Winter's Web

Winter is closing in and I'm headed out of town, to a place without zeros and ones.

I have so many blog posts I'd love to share, but you know what they say, "If you want to get something done, give it to someone who is already busy."  I guess I wasn't busy enough!  It will all have to wait for the new year.

In the meantime, I read The Body Has a Mind of It's Own, by Sandra Blakeslee.  This is a marvelous book.  It has no footnotes, which is a big drawback, but it summarizes the scientific literature on body mapping.  This is not Body-Mapping the "therapy" I posted about a week or so ago, it is body mapping the theory that there are about 15 different three dimensional maps of space, motion, sensation, and awareness in our brain.  Basically we know about the 15 different maps because researchers have been studying the weird stuff that happens to people when they get brain injuries.  Years ago Oliver Sachs wrote the book The Man Who Mistook Her Wife for a Hat, and described the process, but a lot has happened since then.

If you want to explain Qi in scientific terms this is the way to go.  Body maps, as metaphors, are a bit confining.  I don't really think all 15 or so mechanisms should be called maps, and maybe none of them should, but the mechanisms by which Qi, Jing, and Shen can operate in a "quiet body" "active mind" situation have all been roughly sketched out in this book.

So I've started on a new project to become conversant in Kinesiology.  I'm reading papers and books, and I'm even working on a paper with Josh Leeger whose blog covers the really interesting edge of new "fitness" experiments.

Speaking of which, the paper I wrote for the conference on Daoism Today about Martial Arts, Theater and Ritual has gotten enough positive feedback from the few readers I gave it to, that I'm going to put some real effort into publishing it.  When I get back.

Also, I'm really hoping I can pull together a self-produced class for kids (ages 7-13) after school in the space I'm renting on Geary Street.  Tentative start date in February.

Speaking of the space (5841 Geary St.), My Tai Chi and Qigong class there has been going great, feel free to drop in on us when we start up again Jan. 5th 2011.

I'm going to be taking over the renting and scheduling of the space, so if you want to rent it for classes or rehearsals of any kind, drop me a line, it's bright with mirrors, wood floor, and low cost.

And my morning Bagua Class will be open for new students beginning Jan 4th. 2011 so come on down and check out the funnest exercise in the world!


Since people look to me for expertise in the realm of horror films, here is my quick review of Black Swan:

(I'm probably the only one who is going to tell you what this film is about so be sure to hit the "Donate" button in the side bar if you are digging this blog.)  Black Swan is about the conflict between technique and expression.  A theme martial artists will totally dig.  There isn't really any fighting in this film which is crazy, how can they make a film without fighting?  Anyway, the film does a great job diving into the nightmare of having awesome skills that everyone recognizes and yet still not being able to dance (martial artists can replace the word fight with the word "dance" in that sentence if they want to).  I loved it, anyone who has ever been consumed by "a practice" will relate.  (Full disclosure: I closed my eyes whenever the nail clippers came out!  Some things are even too much for me.)


If you missed the Kung Fu For Philosophers article in the New York Times, check it out.  My first thought, "hey, dude, I could teach that class."  In my class each week I would send half the class home with a different philosopher to study and digest.  The next week when they returned we would pick two students to get on stage and fight.  Richard Rorty verses Charles Taylor one week, Zhuangzi verses Spinoza the next.  The students would have to fight and argue at the same time!  If a student got tongue tied or beaten down, we'd put in a fresh one to keep the action rolling.  (In the article the writer gets Zhuangzi wrong.  Zhuangzi says uncertainty is real.  The experience of uncertainty is real too.  The "transformation of things" is not something to "go along with," it simply is.  We are imaginational beings-- as much butterfly as man from one dream to the next.)  If you would like me to teach this class post a comment!

I'll be back January 1st, 2011.