How Does Motivation Work?

We’ve all heard the self-help people tell us that motivation is the key to achieving miracles in our life. Some will tell you that “how” is not important for achieving success, but you need to know “why”.  There are as many different methods as there are self-help gurus.   There is only one things that…
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The Rolodex Myth of Sparring

The Rolodex Myth Of Sparring   There is a very persistent myth among students of martial arts. This myth persists due to a characteristic of the human ego. We want to believe our conscious minds are completely running our lives.   Is Free Will Gone? I can assure you that just about every study of…
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What is in a name? That which we call a rose, would by any other name… oh, you’ve heard the rest.
The names we use for our most essential creations are VERY important. In traditional Chinese martial arts, the names of movements in forms or the forms themselves, describe not only the physical characteristics but also the application and deeper meanings. Let’s take a look at the name T’ai Chi Ch’uan (TaiJiQuan) and what possible meaning is implied.
Before we discuss it, let’s talk about the Romanization of this name. The Wade-Giles Romanization system spells it T’ai Chi Ch’uan. This means that the “T” and second “Ch” sounds are aspirated and not voiced. The word Chi is voiced, so that sounds like a “J” sound. The current system called PinYin spells it TaiJiQuan. I will use the Pinyin here since it is the most recent and accurate system and doesn’t require you understand the significance of the apostrophe.
Yin-Yang or TaiJi?
The most common translation of the word 太极 (TaiJi) is “Grand Ultimate” or “Supreme Ultimate.” Therefore, since “Quan” means closed fist, people refer to TaiJiQuan as the Grand Ultimate Fist. In early Chinese philosophy, however, the Symbol for Taiji is the circle we typically call a yin-yang. In fact, the yin and yang symbol and the concepts behind it are pretty much synonymous with the martial art of TaiJi. The vast majority of Tai Chi practitioners will tell you that the principles of yin and yang are the central guiding theories of TaiJiQuan. These are interlocking symbols of polar opposites that flow from one extreme to the other in an endless cycle. There are a multitude of interpretations of the yin-yang relationship, but I am going to bypass that and talk about what TaiJi actually represents.
Quantum Theory and TaiJi
You see the martial art is not called yin-yang, it is called TaiJi. The TaiJi symbol is the fused and unseparated yin-yang polar opposites. The TaiJi is the undifferentiated moment before thought divides the world into “this and that.” The TaiJi is the universe before the “Big Bang,” the world before light divides it to day and night, and the moment before mind names and describes the world. TaiJi is the “undifferentiated all of reality.” If you were to sit and gaze on a tree, before thoughts enter your mind, you and the tree are ONE. There is no separation in that moment between you and the tree. Then a thought arises and names the object TREE and names you NOT A TREE. Thought just separated TaiJi into “this and that” or yin and yang. TaiJi is the eternal now, and yin and yang is the world after the appearance of thought separates that world. If you prefer a quantum mechanical description, you would say that TaiJi is the superposition of the multiple potential states of spin, or wave-particle duality, etc., before we observe the world and force it into a single state. In quantum theory, this is called collapsing the wave function, and it happens by the simple act of measuring or observing matter. Remember the schrodinger's cat paradox. The Cat is both alive and dead because the light is both a wave and a particle, as long as you are not observing it. It is in a state of TaiJi, not Yin-Yang.
Really Cool Fist
I know if I were creating a new martial art and called it Grand Ultimate Fist, that would be a pretty cool name. In fact, I could tell somebody I am going to go off in the woods and practice “really cool fist.” However, the mind-altering nature of TaiJiQuan requires a vastly more significant name. When your mind exists in the eternal NOW, before naming and dividing reality into “this and that” you are at absolute PEAK performance. Your reflexes are as fast as they will EVER be. You leave all agenda and form behind and move with perfect accommodation to your opponent.
What we know about the name TaiJi:
1.     It is the state of matter and mind BEFORE things are separated into polar opposites and thousands of forms we see around us.
2.     Yin-yang is only potentials in the TaiJi diagram, not actual states. They do not exist yet in TaiJi.
It's All About The Moment
Therefore TaiJi is not actually about Yin-Yang, but about a state of being before there are yin and yang. My opinion is that TaiJi is about being completely in the present moment before conscious thought slows us down. The ancients recognized this peak state and named their art after the philosophical state of being that exists before the world is divided by thought as well. They call their art TaiJiQuan, and not YinYang Quan to capture this “undifferentiated all of reality” moment.
Next time we will discuss the half–second cost of conscious thought. You will start to really understand why the TaiJi state is the ultimate peak performance state, pursued by every athlete in every sport.





Confessions of a Crooked Tree

I have been working for a few years on the concept of a book of metaphors I use to teach martial arts. This is one that I haven't shared yet. It is powerful and I hope it inspires you to stay on the path. I was out jogging in my neighborhood with Master Sheryl one…
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Kids Kung Fu Summer Camps Are FUN

Ages 6-12 No Experience Required Free Uniform For New Members To The School Mon-Fri 8:30AM to 4PM North Austin (2136 Rutland Drive) June Camp: June 18-22nd July Camp: July 16-20th August Camp: August 6-10th The Cost of the Camps  one camp is $220 two camps is $400 three camps is $540 Email to hold you spot…
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Our Annual Shaolin-Do Tournament

We have one big tournament each year (usually the 3rd or 4th weekend in February) and it's surrounded by rank advancement testing with Grandmaster Sin, and special seminars that he teaches the day after the tournament! Plan to be a part of it all!! It's a day like no other! It's full of energy, fun…
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Austin Tai Chi and Health

Most people know about the meditation and relaxation that comes from practicing Tai Chi. And while this martial art does involve a lot of both, it also comes with many other benefits in the area of health. Tai Chi can help with countless injuries and health problems, and can completely change the lives of those…
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Shaolin Drive In Theater

FREE! For instance, here's a backyard drive-in we did for our daughter's birthday last year. Complete with great sound system, and great friends. Bring your bagchair, snacks and drinks (be responsible), bug spray and a jacket or blanket. Parents please google the movie "Kung Fu Hustle" to decide on age appropriateness. Saturday April 16th movie…
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Shaolin-Do Forever

Go 'Monk' on life (or should I say 'Nun') I fully expect to be learning new Shaolin-Do forms when I am 80 years old. In fact, it is my secret weapon of longevity. Grandmaster Sin has said this countless times. He told us that the real reason to study Shaolin was to increase the length…
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