Uncategorized, Articles

Why Tai Chi Is Losing The ‘Martial’

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We are in danger of losing real Tai Chi. Whilst many practice for the health benefits, few still teach the martial. Many that do either try to to make it ridiculously ‘magical’ or they apply their other martial skills to applications, but in doing so are losing the unique skills that make it special.

The combination of peng and sung give Tai Chi continuous structural integrity and root. The continuous spiralling and internal system gives the ability to receive an opponent in a combination of the 13 dynamics, disrupting their structural integrity and root, negating their ability to continue attacking without losing that of the practitioner.

The training structure is uniquely layered to build these skills in a way the I’ve not seen in any other art.

The ‘hidden’ aspects therefore are merely subtle use of these skills that are difficult to see if you don’t know what you’re looking for and because they are not ‘obvious’ they’re not youtube friendly.

Because they don’t fit into the social media zeitgeist they are fading away.

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Articles, Uncategorized

Time and Awareness

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Time and Awareness

This is really important.

We are constantly being told that time is precious and we have to set our goals, focus on them and then go out and get them.

I have a problem with this.

Firstly, time is precious, the more research is done, the more we realise that time has little connection to clocks, all time exists all of the time.

We don’t pass through time, time passes through us.

Let that soak in….

The past does not exist, the future does not exist, there is only the present.

So time passes through the present.

Why is this so important?

Because if we are fettered by our past, or if we are anxious about the future, we are asleep in the present.

The present is a ‘present’, it’s a gift to us.

If we are able to fully exist in the present moment, unfettered by the past that doesn’t exist, fearless for the future that doesn’t exist, we are fully aware and awake in the present, able to take full advantage of it and actually be fully and completely alive.

Life comes to us, but if we are focused on ‘goals’, fears and anxieties and out there chasing our tail, our vision is so narrow that we are missing a plethora of opportunities that it is being presented to us.

Stop. Be still. ‘Be’ fully and completely in the moment, let life come to you, let the opportunities come to you, broaden your mind, accept life as it comes, see all those things that you’ve never seen before because of the fog and narrow vision that anxiety from the past and for the future gives you.

Life is truly the gift that just keeps on giving, if your vision and perspective allows it.

If your mind is preconditioned, you won’t see the opportunities, you will just continually keep walking past open doors.

Every time I start to get anxious, I stop, become still and become fully alive and take each moment as it comes.

Meditation, mindfulness, neigong and Tai Chi will enhance this skill.

A big, life changing difference!

 

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Articles, Uncategorized

Making Tai Chi Your Own

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Making Tai Chi Your Own

At 68 years of age, after nearly 5 decades in the Martial Arts and 15 surgeries and 2 life threatening infections in my legs leaving me with one leg 2 inches shorter than the other, one with no knee and fused straight, the other with a metal knee and 3 quads missing on both legs, the powerful antibiotics have ruined all my joints and left me with severe and painful arthritis, I have to use a crutch to walk and have terrible trouble balancing on my legs with no ability to control a forwards pull or push.  Without my Tai Chi I would have been relegated to a wheelchair many years ago.

The meditation and neigong have been invaluable in helping me cope with an immense amount of pain and illness giving me the ability to accept what I have and don’t have and the power to change that which I can. It has helped me to cope with ageing, sickness and cope with the possibility of death. It has helped me to develop emotional intelligence and the ability to work with a support team at the Dojo and in my seminars and coaching programmes.

The qigong has helped to maintain mobility, opening the joints and soft tissue enhancing blood, air and neurological flow and to assist the lymphatic system. It also encourages the power lines through the body.

I have to adapt much of what I do, I can do the form without the crutch but adapt, stances, turns and kicks, taking my body through it’s full range of movement every day and when my legs are tired I train leaning or seated. I can still do the full range of the Yang family system, the standing, exercises, Yang Chen Fu form, Long Boxing, all the weapons, push hands drills and 2 person Sanshou Form, albeit in my own way.

I still teach and train every day, do seminars every weekend (68 last year) and teach the Shi Kon Tai Chi Coaching Programmes to many Instructors.

So many people give up when they can’t do technique the same way as others and yet we all teach that martial arts should be for everyone, many students enjoy learning from me because they know that I can teach anyone to train well and having been ‘through the mill’ myself, will have the patience to work with their problems.

Until you’ve been there, you can only guess what many people are going through, having been in the very worst of crippling pain and mental anguish, I can validate what I’m teaching to others from personal experience.

The moral of this story is that no matter what problems, physical, emotional and mental you may be going through, Tai Chi is an adaptable and useful tool for you to utilise to maintain and improve what you have and a focus to move forwards with, whatever your age or ability.

I make sure that all my Shi Kon Coaches develop the patience, kindness, tolerance, compassion and knowledge to be able to teach whoever comes to them for help.

I have coaches all over England and the Czech Republic, if you would like to find one close to you get in touch with me.

 

 

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Poems, Uncategorized

The Silence And Stillness Behind It All

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Just standing;
When I am still my body listens;
When I stop transmitting I can receive;
When my mind is still;
I can perceive the unworded language;
Of the trees and flowers;
Nature is always talking to us;
Normally our mind is filled with words;
We are concerned with the past and future;
But when standing we become ‘joined up’ with nature;
At one with the Tao;

Behind everything there is profound stillness;
A deafening silence;
Stand tall;
Breathe deep;
Focus your mind;
Stop moving;
Stop thinking;

Ah! there it is…….

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Poems

Pause For Stillness

Today I was walking up the stairs and I paused;
As I get older I pause more and more;
I pause to find the stillness;
The stillness that sits behind everything.

All you have to do to find it is be still;
It’s always there, it feeds the universe;
Everything arises from and then returns to it;
It is the source that we need to be connected to.

When not connected we feel lonely and isolated;
We create a self to replace it;
Like the make believe friend we had as a child;
But there really is no self…..

There is a deep profound stillness;
And to find it, all we have to do is pause….

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Poems, Uncategorized

Breathing With Your Body

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This morning’s neigong:

Don’t eat breakfast;
Drink a pint of iced water;
Find your place to stand;
Then find your balance.

Find your natural breathing rhythm;
Don’t breathe in until you would have to stop yourself;
Don’t breathe out until you would have stop yourself;
Let your body, not your mind deepen and control the breath.

Use your entire dantien to breathe;
Stomach sides and back draw the diaphragm down;
Filling the lungs with air;
Calming you down, making your mind aware and focused.

In Tai Chi the joints and fascia act together as a pump;
Expand them naturally as you breathe in;
Let them rest naturally as you breathe out:
Let the bows of arms, legs and spine work with them.

Go to the feet first to breathe in;
Open the body to expand to receive the air and energy;
Allow it to rest and soften as you breathe out;
Feel the elixir of life refresh and heal you.

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