Portland Notes

After a wonderful weekend in Portland teaching, I am too tired to write a blog. Man-o-man the food is great there, and the people too.

Here are some of my notes for the classes I taught. I also added some interesting links at the bottom.

Four elements of Pure Internal Martial Arts

  1. Counterbalance
  2. empty of intent
  3. golden elixir egg
  4. neigong (inward training)

Practicing the first three revealed to me a way of organizing the physical body. I think it is the meaning of neigong, because it reverses a lot of body organization. (Like Zhang Sanfeng said, “It reverses the principles of Shaolin")

Think of a crowbar. There are different shapes and designs that make a crowbar work will for a particular job, that's structure. Integration is alchemy, the quality of the steel has to be there or it will break. Rooting is like the pivot point which has to be well positions and still in order for the crowbar to work. Mix up any of these issues and your crowbar will not work. They are conditioned by different stimuli. The subject of the first day was entirely dedicated to making steel.

On the second day I taught the Waltz, it is a faster method than Tai chi for understanding the many principles of perception action. It helps develop the awareness that we are all in a continuous state of unconscious rebalancing—and how to hack into that system.

A man on a balance tightrope must put his mind out on the tips of a long horizontal pole and keep his eyes on his destination straight ahead. The golden elixir is a way of formalizing this, such that one’s mind/attention does not come back to ones body. It stays outside/outward—even under the stress of stimulus like shoving, hitting, slapping, tickling, etc…

Bild 146-1981-045-18

In the Waltz, there is this idea of a threshold where you have control of the center of mass of you and your partner together. And if you do, they also have control. Either person can break the connection, either person can establish it. The normal categories of passive and active break down.  In ritual studies we call this liminality. If you just take your partner's center and throw them against the wall, it is a bit mean. If you resist ever letting them gain control, you are missing the funnest part of the relationship. New opportunities arise when you are so deep into the joy of dancing together that neither of you wants to stop. The more intimacy there is the more potential for betrayal.

Also these two links came across my desk that I expect will be interesting to readers.

Writing history is functionally illegal in China, because you can not speak freely about 2 Million heroes and martyrs. There is a list. WSJ


Rational thought has a place in the history of ideas, but there is little evidence that any individual has ever embodied in their lifestyle choices. Forbidden Histories