our WordPress site this week. Thank you to one of our largest non-USA group of Facebook fans from Portugal!  SCHEDULE NOTE: The Y classes are still on with a substitute this week, I presume the night classes offsite will wait until next week when our instructor Christian is back.


  • Wrap-up of recent classes: Reviewing the coil and uncoil of the Contract/Expand posture before right shoulder strike in Part I Yang 108. ‘Leaf spring’ concept for our ward-offs. Turning (hip-centric) versus twisting (upper torso). The elbow and wrist stories of Single Whip. A nice early Thursday morning qigong set outdoors at Miller Park where we talked about spherical orbits (vs one dimensional circle), and rotation of our side posts –around our center, and also their own rotation. A hot and sunny Saturday Blue Buddha class with Metal posture Hsing-I drills.  Some push-hands practice (reading your opponent) and more hsing-I elements drills on Tuesday night. Stance drills (scissor, cat, 60-40, forward). Thirteen postures. Finding your center.  Keeping your jaw and mouth relaxed to create saliva –don’t clench your teeth. Finding our corresponding tan tiens in our arms and legs that mirror the tan tiens of the torso. Practiced ward off and neutralize drills. Also we welcomed a new students this week. 



  • General Weekly Schedule:







  1. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  


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



$15 drop-in

4.45 pm


7.15 pm


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




7.30 am



  1. Miller Park  220 Miller Way (off of Waterloo Blvd) Exton PA   Drop in whichever hour you can attend, it is $15 per hour
  2. Lionville YMCA, 100 Devon Drive, Exton PA  


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

$15 p/hour



$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

6.30am to 8.30a


4.45 pm


7.00 pm


  1. Student practice session/no instructor:  Lionville YMCA


  1. Daytime private lesson available pending schedule, by request



See instructor

7.30 am


See instructor


  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:



WORDPRESSS weekly newsletter blog


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

Kathleen Rice    

3 thoughts on “Sounds of Silence: United Tai Chi digest 7/8/14

  1. Ray Chevallier

    Hey Kathleen, liked the photo of classic brush knee. Made me think about how every moment of the form is worthy of freezing and contemplation. I always feel guilty when I lose focus and come out of the moment during my practice. So hard to be THERE/HERE without interruption. But, I am working on it!

  2. Pingback: A Look Back, Part II: United Tai Chi digest 12/22/14 | United Tai Chi

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