Author: Matt

Scientists do Tai Chi

Kelly Hallstrom, one of the senior Tai Chi students at Shaolin Kung Fu Centers in Worcester, recently shared her thoughts on Tai Chi and health benefits.  Using an ancient psychological technique, called introspection, she concludes that Tai Chi is good for her own personal mind & body.  However, as a candidate for the Ph.D. in microbiology, she also shares some thoughts about science and how science is applied to understand Tai Chi. I couldn’t resist offering some thoughts of my own.  (Thanks, Kelly!)  However, the comments in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette Blog only allow for 2000 characters.  I wrote slightly more… Ah, Western Science and Western Medicine. In the western world, if a domain of knowledge is making a claim about the human body, that is the property of physics, i.e. physics-based (material) medicine. So an art that is claiming to stimulate a region of the body through the use of energy flows, targeting and benefiting specific pieces of anatomy (organs)… Then this shall be deemed close enough to medicine that western science must be applied. And if the claims within the art cannot be objectively measured using physical apparati, then the art itself must be categorized as psuedo-science. In other words, if I open my qua and trigger the dantien to send energy up my back, then science should be able to put an electronic device on...

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The New Year is

Shaolin Kung Fu Centers, on Facebook, posted this insight about the New Year… The New Year is traditionally the time to reflect on ways to improve our lives in the coming year. As martial artists, we’re striving not only to be strong, but to be smart, as well. It’s smart to focus on self-improvement, and it’s our mind that is our greatest asset in becoming a better person. Martial arts is mental and physical in nature, to be functional and to be art. It is the ‘art’ in the martial arts that is most often neglected and yet it is the most powerful tool for changing and improving our lives. The biggest opponent to self-improvement often resides between our own ears. It is the ‘art’ of martial arts that can help us to gain the mental discipline to overcome this wary opponent. Most of us experience physical harm not from other people, but rather from ourselves. We can become our own opponent by allowing life’s negative forces to take control of our lives. Over time, our bodies can collapse from poor eating habits, insufficient exercise, work-related stress, daily pressures and bad habits. Martial arts can prepare you for a victory over yourself by teaching you how to balance physical and mental aspects of your life, thus achieving self-control and better focus. Your mind holds the key to all your...

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New Years Kung Fu Resolution?

In the New Year, many people will begin or resume their training with a new level of commitment.  The New Year is another occasion to try again. And it’s important to avoid putting too much stock in magical thinking.  Have you ever met someone who is waiting for that all-important condition to be met before doing what they want to do? Stop smoking, exercise, lose weight, stop drinking, eat more healthily, drop sweets, write, work, clean, organize… You name it.  The list never ends. And it’s a small bit of magical thinking that says that these things can’t be done until: the new year, the new job, the new health club opens, the new exercise machine is purchased, the bottle is empty, the pack runs out, the sweets are all gone from the kitchen, etc. etc. etc. And we all secretly know that waiting for these special conditions just doesn’t work.  We don’t change our ways of doing things until we personally want to do things differently… Until the act of not changing is more uncomfortable than the act of changing… Until our DESIRE for the new changed state is stronger that our desire to stay the same. Kung Fu is about continuous improvement.  Improvement that doesn’t stop.  It’s about ongoing persisting and practicing. And it’s about starting no matter how introductory you are. I once told myself for...

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Kung Fu – What is it?

Kung Fu is the development of skill through hard practice.  This could be any skill.  Any skill at all.  It doesn’t have to be a martial art. Kung Fu in the “Western” world is generally recognized as meaning Chinese Martial Arts.  However, this is a misunderstanding that came about from martial art films as they were translated into English. Kung Fu actually means the development of skill through hard practice.  This could be any skill.  Any skill at all. It does not have to be a fighting skill or a martial art. When we watch shows on TV, such as Top Chef, or Iron Chef, or Victory Garden, or even This Old House, we are seeing professionals who have worked hard for many years and developed mastery of their particular art. This is Kung Fu. The concept is especially important when we apply it to martial arts.  Only through lots of repetition, effort, and practice does a skill improve. Sifu Gary tells us that 10,000 repetitions are required to truly master a form.  That’s roughly 3 times per day for 10 years. I believe it. When practicing forms, we continually improve.  Even though there’s no end to the improvement in sight, this is a great state to be.  Imagine how boring this art would be if the forms were perfected after merely a few years. It never stops getting...

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