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?

A Union Of Opposites?

When I first began working Tai Chi Chuan, the first book I read spoke of a union of opposites as expressed in the Yin with Yang symbol.  It also gave me a clearer understanding of the meaning of mind over matter, explaining that the better interpretation would be the mind with matter.  The mind and body are not really in opposition to one another other as I had learned in church.  No, the mind worked with the body.  And, I actually began to see our society is most often looking for  oppositon, looking for the difference.  How often have we looked for the sameness in something? 

Tai Chi Chuan began to accompany me every where I went.  Followed me into relationships, into other sports activities, and even conversations.   Still,  it invaded my thinking when I studied the bible, or other “holy” books.  I could understand certain things with a new clarity.  With greater clarity now, I could understand the depths of teachings such as “If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink: For thou shalt heap coals of fire upon his head…”  (Proverbs Chapt 25 verse 21-22) I was able to see a union of opposites at work in this teaching.

The same thoughts entered my mind as I listened to Wael Ghonim, a marketing manager of Google for the Middle East.  What stood out to me most, was what Mr. Ghonim said about his arrest and detainment during the revolution.  He was handcuffed, and blind folded for twelve days.  He was asked if he was hit and he said he was.  That it was not the police that hit him, but the soldiers that hit him.  He said he understood them, in that these are simple, uneducated people and he understood they believed he was harming the country.   Ghonim said “he’s hitting me because he thinks he’s the good guy not that he is the bad guy.”  He said, at the end of 12 days, he removed the blind fold, hugged and kissed each soldier.  Ghonim said “I wanted to send a them a message you know…”

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.

Georgia Sunday Afternoon SupremeUltimate Boxing #22: The Dragon

Tai Chi is consuming me.  Waking up every morning around four o”clock to play Tai Chi is giving me a new and fresh feeling daily.  Lately, it’s dragon that is taking my concentration.  She is very whimsical and flight of foot.  She sends me to work every day feeling as if I could fly, yet remain so grounded, rooted if  you will, as I take each step up the train platform steps to my daily ride to work.  She has not let me down and she is guiding me.  I can feel the snake coming on behind her.  I feel their presence approaching, I must not resist.  I will soften and yield, and absorb.  I needed to post this video in commemoration of my time spent with the dragon.

On Tai Chi and Ecstacy

There have been many discussions surrounding the spiritual nature of Yoga or Tai Chi and the possible conflicts with certain religious beliefs.  Of course, many were able to conclude that they could practice Yoga or Tai Chi purely for the physical benefits without interfering with their religious beliefs.  But, I have wondered if one can fully engage these practices without overlapping into what I will call the consciousness of these forms. 

Breath and it’s circulation is a primary function of Tai Chi.  How, breath can be made to permeate the bones even, to strengthen the sinews and “wash” the marrow.  However, the breath is an important function in reaching altered states of consciousness in various religious practices around the world and was even expressed in the bible when Jesus blew breath on his disciples.   Reaching these levels of altered states of consciousness takes one into ecstacy.

Ecstacy, meaning the trance, frenzy or rapture associated with mystic or prophetic exaltation.  If one continues to fully practice Tai Chi or Yoga, will they not eventually reach this state of consciouness?  Can one study these forms without ever reaching this level?  Maybe they can, since intent has a lot to do with where one will reach.  However, I suspect those that intend to remain in their religious belief that conflict (they believe conflict as I can see not conflict) with Yoga or Tai Chi forms will eventually quit the practice to avoid reaching ecstatic states of mind, at least through these forms.    I found this video showing Li Mu Bai, the character in the film Hidden Dragon Crouching Tiger, training and noticing that he appears to be in a perfect state of ecstacy while training.  

New Technology vs Old Techonolgy

My daughters and their friends were having a conversation that began when daughter KD said “I hate Dreamweaver!!!” Daughter M responded with “huh?” Friend L said “didn’t Chris Rock just make a movie about that???” But, KD sharply retorted “I’m working on my website silly.” Friend R then said, “yeah KD, I know what you’re talking about because we are masters of technology.” Humph, I thought. Technology is certainly the order of the day, but, technology as we understand it seems to be restricted to machines, their programs and their functions.


Machines created by human beings have now somehow become revered or at least believed, on a certain level to be more remarkable or powerful than its human creators. How have we come to this? The creation is greater than the creator? Our creations are merely extensions of our own minds and bodies. When I was studying the external forms for Kung fu, my teacher taught us, during weapons training, that the weapon should be viewed as an extension of our own appendage. So, if you were working with a dagger, sword, saber or a staff it was taught that the weapon is basically assimilated to us, not us to the weapon. Today, we are allowing ourselves to be assimilated by the creation.

Our masters of technology, master the inner workings of the creation but, rarely give thought to the notion that the body, the human body, is a creation to be mastered or brought into a type of stasis where the mind and body function at their highest peak together. Not, just the ability master certain athletic achievements like running a marathon or hitting a homerun. But, the ability to maintain a certain level of mindfulness, suppleness, and non rigidity in movement along with breath and meditation. This is a kind of mental/physical technology that is indeed being widely overlooked.

I would certainly love to hear a conversation about the ability to master ones breath or mind to hold meditation during tempestuous times. I would love to hear the masters of technology discussing the benefits of softness and flexibility in the body and how they have learned to become soft and flexible of mind and able overcome physical obstacles from the flexibility of their minds. Yes KD and R are masters of technology but, of only half of what technology really is.

What is the Supreme Ultimate?

This s a question that’s ages old, as old as the oldest human fossil on Earth.  I suppose then, The Supreme Ultimate is ageless.  Without age or time.  The Great Ridgepole.  Indeterminate, as described by Chou Tun-i.  Maybe working so hard to describe the indescribable could be in itself a futile act.  There are somethings that cannot be described, cannot be bound to a word or words.  Somethings have to be experienced, felt from within.  I have read many thesis’ that attempt to explain the Supreme Ultimate.  I love reading them, they seem to touch on the truths we all understand from our own experiences, mostly while playing Tai Chi.  But, as I read these explainations I know there is so much more that cannot be put into words.  Maybe the Supreme Ultimate is never to be fully explained in words?   How can one explain what is in itself inexplicable, but at the same time potentially explains all?

Its Medicine to me

Tai Chi Chuan is medicine to me. It’s as if I were given a prescription for an illness of some type and now the illness is gone, but I am somehow addicted to the medication. I have never been addicted to any substance, so my knowledge of what it really means to live through such an experience is truly limited to my imagination. But, the Tai Chi drug is not something to be shaken off easily if that were the goal. I couldn’t imagine living without my medication. I really don’t think its possible for me at this stage. I mean , my mind will practice even if I could not move a limb.