Butterfly Strong: A blog about internal martial arts, theatricality and Daoist ritual emptiness
I'm been thinking about a powerful idea; marketing has become storytelling with images. When I started to think about explicitly telling stories with images using webpages and videos I realized that storytelling is at the very heart of what I do.
This brings to mind a conversation I had with Rory MillerRead More
I'm putting the finishing touches on the sound for my video "Cracking the Code: Taijiquan as Enlightenment Theater." And I'm headed to Portland to give a talk on the History of Baguazhang, to teach Dance as Self-Defense, and to teach Unlocking Internal Martial Arts. So here are some interesting videos, the first one I call Heavy Metal Chinese Opera. (If you have adblock, it takes 40 seconds to open, and it doesn't want to embed so click here.)
And this one is the latest attempt at Shaolin Monks crossing the line into pure dance. Pretty good! But put on some different music, this is the "Let if Go" of martial arts performances. (This one won't embed either, click here).Read More
...We really do not know the ultimate causes of things, much less the ultimate causes of our own behavior. We do, as a habit of mind, tend to ascribe agency. And, of course, we can use rational processes like deductive or inductive reasoning to walk back, or walk around, discrete causation. Within the boundaries of a closed system of logic, these processes can become praxis. That is, they become a "way of seeing, doing and testing," like engineering, or ballet. The dominant versions of this areRead More
More and more often I see people making the connections between expressive arts (like theater and dance) and martial arts. That's great! But I still hear the argument that stage combat is not real because it makes no effort to be real.
There are two mistakes here. The first is that violence takes a lot of effort. By far the most difficult thing isRead More
I am delighted with Dave Tilley's website/blog Shift Movement Science . It is exciting to be learning from people who are a lot younger than I am. He was a competitive gymnast, and he teaches gymnastics to children at beginning and advanced levels.
Dave has detailed explanations with videos, photos, and academic references. He isn't using this format to teach tricks or gymnastics skills. What he does is pick a problem, and show you how to fix it.Read More
This week I am abdicating my blog post to Ian Johnson, who has a wonderful piece in the New York Review of Books, on newly discovered ancient texts in China and the notion of abdication as the best form of government!
I want to change the name of this blog. Nine years ago I chose "Weakness With A Twist" specifically because I wanted to provoke. "Cultivate weakness" is a Daoist precept from the first century C.E. and I thought that I could bring attention to what was probably originally a provocative idea rooted in the Daodejing. That was eight years ago, and today I still teach that aggression can blind us to what is happening and profoundly limit our options and development. That is not an argument against strength or even against "natural" aggression; it is just a fact, something to be aware of. Limits are part of life, they are part of having a body. I liked "Weakness With A Twist" because it pointed away from the limited development of methodologies, and towards the true limitlessness of possible experiences.
But I think not too many people got that from the title.Read More
Rebecca Haseltine, a long time friend and one of the best bodyworkers anywhere, has been writing about her work lately. She has specialized in the extraordinary, working for instance with the severely disabled. She is an artist too. She approaches the body as art, which means you don't get sales pitches from her, you don't get stock explanations either.
She interacts with consciousness as expression, allowing bodywork to happen at the subtlest yet most profound levels. She also does group workshops and I would love to see her knowledge and experience more widely shared.
Most bodyworkers try to work outside the box, but Rebecca works with the box as it is. Because of this profound wisdom, sometimes people find working with her confusing. That can be a big plus if you are one of those people who is nourished by not-knowing.
Yet I find this new writing Rebecca is doing highly accessible. She has realized that her life's work can only live on if she can figure out ways to make the intangible tangible. I think many of us share Rebecca's quest to find metaphors for our experiences of bodies; metaphors that carry ways of refreshing the perception-action mobius loop.
I'm teaching two workshops in Oregon at Portland Shaolin. I'm also giving a lecture demo where I'm going to spill the beans on the last several years work figuring out the origins of Baguazhang. This is mind blowing stuff, like nothing anyone has said before. And the scholarship is strong if I do say so myself. If you are anywhere near Portland, please come out. The lecture/slideshow is free!
The workshops are going to be amazing! Everything is on this page, check it out!