Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Stroke survivors find footing with ancient Chinese martial art

Stroke survivors find footing with ancient Chinese martial art:

This is a wonderful article on the effectiveness of Tai Chi for stroke survivors!

'via Blog this'

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Three Faces of Tai Chi: What benefits are you looking for?

After many years of teaching Tai Chi I have come to the conclusion that there are three different ways for people to benefit from the plethora of things that Tai Chi has to offer.

Tai Chi for Senior Citizens

The first group are Senior Citizens who need the gentle movements and stretches as well as the invaluable balance training and boost to the immune system. For these folks I give them traditional health exercises known as Tai Chi Qigong (pronounced "chee- gung") This usually makes them quite happy and they see many benefits from the practice. It's easy to remember and enriches the lives of those on the shady side of 70. You could practice this kind of course 3 times per week and get benefits.

Tai Chi for Health

The second group are younger folks usually between 40 and 70. These folks want to get some interesting exercise in a low impact way. Tai Chi is perfect for them. It consists of a short moving form and a lot of repetitions of basic moves. There is stance training and a lot of emphasis on mindful movement. You learn to make friends with your body and to work it out in a complete and holistic way. This kind of Tai Chi practice can really benefit your performance in other sports or activities as well as helping you rehab from injury faster.You could practice this kind of Tai Chi 3 times per week and get benefits.

Combat Tai Chi

The third group ranges from the very young up to some students who are past 70. This is the most diverse crowd I teach and they are interested in advanced Tai Chi. They go through the other stages yes but the eye is always on the prize of martial arts skill. These folks want to learn to do pushing hands (a two person exercise that leads to fighting skill), applications, and to use their bodies and minds to generate tremendous amounts of force with very little external movement. Students who take this approach are doing truly traditional Tai Chi. This kind of work takes commitment and practice but it will pay off with insights into the nature of mind and body, the subtleties of energy, and a world of self defense possibilities. However this kind of work requires daily practice.

Three levels of involvement in Tai Chi. Wonderful benefits to be had from all three. Tai Chi is a huge subject and its wonders are pretty much inexhaustible. Also the ages presented here are merely guidelines. I have a few folks in my combat classes who are past 70 and they can regularly throw around people twice their weight without a moment of strain. I have teenagers who just want to do Tai Chi for health and they enjoy it very much. Tai Chi has something to offer everyone from its three faces.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Health Benefits Of Tai Chi -

Health Benefits Of Tai Chi -

Check out this article on the benefits of Tai Chi practice. It is too valuable to miss.

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Friday, February 15, 2013

Learn about your body: Fascia

For your enlightenment and education here is a wonderful anatomy lecture about why our current views on sports medicine and exercise need some serious revision. Check out all three parts. We work with the body in Tai Chi, Qigong, and Yoga as well as in all our other sports and exercises. Let's get to know more!

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Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy New Year! 2013 the Year of the Snake

Today is Chinese New Year and May your Year of the Black Water Snake be a happy and fulfilling one. For many Chinese martial artists there is the tradition of learning the Lion Dance to be performed during the various lunar festivals throughout the year. These dances are frenetic, flawlessly synchronized, and are incredilbe displays of athleticism. They are also monumental exercises in teamwork.

The head and tail of the lion have to work in harmony. The ego has to surrendered to the dance. Very often in martial arts we tend to forget the value of teamwork. In my school we practice a lot of sparring. However when we spar it is not a competition. It is not a fight. It is an exercise where we help each other learn. Many people value the idea of just putting on gloves and beating each other up but that is such a long and inefficient way to learn. Cooperative exercises develop self-defense skills far more efficiently and effectively than just jumping around and bashing.

Many people will argue that this is silliness and pure fantasy and that one cannot learn to fight this way. For them I point to the Muay Thai boxers of Thailand. When they practice they go easy on each other. They work on technique, they spar lightly, and they give each other feedback. The reason for this is very simple if a boxer gets hurt in practice then he loses out on the ability to fight in a match and matches are where the money is made. A single match can earn a successful fighter the equivalent of five years of wages. Muay Thai fighters are considered to be some of the best sport fighters in the world.

Teamwork involves working together to help other members of the team to improve and accomplish goals. This is often forgotten in today's fast paced overly-competitive world. Our combined efforts are so much greater than our individual attempts. The lone wolf or the star of the show idea is inefficient and leads us into alienation and loneliness. If we all work together like the head and tail of the lion then we can accomplish amazing things. So ask yourself today as we enter the Year of the Snake how you can work with others to accomplish greater things than you are capable of alone.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

When you just can't practice

I practice my Tai Chi and Kung Fu pretty extensively everyday. Everyone marvels at how disciplined I am about the whole thing. But the truth is it is just as hard for me to practice as it is for everyone else. One of my teachers once addressed this problem of just not wanting to practice. He suggested a wonderful method that helps me every time. Go to the place where you normally practice and gently talk with yourself about all the reasons you don't want to practice.

In my experience every time I do this I end up practicing. At first maybe just the Tai Chi form, or walking the  Bagua circle just a bit. By the end of the time I usually end up having practiced for an hour or more. Our minds are vast and complex. They are simply tools. If we put our awareness on our motives for not doing something we can usually tame the mind and do the exercise we have set ourselves to do.

For me today was like that with my kung fu practice. I had been experiencing a dry spell in writing and posting to this blog when the inspiration hit me. I could talk about the negative. The "I can't" syndrome. The whole idea that you can't do something or lack the time to do it is complete bull. The world is full of wonderful impossible people. Strive everyday to be one of them.

This video is about Yoga but really it applies to any exercise from running to Tae Kwon Do to Tai Chi.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Extraordinary Results

I'm starting to post a series of vids showing off the incredible feats that are possible through intense training. The motto I have adopted is that extraordinary results require extraordinary effort. Enjoy!