Monday, July 13, 2015

Watch Grandmaster Pui Chan Movie !

For anyone growing up in the 1970's who can deny not being wowed by Bruce Lee in the many ways he did. He influenced so many and was years ahead of his time; Bruce Lee is a cultural Icon. One of the best documentary's on Kung Fu and true story's is that of Grandmaster Pui Chan of the Wahlum Temple in Orlando Florida. Grandmaster Pui Chan is a remarkable person, teacher and someone that younger people of any race could be inspired by. He's kinda of like a neighborhood hero that is well know in the Community. One of the best to watch perform traditional Talu's (forms), awe inspiring at the very least. A constant motivation to refine the forms we practice, no matter how small or large they may be.    

Personal Experience
I had a only sparse training opportunity's with him and his students when living in Florida, but never the less it was a great experience. Good practitioners value tradition, forms and guidance. Traditional systems work because they been around a long time and have lasted. Kung Fu is anything that takes alot of refining and cultivation- and effort. I feel very fortunate to be young enough and clever enough to meet many of these iconic teachers when they were around and teaching. Grandmaster Pui Chan is still here although; and is a standout when one ask who was great-without a doubt hes like the best in that style for sure. More importantly hes a great person, and it shows in the students and his own family as well. 

There are many great teachers, approaches and systems. The Documentary is about overcoming great odds as he did. A breath taking moment is him recounting how he dove off the ship he was working on and swam to the American shoreline to get his freedom. Talk about a strong unshakable spirit. I don't want to give away too much --make time for this film you will love it for sure. A perfect movie for adults and parents to watch and inspire a new generation of overcoming odds. The link below goes to Hulu made possible by the Wahlum Temple. Watch below for free: 

Grandmaster Pui Chan: Kung Fu Pioneer


Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Five key benefits of Qigong

 I believe Qigong as a tradition shares a very American ideal, the spirit of Americans that is. The spirit of Americans is that we can venture of into new areas in life, and make our way through obstacles and come out ok. It is very American to be syncretic, eclectic and learn to integrate new ideas and better ways of doing something. Qigong offers a universal appeal to almost anyone; cause it stands on the term itself "Qigong", which is a universal umbrella term for a vast tradition of systems and approaches.

The basic view teaching of Qigong as a system is a multi dimensional newtork of practices and traditions for physical, mental, and spiritual health. Its impossible to define Qigong although in a few sentences and due to the nature of Qigong. Its also correct to say that Qigong is extremely experiential everyone has their own. It can be likened to that of Music Appreciation, we all have our favorite's.    

The spirit of Americans and Travelers has been the enduring tradition of the United States dating back to the early 1600's. Within all Americans is another very American ideal; that everyone should access to knowledge and information. If we trace back our history we see this true in many areas of historical life. I have seen this with my grandparents from traveling afar and making a new life for themselves. I have also seen it for myself through a lifetime of travel, journey and study of the East Asian Traditions. I believe now more than ever the emphasis of Community and sharing of information and techniques need to really take hold for the tradition to survive for future generations.

Qigong will continue to rise in popularity and is cited as a one of favorite therapy's by many living with many disorders. Getting started can seem challenging, as it is often portrayed with Zhan Zhuang Qigong (standing meditation) where people hold postures and seem like nothing is going on at all. But, Qigong is an adaptable practice, with both functional and psychosocial benefits that can be suited to a variety of abilities.

For most common practitioners Qigong practices has become synonymous with holding and moving between a series of static postures; however, this stillness and movement tradition is only one part of the larger Qigong framework that includes branches such as philosophy of life, spirituality, healing Sounds traditions and selfless service for those whom seek it from teachers of Qigong.

Dynamic Qigong

Dynamic Movement Qigong (forms and sequences of movements) combines physical postures to address strength, flexibility, balance and mind-body-breath connection. Form sequences to induce more free flowing of energy and breathing practices are within it to develop greater self-awareness. Dynamic movement Qigong is essential once one has mastered the basic stillness and movement practices often done in a stationary position within the practice area. Each practice has its uses eventually it should have Dynamic Qigong movement traditions within it. Practices like Five Animal Frolics is a great example of school of Dynamic Qigong. Its a system within itself and offers many movements and the joy of animal imitation.

So I though it would be useful to list the most obvious benefits of Qigong. Through many teachers of mine and personal teaching experience over 23 years so far, there are many examples that support Qigong for anyone from almost any disorders found in western medicine. The following will address in easy language the five most obvious benefits. I will leave the intrinsic tangible Qi discussion for another article. What experience of the teachers and my studies do suggest are as follows:

Overall Benefits

Mobility: The issue of mobility has important implications for falls in older adults. Qigong participation can improve functional mobility and how a person with age walks and gets around. Standing Meditation (Zhan Zhuang) postural traditions target the hip extensor, knee extensor and ankle plantar flexor, which support center-of-mass during walking and may improve overall stability. Static postures combine with light moving meditation from the system give much benefit and fast acting results.

Balance: Balance training is an important component of any health and wellness approach. The data shows that 40 percent of nursing home admissions are preceded by a fall. Experience shows that moving line drills often associated with Kung Fu and Tai Chi Traditions of Qigong relate to vast  improvements in balance and an associated reduction in fear of falling; this can also help keep people with mobility risk to stay active in their community.

 Strength: Gains in lower-body strength occur for many following Qigong practice and are associated with improved postural stability. Qigong requires isometric contraction of specific muscle groups to stabilize the body as one performs the postures, movements and may mimic isokinetic contractions when performing controlled systematic movements from one sequence to the next. These mechanisms are the reason why Dynamic Qigong improves overall muscular strength.

Flexibility: Improvements in flexibility and range of motion are important since rigidity is a common problem for most americans, whom are inactive. This is due to cultural change from being a physical culture to one that is not. The modernization and technology has created a handicap for many. people whom practice Dynamic Qigong shows improvements in flexibility of the shoulder, hip and spine. Stooped posture is characteristic in sedentary lifestyles and can be related to short spinal flexors and weak spinal extensors; improved shoulder and spinal flexibility from Qigong movement supports a more upright posture.

Mental: The psychosocial benefits associated with Qigong are important for any levels of health, as they are not often addressed with conventional western medicine. Qigong can offer group support, improved confidence and self-efficacy. The calming effect of Qigong community groups (by enhancing parasympathetic output) may lessen perceived stress, enhance relaxation, benefit sleep in most individuals.

In closing Qigong should be guided by a experienced mentor/teacher; its best experienced in a community group I believe. This gives one community, sharing and the group collective qi practice that solo practice does not. You will also meet many new friends whom can also share their insights into the practice.


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Chuang Tsu: Abbreviated teaching on Music, Man & Nature


Perhaps you have heard the music of men,but not the music of Earth.
 You may have heard the music of Earth, but not the music of Heaven. 
The Universe has a cosmic breath its name is wind..

About Chuang Tsu:  The Taoist called Chuang Tsu, has been said to be born in BC369, during the Warring States - "7 Kingdoms" period. His birthplace was in An Hui Province Meng County China. According to oral traditions, it has been said that when he was young, he was Influenced by teachings of Tao. His early influences shaped his teachings into the Understanding of Flowing with the Tao. Chuang Tsu teachings lean towards the teachings Wu Wei Tao:

 "Not doing, hurting, harming to any form of living beings that's around oneself".  All things come to those whom are patient and positioned correctly.

Chuang Tsu came from humble beginnings born in a Poor Family. It has been said that in his youth he didn't have many opportunities. His life philosophy was one of "stay optimistic and open minded". Within time one will be able to gain whatever are necessary & good when the time was right. Chuang Tsu's world view enables one to learn more by positioning and non forcing, and "all things ciome to those whom wait". He believed that affluent people were blinded by Wealth, Fame & Me-ism. The patron saint for the down and trodden, whom lifts those up with virtue and a what works life philosophy. A message for modern times for many to build character, independence and life accordingly. There nothing wrong with having wealth; but mental balance and personal ethics out weighs the material that is for sure.   

Storys on Chuang Tsu circulate, by many Taoist Masters that when he was middle age, he started to travel around China to learn and discover more. It is unclear exactly what he studied or if he was just traveling about. Many of my teachers believe the inner chapters 1-7 accompanied by the meaning and practices associated with them are the only credible teachings of Master Chuang Tsu.
His life legacy is best experienced through the teaching of the inner chapters, The Chuang Tsu (1-7) when accompanied by a commentary style teaching in a small group. The inner chapters considered the core of Chuang Tsu's teachings - a personal meditation guide. The later or outer chapters are believed to be compiled by his followers and literally no tangible meditation techniques or heart centered teachings exist within this scholarly work. 

Never the less the core books all followers of early Tao are:

1."Chuang Tsu" inner chapters/outer chapters, 2. Tao Teh Ching, teaches one the three evolutions of Lao Tsu in his life 3.The teachings of Wen Shi attributed to Master Wen Shi - Lao Tsu's master student, which expand on the Tao teh Ching. 

All serious practitioners of Traditions of Tao practice, read & understand these core text. They are spiritual guides which follow nature and harmony as a guide. Teachings of the Tao-especially early Tao in history, focus on a personal spirituality, where its mainly "formless meditation" and natures teaches all. The wisdom of Lao Tsu , Wen Shi and Chuang Tsu, is although indispensable and really timeless considering how old these traditions are.  

  Chuang Tsu in a nutshell was a optimistic, open-mind & carefree non complicated kind of person. His teachings in modern world are preserved in story telling fashion likened to ans elder sitting across from you telling a wonderful story with the punch line at the end.