Vol. 1 No. 3

Enjoy Living While Being Alive

 By Willem de Thouars

Writing
is an art. It is using the right words into good sentences, someone’s
thoughts are composed in reading material for others to understand. I
am just a simple, primitive and common-sense man — and I am no writer.
But here is my way of thinking. Life is a force that is unexplainable,
and death is a mystery of mysteries. Between being born and dying is
the world we live in. That is the real world. In this real world I have
found joy in experience and hard training. These facts of my life have
led to progressive goal setting for my life.

Studying and practicing martial arts, in particular the Internal arts,
is a way of understanding nature, the universe, energy (chi), and one’s
own passion in feeling. It is a progress in failure and success. In
order to enjoy a success in living one must experience the art of
failing first! Success can never be measured with money. Money is only
a necessity to accommodate comforts of living. When you are happy with
life, and feel that God has rewarded you with faith, you don’t need to
grasp for the moon.

BE HAPPY WITH WHAT YOU HAVE AND THAT IS YOUR TREASURE!

The fruits of your laboring efforts is your outlook in life. I have
practiced and studied Internal and external martial arts for 56 years.
The road was very hard, and unforgiving.

And yet these two resourceful elements, divided into Yin and Yang, gave
me the understanding in what I have been doing in being negative or in
being positive. Intensive training is the best food for harmony, and in
becoming better in what you are doing. A healthy body produces a clear
mind.

My schedule starts at 2 a.m. each morning, and I
finish at 4 a.m., I follow this schedule seven days a week. My training
consist mostly in Gi Gung exercises, appropriate breathing, forms and
working with weights. In my mid-sixties, I feel like I am 30 years old
— and a thirty year old with the energy of a child. Of course I am
only fooling myself, and not Mother Nature!

My diet: ice cream and a constant sugar fix…!

The real reason I do many workshops everywhere is to share my
experiences with others, and try to bring people together who are in
need of a home as in a real family of ‘players’. That is why everyone
calls me Uncle Bill. The most profound thing in my life is that I care,
and I love people! And it really is true, a healthy life is a happy
life. My life is a happy one.

A SMILE IS A MOTION OF HEALTH TO LUNGS AND HEART!


 TAI CHI is Natural Like a Tree

 By C.K.Chern (translated by Kyle Yu)

Tai
Chi’s purpose is to be relaxed, to be at ease. Health. Relaxation. If
the chi stops at a bent joint, at the elbow for instance, then the
practioner is going to be tight there. The chi can’t flow through and
there is blockage. Just like a flowing river or water in a hose. If it
stops it stagnates and is precursor to death.

Moving water is life. If it can’t flow, then you will not be healthy in
that place where it is blocked. Injury that you think of in external
ways — that you let stay blocked — that you let ‘heal itself ‘; is
like traffic backed up on a highway. The longer that it’s not flowing
through, it’s like a bigger traffic jam.

Inside you let the person release and relax all the way through. That’s
the correct ‘treatment’. It’s inside–the internal organs — that must
release and relax. So if you have an external injury or an intestinal
injury or a heart injury it’s still all the same principle of moving
water, of the chi being able to release through the injured area.

Chi cultivates through this releasing, relaxing, opening. After it can
move well, slowly it builds by itself. Like a tree, it’s very natural,
you have root, you suck in sunlight, you suck in nutrients, you grow,
the tree gets bigger, and grows up towards the light.

You never say ‘has’ or ‘has not’ chi, everyone does have chi, but it’s
the quality of building and growing that concerns us. But first it’s
relaxing, letting it flow well, obeying the principles of good tai chi.

Then the chi builds up and you let it circulate through the practice of
the form and other exercises. So outside people say they can ‘give’ you
chi, that they can touch your head and enlighten you. Is it possible
that if you gave a tree lots of nutrients and water and sunshine that
it would immediately become a big tree? It’s growth is a natural idea,
a process.

A tree becomes huge naturally the result of a natural process of
cultivation. If it grows fast, it’s because inside it has this chi. We
have to practice these basics very well, and let our growth occur
naturally like it does for the tree.

The martial part of tai chi is like your skin and your hair only. It’s
so shallow, it’s such a little portion of the significance of tai chi.
It’s just the tiop of the iceberg of our growth.

– Taiwan, 1996 (transcribed by Sita Edwards)

VALUE ADDED BREATH

The second world congress on qigong

Art
Wilbrand and Sam Edwards attended the 2nd World Congress on Qigong and
came away with some critical insights on right practice.

While there were many accreditated and famous qigong masters from China
and elsewhere in the world, in my admittedly random sampling it was
expatriate and homegrown teachers from North America who impressed me
with the naturalness and spirituality of their presentations. And it
was a welcome relief to find prayer offered in so many of the forums.
In these incredible few days I was able to recognize significant
practices from the past and join them together with current practice.
In particular things I’d learned in the Himalayas 20 years ago!

From aged masters from China who stopped the show with their ‘twist and
pat’ chi kung for the spine we recognized body drumming from our core
practice of C.K. Chern, Arthur Goodridge, and Willem do Thouars! We
also recognized their ‘power stretching’ of the spine and joints from
Kumar Frantzis, with the resulting pumping of the cerebro-spinal fluid
and the synovial fluid (though I think all of the above do their
practices in more natural way)

However when I went to Steven Aung’s seminar (president of the Canadian
Medical Acupuncture Society) I was moved by his unostentatious
reverence for ‘the life force’ and his assurance to us that his gift is
an extension of human exchange of love, as when we look in each other’s
eyes, shake hands, laogung point to laogung point; hug, heart chakra to
heart chakra; bow, crown chakra to crown chakra, etc.

Chi kung to him in some sense is merely an extension and ‘value added’ expression of human vitality.

I think the most important ‘technique’ I brought home from him was to
remember and recongnize a more evolved form of the ‘complete breath’.
The breath that Steven emphasizes is to gather & concentrate chi —
to inhale oxygen then hold, exhale carbon dioxide and hold
(concentrating the chi on the holds). And there are variations on this
format.

However we realized that we don’t need to hold, that we can continue on
with the thin but full quiet tai chi breath. When I learned the
complete breath in the Himalayas years ago I wasn’t able to accomplish
this. The idea is to coax it not to force it and allow breath to
gradually elongate with time.

He also reminded us of the power of sound (since then I also use a
Chinese or Tibetan bell with it’extended sound and resonance). He
emphasized primordial sound in healing as do Deepak Chopra and Shri
Satpal Ji, kind of as a continuation of the resonance of body drumming.
At the very least it has reminded me in times of stress to be able to
hear my breath as well as feel it if I want to ‘know where I am.’

It also reminded me how the highest expression of internal arts
movement is to have it be breath driven like C.K. Chern’s bear
posturing. I think from there spontaneous movement of Tai Chi standing
meditation or mindful walking or Arthur’s spontaneous healing movement
from a cross leg position in a crazy way leads to William’s spontaneous
fighting drills (all called by some cosmic dance).

Sam Edwards is coach of Sierra Nevada Internal Arts.