Friday

Psychological barriers

The biggest real impediment to losing fat is psychological. People want to keep on eating the things they like eating and yet shed the fat. This is a fantasy. A delusion.

Shedding the fat also means shedding the food that made you fat in the first place.

Thursday


I really enjoyed my first workshop; it was informative and fun. Sifu Waller is captivating and held my attention throughout. It was truly enlightening to be in his presence. I left with a thirst for more tea and a hunger for more workshops!

With appreciation,

(Steven)

Wednesday

Reality check

Let's say that you're 5 feet 10 inches tall and 13 stone 8 pounds in weight... This is a weight you've grown accustomed to and it may not seem so heavy relative to many people around you.

Try putting your height and weight into the NHS BMI calculator. You're overweight.

Now try inputting different weights until you reach exactly halfway in the healthy range... It will be around 10 stone 8 pounds. The conclusion - you're 3 stone overweight.

 We get used to being a certain weight and even though BMI isn't perfect, it is a useful guide. Unless you're a body builder (or very short) it's worth using.

Tuesday

Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams...

The chapter called Lengthen Your Line is very important. The author is failing to make headway when fighting against more skilled opponents in class. His solution is to be an 'arse'.
The instructor (Ed Parker) asks to speak with him after the lesson.

Ed draws a short line on a piece of paper and asks Joe how to make the line shorter. The author provides a few suggestions.
Ed draws a longer line alongside the first line. Now, the first line looks shorter.

The instructor explains "It is always better to improve and strengthen your own line or knowledge than to try and cut your opponent's line".
 
Joe realised that in many different areas of his life he was investing a lot of effort attacking other people and trying to make life difficult for them rather than seeking to improve his own skill.

If we take the principle from this story and expand it... 

Consider that your current skill level can be represented by a 2 inch long line. During a lesson Sifu gives you the opportunity to extend that line another inch or two. But do you?
The student who goes home and thinks about the lesson, practices the skills and then applies them will come to the next lesson with a 3 inch line. 
By contrast, others will still have a 2 inch line. 

Which type of student are you?

Monday

A rut


Most people have fairly routine lives. They stay safely within their defined 'comfort zone'. Nothing really challenges the status quo and there is no real reason to change and grow.

Often, gratifying illusions provide the impression of higher level mental activity:

1. The news
2. Politics
3. The internet
4. Technological toys

But these don't actually require any change. When somebody watches TV or regurgitates political opinions/commentaries, they are not using any higher brain functions at all.

Opinions are the result of memories, thoughts, ideas, the past.

By contrast, challenge lies with the unknown, the unfamiliar, the uncertain...

Body control

An authentic tai chi form re-trains the body to move naturally and freely. As a student moves through the syllabus, they are challenged with increasingly sophisticated stepping patterns.

  The cat-like grace of tai chi encourages agile, strong
movement, excellent poise, high energy levels and a feeling of vigour. Learn how to move with the easy, relaxed balance of a dancer or a large cat.

Friday

Toxic habits...

Alcohol, drugs, sugar etc hinder mindfulness. e.g. alcohol dulls the senses.
The original meaning of intoxication is "a poisoning". The euphoria people experience from alcohol isn't the outcome of being healthy and present. It is the consequence of poisoning the brain.

You cannot be mindful if your brain is dulled. Drinking alcohol is the polar opposite of mindfulness.

Wednesday

I don't have time to practice...

Marcus Aurelius (2000+ years ago) said that "not having time" was one of the most pathetic excuses a person can give. It was considered lame back when the Roman Empire was at its peak.

We all have the same amount of time. What we do with it... this is the issue.

Sunday

If conciseness was an Art Form then a fine example of it being practiced would be a page from Sifu Waller's website.

 So much wisdom distilled into one page. Truly zen like.
 

 (Peter)

Friday

Learn from nature

Imagine watching a fully-grown cat move... It is typically smooth, comfortable and lithe. There are no tensed muscles, no pumped up arms, raised 'gym shoulders'. The animal does not get out of breath.

 A cat can go from complete passivity to combat readiness instantaneously. It does not tense muscles and prepare. It just moves. There is a sense of ease.

 No struggling, grunting or groaning, no pain in the back or the kneesThe body responds instantly to the dictates of the mind
A cat is spontaneous and free. 

Young people are the same... Learn from this?

Thursday

Compromise to please others is not as good as integrity that annoys others. Rather than be praised without being good, it is better to be slandered without being bad.

(Huanchu Daoren)


Wednesday

Why do you move badly?

The average adult has spent a lifetime using their body in a haphazard, careless way. Sitting too much, leaning, slouching, favouring one arm over the other.

When they exercise, they do so sloppily.

At no point have they actually undertaken any sort of deliberate training designed to improve 'body use'.

How do you move?

Most adults imagine that they move pretty well... Then they enter a tai chi training hall and discover that their coordination, balance, gait, sensitivity, awareness and body control is actually poor.

Their steps are often very heavy and their legs are locked and immobile. There is a sense of clumsiness. People frequently walk in an agitated manner; over-striding and erratic.

 The lower back is inflexible, the sacroiliac does not move correctly. The back is stooped, the neck stiff, shoulders raised, muscles tense and the hands are tight. They are jerky and uncoordinated.

Tuesday

Pain is the sensation our body uses to influence our judgement. 
Pain tells us that something is not right - this is the most important aspect of pain.
Resisting pain, such as masking it with painkillers, can make things worse.

The earliest symptoms of pain should be heeded.

(Philip Maffetone)

Going too far

It is quite understandable that after a challenging day at work many people just want to sit down, eat a nice meal and watch TV. There isn't anything intrinsically wrong with this.

 Providing it's in moderation.

 The problem lies with the fact that people sit for hours in front of the TV/computer. Eating junk food. Drinking alcohol. At some point this becomes very unhealthy.