STANDING IN HONOR; A ESSENTIAL COMPONENT OF TAI CHI AND SOCIETY

One of the greatest tenets (it I can really call it that) is building good character.  Encompassed on good character is honor. Surely, character is a sum of qualities, and yet one could develop and build bad character but I wonder how many people of sound mind actually work at building bad character.  But, honor would be a byproduct of good character.  Today thee doesn’t appear there is a societal emphasis building good character to nurture honor.  

Even our leaders (I use this term very lightly) in Washington DC display less honor in their positions than the general public that have elected them.  When people go to the polls to vote the general consensus is to elect people who will represent them in the capital.  Good character and honor are ingredients people admire and require however, based on the actions of many in office including shutting down the government are based on less than honorable character.  This shutting down the government came at the expense of the people who elected them and not the elected officials.  All of congress will be receiving their pay.  The public  (federal workers) will not.

Each and every congressman and woman,, and senator will be able to continue to feed their families.  This includes the president of the U.S. A few members of congress want to appear to maintain some form of honor will be donating their pay to a charity, but most will continue to receive and enjoy their salary.  This attitude is an actually living our Marie Antoinette’s statement of “let them eat cake.”  Cultivating good character is essential in becoming, and becoming an adept in Tai Chi.  Cultivating good character is essential for formulating a positive peaceful society.  I wonder if those elected to “lead” really want that?

Mastering Tai Chi

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Recently, it was told to me by someone close to me that her friend wanted to master Tai Chi.  Its been a few weeks since I heard this and it still doesn’t sit right with me.  I began to ask her why her friend felt he could master Tai Chi, but I hesitated as I knew she was not well versed on the subject. 

The first thing I felt about the person was that maybe they were not really studying the fullness of Tai Chi, simply the name Tai Chi suggests that it may be an impossible task to master Tai Chi, but how do I know.  Then, I began to think maybe the person is primarily interested in the physical movements of forms and that by perfecting the form he will have mastered Tai Chi.  Humm, this still doesn’t set well with me. 

So, let me ask you.  Can one master Tai Chi?  Is it possible to perfect the forms in Tai Chi?  What is Tai Chi and What is Tai Chi to you?  This seems to be the same battle I’ve read on Yoga blogs.

Wu Chi is a concept denoting the primordial state of the universe which gives birth to Tai Chi, the polarity Yin and Yang.

The Mind of Tai Chi

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I found this most interesting.  The mind is the opener of all things.  Mindset will guide the structure of its creation.  So then, what is Mindset?  Steven Moore presents a very indepth look at the function of mindset, where it is and how it functions From Tai Chi Heartwork

 

Mindset

Different activities demand different mindsets. A mindset is the state of mind induced when mental activity is focused on a particular location within the brain. So, thinking concentrates mental activity into the frontal lobe – hence the furrowed brow and heavy craning head of the inveterate thinker…Read More

Tai Chi Is Not Something You Do, Tai Chi Is Somthing You Live!

Taichi

 

I found this gem over at Linda’s Yoga Journal   “‘Today asana has been made into a photograph. There is no difference between this and gymnastics. We see calendars with photographs of someone balancing on a rock in a headstand…even naked yoga. But asana is not a performance, asana is what happens in the posture and afterwards. A circus man can do many postures — this is not asana.'” 

When I read this it struck me deeply.  Tai Chi is a child of yoga and as such I can see the unity in the breath of Yoga and Tai Chi.  However,  there are those students and teachers that practice many many forms, yet never enter into the door of what Mantak Chia calls the Inner Structure of Tai Chi.  When we move from posture to posture we should be mindful, in other words full of mind.  Each posture should be filled with mind, breath, chi, and energetic force from the start of the posture until the end then moving to the  next.   Each posture is a full and complete set within itself. In each posture we should be fully present in all these elements, not merely moving from one to the next.  This is Tai Chi, other wise it’s just pantomining a form.  “…asana is what happens in the posture and afterwards.” 

The body follows the mind

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EEG image of brain waves

In Tai Chi Chuan there is a concept, that the body follows the mind.  In that, when one is playing Tai Chi the mind leads the body to the next posture.  You will picture the movement from one posture to the other, immediately your mind will send chemical messengers or hormones to the muscles and Chi will make the mental pictures of the mind manifest physically.

This is our daily movement in all that we do, yet most of these manifestations occur without conscious thought.  We think and speak our existence into manifestation minute by minute but, never give a thought that we are in fact creating our destiny.  This gives rise to the English word, mindful or to be full of mind.  So, what if we really thought about our intentions during the day?  Would this not give us more power over our daily tasks?  Could we not create much much more for ourselves?

There are many ancient text that teach us that life and death is in the power of the tongue.  Knowing this we should first think, examine, and weigh carefully before we speak since what we say is a seed planted that we will later reap the fruit.  Tai Chi teaches us patience and that each ending opens to a new beginning and that each step, posture, and breath is energetically connected.  This teaching conveys just how we are connected to one another, related.

Our minds are the key to our destiny, building and reshaping our future.  How can being mindful or full of mind help create your future?  With each and every day there comes new challenges and changes the direct and re-direct our future; create changes in our lives.  How can you create your own destiny?

Verbal Tai Chi: Learning to fight without fighting

http://www.timelessproductions.com/taichi/

 For many years I have practiced what I call verbal Tai Chi.  Utilizing the ability to ward-off, roll back, press and even uproot someone verbally.  I wasn’t intentionally working verbal Tai Chi the first time I had the opportunity to explore its form.  I had been playing Tai Chi for about a year when the opportunity presented itself. 

This was at a time when I was still living in Los Angeles, when a verbal confrontation between myself and a known gang member erupted.  The root of the issue was that I called his mother a man.  I didn’t do this with negative intention, but it was truly a mistake on my part.  Now, the gang member, I’ll call him Lil M, knew his mother was a crack smoker and that she had lost most of her hair and she often wore men’s hats to cover the patchy landscape that was once beautiful hair, so it was truly a mistake when I called mother M “man.”   Well Lil M was upset, but I’m not sure if it was the fact that I called his mother “man” or the fact he was well aware of the reasons she was looking so badly and he was embarrassed about it.  Either way, he felt he had to talk loudly and defend the fact that his mother was just “dissed” even if he understood how the mistake could have happened. 

By this time, a few of my friends had arrived.  None were gang members or drug dealers, but they were well respected in the neighborhood for the work we did at the local community center, and Lil M knew this as well, yet he felt the need to press on with the verbal attack.  “That was my mom, homey.  That was my mom!”.  Lil M knew who I was and he knew my friends, so he was well aware where this all could lead to, but he pressed on “that was my mom, blood” he yelled.  My friends in turn began to ask about the situation.  I knew then I had to make a decision, I knew this could easily spiral out of hand.  I ran the initial words from my mouth that started the whole fracas through my mind and decided I did make a mistake and I did unknowingly embarrass Lil M.  To defuse the tension, I stepped in the direction of the approaching Lil M, I could see him  brace for my verbal retaliation.  I then hit him.  I just said “I apologize.”  He stopped in his tracks immediately.  I pressed, I said “I apologize for calling your mother a man.”  He stepped back, looking dismayed, it was almost the same effect as if I had hit him in the solar plexus.  He lowered his head, turned walked back got into his car and rode off.

This was one of those beautiful sunny Southern California days, that could have turned very ugly.  If I would have reacted to his verbal assault and launched my own assault things could have turned a very beautiful day into a very ugly one.  At this point I realized I had just done verbally, the forms I had been physically practicing.  I knew at that moment I could verbally ward off, verbally roll back, verbally press and verbally uproot someone.

Whatever form of martial art you may practice, there is a way to verbally put into use the physical forms you practice.  Try and always keep your cool, learn to act rather than to react to verbal situations, that may get out out hand and seize the opportunity to ward off verbal attacks.

Good Character; Essential ingredient of Tai Chi

Equal Treatment

In our zeal to delve into the practice and playing of Tai Chi we often work diligently at learning forms, finding tensions in our bodies and relaxing them, rooting, sinking, concentrating on gather energy into the body, into the lower tan tien, we may not be studying much of the essence, the heart of Tai Chi Chuan.

Tai Chi Chuan is interpreted as Supreme Ultimate Fist (Force).  While working towards this goal we are performing a physical act of a truly cosmological experience.  One such experience, is searching for balance.  Balance between the self (true inner self) and the world.  The delicate, but continual balance is built on the foundation of building Good Character.

Good Character can take the form of making correct choices.  Choices that may have to be made during times of extreme stress or in the face of personal weaknesses, choices that work for the Greater Good. Choices for the uplift of yourself, of your family and of your community.  Good Character is often overlooked as an essential ingredient in becoming adept in Tai Chuan.  I’ll leave you with a little medicine.

The Eight Fold Path

Right Understanding

Right Thought

Right Speech

Right Action

Right Livelihood

Right Effort

Right Mindfulness

Right Concentration

The Eight Fold Path