Friday, 24 February 2012


It is always useful to remind ourselves of basic aspects of our t'ai chi.

Actually they are not so basic.

Here is some advice from John Kells.

"Yielding requires correct posture."

"Different cultures have different approaches."

"When standing to attention, the belly is drawn down and up. this brings the lower spine in, straightening and expanding it."

"The spine between the shoulder blades is straightened when the heart are pulls down, up and out."

"The neck is straightened when the eyes pull down, up and out."

None of the above  is achieved by straining or using force.

Sunday, 19 February 2012


Shugyo can be considered as the path of austere training. It is the path taken to overcome barriers. It is the crossroads we encounter at a certain point in our development. To continue with our journey on the "Way", we need to go past it.

What does this mean for me as a student of T'ai Chi? Simple - TRAIN. Feeling worn out - TRAIN. Fed up with it all - TRAIN. It's a bit grey and cold outside - TRAIN.

It's all to easy to think that we have developed to a reasonable standard and rest upon our laurels. John Kells told me that my t'ai chi was only as good as my last practise.

When the good student reaches the crossroad and then passes it, they have entered into a world where inner development is of the essence in daily practise.

Shu = to strike with delicate precision  Gyo = Crossroad.

The good student strikes with deliberate precision at the target of the self. There is simply no choice in the matter.


Source: Sword and Brush  by Dave Lowry, Shambhala, 1995.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Thought for Tonight

Reflecting on teaching my class tonight. We worked a lot on using figure 8 spirals to escape from locks and simultaneously reverse lock our training partner, who would do the same.

Working in this way requires trust and the giving of energy.

In turn this joyful interaction generates positive energy.

Working together in this way is a blessing.

Then I got home just in time to dry the dishes. if only I can work out a figure 8 spiral to get out of it!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Wonderful Connection

I love this clip for the softness, intent and connection of the practitioners.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Finer Point of Ward Off

Just as we relax the hips and let the thighs wrap inwards, so we must pay similar attention to the point where the chest and shoulder muscle meet.

The shoulder well must be relaxed and hollow. To do this we have to soften and relax the chest so it is not pushing forwards ,up and out. As a result the shoulder blades open and the upper back is rounded. This should all be natural and not forced. It is not a deliberate, contrived hunching.

When we can do this our arms are integrated into the torso and will have ward off energy.