Tag Archives: Laoshi

A Look Back, Part I: United Tai Chi Digest 12/8/2014

  • The end of 2014 is nearly upon us, so once again I take this time to reflect on some of our UTC markers that we shared in months past, taken in two parts—herein, we focus on the first six months.
    • We held classes and workshops at such diverse sites as Chester County Night School ,Eat Drink Om Yoga café, Lionvlle Holistic Health Center, Blue Buddha Studio, Miller Park, Kerr Park, Dragon Gym and our local YMCA. Events we shared included World Tai Chi Day (“one world, one breath”). Master Wei Lun Huang’s workshops at Boston Healing Tao, and the Dragon Gym, while Master Huang shared with us his stories of his tai chi teaching cruise in Asia.
    • Some students embarked on late winter or early spring travel excursions, Bikram Yoga studies, assisting in equine therapy, a Chinatown (Philadelphia) field trip in search of tai chi swords. Read books like “Laoshi: Tai Chi, Teachers and Pursuit of Principle”.
    • Enhanced our tai chi practice with Golden Lotus Qigong, Bagua Animal stepping, Hsing-yi, and Part III of the Yang 108 form. Dabbled in a few more pop culture connections to our internal arts like Kenny Loggins (“Don’t Fight It”), Keanu Reeves (“Man of Tai Chi”), and films like “American Hustle” (from the feet up) and “The Wolf of Wall Street” (importance of being grounded in the lower tan tien).
    • Newsletter blog essays in the ‘living the art’ theme –connecting our tai chi principles to our daily personal, professional or emotional lives. Such discussions included the impact of tai chi on cross-training fitness; push-hands and the notion of understanding or re-directing your partner or opponent (personal relationships, tennis, work life); monkey mind and Amish youth’s Rumspringa; how tail chi makes us more adaptable travelers and opens up world cultures to us; self-correction in tai chi linked to career or life change (Julia Child, Sting, Walt Disney); Dyer’s “The Power of Intention”; moving meditation, relaxation and the de-stressors of ‘happy hour’; storm black-outs and how disengaging ourselves from our electronic umbilical cords returns us to mindfulness; the importance of the armpit glands in our chi flow; daylight savings time and the effect on Seasonal Affective Disorder; trust or leaps of faith in finally learning to ‘cross the street’ alone; how the art of branding is akin to principles of Taoism; and how a profoundly deep understanding of ourselves helps us define our interview pitch in the job transition arena.
    • Thank you for making the following our most read blog titles published in the first half of the year: “The Return”, “Elevator Speech”’, “Balanced”, “The Armpit Monologues”, “Force Majeure” and “Passport”. Stay tuned for ‘A Look Back, Part II’ in the next blog in two weeks.
  • Shares/Finds: In case you missed it in our August newsletter, here is the link again to download Ted Nawalinski’s “The Science of Qigong Healing” booklet –which cites case studies, applications, and references on the effects of qigong.

 

  • Student News & Events: A big thank you to all who participated once again in sponsoring a child with holiday gifts for the Angel Tree program at the YMCA for the Delaware Valley Children’s Charity. I hope you all had a great time at our annual holiday/birthday breakfast on the December 5th at the Lionshare—it was wonderful to see so many students in attendance, and was greatly appreciated by Christian. You can see a few photos of it on our Pinterest page. Marilyn B’s open house holiday gathering and perhaps some other events coming up later this month. Good luck to Claudia in her travels soon.
  • Social Media Roundup: Thank you to our new followers, sharers or readers on the following platforms: (Twitter) Jean @jeancox92. (Facebook) A big growth week, we have hit or exceeded 1,500 fans! Welcome Simi, Khey, Darren, Benny, Iraida, Nathan, Christopher, Keounda, Manual, Cheryl, Edward and Frank. (WordPress) Hello to our first reader from Panama. Thank you to Sifu Anthony K’s Flowingzen.com for being one our referrers. (Pinterest) check out boards from new follower Chi Shirt. Slantedflying.com’s Guy Tomash has invited me to review internal arts books by Steve Zimcosky.
  • 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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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    

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