Listening Jing

There are many skills we must develop as Tai Chi players. I consider the development of listening jing to be among the most important. Two months ago I wrote about the heart in Tai Chi and the need to foster quietness and openness in the heart. These two processes are very interdependent. As the heart quiets it creates space for us to be able to listen. Listening is done with the whole being, body , mind and spirit. It means more than to listen with the ears and develops slowly over time. First we must listen within ourselves. We need to know and be able to be honest about what is occurring inside. As we begin to feel the inner flow of Tai Chi we can tune our attention into what is happening. We can see the beauty and be aware of the flaws. This can lead us to corrections and deepen out Tai Chi experience.   In two person work, pushing hands, listening is vital. We need to move our listening skills outside of ourselves and into the system we have created with another person. When two people touch their fields join and form one system. The connection moves from the ground of one persons foot all the way through each person and into the ground of the other. Listening enables us to know what is happening in this system. We can perceive the flow and the breaks, thus knowing when to act or be patient. As we develop our listening skills we move beyond action and into spontaneous being. From the Tai Chi perspective the one who is most relaxed and listens best wins.   To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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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Four Things We Must Do

Sifu Fong Ha has said there are four things we must do if we are going to make progress in our Tai Chi work. First we must learn a form. It might be I Chuan, Chi Kung or any of the variety of Tai Chi forms. With out a form we have no place to root our practice. We are lost wandering with out a map. With a form we can find our way into the deeper aspects of our work on ourselves. Second we must breath. Our lives begin on and inspiration and end on an expiration. Breath is the very basis of building our chi. In the Chinese language the symbol for chi is the steam(breath) coming off of a bowl of rice. If we are going to cultivate our chi we have to take the breath and combine it with other forms of nourishment. Without breath there is no life. Third we must find our balance. Sifu Fong Ha says we will find our balance one way or the other, either horizontally or vertically. Our balance is there with us everyday. If we do not fall down we have found our balance. I like to encourage my students to go in search of their balance. Seek it out. Take a step and carefully look for that place where everything aligns and everything sinks into the earth. Then you will know you have found your balance. Fourth clarify your intention. Most people approach intention from a western perspective. They think that intention means think punch when you punch, think kick when you kick. Their idea is that you should intend what you are going to do. I believe this is fundamentally incorrect. From my point of view intention is a clarified state of beingness. We simply are. It is that place when we are in the present moment with no distractions. In those moments we are in alignment with the Tao and peacefully alert. This is the true power of Tai Chi. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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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In the Heart of Tai Chi

Aloha All, February seems like a good month to talk about the heart. This is an aspect of Tai Chi Chuan that is often ignored. In Traditional Chinese Medicine the Shen or spirit is stored in the heart. Some forms of insomnia are caused by the Shen not being able to come to rest in the heart and people end up with an agitated mind. In the beginning we can focus on the exercises and the elements of the form but if our Tai Chi is going to deepen at some point we are going to need to open our heart. We need the inner space to allow the Shen to quiet and for our awareness of both what is going on inside of us and in our environment to develop. Many of you have experienced this directly with Sifu Fong HA. At a conference on the martial arts someone once said to me ” you Tai Chi people are infinitely interested in the inner workings of your own being”. It was meant as a put down, my reply was simply “yes”. To develop our listening skills the heart needs to be calm and clear with just the right balance of yin and yang. I think February is a great month to devote ourselves to this aspect of our practice. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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 Maui. May your hearts find just the right balance,...
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Reflecting on Changes

Aloha, I need to start with a little logistics. Class will meet each Monday from 7:30 to 9:30, except Monday the 9th. Our kids will be visiting from the mainland and so I am taking the week of the 9th off. We will still have four Mondays of class because this January has five Mondays. I hope you are each having a blessed set of Holidays. I find myself reflecting on all the changes in my life this last year, especially the move to Maui. I have a great deal of gratitude for those of you who have decided to study with me and to continue Sifu Fong Ha’s work here on the island. He is a great master teacher with an amazing gift to share. For those of you who have not made it to class yet I hope that the new year might present you with an opportunity to stop by and check it out. I have spent 31 years with Fong Ha’s work and dedicated myself to developing a way of teaching that conveys the inner meaning and depth of Tai Chi. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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 Maui.   Mahalo  and as Fong would say “Be Well and Happy Always”...
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Essential Principles of Tai Chi

In this next month we are going to focus on the four fundamental principles I feel are essential for Tai Chi. 1. Everything we  do is based in yin and yang. These two principles are not opposite but complementary. Even s simple single step involves one leg becoming yin as the other becomes yang. 2. We approach effortlessness. We do not search for perfection in some absolute but work toward our goal. Tai Chi requires that calm and listen, to do this we have to reduce the amount of effort we put into each move. As we relax and stop efforting things become clearer, simpler and more graceful. 3. The Tai Chi Classics make it very clear that all movement must start in the feet be controlled by the waist and finally expressed in the hands. The waist acts as the streering wheel. The hands merely complete the movement begun from below. 4. We are supported by the earth and suspended from heaven and between heaven and earth only the laws of chi prevail. By applying the other three principles we should work to enhance our relationship with the earth. Each step should find us more and more clearly supported by the big ball we stand on. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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 Maui. Mahalo,...
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Continuing Fong Ha’s Work

Aloha All, After only a short break from teaching on the mainland it has been wonderful to begin teaching again here on Maui. I received an email from Sifu Fong Ha saying how happy he is that his work is being taught here and that he is going to work to come for longer next year. I will keep you posted as we get closer to next September. This last month’s class has focused on developing our standing meditation practice, the first four arm postures for mediation and how to transform them into movement with Su Li and walking exercises. We have also focused on allowing your Tai Chi form work to be an out growth of the basic I Chuan practice. What I mean by this is taking our fundamentals of cultivating the chi, yin and yang, approaching effortlessness, and finding our equilibrium as the core that we develop our Tai Chi form around. I like to view it as working from the inside out. In November we will build on this beginning. (If you have not been able to come to class yet do not worry everything is reviewed and the core principles are continued.) We will continue our standing mediation focusing on the next four arm postures and adding on to the Su Li exercises.  Walking exercises will always be a core part of what I teach. In each single step so much occurs and if we can begin to get out of our own way and allow an awareness of that experience it is very powerful. We will also continue to develop the long form of the Yang Style. To sign up for a Tai Chi (Tai Ji) class 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 Maui. I hope to see you in class. Mahalo,...
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