Friday, January 29, 2021

MMTCA February Newsletter 2021


"You always own the option of having no opinion."

-Marcus Aurelius

February brings with it many great holidays, observances, and Chinese New Year this year. Groundhog Day, Imbolc, Candlemas, Valentines Day, and St Brigid's Day to name a few. And on the 12th, the Year of the Ox!

Speaking of Chinese New Year, we will be having a zoom celebration, hosted, coordinated, and run by Julie Cisler, my choice to take over the running of the school. Good choice, huh?! Thank you Julie for this and so many things you do to keep the academy running in these challenging times.

I was notified by YouTube that my page has surpassed 100 subscribers! If you want to subscribe, or just check it out, go to Ray Hayward The Inspired teacher on YouTube.

I have two book suggestions for you this month:

The Wim Hof Method by Wim Hof

Practical Use of Tai Chi Chuan by Yeung (Yang) Sau Chung

If you are interested in zoom classes contact Julie Cisler and see what she has for days and times.

Thank you for your support and gifts and letters. I appreciate all your care and concern. I can't wait to be safely back in class and share with you all my new found discoveries from my sabbatical, intensive, covid19 practice!

I have been filming lessons and will post them as well as historical movies and archives. If you are not receiving them ,let me know and I'll get them out to you.

I hope February is filled with hope, healing, prosperity, and glowing health for you and yours,


I leave you with two quotes from one of my favs,

"True friends stab you in the front."

"Thinking is the most unhealthy thing in the world, and people die of it just as thy die of any other disease."

-Oscar Wilde

contact info:

my phone (new)= 12183419894

address= 1721 Jefferson St, Duluth, MN 55812




facebook= Mindful Motion Tai-Chi Academy

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Youtube= Ray Hayward, the Inspired Teacher

                   Mindful Motion Tai-Chi Academy

my books at Lulu=

my books on Amazon=

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Instagram= Ray Hayward, or, ataoistsufitemplardruidviking

Monday, January 4, 2021

MMTCA January Newsletter 2021

 "Life is the space between our things."

-Francine Jay  

Happy New Year! I hope this newsletter finds you and yours healthy, happy, and safe. Let's hope for all good things for the upcoming year.

Chinese New Year in February 12th this year, year of the Metal Ox. As of this writing, I'm not planning any demo, banquet, or ceremony, you know why. This will be the first time I don't publicly celebrate in over 30 years! I will miss you all! Maybe we can do a zoom banquet somehow? Here is some info and a link about the Ox Year:

In the Chinese Zodiac, the Ox is very hardworking and methodical. 2021 is going to be a year when work will get rewarded, and those zodiac signs who are lucky in terms of money this year will be the ones that will make a considerable effort.

The Metal Ox year is also great for making order in the family life. After all, if the family life is peaceful, everything gets solved! Thus, 2021 is a year when all the problems get solved with discipline. A lot of discipline! Obviously, with an extra effort from us in organizing our time.

I got some upgrades to my filming equipment and have many lessons planned out for you. If you are not getting the videos, blogs, etc. let me know. You can see many videos on our YouTube channel, my personal YouTube Channel, our website, our Facebook Page, and in your emails.

Book suggestion= Zheng Manqing's Uncollected Writings trans by Douglas Wile

Thank you for your tuition and support, both through the mail and my Patreon page. I appreciate all the gifts and remembrances for the holidays!

I keep saying it, Covid19 will end, or be less dangerous, sooner or later. When it's safe for us to meet in person again, I will get us a space and I promise....lots of partner work!! Check out Julie Cisler's zoom classes and keep and eye on my blog.

A bow form the waist,


"We forget we are spiritual beings."

-Priestess Andarta

Sunday, January 3, 2021

How to gain a root.

When I first began studying Tai-Chi with Master T.T. Liang in Boston, he told me, "Young man, you must get a root. A root, you must have it!" He went on to explain that a root is "when you can stand there and nobody can push you over." He explained that by doing the solo form and partner work, focusing on the twin principles of relax and sink, you would have a stance that would obey the commands of your mind.

Here are two direct quotes from my notebook from classes with Master Liang:

"After practicing for a long time you will have a root. You will be firmly rooted. This is called equilibrium. It means that no one can knock you over. When you are standing on two feet and someone pushes you 100 times, you can neutralize it with your waist. You will bend like you are boneless. All the weight will be sunk into one foot. this is called central equilibrium. When you acquire this, we can talk about self-defense."

"Having a root is when you can stand in one spot and nobody can push you over. You can stand and resist, or you can neutralize, without falling over. Both feet are glued to the floor.One foot is rooted 3 feet below the ground. To get a root, you must practice Tai-Chi twice per day, paying careful attention to the shifting of weight from one foot to the other. You must pay particular attention to maintaining the same height throughout the Form. When you do the postures, you must be relaxed and sunken deeply. The legs must be bent and the postures low."

So a root is a stance that is flexible, firm, changeable, with good balance, and endurance. You will then be said to have "attained central equilibrium and your waist and legs will obey your orders and wishes."

Here are six practices you can do no matter the form or style you practice. Try them for one week and you will easily start gaining, or improving, your root. Two are with a partner, so either wait until Covid19 is over, or mask up, wash hands, and no practice when sick.

1. Shifting and transferring weight from foot to foot in a slow, gradual, and detailed manner. Like pouring water from one glass to another, or like the sands in an hourglass, gradually change the weight from foot to foot. The slower and smoother, the better. This will develop Tai-Chi strength, train all parts of your legs, and give you greater awareness of how your stances and legs can be used.

2. Take empty steps, like when you are walking on ice, or walking at night. Balance and root on one leg completely, then lightly place your foot, empty of weight, and then gradually shift and finish. Imagine walking on ice, or if the kids left Legos out overnight and you are walking barefoot. Try not to fall heavily into your steps and stances. Empty steps helps train to not get your foot swept out from underneath you. After kicks, try to put your foot down with balance and control. Master Liang taught that "kicks are high steps and steps are low kicks." The mechanics for good stepping and kicking are essentially the same.

Empty stepping can make a rhythm for your solo form: balance-place-feel-transfer-finish. Remember, balance is a feeling, it belongs to the sense of touch. We don't use the eyes to see while doing our steps, the eyes are on the opponent, or looking inward. We take steps by feel. We feel where we step. If balance and stepping belonged to the sense of sight, then blind people could not walk, and sighted people could not walk in the dark, or at night.

3. Keep the same height when doing the solo form. There are some postures where you rise up like White Crane, High Pat on Horse, or the kicks, and some where you go lower, like Needle at Sea Bottom and Squatting Single Whip/Snake Coils Down. All others you can try to stay the same height which will work your legs and help you do correct whole body power mechanics. The Yang's family practiced under tables when they were young to develop their legs and waist.

4. Step out longer than usual and have lower and longer stances. You will have trouble doing empty steps, but this will really work your legs. My experience is that the lower I go, I don't worry about empty steps, and I use a faster pace. If I'm higher, doing empty steps, I'll drastically slow down my pace, which also works my legs.

5. Except for a few places, make sure your weight is never evenly distributed between your feet. Always have one foot be responsible for support and gravity. Take a Bow Stance for example, depending on your school, style, or teacher, you could have 70, 80 or 100 percent of your weight on the front foot upon completion. When the weight is 50/50, it tends to just make the legs tight and hard, unable really do anything but be there. Equal weight is hard to step, difficult to turn, and too stuck to push. That's why the Classics warn against "double-weighting" or weight equally on both feet. There are some Horse Stances in the weapons, Ta-Lu, and San-Shou, but the vast majority of the time we need to distinguish "full and empty" between our feet.

6. Testing stances by having a partner push against, lean on, and pull our stances. Use structure and bones for resistance. They can lean ,we don't. We channel their weight and energy through our structure, i.e. our stances, into the ground.

7. Rooting Drill from Pushing-Hands. There are many drills to get the skill of Rooting in the Pushing-Hands practices. Pushing a partners chest, hips, Ward-Off, pulling their Ward-Off, pushing their stance from four directions, all these drills help develop a root. I will be posting a video with these and other Rooting Drills.

Take your time, work on one or two of these methods, and gradually and steadily you will progress  to "getting a root."