There appears to be a cultural shift going on. In the past there was a small number of people who could have deep intellectual or kinesthetic conversations. The technology of video distribution is slowly changing that. Very few people have the concentration, focus, and appetite to read deep books. What is changing is that the few of us who can read, can now spread ideas via video. And we can talk to each other in front of massive rock concert sized audiences for several hours at a time. Books are still essential for deeper levels of engagement, but video has the capacity to make lots of people think.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 - Click for Info: Next meetings, Sundays, Jul 15, Aug 19, Sept 16. 8am to 10am (MT)
Chicago--Zen Shiatsu Daoyin: Sept 21-24
New Book, New Deadline: August!!!
Summer in Boulder Residency Project: Make a Jindan Pilgrimage to Boulder! Learn Pure Internal Martial Arts
Last week I briefly posted about the Chinese view of Christianity. The Chinese idea of religion is inseparable from the state. Totally inseparable. Martial arts were part of religion, so they were part of the state. All of them. Even when martial arts were practiced by bandits, they were just a renegade part of the state. As the Chinese government evolves, it seems to be sticking to the idea that religion is part of the state and martial arts are part of religion, therefore--PROFESSIONAL WRESTLING MUST BE REAL!Read More
The question, "Is Christianity a Religion?" may seem absurd. But it is the right question to ask when trying to understand Chinese Religion. The two videos below are excellent quick introductions to the problem of understanding Religion in China. I have been trying to tackle a more difficult problem which is how to get people to understand how Chinese martial arts were an intrinsic and inseparable part of Chinese Religion before the Boxer Rebellion. In fact, the modern attempts to separate, secularize, and de-spirit Chinese martial arts have failedRead More
Small businesses need this kind of support. Local governments are the worst offenders, but state and federal government does it too. Small businesses need these Legal Strike Teams (LSTs) to fight for us when we are hit with red tape and other tricks of the swamp dwellers.Read More
I woke up. I did not remember the dream. But at the moment of waking I had a new understanding of how to move with my arms completely empty of intent. It was an accurate refinement of a longterm movement project. I was able to put it into practice right away. Did Zhang Sanfeng just visit me?Read More
This news from Matthew Polly's new book Bruce Lee: A Life, cannot wait. Polly is a master writer and marketer. His book on Shaolin Monastery infused with the Burger King was genius. This one looks like it is going to be even better.
Please head over to Ben Judkins' blog and read his piece "Judo and the Chinese Martial Arts: the View from 1928." In it he points out that the discourse around the history of Chinese martial arts was largely established by the 1930s and has not changed much (at least until Ben, and I, and a few others, started studying it). People often claim to be having a conversation about history when in fact they are arguing about the right way to practice today.
Ben's piece is centered around this free translation by Brennan: BOXING ARTS FUNDAMENTALS – ILLUSTRATED HANDBOOK FOR TANTUI, from May, 1917. It is a fantastic document, but could use some contextualization. Rather than write my own piece, I'm just going to add some comments below.Read More
Wind Fire Wheels get an in depth discussion in my next book. They are almost exclusively a Baguazhang weapon. Here is a quick summary of the problem, feedback welcome, all weapons are pictured bellow:
The Angry Baby God Nezha's windfire wheels go on his feet
The wind fire wheels of Baguazhang go in the hands.
Two Baguazhang deer horn knives stuck together look like a wind fire wheel.
Nezha's Qiankun Yuan (hoop) is both a punching weapon and a boomerang (so he never throws it away).
These are all most likely theatrical-ritual weapons.
How are they all related? What is their real purpose?
I have been practicing standing meditation and martial arts in the cold wearing only light clothing. I credit Wim Hof, the Ice Man, for getting me started on this experiment. It may be an effective strategy for managing looseness in the joints. Spread the word.Read More
There are good definitions of science, but none that are used across numerous different sciences. Each science defines its own boundaries. The Karl Popper slogan is one of the more popular attempts to universalize science: "A theory in the empirical sciences can never be proven, but it can be falsified, meaning that it can and should be scrutinized by decisive experiments." But how often do scientists live up to that ideal?
China has had a lot of difficulty with science. It did not develop organically in China, it was imported with a political agenda. More importantly it has been twisted together with Nationalism. Authoritarianism, Modernism, and Religion. That is true in other places too, to some extent, but in China it is a bit extreme. I am certain that there are superb scientists working in China. But I'm also certain that Chinese culture has a data falsification problem that holds it back. And then there is the massive problem of science as the religion of the state. To get a picture of this, read the short article linked below from Supchina (which is itself a weird site worth digging around in a bit):
"...The Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), the country’s most established scientific institution, apologized (in Chinese) on Monday, April 30, for hosting a Taoist ritual at the foundation ceremony for a nuclear power station in Wuwei, Gansu Province. CAS also announced the suspension of two employees who were in attendance but failed to terminate the religious ceremony..."