Monday, April 29, 2013

Take a Walk...

“Everyone has two good doctors, their right leg and their left leg.”

Walking five miles burns as many calories as running five miles. It just takes longer, but walking is easier on the joints. Walking with an upright posture, smooth, steady steps, and being aligned with gravity can make walking a pleasure. Coordinate your breath with your steps and you have a simple qi-gong. Take a walking stick and get used to walking with it. The stick not only measures your steps but gives feedback to changes in grade and such. And it can give you a feeling of confidence and self protection.Really a walking stick is not to lean on, but it acts as a measuring tool so we can adjust our walking to the ever changing levels and terrain. With a little practice, it becomes effortless to use a stick, and it’s a great way to touch your surroundings both near and far. Walking with friends can be such a delight and out in a park or the woods, Mother Nature will heal you as well.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Seminars in Delaware

I just recently completed a series of seminars, workshops, and private classes in both Newark and Dover Delaware. Diane Cannon and Ming Tao Tai Chi Studio hosted me for a series of workshops covering the Eight Energies of Tai Chi, and a solo form refinement seminar covering balance and body mechanics. In Dover at Reese and Judy's Karate Academy I taught a three-hour seminar on principles and methods for balance, relaxation, breathing, and moving from the center as ways to refine and improve the Tai Chi Solo Form. A couple of truly enjoyable evenings out with my son Alex and his friend Glorianna and an afternoon of private classes together with quality time staying at Diane and Don's house made this week unforgettable. I've been invited back in October and we are currently planning a retreat for next year. I'll keep you posted.

I would like to thank Diane and Don for welcoming me into their home and treating me like family.

I would like to thank Reese and Judy for such a warm and respectful welcome and for allowing me to teach their students. I highly recommend Reese's new book They Call Me Sensei.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Chasing Ice

"Winter is Coming."
-Game of Thrones

Here in Minnesota we are having the winter and spring that can't define itself. Snow and rain, warm and cold, blue skies and overcast. I just saw the movie "Chasing Ice." This documentary, using cameras and time, bleakly documents the rapid thawing and disappearance of the glaciers. It just makes me think that there's so much evidence before us, which has nothing to do with politics or opinions and yet there are so many that deny that the climate is not changing. I just question my own priorities, do I value nature and the world and what I actually experience and know every time I go out the door? Do I take the word of scientists to be the absolute truth? Or those of political news pundit's? Computer models and weather reporters seem to make a lot more mistakes now than when I was a kid. The person I went to the movie with softly wept through many parts of it. I weep also....

Monday, April 8, 2013

Drilling for Skill

In martial arts we have two person and solo exercises called drills. These usually focus on one part of a technique, or a certain kind of movement or action. In two person work you are either trying to get the skill of defense, or an offensive skill, or a controlling skill. We drill these exercises until they becomes second nature, or intuition, or become a skill. I call this " getting the skill from the drill." We practice and exercise, analyze, research ,roll up our sleeves and work and drill ourselves until something miraculous happens: we reach our goal and now are able to do and understand what was in the beginning an awkward mystery. I've heard that it takes 21 days to either make or break a habit. In martial arts, and in all movement arts really, it takes 1000 repetitions to attain mastery. For me that idea of mastery is when the external drill becomes my internal skill.

We all know how to use a dictionary. Now we just go right to the letter of the word we are trying to look up. We have that skill. When we were first learning about using a dictionary we had to drill the alphabet and probably even sang the A B C song. Think about it. We no longer need to sing that song because we have the skill of the alphabet and can apply it freely and easily when looking up a word. This simple truth applies to every drill or every skill. Sometimes the boring, monotonous, repetition is the only path from being an outsider to becoming an insider, or a master. In George Leonard's book, Mastery, he says "learn to love the plateau." The plateau is the time and energy it takes to get the skill from the drill.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Designer Vagina

When you read the title of my post you have to hear me say it in my Boston accent either, designa vagina or designer vaginer. This is about the only humorous part of a quite serious subject. I recently saw an article on the rise of the "designer vagina." It seems that women, or I suspect their partners, are not happy with the way their vagina looks. And so the trend is to go to a plastic surgeon and have any asymmetry, extra skin, or such be removed, shaped or "tidied up." It seems that once again, negative body image is not only raising its ugly head, but employing the scalpel as well.

The vagina, just like the penis, has four functions going from the purely physical to a realm of alchemy, communion,and energy. The vagina's four functions are:

1. urination
2. reproduction
3. pleasure and love
4. the refinement and transmission of energy

These four functions can be looked at in a linear fashion or in a holistic, deepening awareness. The penis, with the same four functions, seems to be at quite a disadvantage. Like three railroad companies sharing one railroad track, the penis has to perform all its functions with the same organ, and the same opening.This is why the Tao of Love teaches men to urinate before sexual relations and to not force urination after. We have to give our organ time to change functions. To switch the track per se.

Not the vagina. The vagina is like an orchestra with different sections able to play one or many parts. The vaginal opening serves the purpose of reproduction. The urethral opening is for urination. The labia, vaginal opening, vaginal walls, and even the cervix are capable of giving great pleasure and love. And sitting atop "Mount Venus" is a most unique part, the clitoris. The clitoris does nothing for urination or reproduction but is solely in the realm of pleasure and love.A barbaric African custom, an early version of the designer vagina, is female circumcision: the brutal act of removing a young girl's clitoris, often without anesthesia. (Of course these crimes are perpetuated upon young girls mostly by the women in their family and culture, but that is the  subject of a future blog.) How horrible! To remove the part of the vagina whose function is solely for the possessor's pleasure. Controlling pleasure. Some studies have reported though, that the nerves that run up from the clitoris can still give the woman pleasure and be quite capable of achieving orgasm. Controlling looks, controlling pleasure, Mother Nature is still the boss.

Again, it's negative body image leading us to these ridiculous acts, opinions, and misconceptions. Being more concerned with how something looks than it functions. What would extra skin, or an asymmetrical shape, have to do with the vagina's functions? I personally think this has to do with fear, ignorance, and misunderstanding. Could it be that men are afraid of the sight of a fully functional adult woman's vagina? Is there insecurity and ignorance enough to make them have their partner alter their physical form? Does a lack of knowledge of the physiology and function of the vagina make someone want to conform it to simple looks? Or is it all about control and subjugation stemming from the fact that women are the  keepers of the secret of love and men try to use their power to unlock that secret when all they really need to do, is ask. Or learn. Or simply be. I see the designer vagina as a completely male idea.Or are women really afraid of how their vaginas look?

There are many good books in which you can learn all the various functions of a vagina. In addition to any biology or science book relating to the bare-bones physiology of the vagina, I would recommend the following  book:

Healing Love Through the Tao:Cultivating Female Sexual Energy by Mantak Chia,

So, get a mirror, and look at your vagina, or look at your partner's vagina if you are so blessed, and see it for all it's beauty and wonder.

Disclaimer: No male egos were harmed in the writing of this blog!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

A Haiku

My lover's embrace
Like many South flying geese
Evokes deep feelings