Sunday, March 31, 2019

MMTCA Newsletter April 2019

"Anything the human mind can believe, the human mind can achieve. That is the Supreme Secret."
-Napoleon Hill

Spring is here, no fooling!

Thank you to all who shared in the birthday celebrations for Master Choi! Cards, red envelopes, and flowers descended upon him March 29th.

The Tuesday Night 12 Animals/ Five Elements class will begin the 11th animal, the Eagle, and the 5th Element, Metal/Splitting-Fist. Even if you haven't learned the previous elements or animals, you can step in and join this class. Two-Handed Sabre is also being taught in this class.

I am now teaching classes in Duluth and have a space that will wok for weekend classes, seminars, or workshops. I'd like to have you come up this Summer for Tai-Chi, Lake Superior, and amazing air and ch'i! I'll send the link in next month's newsletter, with more details and ideas.

It's not too early to plan to come to the Delaware Shore, on Rehoboth Beach, in October and join me for a weekend retreat with Diane Cannon's Ming Tao Tai-Chi school. I'll be posting more details, curriculum, dates, costs, and sign up details next month.

Book suggestion: Our Life With Mr. Gurdjieff by Olivia DeHartmann

I am in the process of looking for a different space to teach at in the Cities. Although our current space is big and beautiful, I am looking for a slightly smaller place that we can use on a rent as needed basis. I have two in mind and will keep you posted. I am also going to hold Tuesday night classes outside again this year. I am thinking of going back to East River Flats Park. I would entertain other suggestions as well.

Thank you all for amazing classes. I am enjoying all the variety of forms, practices, and subjects we've been covering in class. And it's good to see you all having fun as you learn with your body, mind, and spirits.


 "Druidry is a spiritual journey of the individual's soul, one that honours each unique vision and expression."
- Emma Restall Orr

My Blog: The Inspired Teacher (
Facebook: Ray Hayward, Ray Hayward Enterprises, Mindful Motion Tai-Chi Academy
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Thursday, March 28, 2019

It was 80 years ago today...

                           HAPPY BIRTHDAY GRANDMASTER WAI-LUN CHOI!!!!!

Having achieved the Middle Level of Immortality, I am quite confident he will succeed to the Highest Level of 100 years old! Like fine wine, you are not getting older, you are getting better! With the heartiest of congratulations, the deepest of respect, the widest of appreciation, and the biggest wish of joy, health, happiness, and prosperity, Happy Birthday Master Choi! March 29th, 2019, Year of the Boar.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Guest Blogger Margo Zi Yan

 My pleasure to share a guest blog from Margo, enjoy!

Altar Opening Ceremony
Saturday, February 9, 2019

A cold, crisp February afternoon saw a group of T’ai Chi students and our Sifu gather for an altar opening in my home training space. An altar is a space put together purposefully to call upon spiritual energies. Intentionally, it focuses attention towards the honored or an aspiration. In my case, honored are the Yang family T’ai Chi masters including Yang Lu Chan, Yang Panhou, Yang Jianhou, Yang Chengfu, Cheng Manching, and T.T. Liang. Master Ray Hayward performed the ceremony that reached out to the masters of our lineage, the people who came and went before us, who dedicated their life to refine and pass on their knowledgeable skills for us to carry on in present day. The following is a short account of what transpired that afternoon:

In some situations, an altar is a place signifying sacrifice. A sacrifice is the act of giving up something of value for the sake of something else regarded as important or worthwhile. In our contemporary world filled with comforts, what is of such value that we consider it a sacrifice if we no longer have it? What is truly irreplaceable? Our answer is Time. We are each given a finite amount of time in life. Once time has past, it’s irretrievable in its original form. Even so, a measure of how that time was spent lies in our memories, skills and artifacts. My altar is situated in the room where I spend hours of training T’ai Chi, the room where I sacrifice a significant amount of time each day.

The simple way to open an altar is to light incense. This altar opening at my place was made special because Master Ray led the ceremony and my classmates were present. Without question, they sacrificed a couple hours of their precious time to attend. The lineage’s invitation to link with our presence was made stronger with more people witnessing the opening. Their spirits and our energy strived for a connection.

The bare minimum for an altar is an incense burner. As the incense slowly burns, an upward twirl of smoke rises into the air and disappears. But wait. During the burn, the translucent gray line connects earth to the spirits of the lineage; afterward, the fragrance lingers in the air, a reminder of all that exists unseen.

There are tactile objects that are placed on my altar: Pictures of the masters who’ve passed away. Ashes in the burner symbolize the relics of the art. A pearl is buried in the ashes in recognition of how an oyster creates the pearl slowly, layer by layer, and it grows bigger on a micro scale, just like we grow when training a little bit each day. An antique coin is buried into the ashes—money in Chinese culture is a symbol of time. Who is rich? Is it a person with lots of time or lots of money? We can work hard for more money; however, creating more time is not an outcome we can accomplish. There is money in a red envelope for luck. Additionally, the five Elements are represented: Fire symbolizes your heart and energy, Ash for the earth, Water in a glass, Wood, Metal. A small Dragon sculpture sits on the altar; its mouth faces east to catch the pearl that is the sun. A sacrifice of gold happens; in practice, we burn the gold plated cardboard box as a symbol of burning up money or wealth; now, truly all we have left is time. Next, we give the masters something to taste and enjoy, something we can no longer give them in life, but we are able to give on an altar. A drink, but only the best: Scotch Whiskey. Rich chocolate. Scented flowers. Incense.

Additionally, unseen elements are present on the altar. As incense dissipates upward, its reach symbolizes our intentions and moral standards. Master T.T. Liang’s life after practicing T’ai Chi shows this Yang family lineage is best because T’ai Chi’s whole person healthful affects helped him overcome his serious health crisis. Ultimately, he thrived and lived to 102. Sifu Ray teaches us that in Chinese culture, the sum total is what’s important. The disciples aren’t always the best in the art, but their character, morals, work ethic combined equal the highest example of a person in life’s journey.

After the physical elements are in place on my altar, Sifu Ray lights three sticks of incense symbolizing the past, present, future and quietly brings to mind a message to the masters.

I light my incense stick, evoke a message to the masters, and place it in the ashes next to the original three already burning. Sifu Ray tells us the Masters will come to us someday, maybe in a dream, maybe while we’re sitting quietly. If we talk with them or sit with them, they will talk to us. The spiritual world needs us as much as we need them. The spirits reflect upon us as we do about them.

My classmates in the room offer their incense and messages. An altar can be a private one in that no one else lights incense for it. Giving permission to others light incense for my altar is like sending an energetic streak of connection from our real world to the masters’ spirits. The more we connect with the lineage, the more we will connect with each other. In this way, we honor the stuff we can’t talk about – the spiritual aspects.

Much like in the way a calligraphy or poem in not finished until sealed with stamp, my altar is not quite fully complete. My task next is to burn incense for 36, 72, or 108 days in a row. These numbers are breakdowns of constellations, something I will study that further on another day. One day I burn in the morning, turning something out of nothing as the sunlight peaks over the horizon. On another day, I burn incense at night, turning something into nothing as the day’s light disappears into dark. I dream the Masters smile down on my space, my altar to the lineage. Their arts live on both in the unseen and obvious realms in our daily interactions with one another. I can only hope that I can do justice to their legacy.

Master Ray, in the same way as his teachers Master T.T. Liang and Grandmaster Wailun Choi, wholeheartedly believes T’ai Chi secrets need to be broadly shared in order to benefit as many people as possible. These thoughts linger in our minds as we go our separate ways after the ceremony. The sun’s reach is waning on the horizon; nevertheless, on this cold winter afternoon the T’ai Chi world has spread a tiny bit wider with our purposeful reaching out to the masters. Peace.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

MMTCA March Newsletter 2019


"Explore life without fear. That is greatness."
-Wim Hof

Happy March! Lion or lamb, or just lions? Hopefully no more cancelations, but if there is anymore extreme weather, check Facebook or the website, or look for an e-mail for a cancelation notice. Our class schedule stays the same through May.

Congratulations on an excellent demonstration and celebration for Chinese New Year! The forms and demos looked great! Group and solo performances, Tai-Chi both slow and fast, various weapons, fencing, Karambit, Main Form, Shao-Lin Spear and lots more were presented for the audience's pleasure, and education. The banquet was delicious! Salt and Pepper Squid....YUM! Thank you for your performances, attendance, and for all the red envelopes.

Inquiring minds want to know. I have moved to Duluth! I am helping Jane with some family care. I will continue to teach in the Twin Cities and Northfield as I have, and have a few classes lined up for Duluth. I have more classes planned for the Academy and will make sure we have outside classes this Summer. I also want to invite you up here for some retreats, getaways, and the most amazing practice places and hiking.

Speaking of moving, amazing helpers got our stuff loaded and ready for the trip north, in the snow! What's a little snow? Thank you so much to: John /Tetris, Fred/Manager, Julie/ Sub, Michelle, John S, James, Chris G, Rondi, Spencer and Elliott, Kurt, Paul I, Matt C, Margo, You saved my back!!!

Book Suggestion: The Xingyi Quan of the Chinese Army by Dennis Rovere

The plans for Master Choi's 80th birthday are underway! If you would like to be involved, or contribute, please talk to me at the Academy or send me an e-mail.

Keep warm and remember, EMPTY STEPS!


"The problem with mass delusion is that, by definition, only the heretics know when we are living through one."
-Michael Fontaine

 612-404-7320 My Blog: The Inspired Teacher (
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