Tai Chi Class

Welcome to WholenessInMotion. Tai chi is a whole body and mind exercise that combines meditation, martial art and health tonic in one. This particular form is the Yang style, 37 posture short form as taught by Prof. Cheng Man-ch'ing. This fascinating and intricate exercise has many benefits and just about anyone can practice it.

Take a look at this site and consider the study of relaxation and how it can benefit you in your daily life. I look forward to working with you. Tom Daly


 

Archive for June, 2011

Tai Chi Chuan – Merging and the Gap

Posted By Tom Daly on June 11th, 2011

Tai Chi Chuan – Merging and the Gap

I’m going for a new attitude.  Push hands seems to do that to you if you continue on its path and strive to learn more and better ways to be full, soft and effective.

I’m intrigued with the neutralization part of the sequence.  That happens to be most of the sequence.  How might we frame our efforts here?

For the most part, I’m trying to not get pushed.  This results in trying to get away.

This can be obvious, this can be subtle.  I know that I need to stay connected and listening at all times, yet I frame those guidelines to serve the purpose of not getting pushed, being out of harm’s way, trying to get away.

WRONG!

The neutralization should afford you an opportunity not to get AWAY, but to get WITH.  If you put your mind and body into serving that goal, I think you will be in a far superior position.  The closer you get, the more you will have in your hands.

Tai chi always reminds me of the adage: “Be close to your friends; be closer to your enemy.”

In a way, we turn our opponent, our enemy, into our closest friend.

But in addition to getting closer, merging as a goal in the neutralization, the follow up to this is to never attack your opponent.  Never.  Attacking is a “doing” agenda and we are committed to “non-doing”.  (Getting away is a “doing” activity as well.)

[In push-hands, we are attempting to push someone with “four ounces of strength.”  Masters can blast you off your feet into the air for many feet doing just this.]

So if you have a great neutralization, what should happen next is to experience a place in your opponent that is an opening in their wholeness.  The place that is vulnerable.  A gap.  The Yin place.  The place you will follow and fill up.  The place you move into.  Even better, you don’t look for this place or try to find it.  It should appear before your eyes (and hands.)  It’s simply there like turning the corner and suddenly Niagara Falls appears.

This has nothing to do with attacking!

If you find that opening, you have the key to a great push.  If you take up that space, they will be uprooted.  This is following the logical conclusion to a round in the push hands form.  The energy gap in their energy field gives you a place to fill.  Of course, this is a mechanical gap in their external shape as well.  However you conceptualize it, there is a break in their external shell and you simply go into that space.  No attacking, just filling up the space.  Just following the logical conclusion of the connection between the two of you.

Needless to say, HOW you fill up that space is yet another topic.  But I think a good start is to NOT ATTACK that opportunity but to let their gap give you a direction to move into.  The “gappy” partner will be surprised because we rarely feel our own “gaps.”

This is yet another reason that “invest in loss” is so valuable.  If you don’t defend or fight off your partner, you will be pushed a great deal.  Not fun!  But a great return on investment because you are learning to hear what they are doing and what you are doing in response to their doing.  To go into defense mode, getting away, stopping them from what they want to do or go where they want to go, this clouds your ability to see what is LITERALLY right in front of you.  Clear yourself of all intention, let them win, see what is happening TOTALLY.  Do this for a few years and you will be the wiser for it.  That invaluable experience will only point the way towards a valid, non-doing response, and then the clarity to see/feel the gap in their attack.

Yes, if they “attack” you, this is a doing movement, and they should be the one that gets pushed out.  Odd to think that “to do” is to die!

Here are some of the tell tale signs that you have attacked:  For one, they get hard and resist you.  Or they sense something is wrong, and start to flail about.  Or they accelerate some attempt to run away, to get away.  Or they go into rooting mode (not a good way to neutralize a push but many do this!)

If a red flag goes off in your partner when you attempt to fill the gap, most likely you are simply doing a clever softer version of attacking.  Or you haven’t really identified the gap to begin with.  Or you are relying on speed to catch them off guard.  If there REALLY is a gap, the “gappy” partner will only realize it once you are in and they are becoming unbalanced, that is, when it is too late.

My thoughts for today for Push Hands 101.  Next blog will be on Push Hands 102.

When I get there.

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Tai Chi Chuan – research on post chemo treatment for the brain

Posted By Tom Daly on June 10th, 2011

Tai chi boosts function for those with ‘chemo brain,’ study finds

ADRIANA BARTONVANCOUVER— From Friday’s Globe and Mail

Published Thursday, Jun. 09, 2011 3:00PM EDT

Last updated Thursday, Jun. 09, 2011 3:22PM EDT

For cancer survivors, “chemo brain” seems like an unfair blow. Long after radiation and chemotherapy treatments are over, many patients suffer from memory lapses, poor concentration and a general feeling of being “spaced out.”

The fuzzy-headedness may persist for years, researchers have found. But there’s a chance tai chi can help.

In a pilot study, women who previously had chemotherapy and took a 60-minute tai chi class twice a week had sharper thinking at the end of 10 weeks of training in the Chinese martial art.

Before and after the study period, researchers assessed participants’ physical and psychological well-being and measured their cognitive skills in areas such as attention and multitasking.

“In terms of their thinking, there were improvements over time in pretty much all of our tests,” says Stephanie Reid-Arndt, a psychologist at the University of Missouri and lead author of the study.

In addition, participants had improved balance and reported lower stress levels, Dr. Reid-Arndt says.

The study, published online in the journal Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice,is the first to measure cognitive abilities in former chemotherapy patients in relation to a specific exercise program.

Dr. Reid-Arndt notes the study is small, involving 23 women with mild to moderate cognitive impairment a year or more after chemotherapy treatments.

According to the Canadian Cancer Society, about 177,800 Canadians will be diagnosed with cancer this year, not including 74,100 cases of non-melanoma skin cancer.

Scientists don’t know why some people develop thinking problems after chemotherapy. It is unclear whether having chemotherapy is a direct cause of cognitive impairment or whether changes in hormones or the vascular system during treatment are involved, Dr. Reid-Arndt says.

Nevertheless, “we think about a third of people experience these [cognitive] difficulties after chemotherapy.”

The Canadian Cancer Society recommends that patients who notice changes in memory and concentration use coping skills such as keeping tracking of things by making lists and scheduling activities that require focused attention at times when they’re well rested.

Behavioural changes may help, Dr. Reid-Arndt says. But she adds that tai chi combines exercise, learning and mindfulness – all of which have been shown in previous research to improve cognitive abilities.

Tai chi students learn intricate routines and mind-body skills that emphasize breathing awareness, active relaxation and slow movements, which are well suited for cancer survivors who have physical impairments.

Similar benefits might be found by studying activities such as yoga for patients who have had chemotherapy, Dr. Reid-Arndt says.

Meanwhile, she adds, a larger study is needed to establish that tai chi really can help clear up chemo fog.

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