Sunday, November 19, 2017

A Glimpse...

Though it was delayed by several weeks, the cold and rainy season has started, again. I am glad for the delay. Training in the cold when it's also wet is an energy drain just trying to find the comfort zone to feel sufficiently warm without sweating so much that you then feel even colder when you stop moving.
Horizontal Climbing Rope
Photo credit: Jonathan Chang
With the rains, I've had to change my rope climbing conditioning routine. They're too slick to climb safely; especially the vertical rope. It's given me a chance to rest my shoulders and, particularly, an elbow that I strained a couple of weeks ago. So, this past week, I've been still doing my panther crawls, but instead of pull/chin ups and knee ups each morning, I'm refocusing on my leg strength and flexibility as well as waist and ankle mobility. I'm back to 150 squats daily and added some drills using my legs with a heavy bag while I'm on my back on the gym floor. My knees and ankles are stronger and more flexible. This makes such a difference in initiating the coiling required to absorb, redirect, and deflect incoming forces.

Oblique Knee Ups (20 each morning)
Photo credit: Jonathan Chang

Ying-Yang Symbol Training
Photo credit: Jonathan Chang
The teaching and training has evolved from last year to introduce more partner drills that emphasize movement rather than stationary rocking. Whether it's Single or Double Push Hands, the Taiji Symbol, Taijiquan applications, or the White Crane Staff sequence, we've progressed to another phase of interacting with ourselves and each other. Something has shifted within me that I cannot quite put into words (of all times not to be able to 'say' what 'it' is...) as we've been experiencing this phase of engaging while moving forwards and backwards.

To state the obvious, the Taijiquan form embodies multiple layers of the martial aspects of this art. It contains striking, kicking, wrestling, and seize/control ("joint locking"). It is not until you begin to train these and so many other martial aspects of this art that you appreciate the depth and breadth of the form as a living template of options to be exercised at a moment's notice. I am acutely aware of how much I do not know. The blessing, however, is that I can see the destination ahead more clearly than ever and I know I'm traveling on the right road to arrive there one day.

I have gotten a glimpse of what it will be like to one day have the conscious integration of body, mind, Qi and spirit to flow with grace and effectively exercise power rather than mere strength in a martial way. It's just a glimpse, yet it is reaffirming and keeps my faith resolute about the 'magic' that is this art--Taijiquan. Some days have felt exquisitely uncomfortable to move at all during these past 11 weeks of training. However, that sliver of Light that it is possible to achieve a higher level of self-mastery motivates me to never give up.

Sunrise one very cold morning... photo courtesy RJ Woodbine
I know, without a doubt, that this journey will bear fruit that confirms my aspirations for being here. It's a process that I will continue to share to, hopefully, inspire others to go forward to make manifest their dream(s) martial or otherwise. The process for achieving success is pretty much the same at its roots-tenacity, diligence, discipline, resilience.

We have 4 weeks remaining in the semester before I leave "the mountain" for our winter break. We've completed our physical testing in Taijiquan for the semester and have the oral exams in Qigong in 2 weeks. Thanksgiving is later this week and I wish you and your families an enjoyable Holiday season and celebration. I am forever grateful to everyone who continues to support me and this incredible journey. Be Blessed and flow with the go...

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All things are possible once you clearly see it, commit your every action to achieving it, and know that what appears to be a roadblock in your way or failure is just preparation for more than you even anticipated achieving. Don't give in, don't give up!