Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Journey Continues...

From 2016 through 2019, I shared my thoughts under the Blog name of Qi Portals. This was the period when I trained full-time as a martial arts student in the YMAA California Retreat Center's 3-Year Training Program in Taijiquan and Qigong. One purpose of Qi Portals was to document my training experiences to share with those who made it possible for me to participate in the YMAA program. Another goal was to share my exploration of the subtle energies of Qigong and Taijiquan I have had glimpses of since the early 1980s. Being in Northern California in the mountains away from the distractions of modern life, I thought I would have time to delve further into these, but I was mistaken. The demands of the training schedule as well as the community upkeep of the facilities left little time for anything else.

Today, June 30, 2020, marks one year since I graduated from the program and left the Retreat Center to return home. Until today, I had not written anything in Qi Portals since July 2, 2019. My first six months back home was time I needed to rest and heal from my physical injuries as well as from the mental-emotional fatigue of the program. Re-establishing my teaching rhythm with my students and negotiating a radically different personal training regimen has been challenging and immensely rewarding. Unfortunately, the absence of training partners with whom I could continue my progress has slowed down, but not deterred my momentum.

I certainly miss the daily discipline of partner drills that were unveiling the deeper layers of the inherent power and grace of Taijiquan. Whether it is the fundamental nature of such a broad art or the design of the training program itself, there was an imbalance between the Yin and Yang aspects of my training experience on the mountain. While it is clear that Qigong is the root of Taijiquan (Taijiquan is loosely translated as the Grand Ultimate fist of the Mind), the overwhelming emphasis on the mountain was on the Yang side--the body. This makes sense because being physically conditioned to actually regulate one's body to execute the movements (the form, the weapons, the partner drills, etc.) is paramount. However, practicing Embryonic Breathing Qigong once in the morning was insufficient time to cultivate a higher awareness and facility with Qi itself.

Five months ago, the world changed. The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to rethink and revamp how to continue my teaching and training. Now, all of my teaching is online these days and it has been an interesting shift for me and my students. Surprisingly, it's turned out better than I had anticipated. The emphasis of my classes is on the foundations and basics. So, we spend much more time understanding fundamentals and cultivating a clearer relationship with how we govern our bodies and movement.

I have decided to rename my Blog Yin Side Notes. My interest is still in uncovering the hidden foundation(s) for what creates the seemingly facile and effortless treats of power and strength I have personally seen and experienced that are intrinsic to this martial art of Taijiquan. As such, I will share my thoughts and experiences as I explore and journey. My three years on the mountain provided me with some insight, but were insufficient to speak with any degree of authority. One day I know I'll be able to share more clearly.

I hope you are able to join me along the way.

Urban Qi FIT

Tenacity | Diligence | Discipline | Courage | Resilience 

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