This is a good read on Chakras from Tanrikstudies.org. While the author doesn't go beyond Sanskrit texts, the back and forth between China and India between the 6th and 10th Centuries was vigorous. Thus, it is not surprising that these ideas about a visualized and somaticized inner body transcending time and space would show up and develop at that time in both places with a huge variety of characteristics. I might also point out that the so-called "emotions" he refers too could also be thought of as theatrical expressions of mood in the South Asian context. That is, solo ritual expressions of mood were, like deity visualizations, connected to theater and dance as pervasive cultural narrative. This post is just a teaser for my next big post on Monday...Oprah and Synesthesia.Read More
Strengthness with a Twist: A blog about internal martial arts, theatricality and Daoist ritual emptiness
Watch the Video: A Cultural History of Tai Chi
Buy the Book: Possible Origins, A Cultural History of Chinese Martial Arts, Theater and Religion, By Scott Park Phillips. Amazon Kindle ($9.99), Paperback ($18.95)
Workshop Travel Schedule
Daodejing Online Open for New Members - Click for Info: Next meeting, Sunday Jan 13th. 8am to 10am (MT) (2019: 1/13, 2/10, 3/17, 4/14, 5/19, 6/16, 7/14, 8/18)
New Book, New (New)(New) Deadline: April! Thanks to everyone sending me encouragement!
Los Angles: 5th International Martial Arts Studies Conference (May 23rd-24th)
Los Angles: 13th International Daoist Studies Conference (June 20th-23rd)
A new (composite) thought about martial arts social movements.
There are three types of martial arts social movements. For the sake of neat categories we will call them Nationalist, Universalist, and Trader. I will explain each in turn. Each type of social movement contains a unique value system and has identifying characteristics that can allow us to understand most of the conflicts that happen between them.Read More
Please come to my workshops in San Francisco/Oakland [Nov. 29th and Dec. 2nd] Read about them and sign up at the Soja website: sojamindbody.com/schedule/ (make sure to click on "Adult Workshops"). You can also see Anna Valdiserri's and Rory Miller's workshops there, I highly recommend them.
I would like to spend a little time pitching my workshops here. The copy text is challenging to write because I'm in uncharted territory. I'm a cowbody doing my own thing.
The Circus Daoyin class is my attempt to bust yoga people out of the "prison" of the yoga mat.Read More
I wonder if this dancer has been reading my blog. He is certainly doing some interesting work, check out these two videos: http://www.pbs.org/newshour/art/japanese-performance-art-celebrates-vulnerability/
Check out this cool project coming out of the Netherlands. I've been taking a great interest in Nezha stories, this will eventually become a major writing project, but I'm reluctant to spill all the beans here on the blog. https://vimeo.com/101789329
Speaking of writing, I sent off the "final" draft of the text for my book Possible Origins, to the editor. I say "final" because I'm moving on to video story-boarding, but there is still work to be done. I've been exploring all the images in Museum collections because I need quality images for the book, and for the video I'm working on about the hidden origins of Taijiquan.
By the way, if anyone knows where to find high quality pre-or-early 20th Century images of Zhang Sanfeng (I have three so far from Shiu-hon, Wong (1993) Mortal or Immortal) or Dayu 大禹 (I have only have these two from the Wiki page), I would love to see them. Images of Nezha are oddly easier to find, but if anyone encounters something great, particularly high quality mural images, let me know.
In reading Journey to the North (Bei Youji), one of the major canonization texts of China, usually called epic novels, I discovered a hidden meaning in the taijiquan form. I hesitate to call this stuff "hidden" because once the right questions are asked it is all out in the open to see. The theater traditions of Japan, Indian and China, all use whole body image-mime as a form of sign language; however, it is only "readable" if one has the right cultural background. So the right question to ask about marital arts movement-postures is, what do they signify as language?
There is an expression that gets repeated over and over in Journey to the North, which explains the movement in the taijiquan form call Jade Maiden Works the Shuttles. The expression from Journey to the North is: "The sun and moon rose and fell like the shuttles of a weavers loom." The expression means, "a lot of time passed."
There is a star constellation called Weaver Girl, that is paired with the Ox Herder-Boy constellation, both of which are associated with a story of love across rigid social strata. But that was a dead end for trying to figure out the meaning of the movement because the Ox-herder Boy is not in the form, and it didn't seem likely that the Weaver Girl had anything to do with martial arts.
It was more promising to note that Jade Maidens are a form of muse in Daoist alchemy, something akin to Dakinis in Tibetan Buddhism. And also that the term jade (yu) in Chinese cosmology can mean very old or very slow. The reason for this meaning is that it is possible to see the swirling liquid of qi transformation taking place in a piece of jade. Jade is thus a window into a cycle of geological time that is too slow for humans to experience directly.
But the expression from Journey to the North is a much better explanation. The movement Jade Madien Works the Shuttles, is used as sign language to mean, "At this point in the story, a whole lot of time is passing." Now we just have to figure out what happens in the taijiquan form right before and after this movement, so that we can identify the change. Is it a man growing old? a child growing up? a series of re-incarnations? a very long fight scene? or is it Zhang Sanfeng re-immerging as an immortal after cultivating the golden elixir (jindan) for several generations?
I've got a new Workshop Calendar for 2015. I'll update as new things come in, and I would like to set-up workshops for visiting teachers in Boulder. Check it out!
By the way, Yelp was at the top of the SNAFU list for the full eight years of its existence. But low and behold! They seem to have it together now. If you've studied with me and want to write a review--please do, that would be awesome. And note, they still use some strange divination tool to decide whose reviews people can see easily, but there is hope. Check out my page in Boulder.
You can write reviews for Google Maps too, search under:
I do not teach at this address; I teach in North Boulder Park, so thumbs down for Google. They have the hours wrong too. I wish it was easier to fix.
Anyway, if you are coming to class via a Google Car, make sure to enter the correct address, North Boulder Park, or you will end up at my mailbox. Google called me the other day to get the facts right, but they didn't make the updates. Weird. They have been trying to fix the Google+/Youtube interface for over six months, no progress and no direct link to my videos.
Maybe if these tech schools required a semester of "Magic" we would be in better shape! Enjoy.
Here are some cool links about important stuff I didn't know.
The Real Lone Ranger is way cooler than the fictional one!
Two Guns-Cohen! Personal Bodyguard to Sun Yet-sen? This story is epic and yet it is completely new info to me.
I was thinking the other day about the bright future of Martial Arts Conferences that mix academic and practitioner interests so that we may have a long love affair. Here are some Conference titles that I hacked out:
- The Martial Body, Enlightenment and Morality.
- The Search for Authenticity: Autonomy vs Community.
- Self-Defense and Sovereignty- Changing Laws and Social Norms within and between Cultures.
- Martial Arts as Expression- Symbolic and Ritual
- Social vs. Asocial Violence and the Endocrine System (Martial Arts as Physiology)
- Expressivity in the Martial Arts-Spontaneity, Creativity, Discipline, Innovation, and Inter-Arts Collaboration.
- Martial Arts and Social Thought- How Institutions Think- Community, Hierarchy, and the Market.
Okay, now that the wood goat year has started I've got a lot to say. But first let me get some of this stuff I've piled up for you out of the way.
1.) This is a martial art dance form from East India. It has material that I know from Indian Dance and from Chinese martial arts. China and India have a lot in common culturally, but they may be a few hundred years out of sinc. Indian is much more comfortable with its religious localism than China is, that might be the biggest difference in the current era.
2.) Here is some footage from the Chinese demonstration at the 1936 Olympics. Awesome, some choreography, some games, Guan Gong wielding a halberd? what else?
I bought an iPad Mini with a case that has handles, a tripod attachment, two lenses, and a directional microphone. I took these four videos and then I took it back to the store so I could get more Gigabits. The new one is on order and I should get it in a couple of days. It is pretty fun. Getting good video is likely to be key to running a martial arts business, so I'm upping my game. Let me know if you want me to video anything specific, you know me fighting a bunch of ninjas with nunchucks or whatever.
If you add comments at the bottom that is great, it is also great if you put comments on the Youtube channel because that seems to spread the videos faster. You can also subscribe to my Youtube channel, I'm trying to bust 500 subscriptions and I'm at around 450. And of course if you share one on Tumblr or Facebook, or Google Plus or your own blog, that is probably even better. More to come.
This a very funny read, about an important part of Tibetan History. The commentary is already excellent so I'm not going to add anything, but if you think all those famous enlightened Masters of the past were well behaved you probably haven't read the Beer Sutra.