Saturday, 30 April 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

This is an excerpt from John Kells' unpublished book - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number thirty-three

There are two structures which are so powerful they require to be closely connected. They are the guts and the brain. The guts are busy with food and other processes moment by moment. The brain devours moments just as strongly. The brain is so large and for some strange reason it is largely neglected The Chinese connect with a few points connected with health through acupuncture. The brain I work with has 37 main structures +40 minor structures and another 42 structures. This is a huge machine whose structures need massage through visualisation connected with touch. ‘Bum in’ posture settles the guts nicely, as ordinary Tai chi Chuan will attest. The guts spread down the inside of the thighs to the inside of the ankles and bounce up the outside of the legs to the sacrum and have their own conversation with the sacred cord, fifth eye, tonsure, and hui yin. There is an element of completeness when the guts and brain acknowledge each other as they do in a fight. Fight or die forwards together the devil takes the hindmost, and truth is the victor.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Back to Basics

Lovely pushing hands clip of John Kells and Charles, his most senior student who has the best understanding of the work John is doing.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: More Than Just Practice for Martial Arts Excellenc...

This is an interesting article. I don't think it's just the hours of practice although that is important. I think it is also a mixture of luck in finding a good instructor and practising correctly/intelligently to progress. An interesting book on this topic is  Bounce by Matthew Syed, which is well worth a read.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: More Than Just Practice for Martial Arts Excellenc...: Is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice enough to achieve excellence? That's not the half of it, or even a third of it. Below is an e...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

My Favourite Books

T'ai Chi Ch'uan by Jeaneane Fowler and Shifu Keith Ewers is a gem of a book.

It is an exploration of Taoism and T'ai Chi, with chapters on Taoist philosophy, principles, the I-Ching, energy circulation, the 13 "postures" and the simplified 24 step form. There is really a lot of information in this book that you might normally find by having to combine other books.

It is a blend of academic writing and the practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and the academic side really shines through for me.

It is published by Sussex Academic Press - ISBN 1-903900-20-4 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Free Erle Montague Books

Click here to go to a page on the Taiji World website where you can download a number of free books by the late Erle Montague.

These date back as far as 1983 and there is quite a selection to choose from.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Hard, Easy,Hard, Easy................

I don't know if it is the same for you, but my experience when learning tai chi is that postures alternate between being hard, then easy, then hard again etc.

I would learn a posture in the form and grapple with the particular requirements and repeat it over and over. After a while that posture seemed much easier to do and I would work on newer postures which were harder.

As I progressed, the postures that had become easier would then suddenly become harder to do. At first this was incredibly frustrating. I couldn't understand why a posture that had been easy to do was suddenly harder.

Of course what happens over time is that your body/mind/energy changes with a deeper understanding and you are creating new neural pathways which affect the way you do the postures of the form. I find that this is an ongoing process so I approach my form each time as if it is the first time - ok, not always :))

This requires you to investigate principles and there is always something to work on. Otherwise there is a risk that your tai chi becomes a hollow performance.


Arrogance in an instructor is extremely unpleasant and these people are best avoided.

Especially when they start dividing students into good, mediocre or poor etc.

This is my personal opinion of course and may be perceived as arrogant in itself.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Caveat Emptor

A while ago I had some email correspondence with someone who said they taught a particular martial art.

When I enquired where they had learned it the reply was ....from a DVD.

Now I don't have a problem with people learning from a DVD if there is no teacher available, or then practising the material with some friends.

But to make a public statement you are teaching that martial art is ,in my personal opinion, dishonest and misleading.

The teaching, correction and feedback from an instructor in person is essential.

Always check where and with whom your instructor studied.

At the end of the day, it is up to you, of course. But let the Buyer Beware!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Sun Lutang's Taiji

Here is a link to a translation on Paul Brennan's site of Sun Lutang's Taiji manual.