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Kidney 1 and Percardium 8
A New Era
Why Am I So Passionate About My Training!!!
The Three Treasures
Tai Chi or Chi Kung


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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!!!!

Water - The Strongest Element of Them All.

I get some strange looks sometimes when I say that 'Water' is the strongest of the five elements especially as it relates to the Yin element. Many feel that it should be Fire being the strongest Yang element - however, Lao Tzu sums it up quite well in the Tao The Ching saying -
Nothing in the world is softer and weaker than water, but, for attacking the hard and strong there is nothing like it, for nothing can take its place - That the weak overcomes the strong, and the soft overcomes the hard. This is something known by all but practised by none!!!
How true.

The Rhythm of Nature!

It is truly amazing at how a session of Chi Kung can make you feel. I was outside practising under an amazing oak that resides in our garden and really feeling the energy flowing. As you know Chi Kung and Tai Chi place great emphasis on coordination of breath and movement and there I was going through a sequence when I could actually feel the rhythm of nature!!! It was an amazing experience and although I always feel connected when practicing this felt totally different - an amazing feeling of 'being in the web'!!!
It is nice to know that after years of practice in both Tai Chi and Chi Kung that something new can show itself or enhance the feelings that you already have. With this in mind I have decided that on my June workshop[ I will take everyone out to the lovely wood that adjoins my studio and let everyone practice outside and see if they can get that same wonderful feeling. The workshop will be on Saturday, June 14th 1030-1.30.

The Three Treasures!

Yesterday. during our really constructive workshop we touched upon the Three Treasures (Jing, Chi and Shen) which is a complete workshop in itself - maybe next one!!! However, meantime I found this little piece that I put out quite a while ago and it tries to explain what they are - a bit of a ramble I'm afraid but here it is.

The three treasures are – Jing, Chi and Shen

Jing or essence is most closely related to our physical bodies and stored in the kidneys (also according to Taoist philosophy it is stored in the lower Dan Tien)

Chi can be said to be our life force and controls our movements and is closely related to the liver and spleen organ systems. Once again according to Taoist philosophy chi is said to be stored in the middle Dan Tien.

Shen (Spirit) – is the essence that shines through when Jing and Chi are strong – the Shen is related to the heart and Taoist philosophy say it is stored in the higher Dan Tien.

A Story on the Three Treasures.

Just a bit of useless information here!!! I once read that you could equate the three treasures to a candle – Jing would be the basic essence of the candle – that being the wax and the wick. Chi would be the actual flame of the candle whereas Shen would be the radiance around the flame – the better the basics of the candle then the flame and the radiance around it will flourish!!!!

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