Philosophy


In TanDao, we use this famous zen tale as a metaphor for long and winding path to martial arts mastery:

The Master’s Three Sons

Once upon a time two old kung fu masters were in a teahouse. One master asked, “How are your three sons progressing with their martial arts?”

“Let’s test them,” said the host. He took a heavy vase and placed it over a door so when opened the vase would fall. He called his youngest son, a strong youth who demonstrated powerful punches and kicks with fierce shouts.

“Pay your respects,” his father said. His son strutted over and shoved the door open. The vase crashed on his head but when it hit the floor he shattered it with a punch.

“Your boy is powerful,” said the guest. “He is young, one day he may understand power,” said the host, placing another vase over the door. He called his middle son, a tall youth who performed graceful and ferocious animal movements. When the youth pushed open the door he dodged and caught the vase as it fell. He bowed.

“Your second son has power and control,” complimented the visitor. “If he perseveres he may one day achieve true power.” the host said, putting up another vase. He called his eldest son.

After doing a slow moving meditation form, the son calmly walked towards the door. Noticing the vase, he reached up and took it down. He held it out while bowing, “Pleased to meet you, sir.”

“This is my number one son,” his father smiled. The visitor said, “Indeed, he is on his way to becoming a master”

Photo by Toni Tan

Three Stages of Mastery: Technical. Strategic. Intuitive.

The sons correspond to three different stages: technical (youngest son), strategic (middle son) and intuitive (eldest son). Each stage is a different mindset and focuses on a particular way of problem solving (the falling vase). The three sons express three alternative options reflecting their stage of development: the youngest son aggressively confronts the problem, the middle son strategically defuses the problem and the eldest, avoids the problem through mindful awareness.

Think about it.

Lawrence Tan

Advertisements

Photo by Toni Tan, cover by Johnny Ink

WE ARE PLEASED TO ANNOUNCE THE RELEASE OF ENERGY WARRIORS, A BOOK COLLABORATION WITH BOB ELLAL.

Got crisis? Get ready to fight.

Learn to draw on something deeper during impossible times. It is not what happens to you that defines you, it is how you manage it. Calm and clarity come through finding balance. This is a journey to inner strength.

Energy Warriors is two books in one:

THE STORY

In a literary account, Bob Ellal chronicles his battle with cancer, not once, but four times. He won. It takes courage to fight when all hope seems lost. Stress and crisis were part of the struggle. Qigong was a part of the healing. The quality of his prose is indisputable, as he becomes the energy warrior, Beowulf. Bob shares his story with intelligence, humor, and truth. He has been cancer free for over 16 years.

THE MANUAL

Master Lawrence Tan presents an introduction to the ancient art of Qigong, traditional Chinese life force exercises, for health and healing. Learn to relax and de-stress by aligning breath movement, and awareness.

These simple exercises are for everyone and can be put into practice immediately.

The manual complements the text and Bob Ellal’s Qigong practice, with posture illustrations and descriptions. Photos by Toni Tan.

As Lao Tze said, “The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

The book is published by Divine Arts. Props to our Publisher, Michael Wiese, and our Associate Publisher, Manny Otto. And to our Copy Editor, Matt Barber for his eagle eye and good cheer…and to Bill Morosi for the book layout, Johnny Ink for the cover design.

Our gratitude to Dr. Mark Cheng and Jean Raffa, who took the time from their busy schedules to read the book and provide comments.

GET THE BOOK on AMAZON

VISIT US:
Facebook
Google+
Pinterest

Tower of Babel

Shhhh…listen.  There is one word that can improve all of our lives immediately:  communication.  It begins with listening.  It takes patience, and courage, to live in the quiet space of listening to understand.  It is a discipline.  It is not easy to let go of entrenched habits, our words and demeanor are tools of self protection…but we are sunk when we use them as weapons.  Who is brave enough to become an active listener — and hear what’s being said?

The ancient story of the Tower of Babel offers one explanation for the linguistic and cultural differences of the human race and the subsequent conflicts arising in the “confusion of tongues”.  The city of Babel united humanity with one language. In time, humility and reverence were lost. In their vain glory the people began to construct a tower that would reach heaven to show their power.  In their arrogant and egocentric behavior, they began to fight with one another.

The tower of power manifested the worst of human traits. God was fairly miffed at the mess the people had made, and  took away their ability to communicate by creating different languages.  The communication button was reset…everyone had to begin again. People disbursed across the earth, split into separate factions. Instead of learning cooperation, all communication broke down,  conflict and chaos ensued.  And here we are, in modern times, where it seems we are still harvesting those bitter fruits.

In Chinese philosophy, shin, the word for mind, is represented by the character for heart. In Taoist & Zen thought this means higher awareness comes from thinking holistically, encompassing logic and emotions.  We need to talk — and we need to listen. With intelligence, with compassion.  Our dear friend, Maria Seddio, at Corp Talk, teaches the mantra: “conversation is the cure”. Simple, but not simplistic. Healing will only come through a calm, compassionate and rational discourse.

Here are some tips for you.  Start with the next voice you hear:

  • Be clear in what you say.
  • Let it be more of a dialogue, and less of a monologue.
  • Honor the other person. Really hear what is being said, don’t just wait for your turn to speak.
  • Don’t make judgments about a person or a situation based on limited information. Even better, don’t judge.
  • A solipsistic world view is a closed system. Expand your consciousness: let go of your “truth”.
  • Listen, listen, listen.

The world is in crisis.  Do you have the courage to communicate?  Listen, and speak, as if your life depended on it. It does.

The aim of better listening is not to hear more,
but to hear more clearly,
especially the call toward consciousness.
~David Hykes

Toni Tan

Website Translation Widget

Hexagram #55: “A moment of great influence is at hand. Prepare wisely and act accordingly.”

In the I Ching, the hexagram for Fullness (Abundance), Feng — represented by the trigrams of thunder over fire. Pow! It is a natural metaphor: a powerful storm that gathers energy and explodes in all its ferocity. Remember though, that energy only lasts for a time. It will mature, lose force and dissipate. Then, it’s gone. Carpe Diem!

The moments of our lives have a transitory quality, but inside of them there is power and opportunity at the center. Strength lies in our observation. It is a true power. Our own influence will gain and lose strength. Action comes from learning when to move in with speed and accuracy in that moment of clarity, while grace comes from exercising patience. We are forever balancing, gauging when to move forward or retreat. In minding the cycle we can find the energy at its strong point. Identifying opportunity enables us to catch the wave, the dawn, to strike while the iron’s hot. Also, to know when it’s not hot — refinement of the observation also teaches us to let go of that moment.

Toni Tan

Carl Jung's Red Book

Today is the birthday of Carl Jung, the eminent Swiss psychologist and one of the great thinkers of the 20th century. His provocative writings on the unconscious psyche pioneered correlations between traditional Eastern wisdom and contemporary Western psychology. Some of this mystic/scientists thoughts on the self and individuation – the process to becoming an integrated human being – underlie TanDao’s holistic philosophy of the evolving martial artist.

In my youth, Bruce Lee spectacularly demonstrated the power of the human body. And Jung’s brilliance inspired me on a lifetime exploration on the power of the human mind by returning to the obscure spiritual roots of Chinese Shaolin kung fu. Jung’s scientific rationale to interpret esoteric thoughts on zen, meditation, daoist yoga and ideas like yin/yang and dao can provide us insight on the possibility of martial arts as a psycho-physical path of self transformation.

By the way, Jung’s four functions of the self – sensation, intellect, feeling and intuition – and theory of archetypes have influenced TanDao’s holistic model of warrior (sensation), scholar (intellect), monk (feeling) and master (intuition).

Anyway, if you’re interested in challenging ideas on the power of the unconscious mind check out Jung.

Keep practicing your Universal Form, for energy and for fitness.

Lawrence Tan

Learn more about Jungian psychology – read Dr. Jean Raffa’s blog

In her new book, Healing The Sacred Divide, Making Peace with Ourselves, Each Other, and the World, Dr Jean Raffa takes us deep into the place where two circles overlap, an ancient symbol of healing and wholeness. This is the space where we intersect, you and me, your ego and my ego, your masculine, my feminine, your country and my country, your religion and my religion. It is the mandorla, an almond shaped contact point where the overlap has the potential to expand. The the greater it grows, the smaller the divide. Closing the gap is the opening of doors.



There exist only three respectable beings: the priest, the warrior, the poet. To know, to kill, and to create. ~Charles Baudelaire

Baudelaire’s quote captures the spirit of our TanDao philosophy: balance through the integration of the warrior, the scholar and the monk. In Taoism, the bagua follows the flow of nature and the phases of life. We use this concept to express our TanDao triad ~ the Warrior: fire, physical energy (destroyer); the Scholar: water, metal – mental energy (preserver); and the Monk: earth’s mountain and wood, spiritual energy (creator).

Trinitarianism, or belief in the Trinity, is found in Asian and Southeast Asian religion and folklore, Catholicism and in other traditions.

The Sanskrit word Trimurti refers to three forms. In the Hindu tradition, believed to date back to the Rig Vedas, it is the Great Trinity or Triad representing three aspects of a supreme being: Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva. Each represents a stage of creation: Shiva, the destroyer, physical – fire, consuming, transforming; Vishnu, the preserver, mental – water, sustaining life; and Brahma: the creator, spiritual – earth, where life emerges.

There is also the Christian doctrine of the Trinity – the unity of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This is the Triune, the essence of being. Body, mind, spirit.

The work of balancing the different aspects of ourselves moves us towards wholeness.