Body usage

It is rightly said that “All Tai Chi is Chi Kung but not all Chi Kung is Tai Chi” – there is so much more to Tai Chi, which makes it an excellent basis for life – so students can learn to look after themselves physically and mentally with:
Tai Chi exercises and form
Attention to Body Posture, Balance and Suppleness
Build Confidence, reduce vulnerability to falls
Loosen up, relax and move, to learn Soft Tai Chi movement
With elements from Chen Tai Chi, Alexander Technique, psychotherapy, body mechanics, visualisation, meditation, Buddhism, Taoism,

Some years ago my teacher Karel Koskuba told me to practice slowly and to notice the feelings in my body – needless to say I understood the words – but crucially not the meaning – I did not truly understand.

So I am delighted that now I think I do – in a sort of “ah so that is what he meant” sort of way.

Consequently I am encouraging my students to look for opportunities to sink and to stretch in a slow and very relaxed way.

Tai Chi has much to teach us about life and caring for others, for example:

  1. Intention – in caring for others we seek to support them when they are about to fall, to help them get up and to heal. In conflict we become destructive and seek to unbalance the other with a view to disabling them so they are not able to harm us.
  2. Communication is vital – physical communication is vital. The physical aspects of communication are more than two times as important as the words – it is also much faster and since our bodies rarely lie it is much more honest.
  3. I both cases we seek to be strong, well balanced, resilient and sensitive – so that we can act appropriately to help others – especially our loved ones, defend them and ourselves and not be hurt too much in the process.
  4. Like Yin and Yang these aspects of life are integral, it is important to recognise which sort of relationship we are in since they can sometimes become confused. Relationships outside of our caring circle can easily polarise into disproportionately aggressive defensiveness – like “road rage”.

I have recently taken to putting on the website articles which are not carefully crafted – rather they are what may be regarded as thought pieces – something quite traditional as one might recognise from the way the “Tai Chi Classics” were put together for example.

Once thinking about a topic after a while quite suddenly the thoughts just tumble out and it is all I can do to get them on paper – I simply don’t have the time these days to carefully craft them into well structured articles or to fill out the background on everything. So I must leave it to my readers to explore further. I expect that from time to time I will revisit and expand on points.

One that comes to mind is the reference to a difference between preventative and remedial Tai Chi when considering the health of older people. We can think that while a person has the ability to do normal Tai Chi exercises then this may be regarded as preventative of falls or other health issues – on the other hand once a person has reached a point where they can no longer do something like walk the length of a hall or stand for half an hour exercising then they are in need of remedial work. Preventative Tai Chi is simply exercising normally – but in the case of older people perhaps not so vigorously as we once did and can easily be accommodated in a normal beginners level class – this is why I often refer to them as “over 50s classes since  at that age people still have a good 10 years to learn and develop their skill  before they reach a point at which they would otherwise become vulnerable to falls. Start at 50 and one can hope to improve one’s proprioception, body mapping and Tai Chi skill to a point that staves off problems of falling.

On the other hand I sometimes see people with walking frames or in wheel chairs – or get phone calls from relatives who’s father/mother has just been diagnosed/admitted to a care home and  have seen that Tai Chi is good for their condition – and would I please go to the care home every day to teach their parent. Sadly it is expected that they have probably reached a point where more work is needed than either I or they can put in. It is possible they could do the work but unlikely if they do not already have the discipline, habit and skill  of doing it already. This is what I mean by remedial. In these case I suspect that some daily Tai Chi informed exercises and physiotherapy would be as helpful as anything else and would encourage physios and carers to learn enough to pass on simple exercises.

Recent examples of this sort of article include Thoughts on Tai Chi Movement and Martial Arts as a Philosophy also Managing getting Old with Tai Chi

Partner work – why don’t people like it until they try it?

5 September 2018

I have learned through painful experience that partner work and physical corrections make up a potentially very sensitive subject – martial arts people will probably wonder why I am bothering to write about this at all – whereas beginners or people with no experience of interpersonal physical activity may well recoil that I even dream […]

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Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence

2 November 2017

Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence – an excellent piece by Sam Moor – really well written and easy to read – covers so much of what I try to get across to students but better written! Read the article … Share the post “Taiji: basic movement patterns and body coherence” FacebookTwitterShare…

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Learning the skill of Tai Chi

8 January 2015

In class I have often used the analogy that learning Tai Chi is very like learning to play a musical instrument , or golf or indeed probably many other things. We all go through similar stages a bit like these: 1. Like it/attracted to it 2. Start and find it confusing but see the possibilities 3. […]

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Into Mountains, Over Streams – Journal of Internal Arts and Culture

8 November 2013

My thanks to the publication – “Into Mountains, Over Streams – Journal of Internal Arts and Culture” for republishing one of my articles “Body Mapping Chi, & Muscle Power” – more than my article itself the journal is well worth a look as it covers a wealth of material on healing, internal practices, meditation etc. Share the […]

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Celebrating Spirals in Tai Chi and Alexander Technique

24 June 2013

Spirals are everywhere in nature – in plants and trees, in the flowing and eddying of air and water, and of course in the human body. Even structures that appear straight, like the long bones of the arms and legs – so it is no surprise that spirals exist in the natural movement of Tai […]

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New articles and new video links

1 February 2012

I had some thoughts recently about Tai Chi in life a general sense and put some notes together – there are 3 quite short pieces which may provoke further thought : Application of Tai Chi practice to other activities, e.g. golf, swimming, football, manual work etc How Tai Chi links to Western models of medicine, […]

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