Martial arts have been a part of my make-up long before Bruce Lee. It was the comic book ads that
promoted Jujitsu, which got me started. Later on, I'd gone full circle with the Judo and Karate routine. When Bruce
Lee died, it seemed like a revelation, and I began to seek a different path
in the martial arts. At this point, I discovered the path of Tai Chi. That was over 25 years ago! I have studied
Tai Chi with Mark English, Peter Rossman; Master's Cialag and C. C. Chen. In addition, I have studied Push
Hands and Silk Reeling with Elaine Waters.
In many life times, one can never fully master Tai Chi Chuan, which means "The Grand Ultimate Fist". Thus
my aim was not to become knowledgeable of many styles, but to learn one style well. The classic Tai Chi,
consisting of 108 movements is my style. The movements are but a small part of Tai Chi, for it is an embodiment
of the mind, body, and spirit. The discipline required to make this ternary grouping communicate is awesome.
And that is why there are so few Tai Chi Practitioners in the West today. We look for answers on the external, where
the root of the solution is on the internal. Tai Chi is based on the Taoist Philosophy of Dualism, or the Yin and
Yang. What is really amazing, is we are becoming a global society where the binary 1's and 0's is dictating our
evolution. What can be more Yin and Yang, than the digital age? But the discipline comes about in being able
to adjust to a world, where nothing is what it seems, and reality is what we imagine it to be. How to cope? Learn
the fundamentals that what is important are faith in God, health of self, and all the rest is secondary. There is no secret formula
or pill, only discipline and awareness that change is natural.
In a world where stress becomes a widespread concern, what better path to relaxation than Tai Chi. The
discipline is designed to promote balance and harmony into the lives of those who practice Tai Chi. It is a
choreograph of Mind-Body communication, which results in balance, stress reduction, body awareness, and a
relaxed state of mind. All these things together provide the basis of living healthy; combined with spiritual
awareness and self-discipline. One of the fundamental principals's in Tai Chi is learning the art of "yielding".
When we are truly subtle and relaxed, our senses take on a new dimension. Our hearing, smell, reflexes, and
strength are optimized. From a self-defense aspect, one is also aware of what good and bad forces are
in there midst; providing the confidence on how to deal with pending situations. In the art of yielding,
we learn to flow like water, and bend like a young tree in the slightest breeze.
It takes a great deal of discipline to maintain wellness. External forces that cause us to experience imbalance
within our minds and bodies constantly bombard our lives. When this imbalance becomes unstable, something
inside us breaks down and we get sick. Sometimes we get incurably ill and we die.
Most of our Yin problems (cancer, constipation, and diabetes) are diet related.
With a diet that is rich in sugar, salt, and animal fat, there is a tremendous amount of chemical stress placed on the body. If one adds smoking,
high alcohol consumption, and obesity to the equation, we have a formula that pushes the body to the limit.
If ever a time comes in your life (and it will) that you will have to endure a lot of emotional stress, then your body
may break down; because stress breaks down the bodies immune system.
If your problems are Yin, you need to bring your mind-body back into proper balance. The ideas learned in Tai
Chi Chuan, all help to make you aware that you must focus on wellness and not take health for granted.
The following diet tips provides a healthy start:
Diet if you have excess Yin, then you must rid yourself of it by elimination, or balance with more Yang. As a start
eliminate all red meat (pork, beef) from your diet (Reference Bible, Deuteronomy 14:3). Fish (those with scales and fins) and
white chicken should be eaten no more than three times a week. All meat products should be skinless and baked or broiled (stir-frying in olive oil or canola oil
is permissible in a Wok or cast-iron skillet). Consume no frozen or canned foods, which are filled with salt, sugar,
and other preservatives. Your stable diet will consist of fresh fruits, vegetables (carrots, greens, broccoli, eggplant, brussel sprouts, parsnips ), and
high grain fiber foods (bran, wheat germ, oatmeal, cornmeal, brown rice, barley, and beans). Also, if you eat baked
potatoes or yams, eat the skin also. If you bake, use only whole-wheat flour, flax seed meal, soy milk, and use only the
whites of eggs. Do not consume any white refined products (e.g. flour, rice, breads, and sugar) on a regular basis.
Try to cook all your food from scratch. Recommend purchasing a rice cooker/steamer, pressure cooker, and a
Wok or cast iron skillet to do your cooking in. Avoid fast food places. When eating out, make it Chinese, seafood,
Korean, Japanese, Mid-Eastern, or vegetarian, and go heavy on the vegetables. Avoid shellfish, crustaceans, and mollusks.
Finally, drink a lot of healthy water, and herbal tea. Lastly, supplement your diet with vitamins that perk up your
immune system (e.g. B-50 Complex, C, E, Selenium, Zinc, Chromium, CQ10, and Beta-carotene).
If one does not begin with the right attitude,
There is little hope for a right ending.
For the past three years, I have been teaching Yang Style 108 Tai Chi at Detroit Unity Temple. Teaching has
been gratifying, but dedicated students are hard to come by. In today's society, where information overload
and materialism is rampant, The Tai Chi way is difficult to adhere to. In my class, I teach the following:
... Stiff and unbending is the principal of death. Gentle and yielding is the principal of life.
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