Compliance vs. Aliveness in Tai Chi & Martial Arts

I recently got in a discussion with someone who had a strong emotional reaction related to considering degrees of “compliance” in a martial arts video.

Compliance, and its opposing concept of Aliveness are two critical factors in any martial art training. Indeed, both are required to earn progress when it comes to preparedness for real self defense and fighting. To understand each, obviously a good start is to define them.

[Compliance] vs Aliveness in Martial ArtsCompliance vs [Aliveness] in Martial Arts

Compliance in Martial Arts Training.

Compliance’s dictionary definition has to do with “complying” or doing “what you have been asked or ordered to do.”[1] In other words, someone in a state of compliance will …

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Arguments Against Reality: Tai Chi Stereotypes

If you’ve spent much time in the internal martial arts world (or the Chinese martial arts world, or the “Traditional” martial arts world in general)… you might have noticed that many people refuse to relax their grip on heated – and ultimately fruitless – arguments against reality.

Arguments Against Reality: Tai Chi StereotypesArguments Against Reality: Tai Chi Stereotypes

People want things to be a certain way, even when they’re not.

People want to be more powerful, more adept, more skillful, and more privy to secret knowledge than everyone else. Just because you want something, doesn’t mean you have it.

Just because you believe you’re a badass fighter, doesn’t mean you are.

There is no invincible style. Nobody wins them all.

The …

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Perspective That Empowers Us

Contextualize to see the big picture

Contextualize to see the big picture

We perceive our world through our five senses and behave as if our perception is the ultimate truth. Unfortunately our five senses are limited apparatus to detect reality. Ask different witnesses of what happened to an accident, you will most definitely get different, if not conflicting accounts. Not only are the five senses very limiting, add to it are the conditioning that shape a belief system which see the world through a ‘rose colored glasses’ that varies considerably from individuals to individuals.

You will always find good in your good friends and find faults in your enemies, regardless of what they do, good or bad. You will see what you want to see! That can be a good thing provided it empowers you without getting delusional.

It is easy for us to believe …

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To Hop or Not to Hop, That's the question!

Whether to Hop merrily to the forbidden kingdom where some claim to be the land of ‘magical’ power and non-compliant detractors will be hopped to oblivion…Or Not to Hop and stay within the physical boundaries that seem grounded on combat reality…

It’s the most controversial topic in Taiji FB forums today with two opposing views constantly at each others’ throats where dummy spits become the norm from unpleasant and heated personal exchanges!

On one corner, we have the Hop proponents who believe the hop is a real life application which can be used for combat. They insist that it’s the pinnacle skill level to attain in internal martial arts and accuse detractors or ‘haters’ for criticising what they don’t understand; ‘ignorance’ is the common derogation.

On the other corner, we have the Hop critics that demand evident-based application to confirm combat efficacy. Since to date, there is no credible evidence to prove the combat efficacy …

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Hypnosis & Martial Arts - Part Two - Self Delusion

One of the most nefarious side effects of incorrect martial arts practice is the potential to fall into unexamined groupthink. This effect can be disastrous. It is damaging not only for one’s progression in the martial arts … but also for one’s progression in life, and for one’s spiritual pursuits (if any).

Hypnosis In Martial ArtsHypnosis In Martial Arts

“Self Delusion” or “Groupthink” In The Martial Arts

While I usually confine this blog discussion to taijiquan and the Chinese Internal Martial Arts (CIMA) in general, this is a topic that applies to a wide variety of martial disciplines (and many other group-focused activities).

I’m sure you’ve experienced this, or at least heard of it somewhere. A …

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Hypnosis & Martial Arts - Part One

As an avid student of hypnosis, I have frequently noticed and contemplated many areas of overlap between hypnosis & taijiquan.

Hypnosis SpiralHypnosis Watch Induction

I had my own hypnotherapy practice for a few years in Brentwood, California, mostly as a passing fancy rather than a career or major source of income. I’ve also dabbled in stage hypnosis for nearly a decade, performing in hypnosis “edutainment” demonstrations for crowds of 5 – 50. In all cases, I’ve always been a fan of the fine art (and science) of hypnosis, and through the course of my interest I’ve had a chance to study with some of the greats.

Today, I’m drafting a post in response to several requests on Facebook regarding an …

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Tensegrity and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch'uan)

No matter what school, style, or lineage of taijiquan you may encounter, it is likely that over the course of studying this internal martial art … you will at some point be forced to totally reconsider the way you think your body works.

Tensegrity Structure AnimatedTensegrity Structure :: Human Body

The above spinning image (left) is an example of a structure being held together by the force of tensegrity or tensional integrity. In other words, the rigid green “beams” are never touching, but are suspended in their shape by the interconnected flexible red “strings.” The structure in the black and white image (right) is a symbolically simplified model of our skeleton & muscles to display that the …

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