tai chi chuan

Scientist have evaluated humans and explained that some of our senses have been diminished by depending more heavily on another.  For instance, the sense of smell, although functional, has been diminished by our dependence on our sense of sight.  As we place more emphasis on our ability to see things around us, we have come to depend less on our sense of smell.  I was downtown on my daily commute and observed a young woman who was legally blind.  She exited the escalator from the train station with her cane and turned to her left then went down the block to her destination.  I wondered how much more she depended not only on her sense of hearing but, how much more has her sense of smell increased. 

These thoughts enticed me to wonder how our dependence on electronic digital technology diminishes our ability to use the power of our minds.  Our dependence on these electronic devices have surely eroded our ability to memorize things as we may once have.  The media have expose this phenomenon as “digital amnesia”.  But, how much more are we not retaining?  What appears to be worse, is our ability to critically analyze information being directed at us.  Increasingly people are becoming less and less attentive in this digital world.  Another study pronounced humans to have an attention span of less than eight seconds.  Apparently, goldfish have a greater attention span than people.

Of course there are always exceptions to these rules.  Not all people are falling prey to this electronic digital de-evolution of the mind.  There are people who take advantage of today’s electronic digital technology while allowing the mind to continue to flourish.  This group of people continue to exercise mind power but the few that do are being totally over shadowed by the greater majority that do not.  There is, however, a coming divide between those that rely on the ability of their own minds versus those who depend heavily on the technology to guide them.



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?


All to often there’s some new and quirky product coming onto the market appealing to a particular demographics senses.  The health and wellness industry has fashioned our thinking into searching out products that are “organic” or “natural” to somehow improve something or other we humans perceive as a flaw.  Correcting this flaw naturally is the appeal as opposed to unnatural whatever that may be.

Avon recently introduced a product line they call Avon Elements.  Avon, seems to go out of its way to show how you can improve your skin by using their “natural” based product line.   Avon Elements Moisture Boost Daily Moisture Lotion is made with Sea Oak.  Immediately, I thought to myself that this is some ish they made up.  Sea Oak???  I thought this is another product being made with something that is supposed to be natural from an “element” that is natural that no one has ever heard of before.  So, of course to Google I go.  I typed in Sea Oak, and noting of value came up.  Sea Oak.  Really?  After a bit more searching I finally located something on what turns our to be actually something many of us know of if you have ever done any reading and research on herbs and natural healing..

After a bit more searching I in fact found that Sea Oak was actually a sea plant.  Fucus Vesiculosus, or Sea Oak is commonly known as Bladderwrack.  Bladderwrack is found in the North and Baltic Seas.  The Atlantic and Pacific oceans.  I suppose this means it’s not found in the Indian, Arctic Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico or the Mediterranean.  However, there are several minerals in Bladderwrack, but the over whelming mineral is iodine.  But, iodine working in the body is great for thyroid function, but I wondered how Bladderwrack was good for the skin.

Living Strong writes that Bladderwrack (Avon calls it Sea Oak) powder “…is filled with minerals that help nourish and cleanse the skin of toxins that cause dryness, wrinkles and excess fluid retention…”  Seems Avon has in hit upon something natural that is good for the body that comes from the Earth, her seas and oceans that will help make you look rested and healthier.  This however, should be used along with a proper liveit as opposed to diet to bring out the best in your natural beauty within.  Always augment the use of any external products with proper amounts of water and fresh live fruits and veggies.




Viet Nam was a far away land that most in the States had never heard of before.  In the 1960’s the world was huge, no internet or cable to link us.  The fortunate among us that could travel the world at that time could see what the rest of could not see.  In his April 4th, 1967 speech Beyond Viet Nam made at Riverside church in New York City, Rev. Dr. King broke with many in his camp and outside of his camp.  Dr. King in his speech says that he was queried by his people “Why are you speaking about the war, Dr. King? Why are you joining the voices of dissent?” “Peace and civil rights don’t mix,” they say. “Aren’t you hurting the cause of your people?”  Dr. King could read the signs that others could not (or did not want to for their own agenda) and as he says “Indeed, their questions suggest that they do not know the world in which they live.”

Clearly, the people could not read the signs.  Clearly, the people did not understand that our struggles of that time were interconnected to the struggles of others the world over.   Today we are at this same crossroads and such the same mental delimna still exists.  That old and visible enemy of racism is still with us, but now racism/white supremacy are revealed as  only one of many in this theater of war against the people.  The landscape has changed and now our bodies are on the line.  Putting you right back into slavery.  Today we face off with the industries of death, the food and wellness industries.

The difficult task of attempting to awaken people from the slumber of chasing down racism/white supremacy is that these two creatures are obvious to those that know and understand what they are seeing, but the enemy that is first and foremost is cloaked behind your own tastes and wants.  The industries of disease (medical practice/big pharma), wellness (diet industries) and death (biochemical/agricultural/insurance) have been exposed as they major chronic enemy of human life.   The focus on racism/white supremacy keeps one deluded and facing away from the real enemy of the people.  If I could imagine that  Dr. King and El Hajj Malik El Shabazz were alive today, I believe they would understand that the demons of racism/white supremacy are only little players in the denigration of our lives.  They demonstrated their understanding of a changing battle field and would adapt and teach the people how to overcome our current state.


When I first heard Bob Marley singing “Life is one big road with lots of signs…” I was young and only of the impression that he was being poetic.  It never occurred to me he was giving a lesson.  When I was growing up most entertainers were eight to ten years older then me unlike today it appears most musical entertainers are chronological peers of their audience.  But, Bob Marley was teaching.

Life is one big road with lots of signs.  I wonder though, as to how many of us can read them or understand the signs set before us.  We live in an age that requires that we evolve, else we will stagnate and perish.   During the Civil Rights era we were faced with a visible and common enemy.  Out right and blatant racism.  Old customs hung over from the Jim Crow era folding into a coming age.  The age of television sounded the death knell of the time of Jim Crow.  Television offered scenes of brutality to the world, showing America eating her own.  These were the images spread around the world.  Jim Crow had to go.  America could not afford to be the leader of the free world with images of black bodies being destroyed spreading across the globe.

The world was changing.  A shift had taken place and our vaunted black leaders of the time Malcolm Shabazz and Dr. Martin Luther King, also shifted and rotated with the cycle.  By 1964 brotha Malcolm had come to see it was not racism that was the actual enemy of black people in the States and black people world wide, but something bigger appeared to be the problem.  As he had sat with men of every color in peace and harmony during the time he had made the hajj and becoming El Hajj Malik El Shabazz. It seems he came to know that it was the lack of unity rather than racism that was a real culprit.

The lack of a unified force, an international black unified force, that was our problem.  If Afro Americans could organize and link with black people of other American nations, then an international force would be a force to recon with and could be mounted against the U.S. government starting in the U.N.  Black people in the States could use that force to enter into the political system and run our neighborhoods and communities ourselves using the political system already in place.  Thus he founded the Organization of African American Unity the OAAU, modeled after the Organization of African Unity.  However,  it was the hubris of the white man in the States that held racial hatred rather than the white world at large as he had come to realize.  Mr. Shabazz rightly held that he would defend himself against white hatred, but he understood what the ailment truly was that held us back.

By 1967 brother Rev.  Dr. King had come to see that something else greater than racism was at play in our collective .  Rev. Dr King also had the opportunity to travel the world, spending much of his time on the island of Jamaica to contemplate and to write.  During these times of sitting still and analyzing the war in Viet Nam, Dr. King began to see there was a something deeper was at play  and not simply racism…

To be continued…

Lindsey Williams Is Right On

This blog site is about balance.  One of the goals of Tai Chi Chuan, is balance.  But, since Tai Chi has come westward it has lost a very serious element, or more accurately a vital element is being ignored.  The element of combat.  Tai Chi is a martial art, a war art.  And at this time we are at war.  We may not feel as though we are at war, but war is being made upon us.  It is subtle and vicious at the same time.  The subtlety may be the reason it does not feel like war.  We are engaged in a battle of our senses.

We are living in a time of sensory suppression and for that reason we ignore what is happening around us.  We understand that we are living in a global society, yet we can only see our little fish bowl of a world all the while the ocean of a world is swirling around us.  Back in the fall of 2011 I was listening to one of my favorite blog talk radio programs Center Stage (where is Kheri Hines???) and her guest was Lindsey Williams, a man who claims to reveal information given to him by the “elites”, a term he chooses.  He speaks of the elites as people who can “spend a millions a day and still never go broke…”  On this particular program Mr. Lindsey is invited back to bring an update from the elites.  During the program Mr. Lindsey says plainly that Greece will become so in debt that they will leave the Euro as currency.  And that this was the plan of the elites to take control of the country.   This was October 28th, 2011.

As I listened, intently of course, I really only gave his remark a mental note, but didn’t take it to heart as so many predictions are given about so many things, especially coming to the close of a year.   I thought to myself, “self make a mental note, but move on” of course I did this and continued to listen.  Well this week Greece fell back into recession, and this time the government is announcing the country is considering going into a new currency the new drachma.  Of course I about passed out when I read the article about this.  My mind immediately returned to Mr. Lindsay’s prediction and felt such a heavy feeling of melancholy.  I suppose, I felt so low because he also addresses the state of the U.S. dollar.

“By December 2012 the U.S. dollar will be dead, not gone but dead.”  These were the words of Mr. Lindsey that day.  The dollar will be dead.  We are witnessing the death of the U.S. Federal Reserve note.  Each time you see prices go up is an indication that the dollar is going down.  It is becoming worth less.  You have to spend more of them for the same thing.  You see, I can remember a time when a Snicker candy bar cost a dime.  Yep, a dime.  I went into the store just yesterday and saw the price of this same candy bar was $1.29.  I can remember gasoline costing $.35 cents per gallon.  This was a time when we would go to the gas station and my father would tell the attendant (self-serve didn’t exist at that time) to give some many gallons worth of Good Gulf.  Now, we have pump ourselves and put in so many dollars worth.  As we watch Greece and Spain, we are living in the presence of our own future.

I am still skeptical of predictions, yet I keep a wary eye out, more so since Greece is considering moving to the new drachma.  This will cause the people to lose any value of the currency they hold and debts they may have including the government may double.  And in the event Mr. Lindsey is correct about the dollar dying, we could certainly go the way of Greece and the U.S. could pick up the Amero the new currency  right here in the good ole U. S. of A.  We have to be aware of these things.  We have to do what we can to prepare.  With awareness, we can begin to prepare.  As I stated before this blog is about balance.  We rarely touch on such material subjects here, yet spirit and material must work in conjunction.  Our material world is on the opposing end of the spectrum of our spiritual world.  We are one.  In that condition, we can achieve balance and go into combat spiraling from the center out.  We are at war and war is combat.  Those of us that work Tai Chi Chuan understand that we are not one or the other, but both.

Martial Arts Cultivate Violence or Peace?

Not long ago I was involved in a conversation on martial arts and martial culture, it was a round table of sorts.  The conversation was sparked by of a video that was going around showing two young children in a MMA style fight in Britain.  Most people were outraged at the spectacle of eight and ten-year old children fighting in such a manner.  However, one participant in the conversation noted that it is important to teach children to protect and defend themselves and we all agreed.  Of course we were all  martial artistes of some variety and level.

During the conversation I noted that martial culture does not promote violence, but in fact promotes peace.  This was met by a mixed bag of responses, splitting almost evenly between those that agreed with my stance and those that did not.  The strongest opposition came from one participant who stated that martial arts are entirely about violence and death.  That the purpose of the martial arts is based on combat, war and must essentially be rooted in violence.  Thus, martial arts cultivate violence.

Violence of course it what is produced, at the end of the day in the world of martial arts, but it is not violence that martial arts cultivate.  To cultivate something is to perpetuate it’s growth, to foster it’s expansion.   Growing violence is not the Way of martial arts.  It is a way of cultivating beauty and unfolding of the human spirit.  Martial arts cultivate a discipline within those of us that practice any form of the martial arts that expands beyond the ending result of the damage our hands and feet may bring.

The martial Way teaches us to understand the beauty of our bodies, minds and to admire the beauty around us.  The Way is a beauteous path to understanding the world around us and how each plant, animal or geological formation is a part of us and that we are only a tiny part of the whole.  Sifu Roberto Sharpe of New York said that his teacher told him that by learning the martial arts he has become useful to society.

However, in the end, should the necessity to utilize our skill in the form of combat, the Way teaches us that it is the peaceful mind that will prevail.  It is the calm and stilled mind that will bring about a successful ending to a combative experience.  The Way of martial arts is to to cultivate the peaceful mind.  A mind full of peace.