Christmas - the media spectacle

Christmas is a marketing triumph.

The inane catchy jingles played constantly, the lights and the decorations, the kitsch, the sentimentality and nostalgia, the peer pressure, the overindulgence...

People willingly spend money they do not have on things they do not need.
They do this for no reason whatsoever. 



Your wage is represented as a number. You deduct various other numbers from your wage and the figure diminishes.
It is quite easy to look at your bank statement and see £40 deducted here and £300 deducted there.
If you were to actually hand over the money physically, you may see the situation differently.

Counting out £300 in cash is altogether different from seeing a figure on a credit card bill.


Re-discover Christmas #2

In the 1970's Peter McNally (the local Scout leader) used to take large gangs of children and adults around the village on Christmas morning.
He'd found out which old people were alone and had no family. He'd filled shoe boxes with presents and asked people to sign cards.

Then he took everyone to visit each and every lonely old person. We would all stand and sing outside their houses.
The expressions on the faces of the old people said it all.



Treat someone well. Really help them out. Make them have hope again.

But do not stick around for thanks. Leave the person wondering why you did it but grateful that you did.
Smile and walk away.


Promoting unwanted tension

If you bring a horizontal wrist in front of the chest, whether facing out, up or down... you will feel immediate tension in the shoulders, chest and back.
The arm muscles will also tighten.

Students who lack good body awareness and physical sensitivity seldom realise that their faulty hand position is making their upper body tense.

Look at the human skeleton: the arms hang at the sides of the body.
Bringing your hand to the front occurs by bending the elbow joint and rotating using the radius bone.
The wrist is vertical/diagonal and the action is linked to the waist, taking place on the horizontal plane.

The horizontal wrist position must be explored thoroughly in order to find and maintain peng, and avoid tension.


The danger with abstraction is that it blinds you to the dangers of over-spending.
You are seduced into spending money you do not have.

This process is not an accident.

It has been cynically planned and implemented by financiers of various kinds.
Everyone wants a piece of the action.
You are the 'mark'.
These massive companies want a piece of your money.

Through your carelessness, and the process of abstraction, you have been distanced from the reality of your finances.

When your house is re-possessed, you realise that numerical abstraction may have hidden the reality from you - but reality cannot be ignored.

Crippling debt is the outcome of confusing the menu with the food.



  Advanced level taijiquan self defence skills are not remotely showy. They are impossibly understated.
 The attacker is felled without any real sense of what happened.
 They may not even recall being touched at all. But they were touched. They simply did not notice.

 This is not magic. But it looks like it.


Make sure that you have fun. 
Be inspired by what you encounter in class, surprised by the physics and the applications.
But do not take yourself too seriously.

If you can have fun, learning is easy.
Play with the art but do not struggle with it.
You are where you are and you are as good as you are.
If your ambitions demand more of you, then practice more often, but keep it relaxed.

The way

In Japan, martial arts are classified as being either 'jutsu' or 'do'.
Jutsu means 'science' or 'method'. A jutsu class teaches technical skills, techniques and combat.
'Do' means 'the way' and refers to the study of tao. A 'do' class teaches refinement of character.

Chinese internal arts address both 'do' and 'jutsu' as part of the curriculum.
The material is just too dangerous to be taught to students who have not worked to rid themselves of negative emotions, pettiness and hang-ups.

The instructor is responsible for the process of refinement.



Taoism is filled with stories featuring wise people who are referred to as a 'sage'.
But what is wisdom?
Wisdom is not the same as knowledge.

It reaches beyond the information to see inner qualities and relationships that are not immediately apparent.
It is synonymous with awareness and care, with insight and consideration.

Knowledge alone is dangerous.
It must be tempered with good sense, morality and prudence.