Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bus Stop T'ai Chi

T’ai chi ch’uan has the capacity to transform us—physically, mentally, and spiritually. We may get a taste from a class at the Y, or from a weekend workshop, but that sense will eventually fade when the energy patterns accumulated over decades reassert themselves. The transformation requires gongfu: dedicated practice over time. Our body/mind won’t jettison even an inefficient system until it is certain that something better is there to replace it. And that takes time.

When most of us hear that something is going to take up the little free time we imagine we have, we quickly shut the door. The payoff had better be pretty spectacular if we’re going to devote a half hour a day. Even those of us who are in it for life don’t always take the time each day to practice.

How can you squeeze more gongfu into your busy schedule? You can’t replace hours of focused study under ideal conditions, but you can add depth to your practice through “bus stop t’ai chi”.

Bus stop t’ai chi is working on your gongfu anytime you have a moment. You’re standing in line at the bank and you surreptitiously practice finding central equilibrium while standing on either leg. You wait for a 6 train and train your energetic coherence by pointing your index fingers. You slowly and deliberately rotate your forearm and sense the ch’i. You nonchalantly turn your body while focusing on your dantien.

Practicing this way adds depth to your gongfu by exploring body/mind connections in different contexts. If we only practice at the school, the lessons learned may stay there. By practicing your empty step when you step off a curb, it gets cross-referenced with real life experience. It gets more real.

Just pick a small piece and work on it during your day. No one has to know.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Form Vids on YouTube

I've started posting moves from the William C. C. Chen's 60 Movements on YouTube as a study aid. I break them down and explain some of the key elements of each. Punch up taichialchemy on YouTube for the whole list.

Here's a link to the Preparation posture. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bHpxKYYNq8U. Note the emphasis on central equilibrium and energetic coherence BEFORE beginning the form. This ensures that you have a full tank before starting.

Check out the other videos as well. There's some cool demos for peng jin, energetic coherence, central equilibrium, and others.

I'll be adding pretty often for the near future.

Chinese Scholars Garden Event- It's ON!

Annual Chinese Scholars Garden Event June 27
with Rick Barrett and Stephe Watson

We're doing the annual Chinese Scholars Garden Event a little later this year in hopes of catching some better weather. We're set for June 27, rain or shine. We'll meet at the lawn before the stage at Snug Harbor Cultural Center.

Seminars will begin at 10:30am, so try to get there a bit earlier. Those coming from Manhattan can catch the 9:30 ferry and I'll pick you up at 10. (Next boat is 10:30 so try to get this one). Latecomers can grab a taxi.

Seminars til lunch at 12:30. Seminars again from 2pm til 4. Then Stephe leads us on a guided tour of the remarkable New York Chinese Scholars Garden. Stephe's tours are as entertaining as they are informative.

Then it's off to Chinatown for an epic feast at 7pm.

Cost: $108 includes dinner. $85 without dinner. Lunch is $10, free if you pay in advance.
You can use PayPal at tcalchemy@aol.com

I hope you can join us for an amazing day of t'ai chi, push hands, qigong, laughter, and fine dining.

Contact info below. Check out the website for more info.

Rick Barrett
Author of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate