Reflections on Sifu Fong Ha’s Visit

September was an amazing month for me. It was so good to have Sifu Fong Ha on island. There is always so much to learn from him. He continues to focus on the development of awareness and sensitivity. Encouraging us to find our balance and refine our sense of equilibrium.   This time he talked a lot about space and form and no form. One of the things he said is that in Tai Chi “the form that is the true form is no form”. Reminding us that we acquire things in Tai Chi only to let them go. He went on to say that “the intention that is the true intention is no intention”. This reminded me of what I have been trying to say to students about just quieting into a place of beingness. We are called to move past our preconceived notions into something deeper and more profound in the present moment. Only then do we align with the Tao.   Sifu Fong Ha also continues to teach me with his openness and generosity. He is always willing to share his latest insights and to go out of his way to help his students. He truly cares about their development and about the development of the art of Tai Chi Chuan.   If you are interested in continuing Sifu Fong Ha’s work, I teach Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class and private lessons in Kihei on Maui please call me at 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on...
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Sifu Fong Ha and Schedule

It is an exciting month coming up. Sifu Fong Ha will be on island starting on the September 17th for about ten days. That means there will be daily Tai Chi and Chi Kung practice at Kamaole 3 from 6:00-9:00 AM and from 6:00 PM to sunset. He will also be teaching a one day workshop for University of Hawaii, Maui College EdVenture program on the 28th of September. I have already signed up and I hope you will too. He and I have been talking and emailing. He is planning some other special workshops focusing on awareness, sensitivity and effortlessness. He has not given me the times or dates for these but stay tuned for updates.   For those who are interested in continuing Sifu Fong Ha’s work after he has left, I will be teaching a Monday evening class through EdVenture. It will be Monday nights from 6:30 to 7:30 from October 1st to November 5th.   There is one change in my Tai Chi teaching schedule. I will not be having my Monday morning class on the 24th because it would conflict with Sifu Fong Ha’s schedule.   Mahalo,...
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Ten Essential Points

Every Tai Chi practitioner should have a copy of Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essential Points. Yang Chengfu was one of the best known teachers of Tai Chi. He was the grandson of Yang Lu-chan and was known for smoothing out the form. One of his most important writings is The Ten Essential Points of Yang Chengfu. 1.  The head should be held as if suspended from above, so that the chi of vitality can reach the top. 2.  Sink the chest and pluck up the back. (This is meant as an energetic instruction. Do not pull your chest in or down.) 3.  Sung (relax) the waiste. 4.  Differentiate yin and yang. 5.  Sung the shoulders and sink the elbows. 6.  Use mind (yi) not force. 7.  Upper and lower mutually follow. 8.  Inside and outside coordinate. 9.  Movement is mutually joined and unbroken. 10. Seek stillness in movement.   These qualities take years to develop but are worth our attention and dedication. If you did not have a copy of Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essential Points now you do. Use them wisely. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on...
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Why Tai Chi ?

  There are many reasons why anyone of us might choose to take up the practice of Tai Chi. I think many of the best reasons lay in our contemporary life style and life choices. We are told that multitasking is a good thing, the way we should approach our every waking moment. We often rush form one task to the next hurrying along the way. It seems I constantly hear from people that there is too much going on. Sometimes it is even good “stuff” but too much. Our diets are made up of the most immediate item available. Our sleep suffers. We live outside of our bodies. A famous body work guru once said “ All these people are busy trying to have out of body experience, I am still waiting to meet someone who is having an in-body experience”. We live outside of who we are and disconnected from this beautiful planet we live on. Any one of these things drain would our chi, combined they are a disaster. We loose energy, age prematurely and our vitality is sapped.   In Tai Chi we have the opportunity to reconnect to our true self. We center, breath, take a small step and begin to make life more simple. We move slowly connecting to heaven and earth. Then we work and play to deepen that connection. An awareness of what it feels like to be in our bodies starts to grow and we can find a wisdom in the body. We find connection in ourself and then connections to the planet. If we stay at it, keep our practice going, we find a deep stillness, a truth that lays deep beneath everything else. Sometimes we can simply stand and be in awe of it all. Our energy begins to come back, we start to feel good and the hard edges begin to soften. Even simple everyday tasks take less energy. Sometimes when we find the flow we might smile softly like the Buddha.   To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on...
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Tai Chi: Three Great Secrets

I believe that there are three great secrets to learning in the Study of Tai Chi. In last months post I talked about the importance of finding a good teacher. The first secret to truly learning Tai Chi is to believe your teacher. A good teacher will tell you the truth and share with you the depths of Tai Chi to the extent they understand it at this time. They will be forthright. Sometimes you might not like the answer they give you and sometimes the answer will be “no”. If you really want your Tai Chi to develop believe your teacher and follow what they tell you. Do make sure they are a good teacher. A good teacher will not steer you wrong.   The second secret to learning and deepening your Tai Chi practice is to believe the classics. The Tai Chi Classics are a compilation of writings handed down over many years. They were developed in the usual classical Chinese way. There is an original writing that treatises and sayings are added to. My favorite book of the classics is Waysun Liao’s “Tai Chi Classics”. Just open it to any page and there is material worth pondering for a long time. Make the classics a study and then embody them.   The third great secret is that as you assimilate what your teacher tells you and develop a relationship with the classics, question everything. Tai Chi has a rich history with deep roots in the past but it is not a dead art. Tai Chi is an alive practice that is still in development. If we are true practitioners of the art we should be adding to the body of knowledge and practice that make up Tai Chi. One should approach Tai Chi as a study. I remember one time Sifu Fong Ha said to me “Tai Chi is a non-spacial replacement exercise”. I had very little idea what he meant at the time but it became my Tai Chi koan. I learned a lot from contemplating and questioning what he meant.   There may be one more secret and perhaps it is the most difficult for people. The biggest secret is to practice.   To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands,...
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Tai Chi: In the Beginning

Learning Tai Chi is not an easy thing. I like to say that Tai Chi is very simple but learning to be that simple is difficult. To learn Tai Chi the first thing one must do is to find a good teacher. Personally I was very lucky to find Sifu Fong Ha. A good teacher will guide you on the right course in your study of Tai Chi and it’s related arts. When you begin it is important to remember that it will take time and patience. Be gentle on your self. Many people stop studying Tai Chi because their inner critic overwhelms the desire to learn. The most common reason that people give for stoping is that they are not making fast enough progress. Well if you stop so will your progress. In the I Ching the most common phrase is “perseverance furthers”. So stick with it.   Take small steps, literally and figuratively. When you begin it is important not to take on too much. When I first started I would try to take one thing home with me from each class. I would practice it that night before I went to bed and again first thing in the morning. I have found that this works well for people. We slowly build our practice adding on a little bit each time. Stay with the new piece you are learning until you have it. Then add a little more. A good teacher will break the form down into digestible chunks for you and help you to assimilate them.   Books and videos can be helpful aids to your learning but you will need a teacher. Tai Chi has been passed from teacher to student for centuries and that is the only way it can be done. So find a good teacher, be patient and enjoy. One of the delights of Tai Chi is that you do not have to be a Master to get the benefits. A little gentle practice can start a long and health filled journey.   To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class or arrange a private lesson in Kihei on Maui please call 808-280-3450. Tai Chi Class, including Chi Kung and pushing hands, meets Monday mornings from 7:30 to 9:30 in Kihei on...
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