Archive for the ‘Martial philosophy’ Tag

This is Taiji…   2 comments


The Dragon dwells in Heaven, roaming amongst the stars… drifting in and out of the clouds. Aloof from the world, he is always observant of it. Enigmatic and free, the Dragon soars effortlessly, adrift in time upon an endless sea of tranquility. He is clarity and calm, peace and emptiness. Like a mysterious cloud, the dragon caresses the Earth, always sensitive to the subtleties of the relationship between Heaven and Earth.  In heaven, he is yin as yin is within yang… and yet there is a yang spirit hidden within….

Gliding over the Earth, melding into the forests and mountain tops, the Dragon gathers Earth qi within, mixing Heaven and Earth, building and focusing his Heaven qi to interact with the Earth.

In an instant, the Tiger emerges, like a thunderbolt from Heaven. Heaven and Earth qi combine and the Tiger is born from the union. The Dragon’s energy transforms.  The Tiger pounces, Heaven and Earth are manifest. Entering the Earthly realm, the Tiger strikes and fulfills the needs of everything he encounters. He is action and strength, motion and power. Like a wildfire, the Tiger creates magic on Earth. On Earth, he is yang as yang is within yin, and yet, there is a yin spirit hidden within….

Sleeping by the lake, the gentle Tiger rests his yang…
Peacefully nurtured by the guidance of the Earth qi…
The Tiger’s spirit floats across the lake, rising in the fog…
His yin qi carried aloft bringing with it the resting yang energy, transforming, recombining, and emerging once again as the Dragon.

This is Taiji


Copyright: Cory Williams 2011

Nothing means anything… You do not “know” anything…   3 comments

To be real we must get over our perceptions that we know things. Knowing, in a way is prejudice, when we think we know something we shut down our awareness and stop being open to the moment.

Who we are changes each moment… we exist as a being not just in a physical form but as an entity in time, the moment by moment perception of reality defines who we are.

As such “who we are” is always in flux if we are always sensitive to the changing circumstances. Whenever I am fixed in my perception of who I am, I forget to take every situation as is comes to me. For example if I perceive myself as a “teacher” then I will act out by trying to educate…..  If I perceive myself as being “helpful” then I will act out by thinking I am above a situation.

I often hear people say……”I help people”  but this in effect is coming from a place that says…..”I am better than the people that I perceive as needing help”

Or for example “I teach” … In reality, no one teaches anymore than the student’s capacity to learn…and so learning is a higher skill than teaching. In this regard the student only “learns” what he wants to from a given experience, the teacher only shows the student whatever the “teacher” thinks is important coming from the teachers perspective.

When a person thinks they are teaching they are putting what they do above the student who is actually doing the work of “learning”.  After all, it is the learning that is important, not the teaching.

Thinking that things “mean something” disrespects the spirit of the moment in that if we are always learning then we must be open to the possibility that maybe “it” means something else…..Every moment has different possibilities. Getting over our perception that somehow we “know“ the meaning of something is a way to finding harmony in a new reality of infinite possibility.

These concepts are a subtle learning we get from Taiji practice. Indeed, it is somewhat arrogant to always be so sure we know what something means.  When we are so sure we know something, we show our lack of understanding that “things are not always what they seem”.

Devotion to Spirit   3 comments

 

Zhong Xue Chao, (Bing), is a Taoist monk and grew up training on Wudang Mountain. He is the purveyor of wudangdao.com, and he exemplifies the essence of Tao

Devotion to training is its own reward.  Making love to the energy that sustains you nurtures your soul.  Embracing the feeling that moves us is simple. Why would anyone not keep training; I am not sure I could relate to that?

Master Dong was just here, and I spent 18 hours with him over a weekend, that week I also had 11 classes and spent an additional few hours training on my own….the result of over 30 hours of Taiji and Qigong training in one week?  I want more!

I just added two new weekly classes (soon to be announced) and I am doing a series of Qigong seminars with Kaiser October 14th, 21st and 28th.  I also have renewed energy for my personal training showing up one hour early to all my regular classes to train on some new and some old forms.  Therefore, I will be stepping up my training to about thirty hours every week.  My point is this, the more you feel your Qi the more it will provide for you that which you know in your heart is the best thing for you.

Once you learn the secret of the energy, that being the fact that YOU are made of energy, know that, cultivate that, and fully embrace that concept, your life will completely change.  What you thought “life” was will be redefined.  Life is Energy! It lives in you, you control this energy, and it will heal you from within if you let it.

Have you ever noticed how much energy you have when you feel inspired, like if you fall in love…? You can clean house, go to work, and never get tired? Energy comes to you from a mysterious place, we have all have had these feelings…..Would you be “depressed” if you won the lottery?  Would you be “bored” if you had a million dollars in your pocket?

The winning lottery ticket is as simple as devotion to Qigong training.

Basic Taiji Principles, Overview   1 comment

Like a stepped pyramid, we lay down a foundation, taking us higher as we go.

Taoist physics, the laws of energy.

This article is about outlining some of the basic Taiji principles that I have discovered through the years, and some taught to me by Master Dong. I will explain each one in time. These are not the “Classic Taiji Principles” that other authors have written about through the ages, but a pragmatic look at the common sense of practical Taiji.

These are not the only principles that I will discuss, many esoteric principles can be inserted in between and after the ones on this basic list, yet they are most basic and important ones. Understanding the physics of the human energy system and codifying, and sharing these principles is my life’s work.

Staying on your feet is an important skill that can save your life, whether talking about martial arts, or walking down a flight of stairs. There are many obvious gains from assimilating these principles into our lives but know that these principles go far deeper than Taijiquan.

The entire human energy system uses these same principles, not just your body, but also the mind, emotions and spirit. I am taking about the laws of physics; nothing is exempt from these basic principles of the universe.

For example, energy follows the path of least resistance; therefore reducing the resistance to energy increases the flow and the apparent volume of energy. The best way to remove resistance is to remove blockages. These blockages can be from misalignment and (muscle) tension. Again these principles are not necessarily only about your body, keep in mind the “big picture”.

The way to remove obstructions is to align and relax…. Know that aligning will facilitate relaxation. It is easier to relax when we have good alignment, like in the physical attribute of structural integrity.  A strong frame requires less reinforcement; look at an “earthquake resistant” building, a proper frame, allows for a flexible, less ridged, relaxed structure.

Likewise, in relationships, having the same values and interests with another is “alignment” with this alignment a person will be more relaxed. Being aligned and relaxed leads to balance, and with a little give and take (counterbalance) we can achieve a harmonious relationship. Understanding energy is about a relationship with it and it applies to all things accordingly.

While keeping the big picture in mind and realizing that there is a hierarchy to these principles and also that Taijiquan is a method of training and understanding energy, we need to start with the most important principles first. Layering principles overtime will bring enlightenment.

To get started, to keep things simple here is a basic outline to these principles. Each principle will require further explanation, so be patient, and check back to the “Taiji Principles” category here on this blog.

To make comprehending and learning these principle easier, I have organized them into three sub-groups of three principles each. Beginners should mostly be concerned with the first three. Intermediate students focus on the first six and as students progress keep layering principles until all nine are understood.

Principles:

Align
Relax
Root
Balance
Harmonize
String of pearls
Not too much not too little
Open and close
See all things

Memorial Day   2 comments

We owe our way of life to our fallen heroes

Remembering those that have fallen to preserve our way of life…

What ever our desires, hopes and dreams may be, Americans are uniquely blessed with freedom to do so.  These days we are losing our freedoms little by little, it has been said, “Every day congress meets, we lose a little bit of our freedom”.

I saw a bumper sticker the other day it read, “If you can read, thank a teacher. If you read English thank a Vet”.

Holding to your values, principles, and traditions is not always easy or popular.  Even in our home lives and among friends and associates we are challenged constantly.  I say: Without temptation, there is no claim to virtue.  Warriors know these things, even if they do not “think” about them.  No one wants to die for his country and yet without a peaceful homeland we cannot raise peaceful people.

Keeping America safe is a noble honor.  Keeping babies, women and children, families and homes, towns and cities free requires a strong commitment to our country. No one is more committed to this cause than our warriors and they have my deepest respect.

Yet we are all challenged by temptation to doubt and apathy from preserving the virtue of our spirits.  Every challenge we meet is an opportunity to practice our skills. To be a scholar-warrior is a calling to protect ourselves from the assaults of life.

Stand up for who and what you are, be plain spoken and kind, speak the truth, be firm but flexible.  Forgive and overlook other people’s shortcomings on the spot.  Do not be affected by things out of your control. Do your part and be brave and strong in the face of everyday challenges. Live a free life, one of opportunity and pursue happiness and;

Remember those who gave their lives so that you can.

Posted May 31, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Uncategorized

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The Way to be Followed Alone   3 comments

The Greatest Samurai circa 1645

Of the many things that can be learned from the martial arts perhaps the most poignant are the philosophies of some of these warriors.  These men were faced with a constant struggle with death always looming in the background.  The coping mechanisms they used can be an inspiration for us all to make peace within ourselves.

One of my favorite warriors of the ancient world,  Miyamoto Musashi was the greatest samurai and author of the classic book “The Book of Five Rings”  Musashi had a long career that included winning over eighty sword duels with other adepts. Later in his life, he turned to meditating and Zen studies. In his last days, in the year 1645, he sat down and penned this short list of precepts.
A few days later he died…..Leaving this profound list of guiding principles known as “Dokkodo” “The Path of Aloneness”

1.  Do not stubbornly rebel against the ways of the world.
2.  Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3.  Do not rely upon any half-hearted feelings.
4.  Think lightly of yourself and think deeply of the world.
5.  Remain detached from desire.
6.  Do not regret what you have done.
7.  Never be jealous of others.
8.  Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9.  Abandon resentment and complaint.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of love or lust.
11. Disregard your personal preferences.
12. Accept your dwelling and living conditions.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hoard ancient treasures intended for future generations.
15. Do not mindlessly follow the ways of the world.
16. Do not become obsessed with weapons or fighting.
17. Do not run from death.
18. Do not accumulate goods and riches for your old age.
19. Respect the gods, without relying on their help.
20. You can abandon your own body, but never let go of your honor.
21. Never depart from the way of strategy.

These ideals are presented by Musashi to encourage us all to cultivate the only thing of this world that lives on after we leave it….Character

Posted March 23, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Buddhist, Philosophy

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Stay on the Path   Leave a comment

Riding up a mountain path by Zhao Yichao & Zhang Mingtang

Wayfarer…. That is the definition of a Taoist.

Returning is the Way

Ever following the Way, staying in balance between Heaven and Earth we acquire virtues along our journey.  Treasures line the Way, like pearls of wisdom, little golden nuggets of energy, freedom from our thoughts, and blessings from nature.  In time, we shine like the sun itself and become as fresh as a mountain breeze.  All these things are a gift from Tao, free for the gathering along the Way.

Once you find that there is a “Great Way” you can never stop following it, for if you do, you never found it in the first place.  Since the Yin and Yang of egg and sperm came together in the void we call the womb, the yin/yang of You has been on a path we call life. There is no stopping along the path we call “life.” The universe is in a constant state of flux; we realize this or we suffer.

From Lao Tzu,

When superior people hear of the Way,
They follow it with great vigor and enthusiasm.
When middling people hear of the Way,
They follow it sometimes and sometimes they do not.
When inferior people hear of the Way,
They laugh and scorn it,
And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

In our inner lives, we are all alone on the path of life, yet at the same time, we are never apart from the Way itself. All things are on this path, sometimes we are ahead, sometimes we are behind, but we all flow inexorably into time. There are side paths, places to linger, other people along the Way, but everything has the Way in common. We are never alone yet we are always alone, just as the Tao is everything and at the same time nothing. The path of life as “Tao” is always returning to the source.

After I learned the first few Qigong and Taiji movements, my first teacher quit giving classes.  I had found the great Way and I knew it. I just followed the path. There are footprints along the Way; other Wayfarers abound, right around the next corner, or right behind you if you just look around.  To excel at life we must be dedicated to it. I do what I do because that is the path I am on at the moment…

The Way is natural law, follow your heart and you will be fine.  After you hear of the Way, it is up to each individual to follow what they know in their hearts to be true.

We are all Wayfarers on a path returning to the peace from which we come.