5 missing pieces

Many taijiquan classes lack 5 important elements necessary in order for taijiquan to function as a martial art:
  1. Neigong (whole-body strength)
  2. Martial concepts (what combat constitutes and how to do it effectively)
  3. Chin na (the art of seizing)
  4. Shuai jiao (take downs)
  5. Jing (whole-body power)
Without these 5 components, taijiquan is lacking something and may not work in combat.


the world beyond?

so many movies and tv series address the theme of there being another reality just beyond the reach of 'ordinary' folk
films ranging from the harry potter series to the last witchhunter or constantine or the matrix all tease the existence of something more

it is a very common theme
the yearning for something beyond the mundane
a sense that there is more to life than work a house a family holidays a pension a dog and then death

people occasionally have a 'mid-life crisis' - a reaction to the perceived limitations of the life they have carefully crafted or accepted
others indulge in fantasy beliefs - unicorns and auras - chakras and qi

but this yearning is founded on a truth
there is more than your job your house your possessions
it is not to be found in shangri-la or a monastery or a fairy dell

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)

taoism and zen are about seeing the actuality of life
the really real
this is not some make believe world where hogwarts exists but rather the actual world that we are encouraged not to notice

why are we blinded?
a distracted person is anxious greedy confrontational and competitive
they spend money and accumulate
they buy insurance and indulge in one-upmanship

meditation is about rooting your consciousness in the immediate
in the moment
and seeing rather than looking

often taijiquan students are amazed by what they find themselves able to do
by simple biomechanical insights and skills
how a slight adjustment can significantly increase or drain power

lao tzu even wrote a book about it
as did chuang tzu and so many others

taijiquan is about discovering the is-ness of reality
and using it to your advantage
in everyday life and in combat

the journey is a fascinating one
and as lao tzu pointed out - you don't need to go to china to find reality - because it is already right in front of you

"welcome to the real world neo"


Other definitions

Temper is more than just anger. It has other definitions:
  1. Improve the hardness and elasticity of steel by reheating and then cooling it
  2. Serve as a neutralizing or counterbalancing force
  3. Tune a piano so as to adjust the note intervals correctly
Consider what these words indicate.



If you have lost your temper, what is it you have lost?Balance.

Emotions are the biochemical reactions experienced by your body in response to stimuli.
In order to re-gain your temper, you need to let these bodily chemicals settle.

The main thing to do is to stop. Do not perpetuate your loss of temper.
Negative emotions have a harmful effect upon the body and can lead to long-term physiological and psychological damage.


Working with others in class

If you cannot maintain emotional balance when working with other people, you become a liability.
In martial arts training, you may be roughed-up, struck or thrown to the floor.
These events can cause alarm.
Even so, the student must retain composure.

Losing your temper when practicing vigorous partner work with other people means that you no longer have your partner's welfare in mind.
You are thinking only about yourself.
This makes you clumsy, careless and potentially reckless.


Calm down

If you need to be by yourself for a little while, and cool down, then go somewhere quiet.
But avoid brooding.
Instead of festering and stewing, blaming and raging... be more constructive.

Why are you acting like this?
What is it that annoyed you so much?
Are you possibly over-reacting?
Could you be the one who is at fault?
Is it worth fighting about?



Seeking to win and one-up another person can set you down a path that leads only to destruction.
Things will not and cannot always go your way.
It may be wiser to seek common ground.

'Give and take' is a healthy, adult approach.
Cooperation is far healthier than conflict.
Aim to work together.
Work with the other person, not against them.



In martial arts practice, it is necessary for a student to remain composed at all times.
The maxim is simple: master self before attempting to master others.
Self defence practice trains the individual to cope with stress and danger. To keep a cool head.


Morning song

Love set you going like a fat gold watch.
 The midwife slapped your footsoles, and your bald cry
 Took its place among the elements.

 Our voices echo, magnifying your arrival. New statue.
 In a drafty museum, your nakedness
 Shadows our safety. We stand round blankly as walls.

 I'm no more your mother
 Than the cloud that distils a mirror to reflect its own slow
 Effacement at the wind's hand.

All night your moth-breath
 Flickers among the flat pink roses. I wake to listen:
 A far sea moves in my ear.

 One cry, and I stumble from bed, cow-heavy and floral
 In my Victorian nightgown.
 Your mouth opens clean as a cat's. The window square
 Whitens and swallows its dull stars. And now you try
 Your handful of notes;
 The clear vowels rise like balloons.

 (Sylvia Plath)

Do not brood

Brooding is very unhealthy.
It perpetuates your loss of temper and can lead to an unpleasant outburst at a later time.
You could over-react to a minor irritation.
You may be snappy or curt, off-hand or abrupt.

The thing to remember about brooding is that other people can see that you are brooding.
The surliness is not a secret.

It is far healthier to talk about whatever is troubling you.
Attempt to broach the subject gently and tactfully, without sounding opinionated, defensive or judgemental.
Seek to convey your feelings rationally.


Does tai chi involve physical contact?

Yes it does.

Tai chi students explore qigong, form and partner work.
Qigong and form are solo training methods. Partner work involves training with other students.

Physical contact is necessary
in order to receive feedback (tense/relaxed/connected etc) and to practice the tai chi skills.

Some tai chi schools may offer non-contact classes but we do not.


A disagreement can be a good thing.
It can lead to the airing of an issue. 

Hearing both sides - different perspectives - can be healthy and beneficial.
It can lead to a greater understanding and perhaps a resolution.

Be open-minded.
Putting yourself in the other person's shoes may help you to recognise that your own actions may not have been ideal.