Tag Archives: Paul Read

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

Soundofsilence2

  • 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:

 

DAY

LOCATION

PRICE

TIME

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. 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

Membership

 

$25 drop-in

(90 mins)

6.30am to 8.30a

 

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    

CRUSH: United Tai Chi digest 12/4/13

orangeCrush

  • In the world of internal arts, the term “Crush” corresponds to the wood element in Chinese medicine and is part of the 5 element Hsing-Yi practice and energy matrix of the universe in Taoist cosmology.  It aims to mimic a fist growing out of the body, or an arrow darting. In 2013, in my journey back to amateur writing, blogging, journaling, columns or essays, that energy matrix has yielded personal influencers of a crush-worthy nature.  Artisans who have begun to show me that who I am on paper (or screen) is meaningful, worthwhile and still relates to internal arts and Tai Chi.  That I see vindication of my style or approach in some of their writing is further encouragement that I have been on the right path.  I used to wonder if throwing the occasional pop-culture or non-internal arts reference and humor into one of my newsletters was off-putting or un-relatable. That is until I discovered the books and podcasts of Paul Read (“The Beancurd Boxer”) who’s work has shown me, that for a relative beginner who has come to this art late in life (not a Karate Kid was I), it is a little easier to grasp something when crafted in my own language (see his crazy funny One Last Thing: The History of the Martial Arts Philosophy).  I also want to thank Mark Saltveit (The Tao of Chip Kelly), Tim Larkin (Survive The Unthinkable), Mark Salzman (Iron and Silk), Sifu Anthony K (Flowing Zen blogs and articles), Peter Wayne (The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi), Deng Ming-Dao (The Wandering Taoist) Gail Reichstein (Wood Becomes Water) Dan Kleiman (Qi Gong Radio podcasts) and Bruce Frantzis (energyarts.com) whose words or voices I have been fortunate to have encountered or were recommended to me.  Outside of Tai Chi, though still journalists I geek out over, I want to also mention music writers Peter Cooper, Brian Mansfield and Robert K. Oermann.  Lastly, a special honorable mention of Owen Gleiberman who I have followed now and again over the years and whose amazing recent article for Entertainment Weekly about Robert Redford’s career inspired me to change my digest topic this weekend   http://insidemovies.ew.com/2013/11/30/robert-redford-is-an-underrated-actor/   Just like Tai Chi, writing is an art and a discipline, inspired from the heart, requiring practice and patience.  And I want to thank students and teachers of United Tai Chi and all of our readers for sharing both with me this year.  I was fortunate to have also found, in our instructor Christian, a ‘voice’ who’s teaching style resonates with the type of learner/listener/reader/writer that I am.

 

  • New class alert:  Starting January 6th, six session Monday night tai chi class at East Bradford Elementary School in West Chester, 7.30pm.  $62 pre-pay, and you order course #14WFH710 from http://www.chestercountynightschool.org.  Please read their snow/closure policy for classes held inside a school building.              

 

  • Wrap-up of recent classes:  ‘Serve the fruit’ warm-ups, right side Tai Chi and Left side Tai chi, thirteen postures. Inhale and exhale stories.  Cleansing breath, gathering breath, calming breath. Neck exercises as part of the standing 10.  Finger and palm connections in “press” and “shoulder strike”.  Eight pieces of brocade. Parts I and II of Yang 108. Thanksgiving take-away:  seeing my 3 year old grandnephew demonstrate a great rendition of “folding”. 

 

  • Student News & Events:  Annual holiday breakfast thank you for Christian, Friday December 6 at 8:45am (following the morning class) at Penn’s Table, 268 Eagleview Blvd in Exton. Truck loading day for our Angel Tree youth sponsor gifts you guys helped contribute for is Thursday morning December 5 at the Lionville Y.  An early Christmas present—reached 1,000 Facebook followers!  Red Cross blood drive Friday December 20 also at the Lionville Y, join our life saving mission with a donor appointment at http://www.redcrossblood.org and use our sponsor code of lionville (or sign up at the Y).  Welcome back Carl to the morning classes. Welcome a reader in Croatia to our WordPress newsletter. Welcome @aharkins1 from Florida and @LoveLightandQi from the UK to our Twittersphere.  Rest in peace to a fallen outdoorsman, marine biology fan, humanitarian/activist, film actor and Brazillian ju-jitsu student, Paul Walker this past weekend. 

 

  • Weekly Schedule:   

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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]

Tuesday

7:00 PM

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in   rate]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Monday night

Starting   1/6/14

Chester County Night School, Tai Chi class

820 Frank Rd in West Chester

$62   pre-pay for 6 classes,   Order at http://www.chestercountynightschool.org

Monday

7.30 PM

Coming   soon…

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

TBD

 

 

  • 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     

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

balletshoes

  • 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]

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

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]

Tuesday

7:00 PM

Thursday Night

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 min., small   class attention, Tai Chi

 *$25 drop in rate]

Thursday

 

7:00 PM

Coming   soon…

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

 

TBD

 

 

  • 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     

Stand Down. United Tai Chi Digest 10/9/13

retreatPushHands

  • Retreat.  One of the connotations of the phrase ‘martial arts’, for the uninitiated, suggests the concept of fighting.  Yet there is a difference in the aggression of an offense, versus the acquiescence of a controlled defense.  Receive. Understand. Redirect.   We’ve talked here about topics like transforming conflict (Qi Gong Radio’s Dan Kleiman), humility (The Wandering Taoist), situational awareness and training yourself to discern antisocial aggression versus asocial violence (Survive the Unthinkable). Indeed our own instructor calls for us to communicate from the back of our spine not the front of our chest, and to ‘retreat until you can’t retreat anymore’.   And recently Ziva’s warrior girl persona from NCIS finally coming to terms with her past and deciding to start over—telling Tony there is someone crying for everyone she killed. Our anthropological instinct –part time predators, part time hunter/gatherers, is challenged with the internal arts. Yet here we are ready to embrace the noble art of retreating, the peacefulness of Receive, Understand, Redirect.  This week will you be more like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid (“best way avoid punch, no be there”),  or like Bruce Springsteen in his 1984 cut from Born To Run, “No retreat baby, no surrender”?    

 

 

  • Wrap-up of the past week’s classes:  Drills on in-line Grasp the Sparrows Tail repeaters and palm changes; and holding Single Whip hand postures. Brush knee mechanics.  Eight pieces of brocade.  Drills of individual postures done to both sides. Dave K’s question about leg traps.  Dolores is the new Barbara.  Ambidextrous: work on that. Neck stretches and Cow Gazing at the Moon. Line drills of Grasp the Sparrows Tail. Path to your center with Thirteen Postures. Yang 108. Martial applications and palm positions of Look/Gaze. Finally, practicing Part I of Yang 108 at several different speeds to gauge the different sensations or things you notice when it is sped up or sssslllloooowwwed down.

 

  • Student News and Upcoming Events:  United Tai Chi will be at the West Chester Farmers Market this Saturday October 12 from 9am to 12pm. If you attend, could you snap a couple pictures for our FB page (I’ll be elsewhere working). Welcome back Irene. Safe travels to Christine H.  Welcome two new students on Tuesday afternoon.  Chris S thanks for the LinkedIn endorsement. Grand birthday wishes to Claudia.  Best of luck next week to Liz G with her surgery. Welcome aboard all our new Facebook followers and WordPress visitors this week. And a shout out to West Chester Chiropractic (we’ll blame it on Adam’s rib).   Tai Chi DVD night will be Friday October 11, 8pm at the Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center. Please let me know how many of you will be there and if you can bring a small snack or beverage to share (e.g., tea, water, fruit, nuts, etc). Christian will have a few videos from some of his past Wakulla Springs sessions to share, all are welcome.   

 

  • Etcetera:  If you missed out on the FREE Friday Amazon purchase of Paul Read’s “One Last Thing: The History of the Martial Arts Philosophy” it is now just a $3.99 Kindle download, and it is crazy funny. And Deborah it even includes Rocky!

 

  • Weekly Schedule:

MORNINGS

Lionville YMCA  … 100 Devon Drive  Exton PA

Mon, Weds, Fri

7:30 AM

AFTERNOONS

Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd  Exton PA

Tues, Thurs

4:45 PM

EVENINGS

Lionville Natural Pharmacy    309 Gordon Dr Exton

[90 minute, small   class attention, *separate fees apply]

Thursday

7:00 PM

Private paid lessons available   upon request –check with instructor for scheduling

Monday nights in the fall: 7 week   beginner class ordered through Chester County Night School

 

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

FACEBOOK   http://www.facebook.com/UnitedTaiChi.chesco

TWITTER       http://www.twitter.com/unitedtaichi     

PINTEREST   http://www.pinterest.com/unitedtaichi

 

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

Kathleen Rice         unitedtaichi@gmail.com