Archive for the Uncategorized Category

The waist is like the post office

Posted in Uncategorized, words and concepts with tags on July 16, 2015 by marksun

In our class we don’t use the term “lower dan tien” but rather simply “the waist”.

Not every analogy is perfect. Maybe amusing — “the waist is like the post office” , as in directing mail to California, New Jersey, Hawaii …  There is a sensation that most if not all movement in tai chi originates from that ball of juice cradled by the hips just in front of that all-important region where the spine connects to the lower body.

In former days “waist move body follow”.

Listen… describe … We listen to a stream of consciousness about tai chi and  related  subjects … we hear a description of what the form feels like, or what a particular form feels like … “the top of the head is pulled up”  “standing on hour heels, toes grabbing the floor” … description of what it feels like when just standing there.


Gold in the rock

Posted in Uncategorized on June 21, 2015 by marksun

21 June 2015.

Today a pretty good analogy.  Our practice is something like working on rocks that have a little bit of gold in them. While we can be happy with the raw ore as it is, the gold in the rock is far more valuable when it is separated, purified. Then we can do with the gold as we wish.

Taiji is the work that separates the gold from the rock.
Marshal arts use the gold for a specific application which is combat. But we have other uses for this gold. The work of separating the gold from the ore is our practice. We do what we want with our gold.

Form – the class is working on the second cross hands set from the Brush Knee – Needle at the sea bottom – Fan through the back – Turn, Draw, Punch,  Step forward, parry and punch.  We note what part of the hand is the impact point of the punch.

Form-  we reviewed the movement from  an to single whip.  The fingers are relaxed and without tension from the push (an) through the 180 turn to single whip

Note –it would be very useful to refer to specific sections of the form by number.


Open, round, relax, rooted, Xin is not distracted by thoughts

Posted in Uncategorized on November 11, 2014 by marksun

Guide words from recent classes.

Xin is aware of the open-ness of a posture, of being relaxed, of being deliberately rooted to the ground, and not distracted by thoughts.  Observe how arms are round, open, not bent – collapsed.

A few reflections.

These are basic but not trivial.  Sometimes because fundamentals seem simple  we get impatient and take them for granted. Fundamentals need to be renewed and sustained by conscious effort every day.

Our thoughts are not are Xin.  Our brain is not our Xin.  Even the “mind” is something we make up so we can talk about it, so it is not our Xin.   These things, brain and thoughts are physical entities.  I’m not so sure about mind – that’s a word which bridges physical and metaphysical.  My Xin is me the observer.  Xin is engaging the brain right now to come up with these words — this is thinking, and thinking require the physical – in the case of the brain – true, the mind is at work. Xin is acting on the world (mind ?) but also listening – listening- listening – and now as I write, reporting.  Here we’re right at the point where words begin to fail us and on the edge of the published world of knowledge. This is where we are with Xin.  Xin is the observer and a conscious entity.

There’s a lot of concern about what happens to Xin after we die.  If one takes as fact the endurance of our Xin beyond death all kinds of belief systems are possible.  If you don’t take it as fact, then we’re stuck with observing the world.  Listen without thinking – what do you hear?    Xin is a real thing and its existence does not depend at all on what you believe.

In our practice, we practice to make our movements open.  Open is a characteristic of Qi hue.  Relax – relax is a characteristic of “ping”.  Rooted is a characteristic of Qi Hue.  For Xin to be ping, xin may be aware of thoughts but does not engage them.  Xin is not thought… thoughts are a product of the brain, which btw is probably the most complex thing in the universe.  What came first — xin or the brain?

“It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so.” – Mark Twain

Phillip K Dick : “reality is whatever refuses to go away after I stop believing in it.”

Words in the air

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2013 by marksun

“Once you play the music, it’s in the air. It’s gone”.   

Eric Dolphy

Bed on Fire

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2013 by marksun

Limin related a story from her early Qi Gong training.  A young couple who were Qi Gong students, were caring for a parent who had a stroke, was bedridden, ostensibly paralyzed, and becoming more demanding, angry, and increasingly difficult to live with,  The couple was at wit’s end and asked their teacher to help.  He agreed to come over and talk with the bedridden man.  After a time he expressed disgust with the invalid’s attitude, and after dosing him with some choice swear words and insults proceeded to light the bed afire!  The paralyzed patient  leaped out of bed, cured (permanently) of his condition.

This story was meant as an illustration of how our Xin can control us and can be changed.

Bigger Steps

Posted in Uncategorized on September 22, 2013 by marksun

As a student sometimes you feel that your movements should be compact, maybe smaller to make it easier to practice, to make transitions. I find myself doing this at times to feel more relaxed, and to reduce the intensity of the set. Making bigger movements requires pushing a bit outside of the comfort zone and requires more muscle and coordination to stay centered – demands more of the core. But this is good – we don’t take taichi to stay the same, to be comfortable. Pushing the comfort zone – beware of injury of course, is something to consider if it’s not part of one’s program or especially if it is not a conscious practice.

Round – easier done than said

Posted in Uncategorized on September 16, 2013 by marksun

Much if not all of taiji is “round” .  Arms encompass a roundness.  Some postures are like holding a ball. Some like the maiden works the loom (shuttle) look an feel like one is pushing on a huge floating sphere while the arms could be the cradle for a smaller sphere.

I aim for a feeling of the lower back being rounded, convex, like a turtle rather than concave.  Concave invites converging force to focus on a sensitive or vulnerable point in the spine –  but convex round is protective and distributes force through the backbone.  In the back, the idea is round, but not bent.  Bent focuses mechanical energy on a point, round distributes evenly through all points.  Focus energy on a point to break it on that  point.  Distribute energy along all points for an unbreakable structure.  If you have a back problem like mine, you may have a distrust of the forward bend unless the curve is even and round without that bend that invites collapse and injury.  Round, easier said than done.