Thursday, February 25, 2010

A 7 years old saved a life

Sima Guang (司馬光) (1019-1086) was a Chinese historian, scholar, and high chancellor of the Song Dynasty. When he was seven years old, he and few other neighbor kids were playing in the backyard. There was a big round fish tank. There was a kid climbing on the tank to play along, accidentally fell into tank. The tank was very tall. Other children didn’t know what to do. They were frightened, crying, or ran outside to find adults for help. Sima Guang quickly picked up a large stone from the ground, thrown to the tank’s body. It smashed a big hole on the tank body, Water came out and the kid had drowned in the water was saved by him.

Some of us are beginners of Tai Chi. We might be only seven years old in Tai Chi years or even less. How can Sima Guang view this incident in a different angle than other kids did? Can we view our Tai Chi in a different angle, think differently, and find a unique way for ourselves? That’s a lot to think about.

Copyright Huan's Tai Chi 2010

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Cardinal body part to relax for Tai Chi and your life

I have mentioned the 17 body parts we need to relax in my article “Relax your body, Understand 8 Sections and 9 Joints”. Now I would like to talk about which body part is the most important part that needs to relax. It is not your shoulders or elbows, it is the waist.

In Chinese martial arts, we say,
“Energy comes from your feet, it is controlled by the waist, and moves out to the limbs”,
“The Qi is your wheel; and the waist is your axle.”
“If there is sickness (imperfection in Tai Chi), it can be found on your waist and legs”

Relaxing your waist is the key to improving your Tai Chi. Relaxing the waist can help you sink your Qi to Dan Tian (Red Field acupuncture point). Relaxing your waist makes your movements fluid and steady. By relaxing the waist you can more easily define solid and empty, the Ying and Yang. A relaxed waist truly connects your upper and lower body.

Since relaxing the waist is so important, how do we do it? There are many different ways to relax your waist. One of the most common ways is to stand like a post (Zhan Zhuang, 站桩). It will not only help you relax your waist, but it will also strengthen your legs as well as your internal energy.

I have taught many post stances in my class. The easiest one to do is the Preparing Stance. In Tai Chi, we call it Wu Chi post. It takes 30 minutes for the blood to circulate through the body, and that is why you can stand in this posture for 30 minutes every day or until your legs feel warm. You will feel some difference after 100 days if you have the right stance. That’s why we say in Chinese “100 days to build your foundation”.

Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More habits- Confucius’s Healthy Eating Wisdom

You are here. You might as well read the post 8 habits- Confucius’s Healthy Eating Wisdom. Well, Confucius has more than 8 eating habits in his life. I have found few more in his writing to share with you.

One is concerning the food used for sacrifice in addition to leftovers. After a public sacrifice, he never kept the portion of meat he received over night. The meat he used for private sacrifices at home he never kept for more than three days;

This is difficult for many of us to do because we think we’re saving money by eating our leftovers. The fact is that it could actually cost us more money to see a doctor or go to the hospital if we had food poison. As for myself, I usually cook a meal with only the portion that I will eat that day. When I have leftovers from eating out, I refrigerated it immediately, and try to eat it by the following day. I don’t eat leftovers over 2 days and I don’t eat raw leftovers such as salad.

Another habit of Confucius was to always say grace before he ate, even for the most simplest of food. A famous Chinese poem says, “Working under the heat of the sun, sweat on the ground, who knows who has contributed to the rice in your plate, each piece is contribution and hard work.” Make sure to order wisely when in a restaurant. Don’t order too much at first. You can always order more if you are still hungry or have desert later.

Confucius also remarked, “A wise and good man, in matters of food, should never seek to indulge his appetite; in lodging, he should not be too solicitous of comfort. He should be diligent in business and careful in speech. He should seek for the company of men of virtue and learning, in order to profit by their lessons and example. In this way he may become a man of real culture.” This is some presidential speech; it’s inspiring but takes effort to do. It gives us thoughts that we shouldn’t only worry about our stomach but also the lives of others.

May his wisdom be with you.

Copyright By Huan's Tai Chi

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

New Level on Relaxation and a Healthier Life

Lao Tzu became older and once asked all his students come to see him. He opened his mouth and asked them.

“What you see from my mouth?”

No one knows what to answer.
Lao Tzu then said, “You can see I have no teeth left since I am older, but my tongue still remains. Why? Because my tongue is soft but teeth are hard.”

What Lao Tzu told us is that soft substance remains longer than hard ones. In order to remain a healthy and longer life, we need to soften our body.

In Tai Chi, we say. “Through relaxation, then you can archive softness. Use softness to form hardness. Softness and hardness then combines.”

In order to turn soften your body, you need to learn how to relax.
Start with

- Mind Relaxation
Empty your mind

- Basic Body Relaxation
Open your joints and acupuncture points

- Flexible Relaxation
Such as, you use stretch exercise to flex your joints. Doing warm up exercise to stretch all parts of your body before you doing Tai Chi. ( I will put couple post on this in the future)

- Relaxation with Movements

Still remain relaxed while moving or in contact with others.

Once you can move with relaxation, then you can gradually archive softness. Once you can reach the top level of softness, then you can form hardness.

This hardness doesn’t mean your movements are hard. It means when you apply as a martial arts move on people, such as hit some one with your soft movement. They could feel very hard on them. ( For Example: a strong wave hits on your face while you are surfing, it has soft move but it feels hard on you). Once your softness and hardness, Ying and Yang combined together, then you reached the next level of Tai Chi or the next stage of relaxation.

Copyright by Huan's Tai Chi 2010