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.
Healthy circulation: it’s not just for periodicals (and WordPress blogs). Increased circulation of your chi with internal arts likewise increases your rate of blood circulation, resulting in “feeling stronger, more comfortable and more relaxed as you stand” (The Way of Energy, Lam Kan Chuen). Blood pressure is also positively impacted with Tai Chi and related internal arts, owing to their function as a stress reliever and relaxer –e.g., Peter Wayne’s Wayne’s Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi comments on studies showing decrease in both systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings with regular practice of Tai Chi. Blood is impacted by the healthy functioning of the liver, spleen and heart. “Blood in Chinese medicine is the physical expression of a sense of self. It nourishes and moistens our self-esteem, providing a rich understanding of who we are.” (Wood Becomes Water, Gail Reichstein). Body and mind tension are related to the flow of blood circulation to and from the brain, and a shortage may rob you of “the juice to process information rapidly and make insightful decisions. Equally, when the blood does not drain from the brain, your thought process and internal dialogue may become busy, confused, overly involved and heavy” (Tai Chi Health for Life, Bruce Frantzis). Improved blood circulation also assists our joints. A fave of mine, the 1994 film “Quiz Show” about TV game show scandals of the 1950s, a contestant panders to the host and advertisers, saying his wife’s tired blood was helped with Geritol. Perhaps she could have used a little Tai Chi if you ask me. Dexter, Shakespeare, Sam Peckinpah, Carrie, Dracula, Joel & Ethan Coen –they knew the importance of some quality plasma.
Upcoming class notices: Tuesday nights at Radley Run country club in West Chester in the works Very Soon, and potentially a 2nd night class at Lionville Natural Pharmacy Holistic Health Center added on to our current Thursday one (one night for Tai Chi only, other night for a variety of internal arts). I have heard back from a few about Radley Run; other locals please voice your pharmacy interest.
Wrap-up of recent classes: Practicing sensing our internal connections during some of the postures and warm-ups (organs, joints, etc.). Thirteen postures. A brief journey into Yang108 part 2 opening moves for a few of the afternoon students. Introduced some bagua animal stepping like Bear and Lion (thanks Janet for the roar). Standing 10. Reviewed some drills with the Neutralize posture. Discussed palm changes controlled by the hip. Yin palms and receiving/understanding. Joint postures in opening bow (thanks Ellen for the questions). Saliva, and health benefits when your “three rivers flow” (mouth, eyes, nose). Reviewed play the pan pan. Discussed snake-spine versus turtle back. Quote of the day: “I hope she’s not pregnant” (chronologically mature student Dave, on his wife’s light-headedness).
Student News & Events: Welcome new students, including Beth and Mike. Thank you Angel Tree sponsors who have signed up—those of you who chose chip-in funds instead of gifts please see us this week as are designated shoppers will be out this weekend. Best wishes to Chris M heading south for the winter soon. Another viewing of the empowering “Girl Rising” documentary was attended by Judith’s church. “Man of Tai Chi” on-demand movie and pizza night was grand Monday night, thanks to those who shared it with me. Annual holiday breakfast thank you for Christian coming up this quarter, date TBD, watch for details. A proposed internal arts sharing community (class or event or networking) with folks from Master John Armstrong and Dr. Al Tolbert’s classes –dubbed a “meeting of the three families” (do I need a blood oath?). Irene indicates the women’s shelter in Coatesville is accepting household goods or youth items –Gateway shelter at CWYA 610-384-9591or http://www.cya.org. Likewise the Domestic Violence Center of Chester County 610-431-3546 or http://www.dvccc.com/youcanhelp/wishlist.html. Send your positive healing energy, and Red Cross support, out to families devastated by the typhoon impact in the Philippines. Welcome @Jimmy_Lokrond (Indonesia) @clinic_INMI (Ireland) to our international Twittersphere and readers in Hong Kong and Taiwan have found us on WordPress. And finally, a happy 40th birthday on the 13th to my ‘baby’ brother Patrick. Thank you guys for your continued dedication to internal arts and supporting our events and practices this busy time of year.
Lionville YMCA … 100 Devon Drive Exton PA
Mon, Weds, Fri
Eagleview YMCA …699 Rice Blvd Exton PA
Lionville Natural Pharmacy 309 Gordon Dr Exton
[90 min., small class attention, *$25 drop in rate]
Tuesday night class at Radley Run Country Club in West Chester [separate fees apply]
And potential 2nd night class at Lionville Natural Pharmacy [separate fees apply]
7p or 7.30p
Private paid lessons available upon request –check with instructor for scheduling
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