topic: t’ai chi

domestic katas, time and freedom

Eastern martial arts – and other ‘physical motion disciplines’, Kabuki for example – are taught through forms, or katas. These are ways to train the subconscious so that it assimilates a particular linked pattern of motion – a pattern that is a distillation of a ‘system’. If we consider T’ai Chi, a martial art I studied for years, there are a fixed number of these katas that appear to be a complex dance, performed solo […]

grasp…

T’ai Chi taught me many things but perhaps nothing quite as useful as the unlearning of the reflex to grasp. This reflex – to grab hold of something, most often with the dominant hand – becomes a liability in any kind of fight. One problem is that it focuses the mind on the grasping hand: thus focused, the mind loses the ability to see ‘the bigger picture’. Another is that an attempt to grab some […]

yoga bear…

bear demonstrating yoga posture "dancing bear"

This picture is one of several taken by Meta Penca, a 29 year old web programmer from Slovenia, of Santra the bear doing her exercises at the Ahtari Zoo in Finland. Strangely, or not so strangely, this is exactly the same as the yoga posture Merudasana, Balancing Bear Posture (rather more prosaically also known as Upavishta Konasana, Seated Angle Posture.) Taking this name into account and comparing the two photographs, it seems obvious to me […]

Calabi-Yau manifolds…

Having emerged in recent years from gestalt therapy, the Stone Dance (my own copyrighted version of auto-therapy *grin*) and a general focus on the internal world of the psyche (thus much interest in Jung) – all pursuits that favour subconscious over conscious, intuition over cognition, I have found myself becoming increasingly interested in looking outwards (as far indeed as the Universe) towards science and mathematics. No doubt this is part of some process of achieving […]

Chinese martial arts…

I was watching the ravishing “House of Flying Daggers” for the second time, and was again struck by how ravishing Chinese martial arts can be. I find them far more compelling as ‘dance’ than I have ever found ballet, for example – and it does seem to me that martial arts plays the same role in China (perhaps less so in Japan) as ballet does in Europe… I studied T’ai Chi (that is the yin, […]

hand holding halberd…

Continuing my, possibly reckless, exploration into Chinese, I want to discuss the character for the singular pronoun (I, me) wǒ which is the first character shown. Now this is composed of two elements: the one on the left, the 2nd shown, is a pictograph for ‘hand’; the one on the right is a pictograph for ‘halberd’ or ‘lance’. So wǒ is written as a hand holding a halberd… This seems to me to pose two interesting questions. […]