Saturday

There is irrefutable evidence that exercise benefits most aspects of health.
Exercise is an essential part of therapeutic approach for arthritis.
Pain and stiffness of the joints tend to discourage patients from exercising.
However without exercise, joints can become even more stiff and painful.
This happens because exercise actually keeps bones, muscles and joints healthy.
It is important to keep muscles as strong as possible because the stronger the muscles and tissues around joints are, the better they will be able to support and protect those joints.
If people do not exercise, their muscles become weaker,
and their bones can become osteoporotic.
Exercise pumps blood and body fluid through to the muscles, tendons and the joints,
which will facilitate healing.

(Dr Paul Lam)

Thursday

Fa jing

Fa jing is the main method of striking in taijiquan: fuelling punches, palms, elbows, kicks and chin na.
It is the medium by which kinetic energy is transmitted from one body to another.

However, fa jing is not the energy itself.
It is the means by which the energy is delivered: the body mechanics which produce this outcome.

In a 2008 Stanford University experiment taijiquan master Chen Xiang generated a force 14 times his body weight when striking.
0-60 mph in less than 3 seconds.

Tuesday

Scheme of work

Having a syllabus is one thing.
Working through it methodically is something else.

We follow a carefully designed 'scheme of work' that takes the student step-by-step through every skill.
The material is systematically and sequentially explored.
There is a city by the magnificent river; wide and long steps lead down to the water's edge, and the world seems to live on those steps. From early morning till well after dark, they are always crowded and noisy; almost level with the water are little projecting steps on which people sit and are lost in their hopes and longings, in their gods and chants. The temple bells are ringing, the muezzin is calling; someone is singing, and a huge crowd has gathered, listening in appreciative silence. Beyond all this, round the bend and higher up the river, there is a pile of buildings. With their avenues of trees and wide roads, they stretch several miles inland; and along the river, through a narrow and dirty lane, one enters into this scattered field of learning. So many students from all over the country are there, eager, active and noisy. The teachers are pompous, intriguing for better positions and salaries. No one seems to be greatly concerned with what happens to the students after they leave. The teachers impart certain knowledge and techniques which the clever ones quickly absorb; and when they graduate, that is that. The teachers have assured jobs, they have families and security; but when the students leave, they have to face the turmoil and the insecurity of life. There are such buildings, such teachers and students all over the land. Some students achieve fame and position in the world; others breed, struggle and die. The State wants competent technicians, administrators to guide and to rule; and there is always the army, the church, and business. All the world over, it is the same.

Thursday

Those who lack wisdom are convinced that they are truly awake;
they think they understand what is happening;
they think that the king is really the king,
and the servants are really servants.


(Chuang Tzu)

Day-to-day health

Tai chi for health was designed to renew and refresh your body on a daily basis.
You unkink those unpleasant aches and pains, stiff muscles and sore joints. You gently, softly encourage your body to move freely and comfortably.

Instead of hammering and punishing your body, you treat it with respect and care. Your body must last you a lifetime.

The key to home practice is to do it little and often.

Wednesday

Betrayal

One theme that Master Waller has been talking about with female self defence students is the idea of being taught to 'betray ourselves'.

Consider school or work:
Our body says that it is uncomfortable. Our minds are bored.
Yet, we are told to remain motionless and endure.
We know we don't want to be there but we are are forced to remain.
Always at our own expense.
The damage to the body is small but incremental.

In many facets of life we are conditioned to suppress our genuine, natural, healthy responses in favour of somebody else's agenda.
This is one reason why the tai chi and self defence in our school puts such emphasis upon healthy, comfortable body use and easy, familiar-seeming martial arts responses rather than blocky, confrontational options.    

Monday

Beware of amateurs...

Tai chi for health is great providing it is taught with integrity.
It is a sad truth that most tai chi for health teachers are not professionals. They are often well-meaning amateurs potentially doing more harm than good.
Be cautious.

Find out more about the art for yourself. Gain some measure of understanding before attending a class.
Ask the teacher about the style being taught, the methodology behind their teaching.
Ask to see their syllabus.

Thursday

THEY WERE CHANTING in the temple. It was a clean temple of carved stone, massive and indestructible. There were over thirty priests, naked to the waist; their pronunciation of the Sanskrit was precise and distinct, and they knew the meaning of the chant. The depth and sound of the words made those walls and pillars almost tremble, and instinctively the group that was there became silent. The creation, the beginning of the world was being chanted, and how man was brought forth. The people had closed their eyes, and the chant was producing a pleasant disturbance: nostalgic remembrances of their childhood, thoughts of the progress they had made since those youthful days, the strange effect of Sanskrit words, delight in hearing the chant again. Some were repeating the chant to themselves, and their lips were moving. The atmosphere was getting charged with strong emotions, but the priests went on with the chant and the gods remained silent.

Starting your day with tai chi

It is beneficial to start your day with taijiquan practice.
Instead of feeling stressed, rushed, tired and anxious... your day begins with clarity and ease.
You will feel:

Energised
Calm
• Alert
• Relaxed
• Warm
• Composed

This makes driving safer.
You will be capable of thinking more clearly and effectively throughout the day.

Remember: in order to get the benefits of taijiquan you need to practice the art...

Monday

Meditation

Picture a room filled with TVs all tuned in to different channels, all turned up loud...
The noise is distracting and the images overwhelming.
Try having a conversation in that room.
Try learning something.
Try paying attention to your own body.
Not so easy.
Yet, this is what most people's minds are like...
To use room of TVs as an example, meditation is about switching them off.
Once the noise is quiet, the mind is no longer filled with pointless distractions and the brain operates more effectively.
Constructive rest, formal meditation - guided (via a CD) or solo, and suggested reading (see reading list) can calm the mind.
They will help to quieten the mind.
If you invest the time.
A quiet mind is more physically aware.
You think more clearly and decisively.
Physical awareness amplifies.
You talk more slowly.
Distractions are less intrusive.
This is a good time for you to learn a new skill.

Saturday

Lineage opportunity

We are offering an opportunity and nothing more.
Committing to lineage, giving ang pow etc is not a guarantee that you will succeed as a disciple.
 

Given the
generous nature of lineage tuition, there must be an exchange between student and master.
A student chooses to undertake discipleship because they want to make serious progress.
This does require a sustained commitment to practice.

Master Waller will not pressure anyone.
However, if you are not resolute and you don't do the work, Master Waller is obligated to
rescind lineage status.
Lineage cannot be taken for granted.

Does your taijiquan qualify as 'kung fu'?

This is a good question.
It really depends on how the art is practiced and how much time you commit to practice.

Although most taijiquan students train kung fu skills, they cannot honestly claim to be a kung fu student.
Kung fu literally means 'hard work'.
A kung fu student attends class 2-3 times a week and trains anywhere between 1-4 hours a day at home.
This may be regarded as a serious commitment to gaining and refining martial skill.

Most taijiquan students seek a milder degree of commitment; perhaps training once a week in class and maybe doing a little training at home.
They are likely to gain credible and effective self defence skills, but they are not demonstrating a kung fu approach to training.