Monthly Archives: February 2012

Tai Chi’s Back

First, an announcement. Beginning this Saturday, February 11, 2012, I am starting up a new Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan) class.

Many of you may know that I’ve taught tai chi for many years and those of you who know me better will know that it was tai chi that started my fitness and personal growth career. It is only in the last year that I’ve not taught a class of some kind. I stopped last year when my father was sick, as I needed more time to devote to him and his care. Since his death it has taken me a little while to find myself motivated to resume both my own practice of tai chi and to teach again.

This past weekend I attended a Perform Better Learn By Doing seminar in Atlanta. I was greatly impressed by all of the speakers and brought something home from each of them.

From Grey Cook I learned the importance of screening clients and some killer new stretches that have been amazingly effective in opening up some problem spots for me. Many of you will learn these same or similar stretches as we continue to improve ourselves.

From Mike Boyle I witnessed an amazing confidence and the power that can bring to doing good things with your work. Mike also shared some great insights on single leg training that many of you have already witnessed.

Martin Rooney showed what a great coach he truly is and how powerful a coach can be in motivating and leading his clients. He also brought some new insights into metabolic conditioning (formerly known as cardio) and as some of you will have already seen, the agility ladder.

The last guy I’m mentioning was the first speaker of the day and the one I didn’t know. Brett Jones is an RKC (Russian Kettlebell Club) Master. He spoke about restorative exercise and specifically about Indian clubbells.

Brett was impressive, not a very large man at all, but extremely well put together. He looks like a old school drill instructor, tight, neat, efficient. As I listened to him I begin to recognize things I already knew, concepts I began my training with that had fallen to the side in my own personal pursuit of bigger, faster, stronger. In fact all four of the speakers reinforced concepts I came to fitness with courtesy of my martial arts and tai chi training. But because I lacked confidence I had set them aside.

Seen through the lens of tai chi it all makes perfect sense. My growth had a very yin beginning which reached it’s apex a few years ago. My martial arts training went from the very soft tai chi, to karate, kung fu and eventually jiu-jitsu. Each stage took on a decidedly more yang quality. My own training as an athlete became more and more aggressive, more yang, heavier weights, harder sessions, until I finally reached the point that I stopped tai chi, my yin beginning, altogether.

Several months later I injured my knee in jiu-jitsu practice. Nothing major, but enough to affect my work and that was enough to end my jiu-jitsu career. Since September I’ve been focused on healing myself and correcting imbalances.

I still aim to get stronger, but I’m more precise in my efforts. I’ve added yoga and Kinesis. And now, thanks to the unconscious prodding of Brett Jones, I’m re-instating my tai chi class.

Tai chi is all about balance, not just the “Gee, I don’t fall down as often” variety, but the balance of energies as well. Do you balance your work with rest? Do you balance hard activities with soft? Do you know how to restore yourself?

If you don’t come on down to the gym, Saturdays at 9am. You can always come at 8am for bootcamp and stay through for tai chi. But you already knew that, didn’t you?

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