Thursday, December 18, 2014

Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan Short Form

I practice this Taijiquan form twice every day.  It takes from 5 to 7 minutes to perform. 
You can do this indoors by adjusting to the space available, or outdoors.  When done slowly and gently you don't need to do any warmup exercises unless your knees are problematic.  A lovely Taijiquan form!  Good for persons of all ages.  This form is a cornerstone of my personal T'ai Chi Ch'uan practices. 

The first Taijiquan form I learned in 1986 was the Standard 24 Movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan Form in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.  At that time there were no books or instructional videotapes on this popular form.  Since that time, nearly 25 years have past.  Now there are dozens of books and instructional DVDs and webpages on the subject of the 24 Form. 

Mike Garofalo 'Playing the Pipa'

My webpage on the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form has been the most popular webpage on the Cloud Hands Website for many years. In the sidebar of this blog, you will find a quick index to this webpage.

Standard Simplified Taijiquan 24 Form.  Research by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, links, online videos, articles, and resources.  It provides a list of the 24 movement names in English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish, with citations for sources of the movement names.  It provides detailed descriptions of each movement with black and white line illustrations and  photographs.  It includes relevant quotations, notes, performance times, section breakdowns, basic Tai Chi principles, and strategies for learning the form.  The Peking (Bejing) Chinese National orthodox standard simplified 24 movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan form, created in 1956, is the most popular form practiced all around the world.  This form uses the Yang Style of Taijiquan.  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California:  Webpage URL:  File size: 269 Kb. 

This webpage provides many good suggestions for a person learning this form on their own if there is no Tai Chi class in their area. 

The best book that I have seen on the subject is:

The Yang Taiji 24 Step Short Form: A Step by Step Guide for All Levels
By James Drewe
London, Singing Dragon Press, 2011.
382 pages, black and white photographs, charts, detailed descriptions, training tips.
I give information on many other fine books by other good authors on the 24 Form in my webpage: Cheng Zhao,
Foen Tjoeng Lie, Eric Chaline, Le Deyin, etc.. 

My students tell me that their favorite instructional DVD on the 24 Form is:

Tai Chi - The 24 Forms
By Dr. Paul Lam

I have taught this lovely Tai Chi form to hundreds of people since 2000.  Everyone tells me how much they enjoy learning and practicing this gentle form.

I also teach and enjoy playing the
Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Movement Form created by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. Actually, in the last year, I prefer practicing the Chen 18 Form more. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Hands: The Lightning Rod to the Soul

"The hand is the cutting edge of the mind."
-  Jacob Bronowski

"The mind has exactly the same power as the hands: not merely to grasp the world, but to change it."
-  Colin Wilson 
"By rubbing up against the world, I define myself to myself."
-  Deane Juhan

"The upper limb is the lightning rod to the soul."
-  Robert Markison

"A callused palm and dirty fingernails precede a Green Thumb."
-  Mike Garofalo

“We leave traces of ourselves wherever we go, on whatever we touch.”
Lewis Thomas 

Hands On 
Fingers, Hands, Touching, Feeling, Somatics
Quotations, Bibliography, Links, Reflections


Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Find Your Center

"Finding your central equilibrium (zhongding) is as subtle as it is vital to your gongfu.  I consider it the foundation of any higher level martial art and the source of the ‘effortless power’ that is the hallmark of the internal styles.  It plugs us into the ‘Big Qi’– the universal energy source of earth and sky that makes it all go. So, beyond its value to martial artists, it also is a tremendous asset to energy healers and to any human being who wants to feel more vitality and ease of movement. 
    Yet it is very elusive. Hidden in plain sight. It is veiled by our own sense of personal safety. Most of us learn to stand upright and walk around when we are a year or so old. Our sense of balance is established when our primary concern is to not fall over and hurt ourselves. This was a valid concern then and it is now. But the body of a one or two year old is undeveloped and the way we supported ourselves then is not the best way to do it now. 
    There is a ‘sweet spot’ you find when you allow your body to center over the balls of your feet. But most of us feel like we’re ‘off-balance’ when at true center because it’s so unfamiliar. We are so used to leaning backward that any adjustment forward seems threatening. That old program kicks in and say’s “Whoa!  What’re you crazy? You’re gonna fall on your face!” But to an observer you would look straight and tall. 
    When I want to build a wall or hang a door I need to establish plumb and square. I use a plumb bob to determine the line that is vertical to earth. It doesn’t matter if the floor is tilted. I want my vertical line to be as plumb as possible. Once I have my absolute reference line, I can use a square to establish lines perpendicular to it. This way my door can swing freely and my walls don’t require a lot of additional bracing to keep from falling over."
-  Rick Barrett, Tai Chi Alchemy, Zhongding - Finding Your Central Equilibrium

Rooting and Centering in Taijiquan

"When you train, free yourself from distracting thoughts:
Keep your hear buoyant, your body buoyant, too.
Do not forget the principle of "return to the center":
Strive and strive, with single-minded devotion.
This is the true path of softness.
This is the true path of softness."
-   Kyuzo Mifune (1883-1965), Judo Master, The Song of Judo
Budo Secrets: Teachings of the Martial Arts Masters, p. 30

I remain "centered" when I am engaged in the activities that make my life meaningful to me and sometimes to others.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Dragon Qigong Exercises

"It is easier to leave a circle than to enter it.
The emphasis is on the hip movement whether front or back.
The difficulty is to maintain the position without shifting the centre.
To analyze and understand the above situation is to do with movement and not with a stationary posture.
Advancing and retreating by turning sideways in line with the shoulders, one is capable of turning like a millstone, fast or slow, as if whirling like a dragon in the clouds or sensing the approach of a fierce tiger.
From this, one can learn the usage of the movement of the upper torso.
Through long practice, such movement will become natural."
- Yang Family Old Manual, The Coil Incense Kung

"The East Asian Dragons are often associated with water, rain, vapors, fog, springs, streams, waterfalls, rivers, swamps, lakes, and the ocean.  Water can take many shapes and states, and Dragons are shape shifters and linked with transformation, appearing and disappearing, changing into something new.  Water is found in three states, depending upon the surrounding temperature: a solid (ice, snow), a fluid (flowing liquid), and a gas (fog, vapor, steam).  Since rainfall is often accompanied by thunder and lightening (thunderstorms and typhoons), the Dragon is sometimes associated with fire; and, since hot water and steam are major sources of energy in human culture, this further links the Dragon with the essential energy of Fire.  The Dragon is thus linked with the chemical and alchemical transformative properties of two of the essential Elements, both Water and Fire.  Dragons are generally benign or helpful to humans in East Asia, but their powers can also be destructive (e.g., flooding, tsunami, typhoon, lightening, steam, drowning, etc.).  There are both male and female Dragons, kinds or species of Dragons, Dragons of different colors and sizes, and mostly good but some evil Dragons.  Some Dragons can fly, some cannot fly; most live in or near water, a few on land.  The body of a Dragon combines features from many animals, representing the many possibilities for existential presence.  The Dragon in the East has serpentine, snake, or eel like movement qualities: twisting, spiraling, sliding, circling, swimming, undulating, flowing freely like water."  [See: The Dragon in China and Japan by Marinus De Visser, 1913]

Dragon Chi Kung features exercises that involve twisting, turning, screwing, spiraling, curving, wiggling, undulating, spinning, sinking down and rising up, swimming, circling, swinging, or twining movements are often associated with snakes, serpents and dragons.  There are many Qigong sets and specific Qigong movements that have been called "Dragon" forms, sets, or exercises.  Baguazhang martial arts feature much twisting, turning and circling; and, also include many "Dragon" sets and movements.  Silk Reeling exercises in Chen Style Taijiquan include twisting, twining, circling, and screwing kinds of movements. 

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Welcoming Santa

Last night, Karen and I listened to Christmas music on Sirius Radio, enjoyed a few cocktails with our delicious Mexican food dinner, and chatted about the good old times we had during many a winter holiday season.  Wonderful memories of fun times with family and friends!  

Winter Solstice and Yule Celebrations

One Old Druid's Final Journey

"Reclaim Santa Claus as a Pagan Godform. Today's Santa is a folk figure with multicultural roots. He embodies characteristics of Saturn (Roman agricultural god), Cronos (Greek god, also known as Father Time), the Holly King (Celtic god of the dying year), Father Ice/Grandfather Frost (Russian winter god), Thor (Norse sky god who rides the sky in a chariot drawn by goats), Odin/Wotan (Scandinavian/Teutonic All-Father who rides the sky on an eight-legged horse), Frey (Norse fertility god), and the Tomte (a Norse Land Spirit known for giving gifts to children at this time of year). Santa's reindeer can be viewed as forms of Herne, the Celtic Horned God. Decorate your home with Santa images that reflect His Pagan heritage.    Honor the Goddess as Great Mother. Place Pagan Mother Goddess images around your home. You may also want to include one with a Sun child, such as Isis with Horus. Pagan Goddess forms traditionally linked with this time of year include Tonantzin (Native Mexican corn mother), Holda (Teutonic earth goddess of good fortune), Bona Dea (Roman women's goddess of abundance and prophecy), Ops (Roman goddess of plenty), Au Set/Isis (Egyptian/multicultural All Goddess whose worship continued in Christian times under the name Mary), Lucina/St. Lucy (Roman/Swedish goddess/saint of light), and Befana (Italian Witch who gives gifts to children at this season)."
-   Selena Fox, Celebrating the Winter Solstice   


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mushrooms and Puffballs

In the past month, here in Red Bluff, California, we have had many days with rain.  These rainy days have caused the spores from many types of mushrooms and puffballs to appear in the ground around our home.  Karen has stalked these little fungi, and taken many pictures.

"A mushroom (or toadstool) is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source. The standard for the name "mushroom" is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word "mushroom" is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) or pores on the underside of the cap. These pores or gills produce microscopic spores that help the fungus spread across the ground or its occupant surface.
"Mushroom" describes a variety of gilled fungi, with or without stems, and the term is used even more generally, to describe both the fleshy fruiting bodies of some Ascomycota and the woody or leathery fruiting bodies of some Basidiomycota, depending upon the context of the word.
Forms deviating from the standard morphology usually have more specific names, such as "puffball", "stinkhorn", and "morel", and gilled mushrooms themselves are often called "agarics" in reference to their similarity to Agaricus or their place Agaricales. By extension, the term "mushroom" can also designate the entire fungus when in culture; the thallus (called a mycelium) of species forming the fruiting bodies called mushrooms; or the species itself."
Mushroom - Wikipedia

Friday, December 12, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 34

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 34

"How all-pervading is the great Reason!
It can be on the left and it can be on the right. 
The ten thousand things depend upon it for their life, and it refuses them not.
When its merit is accomplished it assumes not the name.
Lovingly it nourishes the ten thousand things and plays not the lord.
Ever desireless it can be classed with the small.   
The ten thousand things return home to it.
It plays not the lord.
It can be classed with the great.  
The holy man unto death does not make himself great and can thus accomplish his greatness."
-  Translated by Daisetsu Teitaro Suzuki and Paul Carus, 1913, Chapter 34 

"Great Tao is like a boat that drifts;
 It can go this way; it can go that.
 The ten thousand creatures owe their existence to it and it does not disown them;
 Yet having produced them, it does not take possession of them.
 Makes no claim to be master over them,
 (And asks for nothing from them.)
 Therefore it may be called the Lowly.
 The ten thousand creatures obey it,
 Though they know not that they have a master;
 Therefore it is called the Great.
 So too the Sage just because he never at any time makes a show of greatness
 In fact achieves greatness."
 -  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 34 

"The Great Tao (the Laws of the Universe) is universal like a flood.
How can it be turned to the right or to the left?
All creatures depend on it, and it denies nothing to anyone.
It does its work,
But it makes no claims for itself.
It clothes and feeds all,
But it does not rule them
Thus, it may be called "the Little."
All things return to it as to their home,
But it does not rule them 
It may be called "the Great."
It is just because it does not wish to be great
That its greatness is fully realized.
The Complete Thinker would not control the world;
They are in harmony with the world."
-  Translated by John Louis Albert Trottier, 1994, Chapter 34  

 "The great Tao pervades everywhere, both on the left and on the right.
 By it all things came in to being, and it does not reject them.
 Merits accomplished, it does not possess them.
 It loves and nourishes all things but does not dominate over them.
 It is always non-existent; therefore it can be named as small.
 All things return home to it, and it does not claim mastery over them;
 therefore it can be named as great.
 Because it never assumes greatness, therefore it can accomplish greatness."
 -  Translated by Ch'u Ta-Kao, 1904, Chapter 34 

常無欲, 可名於小.  
萬物歸焉而不為主, 可名為大. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34

ta tao fan hsi ch'i k'o tso yu.
wan wu shih chih erh shêng erh pu tz'u.
kung ch'êng pu ming yu.
yi yang wan wu erh pu wei chu.
ch'ang wu yü, k'o ming yü hsiao.
wan wu kuei yen erh pu wei chu, k'o ming wei ta.
yi ch'i chung pu tzu wei ta.
ku nêng ch'êng ch'i ta.
-  Wade-Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 34

"Great Tao flows everywhere,
It extends to the left and to the right.
All beings receive It in order to live and be free.
It works out perfectness in them although It possesses not a Name.
It protects them with love and sustains them, but does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
Always seeking the innermost, you may say that Its Name is in the Small.
All beings return again into It, yet It does not claim to be Ruler of their actions.
You may say that Its Name is in the Great.
That is why, to the end of his life, the self-controlled man is not great in action,
Thus he is able to perfect his greatness."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 34 

"El Gran Tao es como un río que fluye en todas las direcciones.
Los diez mil seres y las diez mil cosas le deben la existencia
y él a ninguno se la niega.
El Tao cumple su propósito sin apropiarse de nada.
Cuida y alimenta a los diez mil seres
sin adueñarse de ellos.
Carece de ambiciones,
por eso puede ser llamado pequeño.
Los diez mil seres retornan a él sin que los reclame,
y por eso puede ser llamado grande.
De la misma forma, el sabio nunca se considera grande,
y así, perpetúa su grandeza."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 34

"The great Tao flows everywhere
It fills everything to the left and to the right
All things owe their existence to it and it cannot deny any one of them
Tao is eternal
It does not favour one over the other
It brings all things to completion without their even knowing it
Tao nourishes and protects all creatures yet does not claim lordship over them
So we class it with the most humble
Tao is the home to which all things return yet it wants nothing in return
So we call it he Greatest
The Sage is the same way ?
He does not claim greatness over anything
He not eve aware of his own greatness
Tell me, what could be greater than this?"
-  Translated by Jonathan Star, 2001, Chapter 34  

"Great Tao is all-pervading,
At once on left and right
It may be found, and all things wait
On it for life and light.
No one is refused the gift,
And when the work is done
It does not take the name of it,
Nor claim the merit won.
All things it loves and nurses,
But does not strive to own,
Has no desires, and can be named
With the tiniest ever known.
All things return home to it,
But it does not strive to own,
And can be named with the mightiest,
For it is the Tao alone.
And thus the sage is able
To accomplish his great deeds,
To the end he claims no greatness,
And his great work thus succeeds."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 34 

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

 A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Listening to the Rain

We are today getting some much needed rain from a large storm coming up from the South Pacific into California.  Winds are now in excess of 45 miles per hour.  Rainfall up to six  inches is predicted for the next few days.  Temperatures here are between 45F and 55F.  We expect considerable snow in the mountains above 5,000 feet.  We have not had such a ferocious storm in Red Bluff since 2008. 

The elementary school district I work for on a part-time basis, 24 hours per week, is closed today because of dangerous road conditions for our buses and flooding. 

A day for some home chores, reading, exercise, and listening to the storm outside.  

December: Quotes, Poems, Sayings 

Water and Rain: Quotations, Poems, Sayings, Facts

"I have been one acquainted with the night
I have walked out in rain - and back in rain
I have out-walked the furthest city light

I have looked down the saddest city lane
I have passed by the watchman on his beat
And dropped my eyes, unwilling to explain

I have stood still and stopped the sound of feet
When far away an interrupted cry
Came over houses from another street,

But not to call me back or say goodbye;
And further still at an unearthly height;
One luminary clock against the sky

Proclaimed the time was neither wrong nor right.
I have been one acquainted with the night."
-   Robert Frost, Acquainted with the Night

"Water, the Hub of Life. Water is its mater and matrix, mother and medium. Water is the most extraordinary substance! Practically all its properties are anomalous, which enabled life to use it as building material for its machinery. Life is water dancing to the tune of solids.
-  Albert Szent-Gyorgyi  

"Rain is grace; rain is the sky condescending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life."
-  John Updike

Here are some photographs that Karen took around our yard this morning.  We are checking and concerned as the heavy rain continues.    

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Leap Into the Boundless

"The Way has its reality and its signs
but is without action or form.
You can hand it down but you cannot receive it,
you can ignore it but you cannot see it.
It is its own source, its own root.
Before heaven and earth existed it was there,
from the ancient times.
It gave spirituality to the spirits and to God,
it gave birth to heaven and to earth.
It exists beyond the highest point,
and yet you cannot call it lofty;
it exists beneath the limit of the six directions,
and yet you cannot call it deep.
It was born before heaven and earth,
and yet you cannot say it has been there for long,
it is earlier than the earliest time,
and yet you cannot call it old."

- The Crookbacked Woman and the Sage
Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson, 1964

"Forget the years, forget distinctions.  Leap into the boundless and make it your home."
-  Zhuangzi

Ripening Peaches:  Daoism

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

The Staff Turned Into a Dragon and Swallowed the Universe

Blue Cliff Record, Case 60
Yunmen's Staff Turns Into a Dragon

"Yúnmén Wényan (864–949 CE), (雲門文偃; Japanese: Ummon Bun'en; also known in English as "Unmon", "Ummon Daishi", "Ummon Zenji")


"Engo's Introduction:  Buddhas and sentient beings are not, by nature, different.  Mountains, rivers, and your own self are all just the same.  Why should they be separation and constitute two worlds?  Even if you are well versed in Zen koans and know how to deal with them, if you stop then everything is spoiled.  If you do not stop, the whole world will be dissolved, with not a particle of it left behind.  Now tell me, what does it mean to be well versed in Zen koans?  See the following.

MAIN SUBJECT:  Ummon held out his staff and said to the assembled monks, "The staff has transformed itself into a dragon and swallowed up the universe!  Where are the mountains, the rivers, and the great world?"
Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku, Translated by Katsuki Sekida, 1977, p.

Commentary on Yunmen's Staff Turns Into a Dragon by Mike Garofalo

Zen Koans:  Bibliography, Index, Links, Commentary, Information

The Blue Cliff Record.  Translated by Thomas Cleary and J. C. Cleary.  Foreword by Taizan Maezumi Roshi.  Boston, Shambhala, 2005.  Glossary, biographies, bibliography, 648 pages.  ISBN: 9781590302323.  Case 60, p. 341-346.  "Yun Men's Staff Turns Into a Dragon."

Way of the Staff

Setchō's Verse 
"The staff has swallowed up the universe?
Don't say peach blossoms float on the waters.
The fish that gets it tail singed
May fail to grasp the mist and clouds.
The ones that lie with gills exposed
Need not loose heart.
My verse is done.
But do you really hear me?
Only be carefree!  Stand unwavering!
Why so bewhildered?
Seventy-two blows are not enough
I want to give you a hundred and fifty.
Setchō descended from the rostrum waving his staff. The whole crowd ran away."
Two Zen Classics: Mumonkan and Hekiganroku, Translated by Katsuki Sekida, 1977, p.

"A monk asked Kenpo, "The one road of Nirvana leads into the ten quarters. But where does it begin?" 
Kenpo raised his staff and traced a horizontal line in the air and said, "Here."
Disappointed, the monk went to Yunmen and asked him the same question.
Ummon held up his staff and said, "This staff leaps up to the 33rd heaven and hits the presiding deity on the nose,
then it dives down into the Eastern Sea where it hits the holy carp.
The carp becomes a dragon which then brings a flood of rain." 
List of Koans by Yunmen Wenyan  

Yunmen said, "A true person of the Way can speak fire without burning his mouth.  He can speak all day with moving his lips and teeth or uttering a word.  The entire day he just wears his clothes and eats his food, but never comes in contact with a single grain of rice or thread of cloth.
When we speak in this fashion it is jut the manner of our school.  It must be set forth like this to be realized.  But if you meet a true patch-robed monk of our school and try to reveal the essence through words, it will be a waste of time and effort.  Even if you get some great understanding by means of a single word you are still just dozing."
Zen's Chinese Heritage: The Masters and Their Teachings By Andy Ferguson, 2000, p. 262


Roshi Robert Baker Aitken
Roshi Aitken holds a ceremonial stick. 

Monday, December 08, 2014

Mind Writing Slogans, Part II, by Allen Ginsberg

   II Path (Method, Or Recognition)
1.  "No ideas but in things." "... No ideas but in the Facts." — William Carlos Williams
2.  "Close to the nose." — William Carlos Williams
3.  "Sight is where the eye hits." — Louis Zukofsky
4.  "Clamp the mind down on objects." — William Carlos Williams
5.  "Direct treatment of the thing ... (or object)." — Ezra Pound, 1912
6.  "Presentation, not reference." — Ezra Pound
7.  "Give me a for instance." — Vernacular
8.  "Show not tell." — Vernacular
9.  "The natural object is always the adequate symbol." — Ezra Pound
10.  "Things are symbols of themselves." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
11.  "Labor well the minute particulars, take care of the little ones.
      He who would do good for another must do it in minute particulars.
      General Good is the plea of the Scoundrel Hypocrite and Flatterer
      For Art & Science cannot exist but in minutely organized particulars." — William Blake
12.  "And being old she put a skin / on everything she said." — W. B. Yeats
13.  "Don’t think of words when you stop but to see the picture better." — Jack Kerouac
14.  "Details are the Life of Prose." — Jack Kerouac
15.  "Intense fragments of spoken idiom best." — Allen Ginsberg
16.  "Economy of Words" — Ezra Pound
17.  "Tailoring" — Gregory Corso
18.  "Maximum information, minimum number of syllables." ─ Allen Ginsberg
19.  "
Syntax condensed, sound is solid." — Allen Ginsberg
20.  "Savor vowels, appreciate consonants." — Allen Ginsberg 
21.  "Compose in the sequence of musical phrase, not in sequence of a metronome." — Ezra Pound
22.  "... awareness ... of the tone leading of the vowels." — Ezra Pound
23.  "... an attempt to approximate classical quantitative meters . . . — Ezra Pound
24.  "Lower limit speech, upper limit song" — Louis Zukofsky
25.  "Phanopoeia, Melopoeia, Logopoeia." — Ezra Pound 
26.  "Sight, Sound and Intellect." — Louis Zukofsky
27.  "Only emotion objectified endures." — Louis Zukofsky

Mind Writing Slogans, Part II, compiled by Alllen Ginsberg, 1926-1997. 

Allen Ginsberg. "Mind Writing Slogans," copyright © 1993 by Allen Ginsberg, in
What Book: Buddha Poems From Beat To Hiphop
, Gary Gach, ed., copyright © 1998, Parallax Press.]

Sunday, December 07, 2014

Taiji Stick Health Preservation Exercises

I enjoy practicing the following cane exercise form:

Taiji Yangsheng Zhang: Taiji Stick Qigong (Chinese Health Qigong)  By the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Singing Dragon, 2014.  96 pages.  1 instructional DVD.  ISBN: 978-1848191945.  Brief history, warmup and cane handling, ten movement form.  VSCL. 
"A set of exciting and unusual Taiji Stick qigong exercises is presented in this accessible introduction. Embodying the concepts of taiji, the movements emphasize the harmony of yin and yang, man and nature. Appropriate for all levels of experience and for all age groups, this new set of easy-to-learn exercises distils the essence of traditional stick practice, guides body movements and the movement of the stick, and coordinates directed breathing and imagination. The book provides step-by-step, fully-illustrated instruction, and includes an account of the origins of the movements and guidance for practice. An accompanying DVD features a video demonstrating the form and additional information on its history and origins, and a CD provides options for verbal instructions to lead the practitioner through the exercises, or music to accompany them. The book is an authoritative resource that will help students and practitioners of taiji, qigong, martial arts and Chinese medicine perfect and deepen their practice. It is also an excellent practical introduction for anyone with an interest in the ancient health and martial practices of China. 

The Chinese Health Qigong Association is dedicated to the popularization of and research into Health Qigong, and is a group member of the All-China Sports Federation. Its aim is to promote and carry forward the Chinese traditional culture of health promotion and facilitate the communication between Western and Eastern Cultures."

The movements of the Taiji Yangsheng Zhang form are as follows:
Initial Stance and Opening
1.  Boatman Rows with an Oar  (Shao Gong Yao Lu)  
2.  Boat Rows Slowly  (Qing Zhou Huan Xing
3.  Wind Kisses the Lotus Leaves  (Feng Bai He Ye
4.  Boatman Tows a Boat  (Chuan Fu Bei Qian
5.  Iron Stick Calms the Sea  (Shen Zhen Ding Hai
6.  Golden Dragon Wags Its Tai  (Jin Long Jiao Wei
7.  Search for Treasure in the Sea  (Tan Hai Xun Bao
8.  Qi Returns to the Dantian  (Qi Gui Dan Tian
Closing and Ending Stance

"The Taiji Stick Health Preservation exercises embodies the concept of harmony between yin and yang, man and nature.  All the movements involved are soft and slow, and easy to practice.  This is not a "martial art," per se, and the stick is not wielded like a weapon. 
In practicing with the Taiji Stick, we should twist, turn, bend, and stretch around the waist as a center, and move our spine accordingly.
In practicing with the Taiji Stick, we need to relax our waist and hips, and keep the body upright and comfortable, adjusting the movement of the waist in harmony with the use of the stick.  If we lift the stick, we need to sink the waist and lower the qi down to the Dantian (lower belly); and if we lower the stick, we need to straighten the waist and pull up the qi to the Baihui acupoint [top of the head].  If we rotate the stick in a circle, our waist becomes the anchor, moving our body and arms.  All this illustrates the pivotal role of the waist." p. 6.  

Tai Chi Chuan Cane

Way of the Short Staff

Staff Weapons

Taijiquan Practices

Saturday, December 06, 2014

Strength Training for Seniors

I am an active weightlifter.  I train with weights five days every week.  I am 69 years of age.

Strength Training (Weightlifting, Bodybuilding, Physical Conditioning) for Persons Over 55 Years of Age. 
By Mike Garofalo. 
Quotations, Bibliography, Links, Resources, my Training Program for 2015. 

Mike Garofalo's Mind-Body Fitness Class Schedule for 2015

In Red Bluff, California

On Friday and Monday I lift weights to strengthen my legs as follows:

    Reference Source:  Frédéric Delavier, "Strength Training Anatomy," 3rd Edition, 2010.  E.g., Delavier p. 130

Leg Strength Training Workout - Some Possible Combinations for 50 Minutes
     Leg training workout at the TFFC gym every Monday and Friday @ 4:00 pm
     Warm Up segment   I frequently walk on a treadmill for 30 minutes then stretch.
     Seated Forward Leg Press  4Sx 8-10R  Up to 400lbs
     Lying Leg Curls (Reverse Lying Leg Curls)  4Sx 8-10R  Up to 80lbs  Delavier, p. 140
     Barbell Squats 4S x 5-8R  High Limit: 245lbs x 6R   Delavier, p. 126 
     Leg Extensions, Seated  4Sx 8-10R  Delavier, p.138 
     Hack Squat - Decline Angled Leg Press  4Sx 8-10R   High Limit: 320 pounds x 6R   Delavier, p. 130
     Incline Leg Pres - Incline Angled, Push Upward from Below  4Sx 8-10R   High Limit: 540lbs x 6R   Delavier, p. 135 
     Dumbbell or Barbell Shrugs  4Sx 8-10R  Up to 300 lbs barbell x 4-8R.  Delavier, p. 116-119
     Lunges  4Sx 8-10R  Use 10 to 25 lb dumbbell or no weights   Delavier, 2006 (2nd), p. 99
     Seated or Standing Calf Raises  4Sx 8-10R  45 -150 lbs  Delavier, p. 149-153
     Triceps Cable Pushdowns  4s x 8-10R  Delavier, p. 20
     On some days, when feeling more energetic, I do heaver weights with lower reps and more sets
     I intersperse arm or back work between leg sets to rest the legs. 

Cultivating a Positive Mindset
"Think in a calm, pacified, and reflective manner instead of being disturbed, agitated, and impulsive in one's reactions.
Put ideas together rationally and arrive at the right judgment even in the absence of obvious evidence or proof. 
Decide, plan, and execute a course of action in a patient, persistent, and disciplined manner. 
Recognize the changes and be flexible in adapting to them.
Observe and perceive things with a sense of humor instead of outrage, indignation, and anger.
Let go of useless and counterproductive thoughts, desires, and ambitions instead of being preoccupied with them.
Relax and meditate or rest.
Resist temptation and coercion."

- Michael Fekete
  Strength Training for Seniors, Hunter House, 2006, p. 36

Here are two books I refer to frequently to learn about anatomy and strength training:  

Strength Training Anatomy   By Frédéric Delavier.  Champaign, Illinois, Human Kinetics, Third Edition, 2010.  192 pages.  ISBN: 978-0736092265.  Revised edition of "Guide des mouvements de musculation" Paris, Ditions Bigot, 1998.  An outstanding illustrated guide to muscles at work.   Both male and female models are used.   This is one of my favorite books to use to understand strength training anatomical facts and exercise effects on the musculature.  Extremely detailed color illustrations of the human body.  The muscles and bones most effected and worked by a particular exercise are clearly indicated.  Instructions and tips are given for each exercise.  Exercises are arranged by general areas of the body:  Arms, Shoulders, Chest, Back, Legs, Buttocks and Abdomen.  There is no general index at the end of the book.   VSCL:  I own the 2nd edition (2006) and 3rd edition (2010).

Anatomy for Strength and Fitness Training: An Illustrated Guide to Your Muscles in Action  By Mark Vella.  New York, McGraw Hill, 2006.  Index, glossary, 144 pages.  ISBN: 0071475338.  VSCL.  An excellent reference tool for understanding how specific exercises effect muscles and joints.  Outstanding illustrations.  


Friday, December 05, 2014

Daodejing, Laozi, Chapter 35

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 35

"To him who holds in his hands the Great Image of the invisible Tao, the whole world repairs.
Men resort to him, and receive no hurt, but find rest, peace, and the feeling of ease. 
Music and dainties will make the passing guest stop for a time.
But though the Tao as it comes from the mouth, seems insipid and has no flavor;
Though it seems not worth being looked at or listened to, the use of it is inexhaustible."  
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 35  

"Holding on to the great Symbol,
The whole world carries on.
On and on without doing harm.
Being happy at peace,
Enjoying greatly the music and food
Travelers stop by.
When the Dao is spoken forth plainly
It has no flavor at all.
Look, but that is not sufficient for seeing.
Listen, but that is not sufficient for hearing. 
Use it, but it is not exhausted."
-  Translated by Edward Brennan and Tao Huang, 2002, Chapter 35  

"If the Great Simulacrum be obtained, the Empire will be for ever free from harm.
There will be tranquility, peace, and universal joy, the attraction of which, acting as a bait, will detain the passing traveler.
The utterance of Tao is insipid; it has no flavor.
If looked at, it appears not worth seeing; if listened to, it appears not worth hearing;
but if used, it is found inexhaustible in resources."
-  Translated by Frederic Henry Balfour, 1884, Chapter 35 

"Lay hold of the Great Form of Tao!
And the world will follow your train,
It will follow along, and suffer no wrong,
And in peace and content remain.
For music and dainties offered at your gate
The passing guest will tarry awhile and wait.
Though Tao in passing is tasteless,
With nothing to fill the eye,
And with nothing to hear worth filling the ear,
You can use it exhaustlessly."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 35  

執大象, 天下往. 
往而不害, 安平大. 
樂與餌, 過客止. 
道之出口, 淡乎其無味.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 35

zhi da xiang, tian xia wang.
wang er bu hai, an ping tai.
le yu er, guo ke zhi.
dao zhi chu kou, dan hu qi wu wei.
shi zhi bu zu jian.
ting zhi bu zu wen.
yong zhi bu zu ji.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 35  

"Hold the Great Symbol
and all the world follows,
Follows without meeting harm,
And lives in health, peace, commonwealth.
Offer good things to eat
And the wayfarer stays.
But Tao is mild to the taste.
Looked at, it cannot be seen;
Listened to, it cannot be heard;
Applied, its supply never fails."
-  Translated by Lin Yutang, 1955, Chapter 35  

"El que obtenga la Gran Forma Original
adquirirá el paradigma para el mundo.
El mundo no sufrirá mal alguno
y quedará en paz, prosperidad y equilibrio.
La música y los manjares
detienen al caminante,
pero lo que exhala el Tao
no tiene sabor.
Se mira el Tao y no complace a la vista.
Se escucha el Tao y no complace al oído.
Se bebe del Tao y es inagotable."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Capitulo 35

"She who is centered in the Tao
can go where she wishes, without danger.
She perceives the universal harmony,
even amid great pain,
because she has found peace in her heart.
Music or the smell of good cooking
may make people stop and enjoy.
But words that point to the Tao
seem monotonous and without flavor.
When you look for it, there is nothing to see.
When you listen for it, there is nothing to hear.
When you use it, it is inexhaustible."
-  Translated by Steven Mitchell, Chapter 35

"Who holds to the Great Pattern
will attract all things to them.
They go to them and receive no harm, in them they find
security and
Music and
snacks can only
make a passing guest pause.
The words of Tao (the Laws of the Universe)
have lasting effects,
They are mild and
We look and see nothing.
We listen and hear nothing.
But if we use it, It is without end."
-  Translated by John L. Trottier, 1994, Chapter 35  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

 A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo on a Chapter of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes at least 16 different translations or interpolations of the Chapter in English, two Spanish translations, the Chinese characters for the Chapter, a Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin Romanization of the Mandarin Chinese words for the Chapter, recommended reading lists, a detailed bibliography; indexing by key words and terms for the Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization; some commentary, and other resources for the Chapter.  

English and Chinese (Wade-Giles) Terms for Chapter 35:  Grasp or Hold (chih), Ease, Great (ta), Peace, Form or Image (hsiang), Music (lo), Heaven (t'ien), Tao, World or Under Heaven or Below (hsia), Value, Follow or Attract (wang), Inexhaustible, Harm or Injury (hai), Finding Comfort, Content or Enjoy (an), Virtue of Benevolence, Peaceful or Serene or Even (p'ing), Abundant or Good Health (t'ai), Inaudible, Cake or Pastries (erh), Indeterminable, Pass (kuo), Strangers or Guests (k'o), Stop or Stay (chih), Tao, Mouth (k'uo), Boundless, Tasteless or Insipid (tan), Tranquility, Taste or Flavor (wei), Dao, Invisible, Symbol, Cooking, Taste, Sufficient or Enough (tsu), Boring, Dainty, See or Appear (chien), Profound, Court or Tribunal (t'ing), Endless, Heard (wên), Sign, Use or Apply (yung), Worthless, Insipid, Exhausted or Finished (chi), Unnoticed,  仁德     

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Mind Writing Slogans, Part I, by Allen Ginsberg

      I Background (Situation, Or Primary Perception)
  1. "First Thought, Best Thought" — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
  2. "Take a friendly attitude toward your thoughts." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
  3. "The Mind must be loose." — John Adams
  4. "One perception must immediately and directly lead to a further perception." — Charles Olson, "Projective Verse"
  5. "My writing is a picture of the mind moving." — Philip Whalen
  6. "Surprise Mind" — Allen Ginsberg
  7. "The old pond, a frog jumps in, Kerplunk!" — Basho
  8. "Magic is the total delight (appreciation) of chance." — Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche
  9. "Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself. I am large. I contain multitudes." –– Walt Whitman
  10. "...What quality went to form a man of achievement, especially in literature? ... Negative capability, that is, when a man
    is capable of being in uncertainties, mysteries, doubts, without any irritable reaching after fact & reason." — John Keats
  11. "Form is never more than an extension of content. — Robert Creeley to Charles Olson
  12. "Form follows function." — Frank Lloyd Wright
  13. "Ordinary Mind includes eternal perceptions." — Allen Ginsberg
  14. "Nothing is better for being Eternal Nor so white as the white that dies of a day." — Louis Zukofsky
  15. "Notice what you notice." — Allen Ginsberg
  16. "Catch yourself thinking." — Allen Ginsberg
  17. "Observe what’s vivid." — Allen Ginsberg
  18. "Vividness is self-selecting." — Allen Ginsberg
  19. "Spots of Time" — William Wordsworth
  20. "If we don’t show anyone, we’re free to write anything." Allen Ginsberg
  21. "My mind is open to itself." — Gelek Rinpoche
  22. "Each on his bed spoke to himself alone, making no sound." — Charles Reznikoff
Mind Writing Slogans, Part I, compiled by Alllen Ginsberg, 1926-1997. 

Allen Ginsberg. "Mind Writing Slogans," copyright © 1993 by Allen Ginsberg, in
What Book: Buddha Poems From Beat To Hiphop
, Gary Gach, ed., copyright © 1998, Parallax Press.]
"First Thought is Best in Art, Second in Other Matters." ─ William Blake 

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Dubstep Dance: Set Fire

Marquese "Non-Stop" Scott does a new Dubstep Dance called "Set Fire."  Tai Chi Chuan dancers might pick up a few new moves from Marquese ...

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Eight Trigrams and Chi Kung

Sequence C:  Trigrams, Bagua, and Eight Section Brocade (Ba Duan Jin) Exercises Correlations

Soft Qigong (Rou Gong), Inner Qigong (Nei Gong); Slow Pace, Gentle, Soft, At Ease, Relaxed (Sung), Rooted/Sunk, Yin Style


Eight Section Brocade Exercise
I Ch'ing Trigram 
Parts of the Body Affected

1.  Pressing Up to the Heavens with
Two Hands
South, Summer
Ch'ien, Qián, Heaven, Sky, Air
Intense Yang
Heart, Small Intestine, Stomach, Lungs
(The Triple Warmer)

2.  Drawing the Bow and Letting the Arrow Fly Southwest, Mid-Summer
Sun, Wind
Kidneys, Spleen, Waist, Eyes, Legs

4.  Wise Owl Gazes Backward West, Autumn
K'an, Water
Lungs, Immune System, Large Intestine

5.  Big Bear Turns from Side to Side Northwest, Mid-Autumn
Ken, Gèn, Mountain
Heart, Waist, Legs

3.  Separating Heaven and Earth North, Winter
K'un, Earth
Intense Yin
Unicorn, Qilin
Spleen, Kidneys, Bladder, Pancreas

8.  Shaking the Body Northeast, Mid-Winter
Chen, Zhèn, Thunder
Immune System, Calves, Feet

6.  Punching with Angry Gaze Spring, East
Li, Fire
Hawk, Falcon
Liver, Gallbladder, Blood, Eyes

8.  Touching Toes then Bending Backwards Southeast, Mid-Spring
Tui, Lake

Kidneys, Waist, Legs, Back

The above three charts were proposed in 2005 by Mike Garofalo, in his webpage on the Eight Section Brocade.  See also Mike's webpage on the Eight Trigrams.  

In 2014, Christina Barea-Young and Peyton Young provided another set of associations for the Eight Section Brocade movements with the Eight Trigrams in Qi Magazine (Volume 24, No. 2, 2014, p. 48).  

I find these kinds of correlations, associations, and relational charts quite inconsistent between various authors.  Yoga, Western Esoteric Magic, and Qigong have many of the same kind of charts and tables of correlations; again, with considerable inconsistency between various "masters."  Other than the "traditions of specific esoteric schools", I find the associations rather arbitrary and fanciful, primarily aids to remembering clusters of ideas, poetic devices, magical-metaphysical lore, and lacking in much pragmatic-scientific meaningfulness.  Contrast these charming and pre-scientific tables with the modern and justifiably famous "Periodic Table of the Elements" for a real lesson in an objective and empirical approach to understanding the world.  Nevertheless, these clusters of ideas may stimulate the imagination, and are fun for playing thought games.  

"The names of the 108 Forms are each symbolic and signify concepts removed from the literal  physicality of the object - horse, tiger, bird, and so forth.  Each name has its separate allusion, and metaphorically may connote an aspiration, a philosophical attitude towards self and  conduct, a turn of mind, a sense of being, some thought about life and spirit.  The true meanings are revealed when the T'ai-Chi Ch'uan exponent has advanced to that stage of experience comprehension where he can utilize the implication of the philosophical  intentions, and where the symbols can be part of his growing consciousness.  This happens only when the mind and body have "changed" and absorbed the reasons for mental, emotional, and physical unity."
-   Sophia Delza, The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Experience, 1996, p. 24

The above long chart is more readable on my Eight Section Brocade webpage, 441 KB, last updated on June 20, 2014.