Archive for May 2007
Posted on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at 5:00 AM by Sifu TW Smith the site author">Sifu TW Smith
Recently we discussed training progress, and blending into our current responsibilities. Certainly there is no one grand formula for everyone. Actually what worked for me 10 years ago, doesn't work right now, but what does work is just fine.
When the discussion led into the priority for "Health" for example, we gave the example of putting Tai Chi Practice in that train-car. Reaching our health goals through Tai Chi practice. Using Chi Kung to support our health and improve circulation, to cultivate Chi. This was my mind-set over 15 years ago. To also support my health, I would go to the gym, push iron, etc. Sifu Chin continued to demonstrate to us tools to improve ourselves through Tai Chi, but like most youngsters, you do it 30 times, whats next. There was no real soaking in it at the time. Along the way, things changed. I found myself no longer trying to support my health through Tai Chi and Kung Fu, but my want to practice and pursue Chi was my driving force to practice.
I just finished practice this morning at 4:30 am and after a good set of chi kung, zham zhuang and yi chuan work, I worked Old Style Tai Chi Chuan. After several rounds of walking through the form, the focus turned to "grasping the birds tail". That was half hour of work. It occurred to me when I came in that some long time ago, I don't practice for my health; I practice because of the great feeling I get, while and after I practice. The fact that it helps my health is secondary to how I feel when I gain.
This has always been a point Master Chin would effort to teach us, yet we were too busy trying to figure out how to make it work. Now that nearly a couple of decades have passed, some things have sinked in, thank goodness. I encourage my students to come in and practice, no guilt, just practice. If you finish and feel better than when you started that is already a great day of practice, if you make real strides in a pursuit or skill, even better.
When I think about improving my spirit, improving my health, increasing my stamina, or any other component of myself it turns back into the practice of my Tai Chi and Kung Fu. I don't need another frying pan to cook in, I just need to use the one I have already.
Practice Every Day, Miss One, Lose TenEdited on: Thursday, July 03, 2014 1:47 PM
Posted on Wednesday, May 23, 2007 at 4:24 PM by Sifu TW Smith the site author">Sifu TW Smith
Being a Kung Fu Prince. I have heard that term thousands of times if I have heard it once from Master Chin. Those of us who have been around martial arts can picture the Kung Fu Prince, without much verbage. Those of you can't, good for you, and I am not going to assist, stay on your path. We have lives outside of the kungfu, some with priorities that are important to our lives, family, school, a career, children, and so on. So how can we train and gain, yet not alienate the rest.
Sifu Chin in his wonderful simplistic way would say, lifes priorities are like cars on the train track, the life-locomotive pulls and directs these cars. It is up to us what the order of the cars are and to look at it from time to time. We have a no guilt guideline. practice each day, leave guilt at the door (guilt about I didn't get to do this, this wasn't just right, etc and so on). Just practice with a good attitude and move on.
So if you recognize 5-7 main priorities in your life, where do you slip it in? Perhaps we pull the intellectual, Cultivating Chi and Kung Fu is a section of my Health Train Car, and gets subdivided by my weighttraining and jogging. Perhaps we take our Meditation and Three Treasure Work and slip into the Spiritual and/or Self-Development Train-Car; again subdividing with church, or book reading. We divide into Posting/Meditation (Spiritual Train-Car) and Forms/Walking Hands/Silk Reeling (Health Train Car).
In my younger days I went through all of that. Trying to gain and not sure when to let go. Sifu Chin was wonderful about never forcing us to do something like stop lifting weights hard; because it really works against getting the mind to do the work, but he would gently make a statement from time to time of how certain things will interfere with our gains. With that tone:
Step One: Identify life habits that may interfere with our development. Not as a Kung Fu Prince or Princess, but as who we want to be. Adjust those life habits and replace the vacuum with something beneficial. It is highly regarded a much better technique to replace something than to eliminate it.
Step Two: Identify why you want to learn kung fu. What are you looking for? Perhaps it is several things, perhaps it is the combination of the unique activity with the touching into the culture philosophy. Embrace what you are looking for and share it with Sifu.
Step Three: Listen and Learn to where you need the highest priority of work. For most beginners it is calming the mind down, and then integrating the body with heart-mind. However, you may also need much work in the area's of softening, fluidiness, balance, grace, stamina, flexibility, health concerns, etc.
Step Four: Dedicate your time. Schedule the most important of every day, the one with you. Keep it and don't be late. Someday you may have longer times, some days shorter times. Whatever is, follow the Tao, and make the most of it. We use the term 'little cheater set' on shorter days, just to keep the links together. Short days are great days for a light set of posting and some light Chi Work
Step Five: What am I going to practice? Here we go, nuts and bolts. Use the following guidelines (those are different than rules for you hard-liners); when I worked as Strength Coach at UNCW and Asst. Strength Coach at ASU, we would use the following:
Maintance - You are comfortable (right now) with where you are in a particular area or skill - Twice week (once a week may hold some forms if you post regularly)
Need to Improve a Delicate or Subtle Skills of grace or understanding (ie. reeling silk exercises, Tui Shou (pushhands) or if a quarterback reading a blitz in a 3-4 defense) practice 4-7 days per week.
Need to Improve a Physical Skill (learn a form, walking hands, an application) 3 days per week.
Trying to calm down the mind and keep the chaos from taking us away - EVERY DAY
We must consider our other responsibilities, or those responsibilities may easily become part of the chaos.Edited on: Friday, November 20, 2015 8:41 AM
Posted in Personal Development
Posted on Friday, May 18, 2007 at 6:21 AM by Sifu TW Smith the site author">Sifu TW Smith
Each Saturday and often visited during the week we practice at a park less than a mile from the kwoon (school). Often it is a great afternoon lunch break area, practice, walk, have a bite and then get back in the game.
The students really enjoy our saturday practice and the lunch afterwards. In the second image you can see one of our Pa Qua trees. As the students walk and practice, we create a path. Many of the monks will practice their pa qua walking around the rim of a huge wooden water-bowl, where the lip is the width about the width of a brick.
Posted on Wednesday, May 16, 2007 at 10:05 PM by Sifu TW Smith the site author">Sifu TW Smith
Master David Chin demonstrates the Original Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, sometimes referred to as the Quang Ping or Yang Ban Ho style. With Sifu Heintzmann a demonstration of the Eight Gate Fa Jing Power is shown. The presentation allows one to see the timing and togetherness as discoursed in the ancient Tai Chi kungfu classics.
Master Kuo Lien Ying taught Master Chin privately on the rooftop of the Sam Wang Hotel in the early 1960's. The power through the Zham Zhuang (posting), Yi Chuan and Fa Jing is very impressive.Edited on: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 2:48 PM
Posted in Style: Tai Chi