Fast Daoyin

I have a complaint. People associate the label “Daoist” with slow.

Looking at the Daodejing, the concept of “slow” is not there. Stillness in motion, be like water, sure, but not slow. We also have constructions like ‘do without doing’ (wei wuwei). But they are meant to be read two ways at the same time (quickly): 1) Do Nothing 2) Use Not-Doing to do it.

Most Tai Chi and Qigong teachers who speak Chinese use the expression “man man” which means: slowly slowly. Or “do it slower.” Whereas Daoist ritual uses the expression “kuai kuai” which means quickly quickly. In fact, the English expression “chop chop” which means “do it fast,” comes from the Hong Kong Pidjin-English for kuai kuai.
In Daoist ritual the expression “kuai kuai” is used for sending messages, executing contracts, and communicating with unseen forces. It comes from officialdom, in which, an order is given followed by the command to carry it out quickly.

Most of the Daoyin I know is fast. It can be done slowly, some of it. Tai Chi is slow, and should be. Baguazhang not slow. It drives me crazy that people do it slowly. Xinyi, not slow either.

Daoyin is a complex subject, and one that by definition is constantly evolving. One principle of Daoyin is whole-body-unity. Daoyin, via its role in Chinese martial arts, has had a massive impact on the American Fitness Industry. This is never acknowledged. (This is a problem of Modernity, but whatever, its better than post-Modernity.)

The Daoyin critique of American Fitness for the last 40 years is that weight-lifting makes you slow and stiff like a robot. So it is with great pleasure that I present to you the guys at Speed of Sport. They fully accepted the Daoyin critique and have adapted what they do. Everything they do is based on the Daoyin principle of whole-body-movement.
Speed is a great way to test whole-body-unity, and if the result you want is speed, then whole-body unity is the method. Almost everything they do starts with stimulus outside the body. So this approach is getting closer to the Golden Elixir too. Soon they will be sending messages to the unseen world via contracts delivered kuai kuai.

There are probably fifty short videos on the Speed of Sport Instagram Account, Check it Out! Then start evolving!

It seems only fair to also point out that a lot of Dance training is highs peed too, especially the dance I teach for Self-Defense. Most martial artists are on the ground begging me to stop after an hour of continuous Waltz, that’s when I hit them with Samba!

Modeling Innovation

The debate often surfaces around martial artists who have been at it for a long time about the relative value of tradition vs. innovation. I am for both.
On the tradition side I believe we need more of the intact mythology and cosmology to guide us. We need to re-infuse the arts with enchanted knowledge from many sources without damaging the roots. Accurate histories, like the one I’m almost finished writing, give us direct access to the sources in mythology so that we do not lose our way. Without the guide and the enchantment, we are in danger of becoming antique collectors.
On the side of innovation, the sky should be the limit. But we still need models. This is an awesome model of how to innovate. It is sort of a Chinese-West-African Restaurant in London that invents all of its own dishes. Yum. Inspiration! Book a table: Ikoyi

Look Thai Baguazhang

Ong (Ronnarong Khampha) has been studying martial arts under Nick (Saran Suwannachot), the leading young martial arts master of Chiangmai. Here are the two of them performing Lanna-style martial arts dance on New Year's Day (April 13).

This is an amazing find, and an amazing martial artist. I want to go meet these guys if anyone has a connection to them?
This Lanna Dance is closely related to Baguazhang. I have been saying that Kathak Dance is closely related to Baguazhang as well. My reasons are different. In the case of Kathak, the movement aesthetic and the mythology line up perfectly. But the connection is more distant. Likely because the separation between Kathak and Baguazhang is centuries old. That is a big part of my next book (almost finished!).

But this Lanna Dance is closer to Baguazhang in pure movement terms, and probably separated by less time.

We must ask these questions. Is there something innate about human movement with or without weapons which allowed these arts to become so similar? Is there an element of culture that these countries share that caused them to develop the same thing separately? Or more likely, because they had contact; Did Baguazhang developed from Lanna? Did Lanna develop from Baguazhang? Did they both develop from Indian Dance? I suspect that all of these countries were sending Martial-arts Dancers as tribute to each other’s kings.
This video on Facebook, Fudoshin Shotokan Karate, shows a form of court dance from Okinawa that has many elements of Kathak Dance from North India. It is undeniable.

My conclusion: A form of martial-dance was traded back and forth between the courts of Asia for a thousand years. Beauty transcends.

Bitter, Weird, Wind-fire

Uploaded by 白蓮花邪教金獅學校 on 2018-11-13.

Wind-Fire Wheel Baguazhang

Bitter Winter is a good blog to keep up on Religious repression in China today. There are several articles that explain the situation and context well. Impressive. Dark/Bitter. This article is about a statue of Laozi being torn down.

This is an uplifting essay about the healing power of Weirdness.


I am in Chicago teaching and all out of brain cells, so instead of a blog post this week I will give you some stray paragraphs I am working on from my upcoming book! Enjoy!

“Humor was, up until the 1930s and even into the 1940s, a central and glorious part of Chinese culture. As I will show, humor was an important part of Chinese martial arts. The Chinese traditions of humor were tortured and crushed in mainland China beginning in the 1930s before the Communists took power, but after 1949 China became a humorless desert. Of course, humor is part of human nature and it keeps popping up no matter how many times it gets pounded down. But the story is a bleak one. One reason to know the mythic and cosmological origins of Tai Chi and Baguazhang is so that we can recover the glorious and powerful jester-like energy that they intrinsically embody.”

“The first half of the twentieth Century saw a fight over the origins of Tai Chi. Initially everyone said that it came form the Immortal Zhang Sanfeng. Because Immortals were considered superstitious and therefore the cause of China’s misery, the origins of Tai Chi were shifted to a lineage that came directly from a real person named Zhang Sanfeng. This was a sloppy sleight-of-hand because Zhang Sanfeng was obviously an immortal, and it came under attack by China’s first martial arts historian Tang Hao. Tang Hao was the head of propaganda for the Guoshu Institute. He argued that Zhang Sanfeng was not a real person, and even if he was, he had nothing to do with martial arts. Instead, Tang Hao argued that Tai Chi came from a Ming Dynasty General named Qi Jiguang. In the year 1563 General Qi Jiguang published a poem that described weaponless fighting techniques and used twenty-nine of the Tai Chi movement names. That was a good argument, but Tang Hao neglected to mention that Qi Jiguang was a student of the Golden Elixir and that his teacher claimed to be a direct student of Zhang Sanfeng. This was a rather large omission, an omission that has been repeated over and over.”

When Buddha finds Zhang Sanfeng he asks, “Why are you so dirty?” Zhang answers, “The stinking skin bag cannot be escaped.”

Buddha asks, “If you cannot escape it, how can you get fruition?” 

“Zhang then gives the Buddha a comic lecture about the nature of enlightenment. The answers he gives in the text were lifted from one given by the leader of the Eight Immortals, Lu Dongbin, in the earlier published epic Journey to the East. I believe this part of the play is meant to be improvised. A debate between Zhang Sanfeng and the Buddha about the importance of having a body is a great set-up for laughs! Actors in this era were expected to improvise much of the dialog.”

Research News

This is a short documentary on Tangki, Chinese spirit-mediums.

The Immersion Labs Foundation has a go-fund-me page for The Last Bajan Stick Fighters Very cool, you will be hearing more about this project from me in the future.

See Jane Fight Back is worth checking out. Fortunately, this is an evidence based site dedicated to the positive value of teaching self-defense. Unfortunately it is interwoven with false and socially damaging feminist claims.

In the category of just weird, Modern Art was heavily promoted by the CIA!

If you have not yet read my page on Dance as Self-defense, or even if you read it a while ago, you will enjoy reading it again! I am proud of how fun this workshop/research sounds.

Winter Squash

Saints, I see the world is mad.
If I tell the truth they rush to beat me,
if I lie they trust me.
I've seen the pious Hindus, rule-followers,
early morning bath-takers-
killing souls, they worship rocks.
They know nothing.
I've seen plenty of Muslim teachers, holy men
reading their holy books
and teaching their pupils techniques.
They know just as much.
And posturing yogis, hypocrites,
hearts crammed with pride,
praying to brass, to stones, reeling
with pride in their pilgrimage,
fixing their caps and their prayer-beads, 
painting their brow-marks and arm-marks,
braying their hymns and their couplets,
reeling. They never heard of soul.
The Hindu says Ram is the Beloved,
the Turk says Rahim.
Then they kill each other.

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