Sifu Al Simon


In addition to being the founder of ChiFusion, his modern, effective approach to tai chi and qigong, Al Simon is the author of:
To Float Like Clouds, To Flow Like Water: Tai Chi As A Zen Path to Mindfulness.

Great title!

Al Simon’s book integrates two separate, though related, Chinese traditions: Tai Chi (taiji), a prearranged sequence of slow and flowing body postures and Zen (chan) meditation, a way of awareness through sitting. He links Tai Chi’s way of movement with Zen’s way of stillness.

Through his personal experiences and clear descriptions he succinctly conveys essential Tai Chi principles based on the Daoist philosophy of balance and harmony and Zen Buddhist mindfulness awareness. His writing distills complex Eastern concepts and creatively updates and makes them relevant with clear, practical information and tools to help you relax, become aware and cultivate the qi life force energy.

For those of you who would like to get a modern master’s creative insights on Tai Chi and Zen (and a perspective on our own Universal Form and TanDao Energy Snacks), read Al Simon’s book. It flows and nourishes.

And please join us in wishing Sifu Al Simon a Happy Birthday.

Float, Flow

To Float Like Clouds, To Flow Like Water

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Many of us are coping with the devastating Sandy Hook tragedy. Unbearable sorrow, loss, confusion, anger, horror – are some of the mixed feelings overcoming us during the day.

There is no simple way to alleviate the profound grief except time, but we would like to share these breathing exercises as an empowering breathing technique that may help us cope and restore balance when we are over come by thoughts and emotions. Concentrating on unifying rhythmic breathing with your arm movements will shift your awareness and provide temporary respite from over whelming feelings. This works. But you have to do it.

During the day when you need to calm and re-balance, face the screen and follow along. The more you do it, the more you will experience temporary calm and relaxation. Doing it is it.

Please give it a try and share this with others who would like a tool for coping and healing.

From Toni and I, our hearts and thoughts go out to all those effected by this tragedy.

Lawrence Tan

Try our signature exercise, the Universal Form.

This version of our moving meditation uses dynamic tension and is based on the Shaolin tiger.

It’s the weekend, roar a little.

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

Here’s a great follow along — and you can do this seated version of the Lawrence Tan’s Universal Form right there in front of your computer. Relax, and breathe…

[blip.tv http://blip.tv/play/AeCVQAI?p=1 width=”596″ height=”334″]

Moving, exquisite piece: Autotomy and Remembering by Martha Crawford, LCSW

what a shrink thinks

The limbs of a starfish assist escape because they can be shed.

(Shuker, KPN. 2001. The Hidden Powers of Animals: Uncovering the Secrets of Nature. London: Marshall Editions Ltd. 240 p. http://www.asknature.org/strategy/7120557f65475a9a7d8656fd02946964)

Some people live their whole lives in one zip code. They remain near and close to their family of origin, and their extended family. They find their earliest attachments to be hospitable, enduring, and nurturing. There are people who still have their best friends from kindergarten, from high school, from college and from twenty years ago.

These lives have, for the most part, offered a kind of narrative continuity, consistency, a sense of going-on-being, where the people who know them now, knew them then, and can watch and mirror what has changed, and what hasn’t.

These are lives that unfold progressively, epigenetically, perhaps each chapter moves forward with a tidy security – or perhaps with a suffocating, repetitious…

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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.