Relaxation is something we are always seeking. Whether it is after a busy day at work, or staying home with the kids. Tai Chi Chuan, Chi Kung, Massage, Yoga, Meditation, Martial Arts, exercise, and many other activities are all tools to help us cultivate relaxation and learn to use it in our daily lives. These tools help us relax by helping us cope with stress. Although we all cope differently there are three pillars which must be present in order to deal with our stress in a constructive and positive way.
These three pillars are in the realms of character, mindset, and physique. Some of these tools train all the pillars and some of them only train specific aspects of them. To achieve functional relaxation, all three pillars must have a strong root in your life. For the sake of simplicity we’ll outline the pillars and go into depth afterwards.
This principle is one that has countless applications for health and martial art practice. This simple phrase gives you a lifetime of work that will always bring fruit and ever expanding self-discovery. Many times the principle of “Move 10,000 pounds using only 4 ounces” becomes the measuring stick to say if someone’s practice is truly Tai Chi. So let’s look at what this means…
To put it simply moving 10,000 pounds with 4 ounces can be summed up in one word, efficiency.
What do we mean by efficiency?
How Tai Chi builds LASTING strength and BALANCE
The Chinese have been saying for thousands of years that all things are categorized by the Tai Chi symbol, also known as the Yin Yang symbol. If it indeed categorizes all things, then how does the theory of Yin and Yang relate to exercise?
We go to class to get better at our martial art, but is it enough? There has been tons of research on how long it takes us to establish a habit. How to achieve mastery at a certain subject, the 10,000 hr rule sound familiar(Malcolm Gladwell)? We can sit here and argue about specifics until we're blue in the face but the fact of the matter remains. How much you put in is how much you get out.
When we go to class it is extremely important to maintain our "dedication and intensity" during our training. I understand that not all people who practice martial arts desire to be black belts, or masters of whatever discipline they pursue, but you must train with intensity to accomplish anything at all.
Pick a date and make that your first step off the diving board into positive change. A date can be a powerful thing! Say with conviction to yourself "ON NEW YEARS THERE'S NO TURNING BACK!"
If we hold in our mind that there is no turning back, why do we fall into the same habits as we had before. New Years day is surely a day that we attempt a change alongside many others. With many people changing at the same time, not even this camaraderie can make the decision last. Some last the day, week, or month. Few stretch that intensity into eternity. I feel this is due to a lack of certainty that the change in action will lend the results desired. Another reason could be a lack of definite purpose. Without strong purpose we lack sufficient support to start. Even if this purpose is strong the momentum wanes when we fail to remind ourselves of it.
How do we fix it?
If you want to listen in with me for some consistent reminders the motivational videos I listen to on the daily can be found below:
Why train in the martial arts? We all have our reasons. Some of us enjoy various aspects of our practice, self-defense, health benefits, or possibly something more... character, confidence, psychological poise. Relaxation... the list can go on and on. The reason I train in martial arts is because to me the martial arts are metaphors for life! A way to shift personal perception, to push past and grow beyond our hardships.
We all have hardships in life, I'm going through some hard times right now with my grandmother being ill. My grandmother, who I call Mame, is my mom. My godparents and Mame have raised me into adulthood. They've given me a very solid foundation in many things, and as I got older I've used these skills and created myself into who I am today.
As we grow we pick and choose what we want in our life... Like Mame always said,
We all have problems sometimes, problems that seem to be so overwhelming they stop us dead in our tracks. Whether it is in the form of an opponent, an injury, outcomes of our actions, business pursuits or school we confront things that will get in our way. The Tao is in returning, by this it means to return to the source. In times of hardship return to what drives you. The why in your actions. Your reasons are what remind you of your path. Live keeping those reasons close to your heart and soon they’ll form a foundation for your life. Building a strong foundation in helping others is what practicing the Tao is all about, you cannot help others without a foundation for yourself.
Traditional Chinese Martial Art (TCMA) history has always been HIGHLY controversial! Chinese history itself is filled with legends and mystical stories so entangled with historical events that it is extremely difficult to separate the two. For example, it is extremely dificult for scholars to authenticate various authors of classical Chinese texts! Many historians debate the true existence of Lao Tzu, Chuang Tzu, and Huang Di. Even in other parts of Chinese history this problem is further compounded by the Chinese' cultural bias to name an originator of a technique, writing, or w/e under a previous master or other person. 'In Chinese culture it is more desirable to have antiquity instead of personal merit.' To take a serious look at TCMA, and the various masters that make up its history without keeping all this in mind and applying critical thinking is to be terribly naive.
Daniel R. Hyde
Licensed Massage Therapist
OIF, OEF Veteran
U.S. Marine Corps
Tui Na, Chinese Massage
Shiatsu, Japanese Massage
Tai Chi Chuan
Kwan Ying Do Kung Fu