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  1. I will keep the introduction short, as my challenge will once again be a continuation of the last challenge. The pattern is really working for me, so I intend to keep it, with only minor changes along the way. Primary Section - Taijiquan and Qigong 1. Continue taiji and qigong as a daily habit. The plan is to take some time each day to practice taiji and qigong. 20 - 30 minutes of practice would be ideal, but I will make compromises with my other priorities in life as needed. Break it up throughout the day, as needed, whatever it takes. Make the opportunity. 2. Continue to refine my taiji/ qigong skills. This means taking in information wherever possible, from classes, seminars, videos, books, etc. I am currently taking a one-per-week class on the Yang style long form of taiji, which will continue through the end of February. I also intend to keep reading my taiji books 1 - 2 times per week, and incorporate the information into my daily practice. Secondary Section - Meditation and Body Weight Training 1. Daily meditation. I've been doing this for a year now. It is an indispensable source of relaxation and self-care. Any amount of daily meditation will suffice, but I am striving to meditate for at least twelve minutes each day. I will continue to focus on maintaining the proper seated posture when I meditate. This has greatly relieved lower back pain. 2. Body weight exercises and yoga. I will do this three times per week (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). Body weight training focuses mainly on pull-ups and dips, using the "grease the groove" approach, where I do several sets of low reps spread out over a day. I generally do the yoga in the evening, or whenever I finish my last set of pull-ups and dips. This has been great training for upper-body and core strength. I am still using my Bullet Journal, though I have decided to drop the special page to catalog my challenge-related activities. I know the cute little graphics were popular here on NF, but I feel I've come to a point where the separate chart isn't necessary, as I track my progress in the daily logs anyway, and it's just become extra work. As Bruce Lee said, it's not the daily increase, but the daily decrease. Cut away what is not necessary. Thanks for reading.
  2. Good morning Druids. This is more-or-less a continuation of the same challenge I did last time (Journey to Wudang Shan). The routine worked so very well, that I want to continue on with it. There is still plenty to challenge me within the same routine. So let's get to it. Primary Section - Tai Chi and Qigong 1. Continue Tai Chi and Qigong as a daily habit. The plan is to take some time each day to practice Tai Chi and/ or Qigong, in some capacity. 20 - 30 minutes of practice would be ideal, but I will make compromises with my other priorities in life as needed. Break it up throughout the day, as needed, whatever it takes. Make the opportunity. 2. Continue to refine my Tai Chi/ Qigong skills. This means taking in information wherever possible, from classes, seminars, videos, books, etc. I have signed up for a Tai Chi class with Community Education, but this does not begin until February. In the meantime, I will continue to self-train, read books, watch videos, and take in whatever information and training is available. My focus at the moment is on the Tai Chi 24 Form, and Spring Forest Qigong. Secondary Section - Meditation and Body Weight Training 1. Daily meditation. I've been doing this for nearly a year now. It is an indispensable source of relaxation and self-care. 2. Body weight exercises and yoga. I will do this three times per week. Body weight training focuses mainly on pull-ups and dips, using the "grease the groove" approach, where I do several sets of low reps spread out over a day. I generally do the yoga in the evening, or whenever I finish my last set of pull-ups and dips. This has been great training for upper-body and core strength. Tertiary Section - Bullet Journal I will keep utilizing my bullet journal to keep track of my daily tasks and priorities.
  3. I've always been a fairly active person, but the last few years I've been getting more and more sedentary (despite Pokemon Go). I started getting back into working out this past week. I've been logging my progress over on my tumblr: http://liampboyle.tumblr.com/post/148705874765/so-this-was-last-weeks-exercise-summary-this http://liampboyle.tumblr.com/post/148738098010/training-log-10-august-2016 "Before" picture to show what I'm starting from http://liampboyle.tumblr.com/post/148787291900/training-log-11-august-2016 http://liampboyle.tumblr.com/post/148837454530/training-log-12-august-2016 So here's the current workout plan: Taiji CMC/ZMQ 37 posture form - 1 round to the 1st cross hands - 2:00 minutes. Stretching - 5:00 minutes. Strength Circuit Training 1st circuit Bodyweight Squats - 1:00 minute Pushups - 1:00 minute Lunges (forward) - 1:00 minute Plank - 30 seconds Sit-ups - 1:00 minute 2nd circuit Bodyweight Squats - 45 seconds Pushups - 45 seconds Lunges - 45 seconds Plank - 15 seconds Sit-ups - 45 seconds 3rd circuit Bodyweight Squats - 30 seconds Pushups - 30 seconds Lunges - 30 seconds Plank - 15 seconds Sit-ups - 30 seconds The goal is to do as many repetitions as possible in the alloted time while keeping proper form. I then went to Indian clubs. Wrist/Shoulder rotations - 1:00 min External arm rotations - 1:00 minute each arm Internal arm rotations - 1:00 minute each arm Front and back sideways swings - 1:00 minute Arm Cross Swings - 1:00 minute Front swings with twirl - 1:00 minute Front and Back swings - 1:00 minute Yoga - 15 minutes (for cool-down) This is going to be my standard M-W-F routine. Tuesdays and Thursdays it will just be taiji and yoga.
  4. Posture Variations in Tai Chi: (or "Just because it's not the same doesn't mean it's wrong.") *A bit of a disclaimer leading into this one: I'm a Yang stylist, and thus have a very minimal understanding of any stances used by Chen, Wu, or Sun practitioners. I would LOVE for someone who does one of these styles to chip in with any interesting information about how their styles are similar or different. One of the polarizing discussions in any martial art anywhere is on who's way is the "more right" way. Personally, I can see advantages and disadvantages to almost all of the forms that I've been blessed enough to have contact with, and spend a great deal of time trying to learn from people who do things differently than I do, as I'm very fond of taking the "middle road" when people fall into extremes on either side. That being said, I personally perform both the Chen Man-Ching 37 style Yang Short Form, and a more traditional Yang Long Form, similar to the one that Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming teaches. They are very different even when doing the same movements, and here's how I personally understand the differences. You are of course welcome to disagree with me, and in doing so if you learn some great truth that I don't seem to grasp, please share it. I'm always willing to learn more. Mainly, I'm looking to expound on differences that I personally have encountered and difficulties that have presented themselves as such. A touch of Tai Chi Chuan History: When discussing Yang style, a few recent developments are worth mentioning. The variations that are most common are actually all from a central point and why they're different is subject to some interpretation. Yang Cheng-fu (1883–1936), grandson of Yang Lu-chan, the originator of the Yang style of Tai-Chi Chuan taught Cheng Man-ch’ing (1902–1975) before his coming to the United States. Professor Cheng shortened the form and made some changes as he felt that the amount of time to get into the "deeper principals" of tai chi might prove useful. Essentially, as I understand it, he wanted to save time on learning steps to get into the deeper theory of how to apply them. Professor Cheng outright removed many postures from the original long form, and has some insubstantial variations in the naming convention used by Yang Cheng-fu and some of the orginal postures. I'm not sure I'm qualified to discuss why he chose the ones he chose, so I'll leave that up to each person to decide for themselves. Beyond that, let's look at what PRINCIPALS changes from one master to the next. From Here on out, for the sake of simplicity, I'll call the 2 forms by a shorter name. Cheng Man-Ching's 37 Yang form (CMC-37) or Yang Cheng-Fu's Long Form (Yang-108). Initial Differences: (or "Even the masters don't do it the same.") One of the biggest differences is the emphasis on maintaining a more "upright" stance in the CMC-37 than in the Yang-108. There are a few possible reasons for this, but what I think is more important is the emphasis on how they balance the lower dantian between the feet. Both masters are maintaining a similar bend in the rear knee, but there is a noticeable lack of lean in all of professor Cheng's (the left photo above) stances. The reasons for this are covered in fantastic detail by Professor Cheng's Student Robert Chuckrow. In this article. I found this to be an enlightening read, and would strongly recommend it to any open-minded practitioners of the Yang form. Personally, I have found that Professor Cheng's Emphasis on using a "Beautiful Lady's Wrist" as opposed to setting the wrist hard is a helpful reminder to relax during the form. The more perpendicular stances of the false-leg stances used by Professor Cheng do seem to make more sense from a base of how wide the stance is supported, as they're less "committed" to the lean and movement. Interestingly, the center of balance is almost the same in either stance, so it seems (to me) that Yang-108 is trying to emphasize more Peng energy while the CMC-37 is looking to increase the ability of the practitioner to respond quickly by committing less. This is still up for individual interpretation, and I think each person should figure out which one fits their needs better. Difficulties in Adapting Each Stance: (Or "Things you learn in deeper practice.") As I began to learn from more people, I became a big fan of using the form itself for not only practicing form and relaxation/meditation, but as a way to increase the strength of my root. The "root" will probably be one of the central points I bring up in another discussion, but essentially, it's how well your feet can stick to the ground. One of the best ways that I've found to increase the strength of the root is to "sink the chi" or, to relax the legs and deepen the stance. Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming teaches the Yang-108 with a deepness of stance seldom seen outside of Northern Shaolin styles, and he attributes this to helping strengthen the legs. (this is a much deeper stance than the original, see...I'm not making this stuff up) So, I really like Professor Cheng's principals for helping to relax, but I also really like Dr. Yang Jwing-Ming's deeper stances for the extra strengthening benefits. So, I simply tried to adopt the deeper knee bend with the more perpendicular foot positioning. ...and this is where I really started to learn things about my own training. By moving the rear toes out to a more 90-degree position, in order to deepen the stance, you need a HUGE amount of external hip rotation in order to properly track the knees over the toes without allowing the knees to bow inwards. In order to support myself in this much deeper stance for up to 20 minutes to complete the form, I also lacked the strength and stamina when I started. So, really, I'm slowly working more towards the the idea that I have in my head for the "best of both worlds," as I'm physically not ready to complete the form in that manner. Closing thoughts: (or "If it is uncomfortable enough, I remember better.") So, who's to say that the pictures and videos we have of the old masters aren't a reflection of just what their bodies would allow? Professor Cheng had been very ill and was elderly by the time that he began to teach in the United States, and so maybe his body simply didn't allow him to safely hold the deeper stance while being as relaxed as he wanted to be. I personally believe that it's well within reason that the variations that we see from one practitioner to the next is not that one person's tai chi is better than another's, but that each person's tai chi form is a reflection of what is best for them to be practicing RIGHT NOW for THEM. Thoughts? Comments? Additions?
  5. This is a handout I made for my Tai Chi classes. 1 The power of Tai Chi comes from serenity. Serenity flows from the realization of the self-existent, all pervading, all knowing, and all-powerful living-light force. This Force is the progenitor of all the forces in the universe. Without it we are nothing. With it we are invincible. 2 Tai Chi is a practice, not a study it can only be tested in combat against lies, violence, hate and cruelty. Hold no hatred in your heart, cling to truth. Be prepared to die, love life. All things are one within you. 3 The virtue of Tai Chi is non-violence. Non-violence in a person is in direct proportion to the individual’s ability to inflict violence. Do not mistake it for impotence and cowardice. 4 Act true in all situations consistently purify yourself of passion. Begin in your own home, and then go into the world. If you cannot remain calm and at peace in your own home stay there until you can. 5 Only the soul contains the truth. Know yourself and you will know the truth. Know yourself through meditation. Meditation is quietly stilling your mind and emotions to achieve a deeper communion with the uncreated light that also resides within you but is hidden by the internal noise of a busy mind and tumultuous emotions. That is meditations only purpose. Psychic abilities arise naturally but are never to be sought for themselves. 6 A clear conscience is the testimony of the just and it brings great peace and strength. Always do what is right according to the natural order. Never allow an evil to pass unhindered. Stand against it with all your might, and be willing to die. Such a death ensures eventual victory no matter how it appears in the present. 7 The soul is a spark of the eternal. Tai Chi practice fans that spark into a flame. An adept burns with that flame from long meditation and a vision of the golden fire within. A master is that golden fire within and without. Consumed by that flame they set others on fire. You will know them by their fruits. 8 If you lack the ability to defend another with non-violent actions, then use violence with extreme caution. If you cannot even use violence you are a coward and a burden to your family and society. 9 Violence guards the material. Non-violence will protect your soul. Which is greater? Execution of prisoners is also to be avoided. Nobody is beyond the power of redemption. Execution is a crime against the natural order. 10 How do you overcome hate, anger and the passions within yourself? Don't develop them and they will die from disuse. Seek to be calm and at peace in all things. 11 Have patience and get rid of your habitual craving and the other animal impulses such as anger, fear, attraction and aversion, ego and passion, will fall away naturally. People crave strange foods and drinks thinking that this is natural, it is not. Craving comes from poor nutrition and living in a chaotic environment. 12 The Way has existed since the beginning of time, it is eternal. Every desire is an obstacle to the Way. Every thought is an obstacle to the Way. Every sensation is an obstacle to the Way. Free yourself from desire, thoughts and sense impressions and you will realize the ultimate truth. The ultimate truth leads to complete liberation. 13 A person does not choose to be non-violent. Non-violence flows like a force from the realization of the unity of all through the uncreated light. Non-violence is not a means to an end. Non-violence is the end. 14 By seeking justice and truth for our neighbor, we find it for ourselves. The spiritual life of one person cannot be separated from the whole collective spirit of humanity. 15 Any society that undertakes violent actions is a society that is based on the lie that all people are separate from each other instead of the truth that all people are one through the all embracing living light. Such a society is doomed to destroy itself. 16 The realization of the oneness of all life should be the primary aim in the life of everyone, and to know, love and serve the source of all life is the sole purpose of life. 17 Redemption is the greatest gift of the spirit. The irreversibility of evil is the greatest lie. Anyone, no matter what the crime, may be redeemed. Everything is possible for the eternal, all-knowing, all-loving, all-powerful, and all-embracing living light. True freedom rests in both the tyrant and the tyrannized being liberated. 18 To walk in the Way is to walk in the light, all other paths lead into eternal darkness. Profound talk doesn't make you good, only an upright life. I would rather be humble than to understand all things on earth. Withdraw yourself from worldly ambitions and know peace. 19 A pure, simple, humble spirit knows peace and is enlightened with understanding and wisdom that is eternal. Day by day overcome yourself and know yourself to be little in the eyes of the universe. Long suffering peace is with the humble. 20 Look upon the examples of the ancient masters. They practiced their Art all-day and long into the night, with fasting and abstinences. They sought trials and sufferings in their training. They renounced riches, honors, friends and family. Eating and drinking was tiresome to them so consumed were they for the Art. Such as these walk in the Way. The world saw them as poor, but they held inner riches. The world saw them as fools, but only they were enlightened with the light that can never be extinguished. The ancient masters were strangers to the world because they realized their true home was in the uncreated light. 21 Your every action can become a prayer. It is a pure and simple intent without seeking personal gain in any form that is the secret to this. Perfection in this life is possible. Often those who feel the weakest and farthest from the eternal are its closest companions. 22 Bathe yourself daily in the life giving presence of the eternal truth. In this greatest mystery many have found healing and immortality. As often as you are drawn above yourself by the life giving stream, the more light you will bring into yourself and the world. Communion with the uncreated light transfigures from within and transforms everything without. This transcends all understanding. 23 All life in all its forms is sacred and should be protected. With regards to our eating animals, everyone should follow his or her own conscience. It is best to refrain from eating animals but how many of us can eat only fruits and vegetables that harvesting didn't kill or damage the plant in any way. There is always some harm caused, so we who eat meat should seek greater service to all life everywhere. 24 Extremes on the spiritual paths are to be avoided. That is why obedience to a qualified spiritual master is to be desired. A man who is his own spiritual advisor has a fool for a spiritual advisor. On the right hand path love is the way. On the left hand path willpower is the way. Both are dead ends. Taken to extremes love destroys others and will destroy the self. The middle path is the path of humble service and a balance of love and will. 25 Hatred can be overcome by love because all are one. All respond to love because at our core we are love. Not realizing this, the individual separates themselves from their source, and they create unhappiness, anger and fear. Realizing this we respond to acts of hate with love, not violence. Quit fearing for your own safety, and truly love. Be prepared to die for love. Love for the eternal light that unites all humanity is the only cause worth dying for. Not dying for love of the eternal or your neighbor is a crime against the eternal and your neighbor. Love is a duty, not a choice. 26 Once you gain the vision of the unity of all things, the physical world and your perishable body lose value. You realize all value rests in things eternal. 27 Unkind words, sabotage, speaking ill of others even if true are all forms of violence. Those who remain silent are often considered the wisest among us. Avoid idleness. Plant a garden and nurture your nature. 28 Tai Chi at its core is peaceful and nonviolent. It seems to me a natural vehicle through which to attain world peace. World peace is my life goal. Before that my entire life purpose was to achieve the vision of the ultimate truth. Once I achieved the vision, world peace became my mission. How could it be any different? 29 Absolute purity is needed for the vision of the uncreated light because the eternal source is absolutely pure. It is impossible for us to attain such purity through our own efforts so the eternal itself draws us nearer to it. This is the way it has always been. The source calls to us, we answer. The first purification is of the senses and is done through our own effort in cooperation with natural law. We eliminate that in our life that is not in accordance with the natural order. The second purification is of the eternal when the vision of the uncreated light purges all that is mortal from us from within. It is often called the dark night of the soul. 30 The search for the divine is a search that takes place within you. There is no need to seek out far away shrines and famous teachers. Generations of spiritual seekers have been told this but few listen. Those who do seek the divine within will find the divine everywhere. 31 Avoid pride, envy, anger, gluttony, lust, sloth and avarice. These things weaken your character and drain away your power. It is in personal self-control that true power and fulfillment are found, not in giving in to the easier path of self-gratification. As humans we are one half animal and one half divine. Through perseverance and hard work we can become wholly either. 32 What is gained by violence can be lost through violence. Seek those things that are eternal and cannot be stolen away or destroyed. What is gained by nonviolence may seem long in coming but its effects on the world and yourself are eternal. 33 If you stand idly by as your enemy is killed you have no knowledge of the eternal. The divine offers redemption to all and to get in the way of the spirits gifts to others is to stand against the spirit. That which stands against the spirit may die spiritually just like those who stand against physical things may die physically. 34 Daily training in Tai Chi refines your mind and purifies your body. Day by day it allows your inner light to shine brighter. Train sincerely and you will make great progress. Always seek to improve your technique. Maintain mindfulness and body alignment. Keep your spine straight and your hands with your feet, elbows with your knees and your shoulders with your hips. Unify your body with your mind and you will unify your essential being with all things everywhere. 35 The origins of Tai Chi go back over six thousand years it was almost lost until Chang San Feng. Born on April 9th, 1247 he began the study of Tai Chi in 1314 at the age of 67, under the master Ho Lung and achieved immortality at the age of 85. He is said to have lived over two hundred years more. He is considered the greatest teacher of our Art and is honored as the founder of Tai Chi Chuan. 36 Correct posture and a stable stance indicate the right state of mind. Be calm and at peace. The mind is more important than the body in Tai Chi, but without the body the mind has nothing to work through. In the beginning practice the moving form to master the physical principles of Tai Chi, afterwards you will naturally begin motionless form standing to master the mental principles. All things in their own time and place. Don't rush your training. 37 The mind must be set at the Dan Tien, three fingers below the navel. This is the physical center of the body. Where the attention is your qi will follow. Above the dan tien be like water, below be like rock. Your left side is yin, balanced with the yang of your right; these will guide your opponent into the eight directions. Make your foundation with the five elements. 38 The techniques of Tai Chi are thirteen in number. Five techniques to move the feet they are step forward, step backward, step right, step left and hold to the center. Eight techniques to answer the eight angles of attack. They are ward off, roll back, press, push down, split, take, elbow and shoulder. Follow your opponents to lead them. Surrender to them to gain victory. A paradox often contains more spiritual truth than a statement of fact. 39 Meet the straight with the circle, enter in when your opponent advances. Take their energy and lead it further by the curved path while your mind stays on the point. Breath pulls in and draws universal energy with it, breath goes out and the whole universe becomes one within you. Between the breaths all things are in balance and Tai Chi happens. 40 You may only master Tai Chi to the extent that you have mastered yourself. Every movement should flow into the next without hesitation. All movement comes from the waist and you entire body is centered there. If your center isn't moving, no part of your body should be moving. When your center moves, everything should be in motion. Clearly sense light and heavy in your own body and you will be able to lead your opponent easily into emptiness. When practicing the how, don’t forget the why. 41 In true Tai Chi there is no attack, only defense. Let attacks come as they will, and join your energy to theirs. Redirect but cause no harm. Know your opponent, but do not let them know you. When they rise you should appear taller. When they retreat, stick to them. By knowing ourselves we know others and this is the eternal Tai Chi truth. 42 There are no secret techniques in Tai Chi. Daily training is the only method to mastery. Train continually and the inner light will shine forth from your technique and then from all things for you alone. This is the lesser enlightenment and it is only temporary. The greater enlightenment happens later and this light shines forth from you for others to see. Here more or less, continual union with the eternal is experienced. 43 Master the form until it is formless. Practice until your mind is clear and centered in the void. Centered in the void, you will become the void. Perfectly void, you will be impossible to attack. The true master need never defend because there is never an attack. 44 Don't listen to those who say that practicing the Art and following the Way is a waste of time better spent making money and having fun. They will invite you to all sorts of evils thinking what they propose is good. Do not judge them. Practice the Art and follow the Way in silence and without reproof. Offer wisdom only to those who ask in sincerity. Correct the arrogant and you will get insulted. Correct the violent and you will get assaulted. Correct the just and they will reward you. Correct the wise and you both will be the wiser. Praise in public, correct in private. 45 Drink deeply the words of wisdom from the past masters of the Art. They weren't writing to just pass the time. Seek fellowship only with those who seek to follow the Way as you do, even better if they practice the Art also. 46 Pride is death to those who follow the Way. Seek to place yourself in the lowest places in society. Never seek leadership or to be first in any way. The surest path to advance in the Way is with the humble and the poor. Many poor and humble never having heard of the Way follow it more perfectly than you ever will. 47 It is often said of wealth that "quickly gained is quickly lost". It is the same with Tai Chi. A quickly learned skill or principle is often quickly lost. It is in the slow day by day growth that is found the skill that endures long. Learn slowly and digest the teachings that took thousands of years to collect into what we call modern Tai Chi. 48 What value do you place on things of this world? Work your whole life for things that pass away and your life will pass away. Work your entire life for things eternal, and your life will be eternal. Those who seek knowledge add more and more to their minds, and find only madness. Those who seek wisdom seek to simplify and penetrate to the essence of all things, because of this they find truth and peace. 49 Most men seek women first, next gold and then at the end of their lives if there is still time they try to store something up for eternity. I bless the tragedy of my youth that caused me to seek the eternal early because I found it. An ancient Chinese proverb says, "If you do not seek God in the springtime of your life, you will not find Him in the wintertime". 50 The living light flees deceit and anger and tests those it deigns to use as vessels of change. The living light is found in faith and integrity. It is this living light that chastises the conscience, but it does not force its will. In those who do not heed its gentle counsel, it leaves. 51 All truth comes from the eternal, uncreated, living light. All untruth comes from the temporal, created, passing world. This world is not evil in and of itself, rather it has just become an uncaring prison. Now usurped, there was a time long ago when it was a garden of untold delights and one day it will be again when enough people awake and see. Then there will be a general uprising against the forces that imprison us. Then paradise will return on earth. 52 Tu mo starts at the base of the spine and runs up the back in a straight line to the pineal gland. The jen mo starts at the pineal gland and runs the return route to the base of the spine on the front of the body. Breathing in move chi through the jen mo, exhaling breath the chi through the tu mo. Reverse gaze on the pineal the whole time. When the energy moves relax and trust. The power to become immortal lies at the base of the spine. Difficult to awaken and even more difficult to control. It magnifies what the heart tries to hide. 53 We are born with a physical body created by the yin and yang of our parents we cultivate it with Tai Chi to create another body created by the yin and yang within us. This body is like a ghost and cannot interact with the physical world. Tai Chi unifies this intangible body with the physical body to create the body of immortality. This is the essence of the Art. 54 Wu Chi emanated Tai Chi from Tai Chi comes yin and yang. All things are created from yin and yang. Ultimate yin becomes yang. Ultimate yang becomes yin. Combine yin and yang to find Tai Chi. Master Tai Chi to return to Wu Chi. Entering Wu Chi is the Way. 55 The first level is the physical level and the key here is practice the form become formless and this formlessness leads to the mental level. Remember to keep you knees bent, pelvis tucked, spine straight, shoulders relaxed, chest hollow, head suspended from the crown, and elbows down. Be very careful of your knees. Never over extend your knees past your toes, or put your knees on either side of you foot. You will hurt them that way. Always keep you knees centered over the foot. 56 Tai Chi is our living Art, passed down to us from more than six thousand years ago. We should be grateful to those who came before and work hard for those who will follow us. Try to learn too many things and you will learn nothing. To master Tai Chi make it your sole practice, and practice. 57 Touch no weapons and allow no violence to enter your heart. Remain modest and quench your passion. It is a hard path but a holy one to eschew violence, lust and greed. Some say non-violence, purity and simplicity are all good and well for holy men not really living in the world but for us real men violence, sex and greed are common and uncontrollable and with this try to convince themselves that they are right and good. This attitude perpetuates all sorts of crimes against men, women and children. There is no middle ground in this. Only the peaceful, the pure and the simple may enter into that which is ultimate peace, purity and unity. The uncreated light allows no darkness to enter into it. 58 Seek eternity first and once attained the entire universe will be yours. Immortal, you will walk through the world and it will not restrain you. Immortal, you will live in the world but your home will be in the uncreated light. The uncreated light surrounds, fills and holds all things and events together. For the immortal it is an ever present reality. For the common man all this sounds like foolishness. 59 Calm and at peace, let your Qi flow. The quieter your mind, the more you can control your Qi. If you can make your mind empty, Qi can be externalized. Anger and hate also move your Qi, but only in one direction. 60 When you feel neither sadness or joy, when you no longer have habitual desires, when you no longer have likes or dislikes, when you are no longer attached to situations Then you are ready for enlightenment because you have attained inner purity. 61 Be grateful for harsh trials for they test us. Extreme circumstances such as great wealth and power don't corrupt; they merely reveal and exaggerate what is already in the heart. Guard your heart without making it hard. Love without attachment. Live and learn, perfect your life through your training. Mistakes instruct, maintain peace through them, successes instruct, maintain your peace though them. 62 Masters can only teach so much; the rest is up to the sincere student. A sincere student with a poor teacher will accomplish more than a poor student with the greatest master. 63 Talk to every teacher you can find. Read all you can about Tai Chi. Study the animals and the land, watch the storm clouds and the trees, dance with the river and the ocean, and sing with the universe. All things will lead you to the source, when the source itself calls you. All things will teach you Tai Chi, when you are ready. 64 The path ahead to immortality may seen long when you are young. Think instead of the time you will have left over when the work is complete. Persevere; it is only ten months to build the foundation, and the confirmatory sign is a vision of the unifying light in which is all love and all knowledge. Then three years to nurture the spirit, And the confirmatory sign is an amber glow, within a showering of sparks. Then nine years to transform the spirit into void and the confirmatory sign is the souls ascent. How long is this compared to immortality. The best advice you can receive from me is- Practice the Art and persevere in the Way.
  6. 13 Original Tai Chi Forms: The eight energies. Beijing 24 Form
  7. Started a thread in the Druids last challenge and then went back to the Monks. Not sure why since I barely posted in other peoples threads. So here I am in the Druids again.... My challenge: 1- Morning ritual- wake before 7am, meditate 40 minutes, therapy light 30 minutes, breakfast 2- Tai Chi form 3 times spread out in the day. 3- Water Bending. Yup, you heard me. This: Back in the day I learned the first stages of samadhi by watching water falling. Watching water flow stops the internal dialogue and allows your mind to work more efficiently. So I just ordered this and as soon as I get it I will add this to my schedule. 5-20 minutes a day of whats called in Taoism, "Stopping the Water". You gaze at the water and you dont trance out or bliss out. You stay very aware of your surroundings like you are staring at prey without becoming prey yourself. What happens is it feels like time slows and you get a cool visual effect because you are not using your secondary visual cortex anymore. You are using both sides of your brain. Its hard to explain, but it is step one of samadhi or union. Step one is stopping the water, step two is feeling the water flow over you and the third is becoming one with the water. Its not mysticism but a brain biology thing. It sure seems all magical and mystical though.
  8. Originally I wanted to give the Druids a try and posted there. They are great folk over there, but I kept checking out my friends here. So, sorry for leaving you guys and going over there. I am a monk. It hit me like a ton of bricks! The urge to mastery. I have studied and practiced taijiquan (tai chi chuan) for almost 30 years and I cannot manifest the empty mind consistently in combat. I have on several occasions had bullet time happen and evaded things that made me see the promise and potential of taijiquan. Now I want to manifest that empty mind on command. I really resonate with Richard Dragon (DC Comics) here. I need to leg go of my past and the tragedy of my Army unit getting wiped out. To that end I will begin practicing taijiquan 3 times a day for 40 minutes a shot. This is probably against all the good advice I have heard all my life, but I used to practice more than that. As I said, I have almost 30 years experience with taijiquan. This gives will give me over 1000 minutes of practice a week and over the 6 week challenge it will add up to over 100 hours. Along with this I need some strength training. The arthritis in my hips and shoulders is making me take a break from trail running and I also really hate to run in the cold. I have a great program called Convict Conditioning, so I am going to follow it. It is basically body weight stuff and perhaps someday I can do this like my hero.... Finally, weight loss. In the last 6 months I have lost 45 pounds going from 250 down to 205 pounds. I am using a calorie counting app called Lose It and I love it. I am getting a normal shape again and that is a good thing. I really need to be fit to keep up with these guys. This series really inspired me. So: 1- Taiji 4 times at 40 minutes a shot a day. 3 points Wisdom (Why wisdom? Its a moving meditation.) 2- Convict Conditioning. 1 points Strength. 3- Keep logging the calories and daily weighings. 2 points Agility. Skinny equals more benefit from the agility aspect of practicing so much Taijiquan. Not sure on the points, because I skipped a challenge and forgot how to do it. I'll figure that out later.
  9. Hello Everyone, my name is David, I hail from Anaheim. I am nerdy, geeky, and into fitness. I love to one day be somewhat of a Jedi, but not like those Jedi that wield a lightsaber. I want to be like the Jedi Yoda, whom despite his physical stature can lift heavy things with a zen like attitude and being one with the force (if you will). Maybe the use of Force powers if you must. If you have ever done crossfit you know it is a pretty competitive environment. I do it because of the intrinsic value it gives me. It's my zen if you will. I suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and bouts of Depression, but once I started crossfit I noticed a change in my disposition for the better. Anyways, I want to strengthen myself mentally first and foremost, but it seems to me that you have to work on both mind and body. Thanks René Descartes for the Mind-Body problem! Either way, I was born a Ranger, but with poor Druid/Monk mental stability to be one with nature and one with myself. Hopefully I can find insight in the Druid/Monk realms to strengthen mind, body, and spirit even.
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