Celebrating Pride Month


Don’t force it to happen.
Relaxation cannot be forced.
Have the intent
then allow it to happen.

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Yesterday in Part 1 of Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss” by Adam Mizner, Adam discussed what “Invest in Loss” did not mean. Today in Part 2 he gives us his opinion of what it means.

“… Now that we know what it is not lets look at the skillful way to apply this principle in our training.

“Once again this is just my take on the principle, none of us can truly know what the Professor meant when he said to invest in loss. I like to say that the true meaning of “invest in loss” is to “invest in doing it correctly” even at the price of losing. This means that when we are training pushing hands or any partner exercise we focus exclusively on the causes of the skill rather than on the result. For example when practicing Lu (roll back) there is a correct skeletal alignment to be maintained, if we collapse that alignment in order not to be pushed over we have “won” that encounter but have done so at the cost of doing the exercise correctly.

“Every time we reinforce this habit to win at the cost of the integrity of the art, abandoning the principles and methods of the art just to win a little game or exercise we reinforce these bad habits. Our training takes us further away from Taijiquan day by day and we end up not achieving our training goals. On the other hand, every time we hold steadfast to the principle and methods, even if we get pushed out we are building into our body and neurology the correct response, getting closer day by day to the true essence Taijiquan. The eventual result is that we no longer get pushed out, but rather we win using Taijiquan all as a result of “investing in loss.” – Adam Mizner, Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss”

Today’s Video: “Staying Calm – Teaching moments with Sifu Adam Mizner”



the way it moves
released through the legs,
expressed in the fingertips

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today we have the 2-Part Series on Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss” by Adam Mizner.

Many of us have heard time and time again the famous saying of the late Prof. Cheng Man Ching to “invest in loss”. What does this mean? What did the professor mean when he said it? It is not easy to know another’s intentions, none the less I can share my personal take on this principle and the way I have used it as a guiding light through the years to keep my training progressing smoothly and consistently.

First of all lets look at what in my view is not the correct way to invest in loss, these common errors in understanding block the students progress in developing real Taijiquan skills.

“1. Not trying to to win when pushing hands, giving up your root or center to the opponent or training partner. Doing this over and over conditions the mind and body to allow oneself to lose easily, one becomes a push over. This is clearly not a good approach to martial arts training, over time one becomes highly skilled at losing!

“2. Giving up your structure and space too easily, developing a style of pushing hands that is only based on what I would consider incorrect yielding. We often see this kind of “wiggly worm” response to pressure, one wiggles out and runs away from any force at all. Training pushing hands in this way there is no opportunity to develop correct Peng Jin. This method of yielding is completely divorced from martial arts training and creates the bad habit of giving the opponent precious space and openings to attack vulnerable areas. There is nowhere in the Taiji forms where one makes such shapes, nevertheless this is so common in the west within push hands circles, where the possibility of the opponent striking vulnerable areas is completely disregarded.” (Part 2, to be continued)… – Adam Mizner, Cheng Man Ching’s “Invest in Loss”

Tomorrow Mizner will discuss what he thinks “Invest In Loss” could mean. In his video today, Mizner demonstrates “release.”

Today’s Video:” Investigate the Quality of Release – Teaching Moments with Sifu Adam Mizner”



objects are only pointers
to that which is objectless.
This understanding
an intimate awakening
a forefeeling of wholeness

Dear Friends and Practitioners,

Today Mooji talks about “Grace,” and how it affects us.

“We are never without grace. We can never be abandoned, it is always there. God can never abandon mankind.

From just one candle, you can light a million candles without putting strain on the first candle. From one awakened being, you can set light into a million souls, so powerful is the light.

If you go into a room full of light, but outside is darkness, and you open the curtain, that darkness won’t come in. But if you go into a room which is dark and you open up a little tiny bit of a curtain, it will fill the whole room with light. Such is the power of the light.

We are this light and we must discover this…”
― Mooji, Breath of the Absolute: Dialogues with Mooji – The Manifest and Unmanifest Are One

Today’s Video: “The Call of Grace”



At the moment of movement
it should be light and agile,
and the movement must be

Dear Practitioners and Friends,

Today we have Part 2 of Sifu Mizner’s “Timing, Placement and Power.”


“The skill that is most often overlooked in modern martial arts training is the skill of being in the right place at the right time, not just applying the technique at the right time. This is referring to the footwork, angle of attack, distance and also the impact area. The training to develop this skill of placement is honed and refined in tai chi chuan within the arena of push hands practice. It is here within pushing hands that we can investigate and ingrain all the different body positions and their advantages and disadvantages.

“Push hands allows one to train this in a safe way and to get familiar with the up close and personal fighting range of tai chi chuan, a range that is shared by very few styles, somewhere between the clinch range and the striking range. This taiji range gives us the advantage of being able to strike or throw without changing range and keeps us in a range that most opponents simply are not familiar with.

“When you placement is correct you naturally exploit the weakness in your opponent’s structure while capitalizing on the strength of your own. The application of Da or Fa will leave you in a perfect structure, neither confined nor over extended and the placement and angle of the body and arms should make you as safe as possible, whilst still being able to apply your technique on the opponent.” Part 3 (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Timing, Placement, Power”

Today’s Video: “Adam Mizner Explains How to Approach Push Hands – Consciousness is Key, Not Mechanical, Not Thinking”


We continue with Sifu Mizner this week. Today begins the 3-Part series: “Timing, Placement and Power.”

“When I am teaching classes or workshops on taijiquan I always emphasize the three principles of timing, placement and power. These three skills are not only fundamental to acquiring real world taijiquan skills but are fundamental to the successful application of any martial arts technique:Timing Placement Power.

“Bruce Lee and other famous martial artists often talk about speed as one of the most important attributes of a successful martial artist. This is not untrue, though I would say that timing is more important than mere speed. It is certainly possible to miss the mark because one arrives too early or is too fast.

“Understanding this we should strive to master timing rather than just speed. When we arrive “on time” in this way, our opponent is where we perceived him to be and our technique is neither early nor late. In tai chi chuan this ‘correct time’ is when the opponent has “fallen to emptiness”, he is off balance and frozen or double heavy. This is the right time to attack and finish the confrontation. Many attacks delivered with the wrong timing are not as effective as one that is delivered on time, whether it be delivered fast or slow.” Part 2 Placement (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Timing, Placement, Power”

Today’s Video: “Sifu Adam Mizner shows how Taichi can STOP MMA style Takedowns”



We look to what is far,
we should look to
what is near.
The nearest
is our real root.

Today we check out the sixth and final level of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Kong – Empty”

In this text I have refrained from intellectual musings or fantasy. In taking upon this task, I committed to only write from direct experience. Because of this I will refrain from giving an in depth explanation on Song to Empty which is endless in depth. I will however give some short explanation based on my experience.

When the body reaches a profound level of song it becomes as if completely empty, the opponent finds nothing to attack, nothing to land on. At this stage the body is so empty that it is as if completely insubstantial, the substantial form/yin has the quality of the insubstantial/yang. In comparison to this, the insubstantial/yang nature of your Shen and Qi beyond your bodily form are potent and thus have the quality of substantial/yin substantial. This is the yang within the yin and the yin within the yang. This is Taiji born from the emptiness of Wuji.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “How Do I Get (More) Chi / Qi? According to Sifu Adam Mizner it is “Know Thy Self!”


When they move slowly,
I move slowly.
When they move quickly,
I move quickly.
I match them,
move for move,
never ahead,
never behind.

Today we check out Level 4 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Tong – Penetrate”

“When one’s Song becomes deeper and deeper, the previous qualities of open, sink, disperse and clean, increase exponentially. Thus one reaches the level of Song to Penetrate.

“The Song itself, and thus the Qi, penetrate and pass through every channel, every cell, every cavity of the body. The Chinese words and 松通 can also mean to pass through.

“The Song and Qi penetrating throughout the body on such a fine scale, allows a highly refined ability to change, to articulate the body through Shen, Yi and Qi. This allows Yin and Yang to alternate freely even within the smallest point. Your opponent cannot know you.

“In regards to your opponent, Song to Penetrate allows your Qi to enter the body of your opponent, passing through apparent blocks, to penetrate any cell at will. This gives you complete control of your opponent, in a similar way in which Song to Penetrate within your own body gives you complete control over yourself. Join, from Stick, Adhere, Join and Follow finds it’s true meaning here. To touch hands with an initiate who has achieved this level, is like touching hands with a puppet master, and you are the puppet under his will. (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: Song Kwa – Teaching Moments with Sifu Adam Mizner



aware and awake
in the present moment
body and mind in harmony
as we move with mindfulness
through our form,
through our day,
through our life.

Today we check out Level 4 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Jing – Clean”

“The fourth level of Song is known as Clean Song. This is simply the culmination of the first three, the coming to fruition. When one has Song to Open, has achieved sinking the Qi through Song to Sink, and can Song to Disperse at will, one can attack and defend freely and has truly entered the door of Taijiquan. When the skills of receiving and issuing happen naturally, with no involvement of Li, it is said that one’s Song has become clean.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Teaching Moments – Song and Ting in Italy”



Doing and Not doing
are the same
when the mind adheres.
Doing and Not doing
are different
when awareness adheres.

Today we check out Level w3 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song San – Disperse”

“From the accumulation of sinking over time, one achieves a profound fullness of Qi. This fullness is also known as Peng Jin. This leads us onto the third level of Song, Song to Disperse. There are two basic manifestations of Disperse. The first is dispersing your Nei Qi to generate mobilization of the Nei Qi and the Wei Qi for offense. The second is dispersing internally within yourself, in order to disperse the power imposed on you by your partner or opponent.

The first quality causes the opponent to float upon contact. This is one of the keys for the application of Peng Jin. The second quality causes the opponent to be unable to land force on you, functioning as one of the initial causes of Hua Jin. (redirect to Hua) Thus, receiving and issuing become the action of an instant.” (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Teaching moment – Amsterdam – Song is relative”



The hawk uses the wind
to circle aloft.
The sailor uses the wind
to navigate the sea.
Both understand
the power of no-power.

Today we check out Level 2 of Adam Mizner’s “Six Levels of Song: Song Chen – Sink”

“The second level of Song is Song to Sink. At this stage we must understand that Song and Qi move together. When we begin the training, all the joints, tissues and diaphragms of the body, act as gates or dams which are tightly closed. The first level of Song, Song to Open, opens these gates, or destroys these dams. This allows our body to function as an open conduit.

Openness allows sinking, we Song to sink the Qi. The sinking of the Qi to the Dan Tien is of paramount importance. When there is no Qi in the Dan Tien, this is considered having no Qi from the Taijiquan point of view. In fact, the Dan Tien is widely misunderstood as simply a region of the body, or something that is innate. We are born only with the Tien, or the field, but it is empty of Qi, it is empty of Dan, or the Elixir. Only after extended periods of authentic practice, with a well developed quality of Song to Sink, does the Qi begin to sink to the Tien, accumulating drop by drop over time, to form the elixir, and thus one has formed the Dan Tien.

When engaging with an opponent or training partner, any resistance within our body creates bracing, which is a quality of Li. This brings your force and center up, away from the ground, causing the Qi to float. When the Qi is floating, one becomes top heavy, clumsy and easy to tumble. Song to Sink is the antidote.

Mental activity and emotional turbulence also cause the Qi to rise. In order to achieve Song and for the Qi to sink, one must develop a calm and tranquil mind, as well as emotional stability. This calm and stable mind can then be used as a powerful tool, because the calm mind has Yi, or mind intention, at its service. The Yi is used to command Song, while the Ting is used to recognize Song to Open and Song to Sink.

In the Neijia arts, one of the most important practices is Zhang Zhuan, or Standing post. The purpose of Zhang Zhuan is twofold. The first aspect is aligning the skeleton with gravity. This alignment, which includes the quality of Song to Open, decompressing the joints, allows the skeleton to act as efficiently as possible, allowing the flesh to release and sink. The second aspect is Song to Sink. Once the skeleton is aligned and open, the sinking process can begin. Without the openness of the body, sinking is not possible – the internal dams caused by tension (contraction) and blockage, stop the downwards flow of Qi. Standing practice in this way is an excellent method for developing the initial stages of Song to Sink, and sinking the Qi to the Dan Tien.” – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

Today’s Video: “Fixed Push Hands Patterns are Useless? Song / Sung #Relaxing #Releasing to Move and to Make Power!”


JuneTeenth, 2023

Extension and contraction,
the beginning is the end,
and the end the beginning,
no breaks, no holes,
like a Spring wind
blowing the willow
back and forth.

Happy JuneTeenth, everyone!

This week we are focusing our quotes and videos on Adam mizner and his Discover Taiji website. Today he begins discussing the “Six Levels of Song.”

“Within the traditional teachings of the Yang family, Song is divided into 6 levels. Each level dependent on the one before it and inclusive of all before it.

“It’s important to understand that Song is always release, and that the six grades of Song are refinements on this one principle, much like milk becoming cream, becoming butter and so on.

“松開 Song Kai – Open
When the body is closed, bound up and filled with Li, Song is not possible. In order to achieve the first level of Song, it is first vital to open the body.

“Traditional training in Taijiquan involves various exercises designed to stretch, separate and liberate the tissues of the body. This openness of the tissue within the body, allows one to begin to touch the first quality of Song, namely openness. So the opening of the body allows one to taste Song, after which, Song, or release of the tissue allows the body to open. So we open to Song, and we also Song to open.

“When one observes the Da Lu, performed by a competent practitioner, it is clear that all the joints of the body are open and not compressed. The tissue is released and free.

“This initial stage of Song, Song to open, begins the process of allowing the Qi to move within the body, where it previously could not because of tension and blocks that needed to be opened. This is traditionally called Kai Men, or Open the Gates, referring to the energy gates within the body. When these gates are open, it allows the mobilization of Qi and Jin to travel, unifying the body from toes to fingertips.

“While external methods may use contraction force, and the closing of the muscles around the bones to generate power, this is strictly taboo in Taijiquan, for it restricts Song and the one flow of Qi….” (to be continued) – Adam Mizner, “Six Levels of Song”

To get you started on discovering Song, Adam start you off with Song Gong, 5 Loosening Exercises.

Today’s Video: Loosening Exercise (Song Gong) #1 INSTRUCTIONS from DiscoverTaiji.com by sifu Adam Mizner



The Emperor commands,
His Five-Star General issues the command
to his 7 division generals at headquarters
organizing reconnaissance, planning and logistics
then the 5 heavy armor commanders
and 12 regimental field commanders
receive the final orders
and commence the operation.
Such is the way of push hands

Today Bruce Fratzis continues his discussion of Qigong Breathing.

“Ideally, inhale and exhale only through your nostrils. If medical reasons make this impractical, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Inhale and exhale through your mouth only as a last resort.

“1.When you inhale, feel your breath come into your nose, down your throat and into your lungs and belly. Let your belly muscles expand to move your belly forward.
2. When you exhale, let your belly return to its original position and relax. Do your best to completely relax your chest and not use any strength to puff it out when you breathe. You should have very little or no sense of air going into your chest.
3. First, practice by focusing on expanding and relaxing your lower belly. Your lower belly extends from slightly above the top of your pubic hair to your navel. Breathe in such a way that the lower belly does not move from below the top of your pubic hair. Avoid straining or any feeling of pressure in your genitals.
4. When you can expand and relax your lower belly comfortably, turn your attention to moving the middle belly when you breathe, which for most people is more difficult. The middle belly extends from your navel to just before your diaphragm. Placing your hands on the lower, middle and upper parts of your belly as you breathe will give you clear feedback as to whether and how much your belly is moving.
5. Finally, concentrate on expanding and relaxing your upper belly—your diaphragm and solar plexus—just underneath your lowest ribs. Try to have your diaphragm move downward as you inhale and upward as you exhale. This will help push air into the back and top of your lungs, parts that seldom get exercised. Eventually, you will be able to move all three parts of your belly in unison.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Qigong Breathing”

In his video, Bruce guides us through a Taoist Longevity Breathing Yoga.

Today’s Video: “Taoist Longevity Breathing Yoga”



The jin should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
expressed through the fingers.

The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can take the opportunity for favorable timing
and good position.
If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.

Today Bruce Frantzis’ quote and video focus on Qigong Breathing and specifically Belly Breathing…

“Always breathe from your belly and not solely from your chest. This is the way you breathed when you were a baby. Belly breathing is the first step in learning Taoist Longevity Breathing practices and ideally should be incorporated into all Taoist qigong or tai chi practices. Belly breathing drops and lifts the big muscle of the diaphragm, the natural body mechanism that pushes air in and out of your lungs.

“Belly breathing helps center your awareness in your body, rather than in your head, so that you feel more physically and energetically grounded. It helps you to relax your neck, shoulders and arms. It improves the circulation of blood and the flow of chi in your internal organs. Belly breathing provides a wonderful massage for your internal organs.

“Just as massaging your muscles adds to their tone and overall functioning, so will belly breathing benefit your internal organs. In terms of your health, massaging your internal organs is more important than toning your visible muscles. Belly breathing increases the blood circulation in the blood vessels that nourish your internal organs. – Bruce Frantzis, “Qigong Breathing”

Today’s Video: “Breathing Methods in Qigong”



In motion, the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts linked as if threaded together.

The chi should be activated,
The mind should be internally gathered.

The postures should be rounded and without defect,
without deviations from the proper alignment;
in motion, your form should be continuous, without stops and starts.
– excerpt from Tai Chi Classics

Continuing with Bruce Frantzis’ “Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness,” Dispersing Internal Heat…

“Certain types of breathing can be very effective at dispersing heat. When I was in India, we used to do “crow’s beak” pranayama to cool down. Daoism has its own methods. For example, if you know Daoist six-part breathing, focus specifically on the upper lungs. Doing this can decrease the heat buildup in the brain. Upper lung breathing can also be done to cool down the neck in general which will, in turn, cool down the digestive system – an important point of consideration in the summer. You can also use other parts of the six-part breathing to focus on any particular area of the body that you find to be heating up.

“Meditation, tai chi and qigong will also help you find balance on the day of the solstice and all during this season of intense heat and activity. Certain aspects of the Spiraling Energy Body Qigong are also good for dissipating heat, if you know them.

“Of course, the Southern Hemisphere is now at the fullest expression of yin and sits in balance to the Northern Hemisphere. Take time to experience whichever phase you’re in and to appreciate this reminder of the ongoing, natural cycle of change.
– Bruce Frantzis, ‘Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness’

In case you missed his Summer Solstice lecture and Daoist Meditation, here it is again. Don’t forget to save it for next week’s Summer Solstice, June 21.

Today’s Video: “Summer Solstice: Taoist Meditation with Bruce Frantzis”



From the hip joint to the heel
separation of light and heavy,
of substantial and insubstantial.
One foot takes all the weight
then change to the other
without using force.
There’s opposition
of arms and feet.
from shoulder to foot
no double-weighting

With the Summer Solstice quickly approaching, about a week away, let’s take a look at the Summer Solstice from a Daoist perspective with Bruce Frantzis in an excerpt from his blog and his video lecture and meditation.

“June 21st is the longest day of the year. In Daoist theory, it is the fullest expression of yang energy. It is the tipping point at which yang simply cannot increase any further and yin begins to seep back in again. But the yang will still be dominant for months to come.

“Yang is about activity, strength and accomplishments. This is when you want to pour all the effort you can into making things happen. You will be bolstered by the natural energy of this part of the annual cycle. This is a good time to use your meditation practice to check back in with the goals and agendas that you set earlier, perhaps at the winter solstice or the equinox. How are they going? What will it take to bring them to completion? Will they be ready to harvest by the fall?

“This is a great opportunity to find a renewed sense of purpose.

“At the same time, it is important not to get overheated, physically or mentally. You need to do things to counter and temper the spike in activity.

“If you are going to do a practice specifically on the solstice or at this time of year in general, try to avoid the hottest part of the day. Find some shade or a place near a cool body of water to do your practice.” – Bruce Frantzis, ‘Summer Solstice: Yang Reaches Its Fullness’

Today’s Video: “Summer Solstice: Taoist Meditation with Bruce Frantzis”



First relax the wrist,
then the elbows and shoulders.
Do not use force.
Softness conquers hardness.
From softness alone
relaxation ensues
gradually sinew by sinew.
Seek the straight from the curved.
Neither bent nor straight,
the shape is round
without breaks or holes,
hollows or projections,
from the shoulder
to the tip of your middle finger.

Today Bruce mentions the all-important “glimpse.” Some Internal Arts practitioners may be fortunate enough to get a “glimpse” at some point during their practice. If so, they should continue with their practice, adding meditative qualities or actual meditation. A “glimpse” is nothing less than your original nature (Dao) peeking through all the worldly blockages.

“For the average bagua or tai chi practitioner interested in exercise, the basic meditation practices the arts contain will serve primarily as a means to manage stress and calm an anxiety-driven mind. Yet with practice, almost everyone will experience the odd moment when they catch a glimpse of their spiritual essence.

“They are suddenly left within themselves. A residue of inner peace may remain that is more profound than most people experience in a lifetime. In Taoism, this is what is called the “wonderful accident.” Such experiences often inspire people to commit to engage in the more advanced practices of Taoist meditation.”- Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video Bruce Frantzis talks about the two philosophical approaches found within Taoism; the left wing extremely liberal approach epitomized by Chuang Tzu and the more conservative one embodied by Lao Tzu.

Today’s Video: “Taoist Meditation – Lao Tzu vs. Chuang Tzu”



We are born soft and supple;
dead, we are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead, they are brittle and dry.

Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.

‘Tao-Te-Ching 76

Bruce Frantzis has some really pertinent material on the internal arts that we are going to spend another week going over some of the more important aspects that relates to our practice. We start off Bruce Frantzis Week 2 with Bruce discussing the importance of taking our time and not rushing to learn one think after another but truly integrating what we are learning into a whole-body experience.

“All genuine Eastern practices—including martial, healing and meditative arts—contain a very simple idea: Don’t be in a rush to go to the next step. Weak foundations easily create crumbling buildings. And, you don’t build a house from the third story down.

“Because we live in an acquisitive society that emotionally rewards people for the amount of their possessions—whether material or intellectual—many students do not realize that body/mind/spirit skills require a very different approach.

“Skills in the Eastern arts are carefully and progressively crafted. End goals involve building and balancing chi and moving toward spirituality, so you can’t skip the basics. In the West, many students of chi practices like to collect movements, sets or energy arts the way a child would marbles. However, in China the focus is not on how many marbles you have, but how well you understand and can use them.

“The race to develop and flaunt superior abilities, to pile up skill upon skill, and to aggressively compete in their acquisition are forms of spiritual greed. They are the antithesis of the Taoist ideals of balance and compassion.

“Greed for knowledge of chi drives many to attempt advancing to step 3 before they have learned steps 1 or 2. Practitioners of Taoist arts must put away whatever fantasies they might have about the rewards of jumping ahead before they’re ready. Taking the time necessary for learning all the nuances of each new step is what creates a strong foundation. – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video, Bruce reviews the important seven principles of tui shou (tai chi push hands)

Today’s Video: “7 Principles of Tai Chi Push Hands”



Sink your breath;
the Qi will follow.
Let the body breathe
Watch your breath
without changing it.
Feel the sensations
without changing them.
Listen inside with your mind.
Allow it to flow through your body
without forcing it.
As the sensations subside,
the body and mind relax.
This is Song.

As we conclude Week 1 of Bruce Frantzis Week, Bruce discusses developing a relaxed body and mind in tai chi and bagua…

“Bagua and tai chi’s foundational meditation practices are designed to develop a mind that is attentive, focused, relaxed, balanced and stable, which creates a relaxed body. Although it is possible to have a relaxed mind inside a tense body, it is definitely easier and more sustainable to relax the mind within a relaxed body. Bagua and tai chi use strategies for developing an integrated, relaxed body and mind.

Tai chi focuses on the space inside your body. Within regular, rhythmical, slow movements that naturally relax your body, your mind must concentrate on the many movements, chi flows and physical details of the form. The only way your mind can pull this off is by relaxing and opening. This is a first step in using meditation methods to tap into the tai chi space of emptiness that is beyond opposites.

Developing relaxed concentration skills requires you to focus on more than the constant and regular body changes from yin to yang to yin. These include:

Opening and closing (pulsing)
Bending and stretching
Twisting in and out
Inhaling and exhaling
You must also focus on the empty space in between the yin and yang when you make the changeovers. Tai chi is about smoothly alternating your moves with a very steady rhythm.

In bagua, you intensely focus your attention internally and externally while continuously changing direction and speed. The aim is to physically and mentally move through change without resistance, which is only possible through relaxation.

Bagua focuses on what is happening physically and energetically as you make each change and shift between yin and yang, often in the blink of an eye. Internally and smoothly moving through change, regardless how slow, sudden or unpredictable, is bagua’s specialty.
– Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video Bruce goes over how to relax every part of your body in tai chi using the mind.

Today’s Video: “Relaxing in Tai Chi, The Inner Meanings: Energy Arts Training Circle”




Severely conflicted,
the me jumps back and forth
from desiring its true nature,
thus destroying itself
and desperately wanting
to preserve itself.
Is it any wonder
Lao-Tzu told us:
He who conquers others
has physical strength,
He who conquers himself
has true power

Today’s quote from Bruce Frantzi Week concerns how tai chi and bague can lead to whole-body connectedness or awareness.

“The complex nature of bagua and tai chi’s movements eventually leads to a sense of whole-body connectedness or awareness. At first, you mentally think of specific movements—keeping a hand at a certain height, changing positions, moving your foot or hip and a myriad of other physical details. Because you have to think about the movements, a fusing of the body and mind occurs. Combined with attention to the 16 neigong components, your ability to feel and be aware of your entire body naturally develops. In order to accomplish so many things at once, your mind must relax and remain open to encompass effortless multitasking.

“Without developing some degree of internal mental cohesion, whole-body awareness is impossible to attain. From the other side of the coin, training to achieve whole-body awareness must, of necessity, increase your internal cohesion.

“These are the qualities necessary to practice the beginning stages of Taoist meditation.”- Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

Speaking of cohesion and whole-body awareness, in today’s video Bruce discusses Tai Chi Internal Power…

Today’s Video: :Yang Tai Chi Internal Power Secrets”



Surging forth unexpectedly,
in the spur of the moment,
without cause
free from the past,
free from memory,
free from thought,
without roots,
neither blossoming
nor fading
purely natural
without strain
the Dao

An important point in Bruce Frantzi Week here is Bruce discussing internal cohesion and whole-body awareness developed through the practices of tai chi and bagua…

“Bagua and tai chi also help you develop a sense of internal cohesion and whole-body awareness, physically and mentally. In order to coordinate and align all moving parts—hands, feet, waist and twisting motions—you must have a strong center.

Fulfilling the physical requirements of bagua’s Single Palm Change or a tai chi form requires you to move your body as a connected whole rather than a series of loosely connected or uneven jerky parts. Your mind must also be coherent: constant, stable and focused. In order to smoothly navigate the continuously changing movements, bagua and tai chi naturally stimulate the development of a strong, psychological center within you. Over time, it fuses into the physical and energetic center of the lower tantien.

Many people have the sense that they’re one kind of person in one situation and a different person in another. They do not have an overriding sense of continuity between the moments of their life because there is minimal constancy or cohesion of mind.

Bagua, with its constant Circle Walking and changing directions, or tai chi with its constant waist turning and shifts from one movement to another, gives you a process that accustoms the mind to making changes while remaining internally cohesive.

You don’t accomplish this by only thinking and philosophizing about it. You must learn how to do it. In time, by undergoing physical training with continuously repeating movements, your mind will progressively unify and move through the changes without instigating a stress response.

You try not to fixate on a single idea of what being ‘centered’ means. In fact, your sense of cohesion and center being more amorphous will more smoothly link and hold everything together within you. Then no matter what you’re going through, you can handle it without effort or strain.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In his video today, Bruce discuss the very foundation of all martial arts, the point where all of us must begin, and why…

Today’s Video: Building And Balancing Your Qi With Standing Practices


Celebrating Pride Month


the energy flows down
like water falling over rocks
following the qi
into the lower dantien.
the awareness is drawn
inward and downward
the mind stablizing there,
the awareness expands
like ripples in a pond.

In today’s quote Bruce Frantzis continues his discussion of Tai Chi and Bagua in relation to stress and relates how they can help us overcome those emotional and mental roller coaster rides…

“When suddenly confronted with upheaval, the emotions can take over and freeze your ability to act. That is why many stress management programs are geared toward helping people learn to accept situations for what they are and to find a way out of their self-imposed mental boxes. They aim to teach people how to respond appropriately to the needs of the moment rather than getting stuck in endlessly churning mental loops.

“Bagua and tai chi do the same: They are great stress management tools for helping you stay in the moment and not gap out.

“When you practice bagua or tai chi, you must constantly change your physical orientation. You adjust where your eyes look and your head faces, moving from place to place in a very steady way. You are meant to do this without getting stuck in the middle of a movement. If you find yourself physically stuck—or more importantly, emotionally or mentally stuck—your movements will immediately become rigid and you may even forget what you are doing. At this point, you try to quickly get back on track, smoothing your mind and emotions so that your physical movements can once again become continuous. Over time, your focus will grow and stabilize, and your emotions and mental churning become less predisposed to roller coaster rides.

“In the process of constantly smoothing out the physical and energetic movements within your bagua or tai chi practice, you train your mind to become more flexible. Your mind has no choice but to constantly adapt to physically transiting between where it was and where it will be. Eventually, you give up some of the attachments associated with inflexibility, such as: “This shouldn’t be happening”; “This can’t be happening” or “Something else should be happening.” Practicing the movements gradually trains your mind to let go of places where you habitually get stuck, thereby creating a more agile mind.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In today’s video, Bruce discusses his Energy Gates exercises.

Today’s Video: “Energy Gates Three Swings and Taoist Spine Stretch”



Enjoy being Yourself,
Enjoy being,
Be Joy
and pass it on!

Yesterday Bruce Frantzis related how Bagua can relieve stress. Today’s quote from Bruce focuses on Tai Chi and stress.

“Tai chi’s approach to smoothing the spikes of the nervous system is to establish steady, rhythmic patterns of movement that progressively relax and soothe it. Your mind becomes trained to stay focused on performing the myriad details that are required by each movement. If the mind jumps or drifts, or your nervous system spikes, you’ll be thrown off the sequence of movements. Then you’ll realize you need to refocus and get back on track.

“As bagua and tai chi strengthen the nervous system, you will notice a reduction in the frequency of instances when your nerves become over-stimulated. This is because your nervous system is growing stronger and more stable. Avoiding over-stimulation allows your mind to remain more quiet, calm and focused.” – Bruce Frantzis, staying on your circle and watching your finger, through repetition your mind will eventually find a way to relax and open up.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

In Today’s Video, Bruce points out some common mistakes in Tai Chi

Today’s Video: Common Mistakes When Practicing Tai Chi



Yielding first,
staying calm
sink in the kua
becoming buoyant
then turn and release
your opponent’s power

This week is Bruce Frantzis Week here. I’m sure there’s no need to introduce Frantzis as he is familiar to many martial artists as well as internal artists, having been a karate champion and a master of Japanese martial arts and then moving into the internal arts of China including tai chi, bagua, and Taoist alchemy. He also spent time in India learning Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Pranayama and Kundalini Shakti. If there’s anyone around today who has something for all who use internal energy in their practice it is Bruce Frantzis and his Energy Arts website.

Today Bruce discusses how Bagua handles stress and presents Taoist meditation in our video.

“During times of stress, the nerves go from having an ideally balanced, even, and coordinated flow to having irregular and uneven spikes. The mind either becomes agitated and frenetic (or even manic), or subdued and depressive. When that occurs, the body may produce adrenaline and other destructive hormones as a defense mechanism. The process can become habitual as a result of repeated stressful catalysts, creating a negative feedback loop.

Bagua’s method of regulating these spikes is to Walk the Circle while holding one hand in front of your eyes and continuously looking at your index finger (the Upper Body Palm Posture). While doing this simple physical act, you keep your focus either on your finger or the rhythm of your walking. In time, this smooths and steadies the nerves.

If your nervous system spikes or your mind drifts, the weight of your arm and your need to stay walking your circle will help bring you back into focus. A seesaw effect is thus induced between constantly losing and regaining your focus. In order for you to accomplish the tasks of staying on your circle and watching your finger, through repetition your mind will eventually find a way to relax and open up.” – Bruce Frantzis, “Bagua and Tai Chi: Building the Foundation for Meditation”

Tomorrow Bruce discusses how Tai Chi handles stress, but for now, Bruce presents a video on Taoist Meditation
Today’s Video: “Taoist Meditation (Internal Awareness)”



No room for improvement.
Reality is perfection itself.
How could you ever get nearer?
There’s no means by which
you can approach it.
Just allow it
to reach out to you

This is the conclusion of Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo explores the key to exploring the nature of the internal arts below and in Today’s Video a podcast on Understanding Qi.

“Within these arts, worry less about what something is and concern yourself more with what something does, how is it experienced or how is it pertinent to your practice and then, finally, how do I master the aspects of my practice associated with this idea.
The most fractional and automatic part of our mind so often jumps to its default state of simply trying to identify and label something rather than truly understand it. The problem with this is that as soon as something is ‘identified’, there is a kind of mental satisfaction that arises and this boxes us in and limits growth.

“The arts are full of practitioners who have decided they can can identify for sure what something ‘is’ and yet they don’t seem to be able to do anything with all of these factors they have labeled.

“As abstract as this may seem, I truly see the above idea as the key to fully exploring the nature of internal arts practice.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “DMP #13 – Understanding Qi”



Even the greatest grandmaster
cannot defeat the ego.
the more one tries,
the stronger it becomes
and the weaker one’s conviction.
Though there appears at times
to be ,progress, improvement,
it’s simply a distortion,
just moving the furniture around.
Through martial arts
we learn to defeat opponents,
but not when that opponent
is the self we think we are.
observe without emotion,
without concern or interest,
and it will release its hold.

Today we continue Damo Mitchell Week. I hope you are enjoying it. His quote today is something all of us need to be more aware of – appreciating simple pleasures. His video is a short but interesting lecture on Sword Fingers,

“Laying on my back, looking at the moon through the trees. Simple pleasures to help simplify the mind. Truth is not to be found in the complex, the stimulating and the exciting; it is to be found in the pleasure taken at simple things.

“That which observes the simple is true and that which makes the observer complex is false; such is the distinction between the pure and the distorted.” – Damo Mitchell

Today’s Video: “Sword Fingers in Taiji Jian (太極劍)”



move from the center
by engaging the kua
the kua turns the waist
and stabilizes the knees.
centered on the feet
give the weight,
let the flesh and muscles go.
absorb, do not grasp
the energy that rises.

Today we continue with Damo Mitchell Week. Today Damo has a rather peculiar, somewhat esoteric quote.

“When the ‘Yin Eyes’ are opened, the perception of the realms directly above and below the realm of matter are brought into the visible spectrum…” – Damo Mitchell

Rather mysterious, you may find a hint to its meaning in Nei Dan, the mysterious art of Internal Alchemy and the subject of today’s video…

Today’s Video: Internal Alchemy – Nei Dan (内丹) Explained – Part 1