Thursday, 18 September 2008

Acupuncture - Update

It's been a week since my session, and the difference is quite significant. My knee has got more and more easy throughout the week, and nearly all pain is gone. On both Monday and Tuesday, I did two hours of teaching and an hour of practice on my own.

Before I had the acupuncture, such exercise would make my knee really sore, and difficult to straighten. However, there is just minor pain when I do something that really jarrs the knee. It feels looser and I am running spontaneously without wondering if it will hurt.

Frankly, I'm astonished. I wasn't expecting such quick results. I'm not completely recovered, so will continue with the treatment.

I have booked another appointment on Saturday. Will keep you all posted.

Friday, 12 September 2008

Acupuncture - Does it work?

I have been having occasional problems with pain in my knee when I practice tai chi hard. It can last up to a couple of days after, so I decided to try acupuncture.

I had my first session yesterday. After an initial consultation, the doctor booked me in for an acupunture session with massage/acupressure. After the treatment, my knee felt very different. It was definitely more eased, and when I walked, it felt more stable. However, that could have been due to the massage, which was very thorough.

Like all things, I will need a course of treatment to really improve things. Will keep you all informed about any progress.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Mistakes? Great!!!

Have you ever wanted to do something, but were afraid of being shown up or making a mistake? Let me share my experience with this.

A friend came to me and told me that one of my students had been "humiliated" at a Tai Chi seminar.

My student had been selected by the teacher for practical applications (self defense) demonstrations, and had been thrown about quite roughly. The other students found this most amusing, and treated it like entertainment. Whenever the teacher asked for a volunteer, my student stepped up for more. The rest of the class found this hilarious.

I was very happy with this outcome. I used to do the same thing with Master Liming Yue. Whenever he wanted to demonstrate techniques, I was always the first to volunteer. Sometimes, the other students would laugh. But knew I was getting better.

Martial Arts are about making mistakes. For only by making mistakes, can we eliminate errors and get better and better. As we get better, the opportunity to make these mistakes (lessons) gets smaller and smaller. It is those who can safely put themselves into situations where they can learn from their mistakes who will achieve the greatest. 

As for the student - he went on to become British Open Kung Fu Champion later that year.

Start of the New Academic Year

It's a new academic year, and to me this means starting new Tai Chi classes at Congleton, Macclesfield and Sandbach.

At this time, I often wonder what kind of students will arrive. Following the Beijing olympics, I expect there to be quite high numbers this year. But you never know. 

So here's some FAQ's that I often get from new students.

That looks difficult. Is Tai Chi hard work?
Tai Chi is as easy or as hard as you want it to be. Simply by adjusting the depth of posture. you can have a gentle relaxing session, or a really tough workout. It's up to you.

I'll never remember all those moves.
Yes you will. Some people take more time than others. I don't expect you to be perfect. Classes are where you make your mistakes, so I can correct them. 

Tai Chi is Buddhist, isn't it? Do I have to give up alcohol or meat?
Tai Chi is not Buddhist. It takes it's influences from the Yijing, traditional chinese medicine and other martial arts. No buddhism was used or required. Also, you do not have to give up anything.

Where do the meditation and health aspects come into it?
It's true that Tai Chi was developed for self-defence purposes. Meditational state is achieved by the concentration on the movements to the exclusion of everything else. Health is gained by pressing the tongue against the roof of the mouth, bending the knees, correcting the posture and turning at the waist.

See you at the class!!!

Wednesday, 3 September 2008

Stressed - Advice

It's not as bad as you think. Dr. Topher Morrison has a great way of looking at it. 

Be happy.

Monday, 1 September 2008

5 Secret Ways to Relax

1. Huff and Puff. 
Inhale abruptly — sigh out-loud. You’ve probably done this before when you were exasperated or fed-up or exhausted. Try it again with some attitude. A sarcastic whatever attitude could flush out the tensions; a disgusted what-an-idiot projection might release stress. Huffing and puffing helps us relax naturally, even if bitterly. It’s easy and it’s free.

2. Shake “No” 
Gently shake your head. Nose pointing from one corner of the room to the other, to the other, to the other, back and forth, shake your head. A small, soft shake will do. Mesmerize yourself. You can even employ the bitterness from the Huff-and-Puff. It is important, however, to pull your head in so that your head balances atop your shoulders. Each ear lines up over each shoulder. Shake no, and feel the back of your head, those muscles, the ones gripping your skull in position, feel them relax.

3. Smile Inside. 
It’s the physical act that matters: this one happens deep in your throat, behind your tongue. Smile. You don’t have to show it. Smile inside. Grin inside about anything: use revenge, secret knowledge, long-term spite to lift the edges of an inner smile. Of course, love and friendship and contentment make smiling inside easy.

4. Pound Something. 
Beat it. Wreck it. Pull it down from the top shelf. Push it off the counter with fantastic fury or fabulous delight. Hit it. Kick it. Smash it.Whatever you do: work. Physical work releases loads of stress and when it’s done, it’s satisfying and primal.  Sometimes we need to see problems and obstacles broken in bits. Do this one well and, as best you can, carefully. I pound cushions, not just with my fists, but also swinging and striking with my elbows. It's great!!!

5. Wave Hands Like Clouds. 
Tai-chi proper brings great results. The more intimate your knowledge of your body, the deeper this kind of movement instills stillness. Wave your hands like they are clouds. Get it. Try it. Emulate cirrus, strato-cumulus, or cumulonimbus clouds. Wave hands through clouds. Stand in a park, on a mountain, in a field, on a roof, in a stream, on a tree, or in your room (right now) and, while looking through your top hand, watch your hands wave through those far away clouds. Relax: even if you’re waving them through piling storm clouds, it feels great.

Aaaaahhhhh.... relax.