Your environment echoes your mind

 How you live is a reflection of how you think.

 If your house is littered with junk, messy and cluttered, then ask yourself what inspired this.
 If your home is a showcase for metal, glass, plastic and gadgetry, then it will be most evident to other people.
 You cannot hide who you are.

 A quiet, reflective, disciplined mind requires a living environment that encourages calm.
 Soft colours, warm fabrics and wood.
 Unpretentious, modest, relaxed and comfortable.



Sports can be significantly more expensive than martial arts training. And sometimes cheaper too.

How much does the clothing cost?
Gym membership?
A season ticket?

As with all things, the cost of something is relative to what you think is appropriate and what you are prepared/willing to pay...



Arrogant students may seek to jump ahead and bypass certain stages of learning.
This is the outcome of naivety.
Lacking an understanding of what is to come, how can they conceivably gauge what is important, and what is not?

In order to advance through the syllabus, some degree of quality must be demonstrated.


Combat experts

Miyamoto Musasahi and Sun Tzu encouraged the martial artist to be smart.
If you can avoid conflict, then do so.

Looking tough or acting macho only serves to attract attention, and not all attention is good.


Why learn a martial art?

Martial arts training has the potential to make you fit, agile and strong.
It is often a lot of fun.
Students typically become self-disciplined, patient and calm.

And, you become increasingly seasoned to combat. 
Whilst this does nor guarantee success against a real life assailant, it does mean that you have the reflexes and the awareness to handle adversity in whatever form it takes.

This may not be what the on-screen action heroes tell you... but remember: they are not real people. They are fictional characters.
Do not get confused.


Actors and martial artists

Some actors are just actors, whereas some actors are also competent martial artists.
It is easy to tell them apart.
The actors are slow and clumsy whereas the martial artists look casual and confident.

In order to perform any martial art skilfully, considerable ongoing training is necessary.
If somebody on-screen makes it look easy, allow for the fact that they have probably invested a lot of time practicing the movements and rehearsing the scene.

No matter what level of skill is being shown, it is still pretend.


Damaged goods

Not everyone who joins a martial arts class is well-adjusted.
Many new starters have a 'chip on their shoulder'.
Some people have their own agenda.

Students frequently want something for nothing, and resent being asked to work for the skills.

Martial arts classes are designed to temper the ego and quash arrogance.
A student must learn patience and humility, respect and consideration.
Invariably, this means not getting your own way.



 I love the website - nicely set out and excellent information.




Confrontation occurs in many forms and can be very stressful. It is important to handle yourself in a constructive, calm manner.
Learn to be aware of risk and danger.
Evaluate situations.
Be cautious and alert, attentive and present.

You can be switched-on without being macho, defensive or paranoid.


On-screen combat

Many TV series and movies feature characters that are regularly engaged in combat.
Without any hesitation, people leap into action, delivering powerful, effective, accurate blows.
There is often no real sign of injury afterwards.

Size, strength, physics and even choice of target plays little part in on-screen combat.
Apparently, you can be scrawny, small, weak, possess no combat experience or training and yet still prove victorious every time.



One person may earnestly seek something.
Another person may provide what it is that is being sought.
But is it for real?

The world is filled with theme parks, reproductions and re-creations.
Yet, these things are not real.
They serve one purpose: to make money. Yes, it is as cynical as that.

How many fast-track tai chi courses exist in the world today?
Are there any short-cuts?



Unless you keep your mind on what you are doing, there will be no groundpath.

Instead of overly relying on musculature or extended framework, you need to cultivate presence.
The here and now.
Your intention will direct the path.
Peng is accomplished by 'feeling out' with your mind and body - not by stretching or tensing-up.


Baguazhang: internal skill

Baguazhang assumes competence with internal body mechanics and principles, and offers you more challenging ones.

To gain a foundation level of internal skill it is necessary to make as much headway as you can with the tai chi syllabus.
This will make the baguazhang easier to learn.

But do not be confused; tai chi and baguazhang may share many underlying concerns, but these are expressed quite differently.