In this busy world we very rarely allow ourselves the chance to escape the effects of life experience. It's all too easy to be sucked into the mundanity and grinding routine of everyday life. In the good old days people had hobbies - model kits or sewing quilts. But those days are well and gone. Is there an activity that requires your whole focus? That completely removes you from the buzz of the world and makes you live in the moment? That reduces stress, involves meditative breathing, improves posture and gently works your body from the fingertips to the toes? Yes. Chinese calligraphy. Contact the School at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how you can give yourself a break from the world.
I posted this on Facebook over four years ago: a Guardian article about the ever increasing health issues relating from sedentary lifestyles. If anything things have gotten worse for people. We originate in the oceans. We are over 70% water. We are fish on land but with arms and legs. Look how a fish moves through the sea. It’s language of movement is defined by its environment. As babies in the womb experiencing gravity, we naturally have a similar movement language: wave, spiral, pulsation. Do you see this in others? Have you experienced a wave, a spiral or a pulse yourself? Today? Ever? Growing numbers of people are experiencing autoimmune diseases, joint pain and long term back problems. We are forgetting our origins. Our body history. If you’d like to get your life back then contact me.
From the Guardian 7 October
A study released by the British Chiropractic Association reports 77% of the 2006 people surveyed have experienced back or neck pain. 35 million working days are lost in the UK per year due to neck/back related problems. A study from Bristol Uni showed that 80% (!) of the population are failing to hit governmental fitness standards. The cause: sedentary lifestyles....
Until the working culture in the UK actually changes and it is not acceptable for people to sit in offices 10 hours a day then nothing will change and these stats will get even worse...It's not about fitness it's about health. Go do tai chi every day!
When learning chess you first learn by rote a series of openings i.e. a sequence of moves that have been generated and explored by previous players. You can purchase books on particular types of opening (with names like Kings Indian defence, Ruy Lopez, etc) to understand some of the more obvious move combinations. These books tend to be about openings where the permutations and variety of moves are more limited. Once you get into the mid and end game it’s much more difficult to be prescriptive about what will happen next.
External martial arts are like this: learn a series of forms and learn them well. These forms will give you the confidence and freedom of being to adapt and resort to in combat. There is, however, another way to learn chess. The four squares that make up the centre of the board are the most important squares in the game. Control these and you'll win the game. You can make moves as you like and are not restricted to remembering or rote playing, move sequences – you become a very sneaky player. Therefore, by practicing very simple openings and seeing how to control these four squares gives the chess player an extreme advantage over those that have learnt the previous method. This latter method is akin to learning an internal martial art. The downside of this of course is that if you blow it, you have no learnt move sequences to fall back on. So, what kind of chess player would you like to be? One that relies on vast sequences of rote-learnt openings or one that plays by key principles?
Of course, the reality is somewhere in between: most chess players rote learn openings and play by attempting to control the centre squares. Both learning strategies are extreme cases, however, you can see how they colour the way an individual chess player thinks. All martial arts are the same; all eventually are aiming for the same goal but the route you take may be different. The path you follow affects you in a way that’s individual but also unique to the system you train under.
Our Nei Jia System is form based. This means that the System has been constructed in a conscious manner not to be a technique based system. The form is there to provide tools to help us understand the principles of the System. By form we mean the dynamic (movement!) integration of I (intention), Chi (breath) and Li (all of the structural components that are important: alignment, correct usage of force vector angles etc). Three Characteristics. The movement is driven via an 'elastic' expansion/contraction (creative/destructive) cycle. Thus, the punch bag must move a minimal distance when hit: the force goes into the bag rather than into moving the bag. Moreover, any movement is spiral (within the spherical realm/multidimensional/fractal/multiplanar): isolation of an individual joint nexus is impossible. Whole system myofacial locomotor anatomy is the underlying integrator for Li, Chi and I. By accessing the way these communication strains are distributed across the body we may understand not only the integration of our own bodies but the break-down of integration in opponent's bodies.