Favorite Things

I know that a significant portion of my readers are attracted to weirdness. I had a new weird idea recently I call “Baby-fat power.” To begin with, if you have to use force, even deadly force, don’t get stuck in fighting. Have a goal to neutralize the threat or escape. In training this translates nicely as: Dance don’t fight. Why? Because dance is not about dominance and submission, it is about the movement itself. Dance is movement imbued with beauty, rhythm, grace, efficiency, fun, and good-will towards your opponent(s)—partner(s).

Now thinking about martial arts as Dance, there are people who dance with their muscles. This tends to look stiff. For example, gymnasts tend to look stiff when they dance. A certain type of ballet dancer, dances with their muscles. If you’ve ever seen Lines Dance Company (led by Alonzo King who was my teacher everyday for two years about 30 years ago) they look strong. They are dancing with muscles, which creates a very solid, extended, and powerful feeling. That’s why it is called “Lines,” it is emphasizing a type of stiffness. There is another, perhaps more common, type of ballet that is “on the bones.” It uses the bones for structure and balance. A good example is George Balanchine’s (1904-1983) style of ballet. The effect, (and this is common among martial artists too) is to look like a fairy—light and perfectly balanced.

My new weird thought is that instead of using muscles or bones, the most beautiful martial artists and dancers use baby-fat. When you dance with baby-fat you are expressing the ancient Daoist practice of returning to the baby, of becoming an infant, of reversing the aging process, of embracing innocence and simplicity. As the Daodejing says: “Its bones are soft, its muscles are weak, but its grip is very strong.”

Here is a fun, short, documentary about Mongolian wrestling. I think the Mongolians have mastered dancing with baby-fat. Watch the whole thing when you get a chance, but you can see how the master teacher moves from around the 12 minute mark to about the 17 minute mark.


Moving on. I just discovered silicone cups for massage. They are similar to the bamboo or glass cups used by acupuncturists, but they can be applied simply by squeezing. They are applied like the old snake bite kits, if you remember those. Because they make such a good suction, they are easy to move around on oiled skin. This is a great product, I expect it to take off like wild-fire.


Still moving. I practice standing meditation for an hour everyday. I do this in the snow during the Winter here in Colorado, which is shockingly warmer than San Francisco was. However, when the temperature drops below 15 F degrees, my feet tend to get cold. At least they did until I discovered these awesome North Face Kung Fu Practice booties.