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Doorstep Zen

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Doorstep Zen

This is my Dojo (place of learning the ‘way’) doorstep, as you enter you bow, as you bow you look down and this is what you see.

‘Shi’ means ‘warrior’ but more in the sense of ‘cultivated person’.

‘Kon’ means ‘spirit/heart’.

‘Budo’ means ‘to stop the spear’ or peacemaker.

‘Kan’ means ‘place/clubhouse’.

So, ‘the place of the peacemaker with a warrior spirit’….

As you enter the Dojo the doorstep reminds you to leave the past and and future behind and become fully immersed and engaged in the present. The bow is an act of  mental cleansing, reminding you to respect yourself, your Dojo, your fellow students and coaches.

The self ceases to exist as you work on your emotional intelligence to develop patience, kindness, tolerance, compassion, resolve, courage and determination working as a team with coaches and fellow students to bring conflict to harmony.

Peace is earned. In this chaotic world it requires a warrior’s spirit and skill to ‘stop the spear’ without making violence worse.

That’s why we have reminders everywhere in the Dojo beginning as you enter the ‘place of learning way’….

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Poems, Uncategorized

The Present Is A Present

steve pray

The Present Is A Present

You cannot get into the future.
You cannot get into the past.
You cannot get out of the present.

Therefore time as we know it doesn’t really exist.
There is only the present.
The present does not pass through time;
Time passes through the present.

It’s important to understand this;
Guilt from what you think is the past, taints the present;
Worrying about what you think is the future also taints the present;
There is only the present.

It is all one.
It’s called the ‘present’ because that is what it is;
A gift for you to engage with;
Untainted, you can enjoy it fully.

And time takes care of itself.

 

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3 Ways To Practice Tai Chi

Steve Tai Chi Pose

3 Ways To Practice Tai Chi

Monk Style
Always begin with Monk style… Neigong, Qigong, the Yang Chen Fu form and basic push hands drills. Practice like a monk in the temple gardens, with no ‘martial’ applications in mind, get rid of violence, aggression, fear and anger by clearing your mind, making it aware, focused, sensitive, intense and bringing it to a state of peace and stillness. Do this by working on your posture and breathing, this will bring forth these qualities of mind. Be gentle, soft, circular, continuous and let the mind be at ease. Until you can practice this way, DO NOT MOVE ON as you will not progress.

Warrior Style
Now you have the ‘yin’ and have cleared your mind and emotions, have good posture, balance and free movement without excessive tension, you have ‘cleared down’ or ’emptied your cup’ and are ready for the martial fairydust.  The ‘Chong Chuan’ introduces the powerful, focused and intense intention to direct the 13 Dynamics and skills such as the ‘fa geng’ (jing) and work with an opponent in mind. Learn the weapons forms and their proper skills and drills so you understand the strategies and skills of using that particular weapon. We use broadsword, double edge sword and spear. Push hands drills now also become dynamic, to include applications of the techniques, ideas and principles in the form and can also become enthusiastic ‘play’. Wall training also helps with combative training and adrenaline release.

Sick Man Style
Sometimes called ‘Drunken’, is to exaggerate the power sourcing of the moves, utilising the bodycore and spine and taking all positions to the absolute furthest point to ‘fire’ the power. ‘Sick Man’ because it’s using the core in a vomiting way (without actually doing it) to project the power.

I cannot stress the importance of ‘Monk Style’ first to ‘clear down’ ready for ‘Warrior Style’ training and ‘Sick Man Style’ is an additional way of building those essential power skills. Many practitioners never get past the ‘Monk Style’ and many don’t want to, but for those interested in the complete art, ‘Warrior’ and ‘Sick Man’ are essential for vigorous health, self defence and strategies for life.

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Poems, Uncategorized

Liar, Liar Your Pants Are On Fire

Monkey

Liar, Liar Your Pants Are On Fire

I’m looking for truth;
I hate being manipulated;
When I meditate,
I discover who I am,
And what I really think.

Everything around me is a lie;
Every lie wants to be a part of me;
And take over my soul;
Each one manipulates me;
And tries to determine how I think.

Religion is a lie.
Nationality is lie.
They don’t exist;
They are made up by people;
And yet we are expected to fight to the death over them.

Money is not real;
Only numbers on a spreadsheet;
Yet because of it people starve to death;
Get sick and die;
Are homeless and live in poverty;
Whilst others accumulate everything.

We are expected to buy into everything;
The billionaire one percent,
Tell the millionaire politicians,
To tell us what to think and who to hate;
Are we really that stupid?

The corporate media tell us what to desire;
How we should look,
Who and what to hate;
And try to structure our thinking;
Keep moving, keep desiring;
DON’T STOP AND THINK!!!

The corporate film makers create universes,
Marvel, DC, Star Wars, the more lies the better;
DON’T LOOK AT REALITY!!!
DON’T LOOK AT THE NAKED EMPEROR!!!
THERE IS NO TRUTH!!!
Keep giving us your money…

Liar, liar, your pants are on fire;
Everything is burning;
Everything is impermanent;
We are all one – animate and inanimate;
There IS another way;

All you have to do is to be still;
Apply critical thinking;
See through the lies;
Find your true self;
And live from the inside out.

 

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How Matt Fiddes Tai Chi Happened

For some time I’ve been watching Matt Fiddes. I didn’t know him, had never met him, but still felt offended on his behalf when other people who had also not met and didn’t know him were calling him names and joining in with others like bullies on a school playground. I knew he was quite capable of looking after himself, but felt bound to go to his defence as he had done nothing wrong and broken no laws.

I followed him on social media and looked into his business structure. I found it difficult to run a couple of clubs and an association, so was intrigued to find that he successfully ran a 700 club franchise. Feted as ‘trainer and bodyguard to the stars’ I realised that he couldn’t be an idiot and must have both skill and business acumen. He supported many charities and charitable causes and when he appeared on the TV programme ‘Rich House, Poor House’ he broke the rules and bought the other ‘poor family’ a desperately needed mobility scooter and gave the unemployed father a job in his organisation.  He even met the school ‘bully’ whose actions made him start martial arts and gave him a job as well!

On Instagram you could see he was in the gym every day, often twice a day and training hard, he attended every event in his organisation, meeting everyone, shaking hands, supporting the charitable causes and visiting sick and cancer patients in hospital. He certainly didn’t come across as a bad person!

In his own way he is ‘old school’ – a WTF Taekwondo champion as a youngster he started teaching early and quickly built a good club base, by studying world renowned experts in all areas from business to training he came to the attention of the rich and famous and established a solid franchise structure.

To keep standards he doesn’t grade his own black belts, but gets Master Frank Murphy, graded to black belt by the founder of Taekwondo and International Champion to vet their standards.

He is now very much a family man, married to South African pop singer Monique, he spends a lot of his time with her and their children.

We had spoken occasionally through Facebook Messenger but nothing of any real consequence, when I put my Tai Chi Coaching Programme together and recruited my first batch of martial arts instructors I quickly realised that I had something very special and that it could go really well, that I needed someone who was expert in the areas of business structure and promotion who I could form a long term relationship with – at that point the choice was obvious.

 

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Putting Your Head In Your Anus

Photo on 03-03-2018 at 12.03

Putting Your Head In Your Anus

It’s a catchy, humorous title but has a serious side to it.

When you’re doing seated meditation a good point to focus on is ‘sealing your anus’ with the weight of your head. This ensures that your back is straight and your head is aligned.

When you’re standing, you do the same with the arches of your feet and of course all balanced movement in Tai Chi is dependent on your skill in feeling this alignment and the arches of the feet are the first ‘pump of chi’ in the body.

When standing you can move your head in all directions and feel the effect in the arches of the feet so you can adjust to get it absolutely right – and when seated you can feel it in the same way in the ‘seal’ of the anus.

So you can genuinely say that when you’re meditating you really do have your head in your ass!

 

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Martial Arts Bullies

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It’s common knowledge that I don’t like bullies in the martial arts in life or social media. When people go on about ‘standards’ and ‘McDojo’s” in the arts my first thought is ‘people in glass houses’… They are usually the people who should be putting their own house in order!

We may not like what some people teach, but if they’re not breaking any laws we don’t have the right to bully, slander or libel them. What we do need to do is everything in our power to raise the standards of the arts generally in whatever area we train and teach in and continually encourage others to improve and point to what is good. All the time we point at others in a negative way we only demonstrate our own failings.

If we work together instead of against each other and share our knowledge and systems it can only be for good. Martial Arts have a lot to offer the public, but when they see senior people arguing like children in a school playground and those that teach anti bullying, pointing, laughing and ridiculing others it really puts us all in a bad light.

Let’s stop bullying in the Martial Arts as well as outside.

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