Is 2019 Your Year for T’ai Chi Chuan?

Harrogate’s Taoist Arts Organisation classes restart for the Autumn Term in 2019 on Monday 2nd September 2019 with the beginners class.  If you have never tried T’ai Chi before then this is the class for you.  20180618_192323740_iOS

Alison welcomes everyone to the class with a friendly smile and hopes that you will enjoy your journey with her.

We start at 7.15 pm with students arriving a little before hand to get any admin work done. The class starts with a very gentle warm up to manipulate the joints, release the muscles and ligaments a little. There are partner exercises to attempt, followed by learning how to do the Lee Style Form, then finishing with a breathing exercise.

We train in the small hall at Woodlands Methodist Church and I look forward to meeting you there.

Realisation, about starting martial arts in adulthood.

This week started on a bit of sad note, one of my students decided that there was not enough time to find for my sessions, this happens, everyone has a busy life and not everyone can fit everything in. They thought they were not giving themselves enough time to practice at home so therefore thought they should stop altogether.

This realisation probably hit them after they had missed the week before and when they realised it was class again and they had not found the time to practice at all whilst not attending.

Starting Martial Arts in adulthood is a fabulous thing to do, but being able to stick at it is not always feasible unless you let yourself do it. Every man and his dog wants their little piece of you, and to be honest, learning a martial art is a very personal thing. You cannot just think, right, I am going to learn how to defend myself, this is not martial arts, or think, right I am going to use this to get fitter, this is not martial arts, or even that looks so good, perhaps I can do it? That is not martial arts!

Martial Arts is a union of mind and body in meditation, to be able to allow the body to move whilst the effort being put in is tempered to the scenario. When I am practising my arts, I am not thinking about dinner, I am not thinking about what I will be doing tomorrow or what I did yesterday, I am thinking about what my next movement may be. If I have practiced enough I sometimes do not necessarily think the next move through but just do.

Those people who know me, have seen me in some very loud situations and some very quiet ones, I strive to make both as meditative as I can for myself. Training in Martial Arts is one of the few things you can do individually as a group. If you Can get your head around that, it can open doors for you to think differently. The enjoyment from a noisy class is different to that of a quiet one. The energy made by the people and noise around you can buoy you along in the noisiest of classes. The quiet class, the energy you produce pushes you along the path in a simple manner and only affects yourself. Both options have their merits, which is why children enjoy those noisy classes.

Being kind to yourself in everything you do, helps you become more rounded, and trying to fit things around your life, even though can be problematical, should be practiced as their benefits will out way any negativity felt.

Autumn Tai Chi Starting Soon

Harrogate’s Taoist Arts Organisation classes restart for Autumn on Monday 3rd September 2018 with the beginners class.  If you have never tried T’ai Chi before then this is the class for you.  20180618_192323740_iOS

Alison welcomes everyone to the class with a friendly smile and hopes that you will enjoy your journey with her.

We start at 7.15 pm with students arriving a little before hand to get any admin work done.

 

We train in the small hall at Woodlands Methodist Church and I look forward to meeting you there.

New concept – Control

Why is this a new concept? To some people it’s all they know, to others it’s alien. Today, I spent the day attempting control with my Tai Chi friends. I think it was initially called three star principle, and even though I was unsure what it was about, it was explained.

The main function of the initial exercise was to use the principles taught to block an attack (in this case a head punch). Some people were taught how they should be punching, some people were taught how to keep their hands up to protect themselves. I had to learn to be less square on when in an initial guard position. It seems I can punch if nothing else.

I had some success with the ward off, and then trying to off balance your opponent. The next step is then to take the control and strike. This in itself is not too difficult a concept, however, the next step is then to continue with the strikes, adding so there were 4 or 5, this was hard for me to connect with.

Any previous training I’ve had has not included a control which you had to keep, if any control at all. My initial efforts were rather dismal, if I got the control and say one strike I had not particular idea where to put the next. It’s not instinctive to me. Even with a compliant partner I was unable to grasp the concept.

Errors were

Pre-empting the strike with the ward off. Remedy : Close your eyes until I tell you when to open them. Forcing me to deal with something, either flusters you or you do get it right. I do seem to need the extra assistance in seeing what I am doing (usually incorrectly), to be then shown the way to do it.

I tend to block myself with my own perception of what I think I can do and what the instructor wants me to do. This is something I am trying to undo, being blocked in internal arts is not the correct way to be, you need to be open to everything as well as open in everything. One day, I will be able to explain this.

Seminar with Master Johnson July 2004

The 10th of July rolled round very quickly, is it really four weeks since we were graded?  We had been looking forward to the seminar for quite some time and now it was here.  First there was the problem of dress, Full Do Bok or our very bright yellow T-shirts, easily fixed that day it was quite cold.  Then do we take our Bongs?, Better do, just in case.  On arrival at the Do Jang (better known as Calcutt Village Hall), we found that Master Johnson and some of the Coventry Crew had already arrived.  There were a few of us already there and some people were quite nervous, having never experienced a seminar with Master Johnson before personally I was matter of fact about it.

Eventually we started our warm up, doing ok so far.  Then a sit down, Master Johnson said we would not be starting to do much just yet as some of the Coventry visitors were still on their way.  He also apologised for wearing not his belt, babies have impeccable timing for sickness.

We then paired off, call it lucky, I got a Master.  Perhaps I was not as respectful as I could have been, being a very dizzy orange belt, but he was very nice about it all.  We went through the applications of Pyung Ahn Forms (Hyung), (Peaceful Confidence for those that don’t know).  It makes the forms easier for me if I know why I am doing them so this was excellent.  Master Johnson used clapping to bring us all to a stop, unfortunately for me I am concentrating that hard on what I am doing I usually missed it.  Lucky for me then that the Master I was with kept prompting me!

We kept going being shown the applications and then practising them.  After some time we went through the forms, as high as you know, I only know to Pyung Cho Dan. As the forms get higher less people are doing them, eventually we got down to the Master Grade.  He has just started to learn a new form and therefore had to try to remember it on his own.  This is difficult even for a Master!  With regard to the basic form, its the stances that are important, you really have to work hard to get them correct, they are Back Stance, Front Stance and Horse Riding Stance.  

Then we were taught a form new to most of us, It was a Dan form, Horrors of horrors, if only I could remembers its name.  The children were taught White Crane, my eldest boy can remember up to where they got to, he is doing better than his mum (as usual).  This is something special and I hope that I can get to grips with the bits I can remember.

The two hours went very quickly and I thoroughly enjoyed it, yes it was hard work, yes I have aching legs and knees and arms, and, yes I felt good after it!  I look forward to the next one, there is nothing to be nervous about.  Tang Soo Do is one of the best workouts I have ever had, two hours is slightly longer than normal but I will not flinch from the next one and I will attend my class today!

Week 16 – Often out of time

Another weeks training, its getting better honest I think. We got the chance to have a higher belt help us learn our next Hyung. I am getting behind with this now but will keep updating it occasionally. I have a friend who has been inspired back into the Martial Art he started a few years ago and gave up. So I feel that I have done some good with my Tang Soo Diary. I enjoy the classes very much and I am getting fitter. I still go to the gym and get weighed periodically. I may not have lost much weight but I have certainly improved my body fat ratio. Its down from 40.2 to 35.7%. So I am very pleased.
 
I have done this diary for 16 weeks mostly on rather than off. I have not done it recently but the next piece is about a Seminar with Master Johnson in July 2004.

Week 15 – Away on business

This week the kids went to their class on Wednesday with their Dad. I was away on business. They worked hard as usual I do believe.
 
I returned from my trip very tired but made the effort to get to the Adult class on Thursday night. I really enjoyed it. There were 7 people including the instructor. Therefore we spent quite a lot of time lined up doing set moves. They were very complicated and I am not sure I do need them yet but I tried. However I did not get them right. I found them very difficult. We went through the forms from Basic up, I managed that one reasonably well, on Cho Dan I really had to correct myself at the last bit, I went into a low block instead of the sudo block. However I did it again and finished the form correctly I hope.
 
We went through all our techniques and moves including the board kick, I suppose the only thing we did not do was the 3 step sparring. I still need to practice the bong form so I do not move my feet too much.

Week 9 – Yellow belts in Line

Very proud in our new belts, and we came to class with gusto. This week on Wednesday we enjoyed our class and the discipline is getting better for the children. We caused a little problem though, we take water bottles to class as in the times we get to sit at the back, we usually try to grab a drink. However this week we caused a few problems as we were not really quick enough. However, for ourselves we have decided to drink plenty before class and make sure we have some for after the class. Things seem to be getting more complicated and the moves too.
The Sunday class took its usual format. I enjoyed it and got to show off a bit. One of the Dan grades is attempting to learn a new technique which requires him to do a crab. He cannot do it very well at all. However I can manage it. Therefore I had to demonstrate to the class of what he wanted us to do. Again discipline was tighter, the children in the class, unfortunately need it. As well as the normal techniques and forms, which I managed the Basic Form correctly, therefore am feeling quite chuffed with myself, we did a couple of self defence moves for a bit of fun. Therefore if anyone tries to shake me to bits by the lapels, or strangles me I may be able to get them off me.

Week 8 – Doing Great!

We attended out two classes as per usual, my back was better as was my leg, so all seemed to go well. The push ups this Wednesday were a killer. I guess I know I have muscles there now, in fact racing against the instructor is not my idea of a fair one, but I had to, NOT!!! I managed to get most of the Hyung right and only messed up a couple of the turns so that felt like quite an achievement.
 
Todd received his suit and is very proud of it. I also wonderwebbed his back stance badge onto it. The kids get badges if they get things right, I want one too but I am an adult therefore not allowed. I must say its good for the kids as they feel like they are getting somewhere. We three were advised that we would be graded on Sunday. Excitement all round at our house.
 
Sunday came, we practiced at home this week and though not very confident about doing it all correctly we hope we do well. If we do we will be going out for tea. Class proceeded as normal, usual warm up, line ups and techniques. On the pads for Front kick and inside outside kick, its not fair my calf has gone again. It has been suggested that I strap it for the next class. Whilst the class continued we did the grading with the Instructor. We had to show that we knew stances and techniques and prove it. I even managed the free sparring which I find very hard. We were also asked to do the First Form (Hyung). Even though we did not need it, it was good to try and we only managed to mess up two of the turns, so that’s not too bad.

Week 3 – Everyone is quicker than me

Class again, I ache again, I still go though! It’s fun to me. I am not sure if it is supposed to be FUN FUN, but I do like it. I feel so good after the class, tired but good! Thank goodness they are making allowances for my unfitness. Push Ups, I can do them on my knees, thank heavens, Sit ups I can manage albeit slightly slower than the kids who cannot count.
 
We lined up and practiced the Basic Form (KI Cho Hyung), as I had been to a couple of classes already I had to stay in line though behind the belted and suited people (looks like I will have to be suited and belted in some form soon, or my son will not be amused. Seeing as he does it with me and he is desperate for one) I have bought the student training manual. This shows this Form in its entirety which means we can practise at home now. I was paired with another beginner who brings his sons. We had to sit back to back and the quickest up into the high block from the floor won, I won the first one, he tried harder on the second. The loser had to do 5 push ups, so one all was not too bad.
 
Talking of the Hyung again, watching the others do these was great. It really looks spectacular, especially when its in unison. This is not always attained as everyone has their own speed to do it. It was good to the see the new Brown belts attempting their next form level, in particular a very small boy who seems to be very very good at it, I encourage my boy to watch him closely as he just seems to have the knack with it and can follow Mr McKenna easily.