Does your energy need a boost? Feel yourself tired and flagging most of the time?
Learn T'ai Chi and see your energy levels increase. Regular practise leaves you
feeling stronger and fitter. Give it a try!
You may think you are pretty healthy, but most of us have niggling issues, or rely
on tablets for one condition or another. Learning quality Chinese skill from a qualified
instructor can help you combat some of these problems and bring your body back into
balance. if you wish to talk about a particular health problem, give me a call on
Sifu Kate writes about T'ai Chi:
Many people the World over study Taijiquan (T'ai Chi Chuan), but few practise it
as it was originally meant to be: as a martial art. The soft, flowing movements,
performed slowly, give an impression of calm and serenity, but it is practised in
this way for a reason. Doing something slowly requires a lot more strength than
when we perform it quickly. So in practising our Taijiquan forms slowly, we develop
a lot of strength in the body, particularly the legs. As the legs become stronger,
then the whole body becomes healthier and stronger. Also performing at a slower
pace enables us to develop accuracy, get the framing and posture correct, and learn
to relax the whole body. It is only when we have achieved this that the martial
applications will work. Of course a large person will easily push over a smaller
one by using force, but this is not Taijiquan. For a small person to defeat a large
one requires skill.
Taijiquan was created by Chen Wanting about 350 years ago in Wen County, Henan Province.
His skill was passed on through the Chen family, until today, the 19th generation
standard bearer of the family martial art is Grandmaster Chen Xioawang. His incredible
skill is World famous, and he has worked tirelessly to teach it throughout the World.
Unlike other styles of Taijiquan, such as Yang Style, Chen Style is characterised
by deep stances and fast, explosive movements. There are few female Masters to give
we women inspiration, but I was lucky enough to meet Master Chen Guizhen a few years
ago. She impressed me greatly by demonstrating an extremely powerful punch while
sitting in a chair.
So if you are interested in Taijiquan, then get back to the origins of this fascinating
art by learning Chen style Taijiquan. I have classes in Leamington Spa and Solihull.
It only takes a phone call or email to get started on an exciting and extraordinary
Sifu Kate writes about Chinese philosophy:
One of my favourite Chinese saying is:
'He who worries in advance, suffers twice over.'
This is a very simple sentiment, but one that is not always so easy to act on. I
am sure many people have suffered twice over this Christmas, with the difficult weather
we have been having in the UK. In the run up to the holiday I heard many people
worrying about whether they would manage to get away on their holiday, either because
of airport closures or snow blocked roads. We put ourselves under a lot of stress
just thinking what might happen, then when our worse fears come to pass, we suffer
all over again. It is not always easy to do, but if we can relax a bit more, maybe
things will not be as bad as we anticipated. If we keep our minds flexible, as we
try to do with our bodies, then maybe we can adjust our plans and aspirations to
suit the circumstances. Things may not turn out as we had originally wished, but
then that is life, isn't it!
Sifu Kate writes about Chinese Tea:
To many, the phrase ‘Chinese Tea’ means ’Green Tea’, and this was in fact the case
originally. But when the Chinese started to trade with Europe in the sixteenth century,
they had to find a way to make their green teas survive the long journey to the West
in good condition. They came up with a way of making black tea, which lasted longer
and travelled better than green teas. At home, the Chinese people continued to drink
green tea, while the black tea became very popular in Europe.
Today, there are more than 10,000 varieties of tea made around the World, all from
one plant species. So what makes them taste so different? The flavour of each
tea is determined by a large number of factors, such as the climate in which it is
grown, the soil, picking methods, and how the leaf is processed, to name but a few.
Teas can be unfermented, semi-fermented and fermented, and are divided into several
categories – white, green, yellow, oolong, black, puerh and compressed – all determined
by the way they are manufactured.
White tea is made from the buds at the end of each tea shoot. They are covered in
little white hairs, hence the name. Green Teas are unfermented, and the leaves are
allowed to wither to get rid of some of the water content, then heated in order to
dry them. Yellow teas are rare, and are made in a similar way to green teas, but
the leaves are gently heated then allowed to ferment. Oolong teas are semi fermented.
Black, or red, teas have a strong taste and are first withered, then rolled, fermented
and dried. Puerh teas come from Yunnan Province in the south west, and are quite
woody in flavour. Compressed teas are processed into bricks to make them easier
to transport, and to help them last longer. These bricks are made from Puerh or
other black teas. Many teas are flavoured. Jasmine Tea, for example, is flavoured
with Jasmine flowers.
So do not make up your mind about Chinese Tea on the basis of one tasting. If you
have had a cheap tea, it may not taste too good. But in any case, there is a huge
range of Chinese teas available from Chinese supermarkets. Many, not used to these
teas, find Jasmine Tea very light and refreshing. But whatever your preference,
there will be something out there for you.
Sifu Kate writes about healing injuries the Chinese way:
A few months ago I shut my hand in a door. It was extraordinarily painful. In fact,
it hurt so much I could not sleep the first night for the pain and throbbing. Someone
noticing the damage the next day asked if I had been to the doctor and if I had put
ice on it to reduce the swelling. I was quite taken aback. Firstly, it had never
occurred to me to go to a doctor. What could they have done? I had cleaned and
dressed the wounds to my fingers because they were bleeding, but beyond that it was
simply a question of time and the body’s miraculous healing powers, to put it right.
I suppose I may have been given antibiotics to prevent infection setting in, but
thanks to Qigong, I have a strong immune system to deal with that, and I would not
have wanted to do anything to compromise it by taking drugs unnecessarily.
As to the swelling, I’m not a fan of putting ice on injuries. While it may help
to take the swelling down, all that cold and damp settles into the joints, and may
result in arthritis ten or twenty years down the line.
But my friend’s reaction set me thinking about my philosophy when it comes to health,
and in this case minor injury. My fingers bled for more than a day because the skin
at the base of the nail is very thin, and it had been severely mashed. I dressed
the wounds to stop me dripping blood everywhere, then set about dealing with the
inflammation. Using a feather light touch, I gently massaged the areas of swollen
tissue, avoiding any areas of broken skin. This was a very delicate process because
both the tissue and bones were badly bruised. Anyone who has bruised or broken a
bone will know that bone pain is particularly debilitating. But it did not take
long to clear away the stagnation and reduce the puffiness. I then kept my hand
up as much as possible to allow the blood and fluid to drain. After a day, the bleeding
had stopped, so I took off the dressings and went out into the garden to do some
Qigong. Luckily it was a beautiful sunny day, and I was able to spend a long time
doing Healthy Living Gong Part 1, and especially Golden Dragon Stretches Its Claws.
This is a really good exercise for any problems with the hands, since it brings
a lot of Qi to that area. I also practised the Wild Goose First 64 Movements. This
is particularly good for resolving health problems and injuries that you have acquired
during your lifetime. By the end of my practise the soggy tissue had dried and things
were looking better already.
Now four months down the line, the damage is growing out. Someone had said I would
not get away without permanently disfigured nails, but I am pleased to say that everything
has come back looking normal. Even the dent across the skin just above the nail,
the centre of the impact, has finally disappeared. The power of Qigong never ceases
to amaze me.
Qigong Student Kris writes:
Recently my back gave in, as it used to do a fair bit when I was younger. I can see
now that I’d become a bit too attached to my shiny new car, and been slacking on
my qigong practice for quite a while– just attending the weekly class wasn’t enough!
Trying to get better I found half-hearted measures just weren’t working, so I was
forced to take more drastic action: ditch the car and establish a healthier overall
lifestyle and routine.
This period has been a valuable one in renewing my confidence and respect for the
qigong teachings. I’ve realised there’s no point being taught these great skills
if you don’t actually apply them until it’s too late! I seem to have made a very
good recovery; the qigong has been an essential and central part of the recuperation.
The many lessons where Sifu Kate has corrected and adjusted my movements has left
me with confidence that I was broadly doing the correct thing with the movements.
I have found that the gentle stretching, the precise postures, the flow, and the
strong standing structures have given my back a thorough all-round workout and flexing.
The energy the exercises cultivate has also brought more warmth and softness back
into my aching bones! The Physiotherapist I saw commented that I had regained a great
amount of flexibility and had good balance and posture.