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The Tigers Mouth
It Works - why try to analyse!!!
Over 60 classes
Kidney 1 and Percardium 8
A New Era

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The Tigers Mouth

This is known as the Tigers Mouth and is a prominent feature of metal element exercises. By opening the thumb and index finger and closing the remaining fingers we open the lung and large intestine meridians which are the organs associated with the metal element. As your Chi Kung practise improves you will really feel the energy flow through!!!!

It Works - why try to analyse!!!

I was talking to one of my students today who was telling me about how Chi Kung was really beneficial to his health and how well he was feeling but he didn't understand why!!! I ask him if that was really necessary to know, was it not just enough to receive all the benefits. I remember once asking a similar question and was told I was looking at things the wrong way round; instead of asking 'How it works?' I should be asking 'Does it work?' and the answer was yes. Obvious since then my understanding of Chi Kung has become much deeper but at an initial level it isn't necessary to know why. Think of all the people that drive cars (maybe not a good idea in the present Earth Warming situation) - but they know that the vehicle gets them from A to B as long as they put energy into the engine - apart from that the majority have no idea how it works!!!! So, by practising Chi Kung you are putting the 'energy' into your body and your body will respond accordingly!!! So, for now, enjoy your practise and you will find that as you become more aware internal energy running through your body you will come to naturally understand how it works!!!!

Over 60 classes

I like to teach Tai Chi as an all round system of exercise including the self defence aspects of the art but I also like to see the benefits that it brings to my older students - I teach a short form in very small sections (as well as putting the videos on the facebook group page!!!) so that they can remember the moves and practice on their own without having to follow anyone. This is much preferable to just going to a class and following along. I explain the 'fighting' applications for the movements because find it makes it easier to remember the movements if you can put a practical application to them!!!

Kidney 1 and Percardium 8

There are two acupressure points I ofter mention in Chi Kung and Tai Chi class - Kidney one and Pericardium eight

The Kidney one spot is located at the centre of the foot virtually next to the bottom of the ball of the foot - if you trace a straight line from your middle toe down through the foot you will come across a soft indentation (this is how you find a lot of acupressure points) and there it is!
it is the point we want to feel the majority of weight going to the floor when we stand in our static postures (wu ji etc) - it is an excellent spot to massage if you want to calm the mind or feel more grounded.

The Pericardium 8 point is located at the centre of the palm (trace down from the middle finger which is also the Pericardium meridian. this point is used by practitioners of energy healing and is also a power point for balancing the fire element. The Chinese name for the point is Lao Gong and also sometimes referred to as the 'Palace of Weariness

A New Era

I am feeling that a new age is coming for the Tai Chi Studio and indeed my own training - As I become more involved in my own training and teaching  I realise just how important the Chi Kung work is. I have already mentioned in other blogs how I have been helped through some difficult times physically, emotionally and spiritually and I am always amazed at the progress regular practice makes to all my students.
I strongly urge people out there to take up the practice of Chi Kung - I believe in the short term it is much more beneficial than Tai Chi when there are movements and forms to learn and it is pointless just going to a class and following the leader!!!
There are many forms of Chi Kung out there and I have no doubt that one of them is for you - hopefully it would be with me but of course everyone has their choice and path.
So, look for a Chi Kung class and remember sometimes you have to travel to find the one for you - Just because it maybe on your doorstep doesn't necessarily make it right - If you are looking for a 5 Element Chi Kung class I suggest you go to the Elemental School of Chi Kung website and find a class around your area - you will find me in the Essex section!!!

Why Am I So Passionate About My Training!!!

People often ask why am I so passionate about my Chi Kung and Tai Chi training - well, the simple answer is 'I know that it works' - and it can work for you too!!!
Over the last thirty odd years Tai Chi and Chi Kung have brought me through some very difficult periods, physically, emotionally and spiritually. This is no idle boast - I have already written about my Guillain Barre Syndrome trouble and how Chi Kung helped me through that but also sometimes we can feel that things are getting on top of us, sometimes almost too much to take, and once again Chi Kung and Tai Chi works wonders because in that moment of time (some would call it the 'now') you are open to solutions - sometimes inspiration appears to come from nowhere with the answer to your problem. 
If you are an artist/musician/writer and you are going through a 'barren' patch then once again your practise will open up those creative channels. Going off piste for a moment, these flashes of inspiration can come at anytime - sometimes just watching TV, having a shower, washing up, but they nearly always come when your mind is quite - often they come in dreams, I believe it was Paul McCartney who woke up with this song in his head - he felt it was so good that someone must have already written it - I believe the song was Yesterday.
So, new classes starting at the Studio in January and hope to see some of you then. Meanwhile have a merry Xmas and happy New Year.

The Three Treasures

The Three Treasures
Here is something for probably the more advanced students of Tai Chi and Chi Kung who come along to the studio. The Three Treasures otherwise known as Jing, Chi and Shen or Essence, Energy and Spirit can be broken down into their individual components as Jing (essence), the energy we are born with, closely associated with the water element and the kidneys - Chi (energy) is what it says energy and how we use it while Shen can be spirit, not spirit in the sky spirit but how we are - when our Jing and Chi are strong it shines through making us feel and look healthy and strong.
A better description can be used by comparing the three treasures to a candle - The essence would be the wax and wick of the candle which makes it substance and Chi could be likened to the flame which will be strong if the main body of the candle is good. Shen (Spirit) would be the light that glows from the flame - the better the essence, the stronger the flame and the brighter the spirit (the glow around the flame) - I find this to be a really good analogy.

Tai Chi or Chi Kung

Tai Chi or Chi Kung (What to choose!)

My advice to anyone looking to begin their 'Tai Chi Journey' would be to start with Chi Kung. If you have problems with posture, balance, breathing, body awareness or just have trouble remembering sequences then 5 Element Chi Kung is an excellent start to your training.
5 Element Chi Kung works on the principles and concepts of Traditional Chinese Medicine using static/moving postures, exercises and meditations to relax and open the muscles/joints to allow greater chi (energy) flow through the meridians.
The Wu Ji stance in particular quickly improves posture and body awareness and by coordinating movement with breathe you learn to move from the centre and breathe deeply thus improving balance and relaxation.
There are no long sequences to remember at beginner level therefore it is easier to prepare workouts for individual needs that can be practised at home.

Tai Chi uses much the same principles and concepts except that the sequences are long and some find them quite difficult to remember especially if there is a lack of body awareness. Tai Chi is much harder than it looks - yes, there are classes you can attend where you can just 'follow along' but at the Studio I like to see everyone learning and understanding the movements (Tai Chi is a martial art and a very effective self defence system).
We begin by learning a short form which takes about eight weeks to learn before moving on to the 108 step Yang form - we then move on to 'push hands', applications and sword forms and much more.

So, in short I would advise the total beginner to start with 5 Element Chi Kung classes before moving on to Tai Chi (many choose to stay with the Chi Kung!) - There are regular 4 week beginner classes as well as monthly workshops.

Why Would You Do That!!!

Got to thinking the other day - The great thing about Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Yoga for that matter is once you have a few basic moves you can practice daily at home and I was talking about this with a friend who also works out at the gym quite a lot.
I said that personally I just don't see the point - if I run, cycle or row for twenty minutes I sure as hell want to be somewhere, not just sitting in the same place, smelling like a polecat, surrounded by leotards and Lycra and ears ringing from the 'go for it' music and eyes tired of tv screens. Why not just go for a run or cycle outdoors - especially in the area we live where there are lots of good woodland walks and cycle rides - we even have places where you can take out your canoe - and after this you have lungs full of fresh air - It makes sense to me.
I have never been one for gyms - I have tried it and didn't like it (for the above reasons) - and this blog is obviously my own, personal point of view - there are lots of people out there who really enjoy their gym work - i'm just not one of 'em i'm afraid!!!.

If You Don't Like Life - Change It!

A great philosopher once said 'If you don't like life change it' - or something close to that and that is exactly what I did on my thirtieth birthday.
I was working in the city at the time in a job that I absolutely hated - I liked nothing about it at all - the work - the people - nothing. I was working in the commodity market and all everyone seemed to worry about was their next bonus and new car - I was never into this way of thinking.
I remember being on the tube on the way to work with my nose stuck under some Neanderthals armpit thinking 'Why the hell am I putting myself through this!' - there was a hold up on the train and I ended up arriving for work late to which the boss said 'Where the hell have you been (or words to that effect) - I turned around and started to walk out of the door and he asked where I was going to which I said 'home'. He put on his best 'I have a Rolls Royce look and said, 'Well, if you go don't bother coming back' to which I replied 'I don't remember saying I was coming back' and that was it - the last day I ever worked for anyone. There followed twenty years of London Cab Driving and also finding my spiritual path and even though things are far from how I thought things would end up it is a decision I will never regret so, it you don't like life - change it!!!!

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