Friday, September 19, 2014

Try Tai Chi Qigong Ouroboros Meditation For Better Posture

by Lester Sawicki

What's Your Taichibility™?
One of the most misunderstood posture practices in Yoga, Tai Chi, and Qigong is tucking in the tailbone. The way it's been described and taught by some yoga and tai chi instructors is tucking and holding the hips to flatten and eliminate the natural lumbar curve of the spine. If and how you tuck your tailbone reflects your Tai Chi ability, otherwise known as Taichibility™.

Some say the tucked position is a source of power. Others say it's the single most destructive posture that leads to both physical and emotional problems. Many more say it's a myth propagated by Chinese Tai Chi/Qigong masters that refuse to share their internal energy secrets with non-Chinese students.

What's another word for tuck?
The phrase 'tucking in the tailbone' was first coined by Yoga Gurus and Tai Chi Taoist Masters that emigrated to the U.S. in the early to mid-20th century. Today, after more than 40 years of Americans failing to understand the simple teaching, the most common responses to the idea are:
  • It should not be be taken literally.
  • Rather than bending the hips and tucking under, you should lengthen your spine into a centered and straight position.
  • It is not tucking that you do yourself, it just happens.
The origin of all the confusion is most likely a miscommunication translating Chinese to English. The concept of tucking might be better understood if a different word were used to describe it. According to Thesaurus.com, some synonyms for the word tuck are:
  • pinch
  • wrap
  • constrict
  • gather
  • make snug
  • squeeze in
Where's your lower dan-tien?
To get the right meaning behind the tuck, one must immediately stop thinking that the lower dan tien energy center is 2-3 inches below the navel and a couple inches into the abdomen. Switch your mind's eye into seeing and feeling the lower dan tien as being 3 inches above the pubic bone and a couple inches in front of the lower spine.

Next, stop thinking about moving the hips and put your focus on the tailbone. Don't try to move the hips a certain way but observe how the hips move when you vocalize the sound 'fung-fah' while reverse breathing with the Buddha Belt. Then use your mind to:
  • Pinch your tailbone.
  • Squeeze it in.
  • Make your tailbone snug.
  • Wrap and constrict it.
Pressurize your lower dan-tien.
Students of moving qi meditation will usually be instructed to focus on both the lower dan-tien and hands because in the hands qi is easily felt as warm and tingly, while the lower dan-tien helps center the balance.

To advance in Tai Chi, however, you have to adjust your thinking a tiny bit. Disappear your hands while you try to feel and build the qi in the lower dan-tien. It's a task with hit or miss results, however, if you don't feel qi in your gut. Even more troubling is that imagination isn't as effective as you might have been told to believe.

The lower dan-tien stores powerful qi that emits from the hands but many people study 10, 20, and 30 or more years without ever feeling the power of qi in their lower dan-tien. They'll feel a light feeling of qi circulate around the belt meridian but never learn how to concentrate it's power into the center. Trying to enhance qi feeling in the hands becomes an addiction and practitioners waste years playing with their hands while ignoring the lower dan-tien. When you do decide to put more time on your center, it won't be easy if you've spent years focusing on the extremities.

After the intial stages of qi awareness in your hands, you'll make faster progress in Tai Chi if you start pressure cooking qi in your lower dan-tien. Best results are achieved by putting vigorous physical exercise into your Tai Chi training. Think of your gut as a tightly held container of air, like a balloon wrapped in steel webbing. Focus hard. Strain and stretch you body and mind to pressurize and expand the balloon.

Cook your qi.
Most people will try to feel and build up heat in the lower dan-tien because of their past success with warm hands. It's a mistake for many because most students may never feel heat in their gut, but they will feel pressure. If you're not thinking pressure, however, you'll miss it.

You'll know you're on the right track if the upper body perspires from the effort of cooking because pressure cooking qi into the lower dan-tien creates  heat that disperses to the upper body and extremities. The hands are very sensitive to qi and that's where you'll most likely first feel warmth.

It's qi pressure in the gut that will be apparent for most, not heat. The gut intestines always hold gas and another word for qi is air or gas. Mind compresses the qi but in the beginning it takes tremendous physical and mental effort to get clear results. The Secret Buddha Tooth Tai Chi Belt DVD reveals the best method to begin cooking qi in your lower dan-tien.

Tucking directs the flow of qi.
In reality, tucking the tailbone is not a position of the hips or tailbone but an energetic movement along the acupuncture central meridian channel at the hui-yin point. Tucking the tailbone is not the same as tucking the hips although the hips will adjust to the tailbone movement. For advanced tai chi practitioners, it's mental and not as much physical. 

In order to grasp the right idea, the Yoga and Tai Chi student must completely relax his body and mind into the floor of the pelvic cavity. Only then can he isolate and feel the complex anatomy and physiology that extends from the pubic bone to the coccyx and between the sitting bones of the pelvis.

There are specific mental visualizations and physical exercises that help one become familiar with the workings of the pelvic cavity, including pubic bone and tailbone. With practice using your mind, you can literally tuck, tug, pinch, squeeze and wrap your tailbone in the manner suggested by the ancient texts for proper posture and chi flow.

Tucking the tailbone also prepares the tai chi person for emitting energy. The anatomy and physiology behind it is complex but the main muscle of interest is the pubococcygeus, a hammock-like muscle that stretches from the pubic bone to the tailbone. In Chinese, the muscle is called hui-yin. It functions in urine flow, orgasm, childbirth, core stability, and the secret energy art of fa-jin.

Tucking triggers fa-jin.
Fa-jin is a martial arts term used to describe the mechanism of projecting qi force. The coccyx in most people has a little flexibility in it and, when you contract the pubococcygeus muscle, the tailbone tucks in a bit which loads the tai chi bow head to toe with stored potential energy. Before qi energy is released, either for healing or martial arts, the bow must first be pulled back. Your root and suspension engage. Releasing the bow shoots the arrow of qi energy.

Tai Chi, Qigong and Yoga practitioners must have total control of and a strong hui-yin pubococcygeus muscle. In the Western world Kegel pelvic floor exercises are widely used to strengthen the muscle. Lesser known Chinese qigong exercises, however, are more effective to control and strengthen it.

In its exercise, male sexual qigong masters use their testicles to lift weights while women use an egg. The sexual qigong practice introduces seasoned tai chi martial artists into the powerful and deadly attacking force of fa-jin. Weighted penis rings sold by Private Gym and interactive smartphone apps such as KGoal help exercise pelvic floor muscles, but at the time of this writing these systems aren't teaching how to project power during Tai Chi movement.
  
The book Taichi: A Personal Learning Experience, by Art Orawski, gives Tai Chi Master Waysun Liao's insight into the mysterious connection between tucking in the tailbone and the hui-yin muscle, the coccyx muscle, tendon insertions, nerve innervations, and fa-jin energy projection.

Tuck your 'hammock' tight.
As suggested in Mr. Orawski's book, to make the 'hammock' vibrate you pull the fei-yin muscle (hui-yin) upwards using your mind. A very gentle muscular contraction starts the taichi ball spinning. Once the ball of chi starts spinning you connect the coccyx with the heel sending qi up the spine and outward through the arms.

It's SO easy with the Ouroboros!
Doing Ouroboros meditation helps you discover how the mind gets involved in the tuck. The Ouroboros is an ancient symbol depicting a snake, serpent, or dragon with its tail in its mouth, or eating its own tail. It symbolizes the 'dawn state' with a sense of something constantly recreating itself in a circular movement. It's immortal. In western medicine it's DNA.

Use your tongue and teeth to tuck!
Ouroboros meditation helps stimulate your tucking mechanism. It begins by warming up your lower dan tien and then focusing on the teeth, toes and fingers -- the T'ngers. Using imagination, see and feel yourself like a puppy playfully teething and tugging on its tail. Make believe you can stretch your neck and mouth to your serpent-like tail, the coccyx or tailbone. The intention is to connect the crown chakra with the spinal energy at the tailbone into a circular movement which stimulates the tucking mechanism.

The tongue plays a huge role in tucking. Teeth and tongue go hand-in-hand. The teeth work better if your tongue is free to function seamlessly. That's why one of the first Tai Chi rules is to touch the tip of your tongue to the palate. Many students, however, don't take the tongue seriously enough. That's why my book Teeth In Mortal Combat has several chapters on its function in meditation.

The tongue in animals and humans has amazing versatility. Some say that for its size the tongue is the strongest muscle in the human body. It's a huge reservoir of chi. Your Tai Chi power will increase by 30-50% once you learn how to put tongue and teeth chi potential into your whole body exercise, especially the tucking part.

Teeth serve and protect the tongue just as the rib cage protects the heart.
I've mentioned in the past that few masters will take off their shoes to show you their feet because there's phenomenal power in feet and how they're used. The human foot and ankle is a strong and complex mechanical structure containing exactly 26 bones, 33 joints (20 of which are actively articulated), and more than a hundred muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Foot - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia It's a secret worth keeping your shoes on.

Even more rare is a master that will show you his tongue and how it works during Tai Chi Chuan. The pen might be mightier than the sword but words can kill, and tongue chi, once you understand how it works, is hidden, protected by the teeth, and deadly. Just another reason why you'd want to keep your teeth your whole life -- to serve and protect your tongue.

The tongue is also one of the most sensitive parts of the body and best suited for feeling chi. It's densely populated with touch-sensitive nerves. It's a better sensor than skin because it's coated with saliva which helps conduct electricity.

Many people believe chi is electricity flowing in the body. Tai Chi masters say that chi in its many variations is more than electricity. When you touch the tip of your tongue to the incisive papilla you'll feel a tiny electric current flowing between your tongue and the nerves in the incisive foramen.

Tongue meditation is extremely difficult, even more so when you're practicing Tai Chi forms. When you touch tip of tongue to palate, the entire focus is on the tip and its relationship with the palate. Use the tip to taste your palate. Feel the bumps in the tissue. Keep the tip touching so lightly that you have to continuously adjust it to maintain even pressure contact.

Your tongue is alive and constantly vibrating with energy so pay close attention to the tip's movement and feel the chi.

If you're new to Tai Chi and not getting any feeling of qi in your tongue, then you can try conventional tongue exercises to start the chi flowing. Individual tongue exercises, however, like strength building machines for isolated muscle groups, can't replace the amazing benefits of whole body exercises like Tai Chi Chuan and yoga. 

As we discussed, the bony coccyx in humans doesn't have much muscle but it's slightly flexible because of fibrous ligaments and connective tissue fascia connecting it to the pelvis and spine. It'll naturally curve forward and flex slightly when you sit. Buddha Tooth Tai Chi Gong Fu exercise using imagination with teeth will help give you flexing control of your coccyx while standing and stepping.

Does your Tai Chi have bite?
Dentists say, "Ignore your teeth and they'll go away." Tai Chi masters say, "Pay attention to your teeth. If your opponent won't run away, chew bitters and grind him into dust."

Fu Yachi Tai Chi™ is the Buddha Tooth Tai Chi™ system for integrating teeth into Tai Chi. It's the simplest and fastest way to master Tai Chi Chuan. Ignore your teeth only if you want to take the long slow track to Tai Chi mastery.

Learning to tuck properly is a subtle silky skill that begins with the mind. One shouldn't rush and try to master it overnight. If you tuck your tailbone in properly using your teeth, your yoga and Taichibility™ is sure to improve.

Fit4Zip offers formal classes in Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ where the correct way of tucking in the tailbone is taught.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

'C' Your Way To Better Tai Chi Taichibility™

by Lester Sawicki

What's the Key to Better Taichibility™?
It's a cascade of C's as in C'ing. It's a combination of knowing and feeling what you're doing in the moment. At the crossing of that circle of circumspection is Tai Chi Chuan.

Don't worry, C'ing doesn't require sitting contorted in a cross-legged lotus. Fit4Zip™ Tai Chi Fitness Austin offers clean and clear Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ classes including Fu Yachi Buddha Tooth Tai Chi as a toolkit for incorporating a powerful Circle of C's into your Tai Chi Chuan.

There are three core C's in Tai Chi Chuan. Sign up for a Fit4Zip™ Buddha Tooth Tai Chi Chuan class for a more in depth explanation:
  • Concentrate
  • Connect
  • Center

Concentrate means:
  • being conscious
  • having concrete conviction in your course 
  • caring in high definition color
  • cooking cleverness with a crumb of crazy

Connect means to:
  • cast a curve into the continuum and coexist with it.

Center means to:
  • crush, chew and consume the capsule of calisthenics for a cure.

There are sitting and standing meditations that can condition you for your Tai Chi Chuan crusade. They'll take you backward in time from the current, to when you were a child, and even to conception.

You're going nowhere fast in these meditations, however, if you can't stay concentrated, connected, and centered.

Sitting and standing meditation works well for some, especially those with strong minds but weak bodies. Fit4Zip™ believes, however, that most people interested in Tai Chi Chuan already have average strength and conditioning. It's usually easier for the average person to catch on to the 3 C's with physical exercise. It's the better place for most people to start.

Because the art of Tai Chi Chuan is difficult to put into words, it's more effective to not spend too much time reading but go straight to the physical exercise. With time and perseverance it'll naturally reveal itself. The Tai Chi Classics is the written source you can read to validate your growth and understanding.

Try the following exercise. Rest assured that personal instruction usually simplifies the written.
  1. Walk backwards while in Buddha Belt meditation. Walking backwards allows a more relaxed entry point for gazing into infinity. Buddha Belt teaches you how to center your lower dan tien by coiling your internal spring.
  2. Release your sky hook and pulley into the distance. Be with it.
  3. Now imagine your right hand is pulling silk while the left hand is a kite. This connects right and left.
  4. If the weather outside is nasty you can practice the exercise indoors in the manner of walking on eggshells.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Austin Athletes Are Switching From Yoga To Tai Chi

by Lester Sawicki

Austin athletes are dropping out of yoga and switching to Tai Chi.
Thousands of yoga drop outs don't regret studying yoga. It's relaxing. It increases flexibility, strength, balance and mental focus. It creates a healing environment through new friendships and spiritual experiences.

Smart Austinites, however, are taking the yoga they learned and elegantly charming their skills into Tai Chi classes because:

They had some embarrassing moments wearing sexy skin tight tops and pants.
Tai Chi schools encourage safe, loose and less distracting studio clothes.

They felt uncomfortable with the growing number of yoga gurus in America that have been associated with sex scandals.
Tai Chi sex scandals are rare.

They found higher mental and spiritual pleasures in Tai Chi moving meditation compared to the stationary poses of yoga.
Tai Chi's dynamic moving meditations give the same benefits, and more, as yoga's stationary poses. Strength, Balance, Flexibility, Mental Focus, and Wellness. 
Both Tai Chi and yoga have been compared to DNA, the hereditary building blocks of life.  Every person has a specific and unique DNA makeup, as do the many different schools of yoga and Tai Chi. That's why people, as well as Tai Chi/yoga forms and poses, look and behave differently.
The way most yoga is taught, however, looks rigid compared to the spontaneous fluid movements of Tai Chi. That's because mainstream yoga doesn't allow as much for random mutation which is essential to evolution. Without genetic variations due to mutation, evolution couldn't occur. 
DNA strands coil and unwind continuously as they replicate. Tai Chi is a better vehicle than yoga to study DNA uncoiling and winding. Although yoga demonstrates DNA coil into various asanas, it's not as good a teacher for understanding the uncoiling process, especially with mutation. 
Tai Chi isn't as rigid as yoga and actually encourages the practitioner to mutate its basic forms. The continuous coiling, snaking, whiplike mutating energy of Tai Chi is spontaneous and variable, like DNA. These qualities give Tai Chi a definite edge over yoga, as taught in most schools, if you're seeking higher mental and spiritual understanding. 

Most yoga practitioners have no idea how to collect, store, and explode their prana.
Somewhere in time, the universe had a Big Bang but most yoga teachers aren't incorporating it into their classes. A Big Bang is everywhere in Tai Chi movement. Continuous Tai Chi breathing while moving is saturated with chi explosion. It's the impetus behind the Tai Chi path toward enlightenment. Much of yoga is stuck and losing its Bang.
What's a Big Bang? Think of it like cracking a whip. Yoga practitioners are diligent in stretching their body but many of them don't understand that they should be stretching into something beyond a simple pose, like a whip as an example.
You can't have a whip without first stretching the line taut and then cracking it into an explosion, a Big Bang. Without a crack, your self never reaches its full potential. It's just a pose, a slack line without a serious challenge, a brain working at less than capacity. 
If you're a competitive athlete, you'll definitely want a Big Bang in your sport and you won't find it in mainstream yoga. You'll have better luck studying Tai Chi.

Generally speaking, yoga instructors are teaching adults as if they're still children.
When yoga is taught to children, they're taught to stretch into a pose. When a child becomes a young adult, on the other hand, they develop the mental capacity to transform themselves into a greater power. It's called self-realization, and discovering your whip-like energetic body is one of the basic steps in the process. 
Yoga is more than just stretching, breathing, and balance. When was the last time your yoga class taught you how to become like a whip? Probably never, because transforming your energy into a whip is a step above a pose, which most yoga schools aren't capable of teaching. It's nearly impossible to find a yoga guru that can take the student's energy body beyond a pose.
Thankfully, the original yogic tradition of advanced energy work is still being transmitted by Tai Chi masters. When yoking or uniting the body with mind, Tai Chi sees the difference between a child and an adult. A competent Tai Chi instructor will treat an adult like an adult.

Many studios are forgetting to teach that yoga should be practiced as if you're standing on eggs.
There are certain skills you should develop in every standing yoga pose, some of which are to: 
  • Squeeze an imaginary egg your standing on with your foot without crushing it. 
  • Push straight down onto the egg without breaking it. 
  • Roll the egg under your foot without losing your balance.
Tai Chi teaches how to walk on eggshells, so standing on a golden egg, although difficult, is not an unusual challenge in the eyes of Tai Chi people. 
If you're an athlete, learning to walk on eggs is one of the best ways to break through a plateau.
Many yoga instructors can stand inverted on their head and hands but aren't able to swing from a tree by their feet.
Tree swinging is an example of the dynamic energetics behind the yin-yang principle 'as above, so below'. It is one of the basic exercises behind learning how to root your energy deep into the ground. Tai Chi people swing inverted from trees using their imagination, as if they're a monkey, where they use their feet to grab hold of the branches. 
Tai Chi teaches that the foot equals the hand. In Tai Chi self-defense, the hand is connected to the foot so that when you punch with your fist it should feel like the foot is punching. When you grab with your hand it should feel like the foot grabs the opponent. When grabbing with the foot, it should feel like the foot is a hand wringing water out of a wet rag. 
Athletes won't discover their true potential until they can feel their rooted feet grab and wring with chi energy for power.

Mainstream yoga classes have disconnected from the original truth of yoga.
A flexible body in peaceful meditation should shimmer with the energy of self-preservation. This means that within each peaceful Tai Chi and yoga posture there should be the potential for self-defense. 
Tai Chi people understand the Tai Chi yin-yang principle of complementary energies, such as the giving and taking of a life. Millions of yoga students, however, are being cheated by not learning the principle of self-defense within their asanas, the hard within soft. It's so easy and needs only a little bit of the mind, but mainstream yoga has lost its mind.

Yoga, as taught in most studios, isn't suited for 24 hour mind-body meditation.
Many Austinites have realized it's easier to integrate the many visualizations of Tai Chi moving meditation into their daily lives. Compared to Tai Chi, mainstream yoga is scant in mind-body exercises to take from the studio into the real world of work, home, and play.  
In order to excel above and beyond the competition, athletes should to take their workout outside the gym and into their personal life. That means exercising their mind-body system 24 hours a day through active visualization meditation. You won't reach your true potential without 24 hour mind-body exercise.

Tai Chi and Qigong has over a billion practitioners worldwide
The vast majority of yoga practitioners seem content with the same repetitive breathing and stretching exercises reserved for the studio. A growing number of Austin's athlete yoga dropouts, however, have moved onward and joined with the over one billion worldwide Tai Chi and Qigong practitioners. They're discovering Tai Chi's refreshing and infinite variety of mind-body visualizations you can practice all day long.

Thousands are discovering that the best mind-body practice isn't limited to the studio. Physical, mental, and spiritual renewal occurs with more serendipity when you integrate classroom instruction into your daily life. Tai Chi practice during work, play, and while at home gives athletes the best opportunity for success in positive transformation and peak performance.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Combat Tai Chi Chuan Goes Beyond Hand Striking Water Kung Fu

by Lester Sawicki

Grand Ultimate Fist isn't a myth.
Tai Chi Chuan, translated as Grand Ultimate Fist, is never used in mixed martial arts tournaments. In fact, most hard style combat martial artists see Tai Chi Chuan as nothing more than a pretty dance, empty of any truly effective life-or-death kicks, punches, and choke holds.

There's a mystery behind the power hiding within the gentle art of Grand Ultimate Fist. It continues to live on in the myths of ancient superhuman martial artists. The myth, however, becomes a reality once you meet up with a superhuman Tai Chi master, but you'll need great luck to discover him. There aren't many high level Tai Chi masters in the world. Even fewer that display their special skills to the public.

Tai Chi Chuan swims in the ocean of chi.
If you'd like the most basic understanding of how a soft style Tai Chi Chuan master becomes nearly invincible against a hard style fighter, you have to study the differences between a person moving in water and air.

Tai Chi Chuan is like walking on sand and swimming in the ocean. Most hard style martial artists, today, can only kick and punch effectively if standing on a solid surface. The Tai Chi master, however, is trained to move and breathe both standing on soft sand and totally submerged in water.

Where did Tai Chi Chuan originate?
The discussion remains open as to whether Tai Chi Chuan had its origins in the high mountains or lowlands. We do know that the lowlanders trained on sandy beaches, if they were accessible.

Beach training was a dirty business that most students disliked. Unlike today's lessons that take place on clean wood floors with carpet or foam padding, beach training included falling and rolling in the gritty sand. It was a messy business washing out all the sand and salt from clothes and body after practice. The water was chilling cold with sand stuck in your eyes, ears, and nose long after breakfast.

The advantage to beach training is that walking and moving on sand takes two to three times more energy than on hard surfaces. It works the body harder, burning more calories in a shorter period of time. If a beach wasn't accessible, traditional Tai Chi Chuan martial artists would do their workouts on hard ground or wood floors using imagination to replicate standing and stepping on soft sand. This gave them an edge in stability and stamina compared to most other hard style experts.

Without access to a beach, a Tai Chi master would train by imagining himself moving and fighting submerged in water. Ocean water is a destabilizing sea of energy with wave after wave pounding against your body. The master's fighting tactic is to trick a land loving opponent to enter his water world of qi (chi). The landlubber would then feel like he fell into a whirlpool of quicksand and lose his focus, easily losing to the master.

It makes no difference what skill level a hardstyle opponent brings into the ocean of chi. His great disadvantage is that he's never worked out on a soft flowing surface like sand or fought submerged in water. His mind becomes shocked and confused by the instability he experiences with waves of qi pounding against him, sucking him into the master's tentacles.

Study the laws of swimming.
The common skills of self-defense change once you step from dry land into water. Think of it in terms of swimming.

Swimming and breathing in water requires a different skill than moving and breathing on land. It requires special training.
  • The more relaxed and slowly you move in water, the easier it is and the less energy you expend to go from point A to point B.
  • Because moving slowly and gracefully in water takes less energy, you'll conserve more oxygen for greater stamina.
  • Study marine animals and you'll see that the most efficient and effective way to go from point A to point B is always along a curved line. 
  • Hand strikes and punches in water are more effective if the power comes from the chest rather than swinging arms.
  • Aquatic breathing mimics fish gills and takes special training.
  • You can use your lungs and the law of buoyancy to help control your movements.
  • You can tap into the energy of the ocean waves for more control and power. 
  • You have the options of floating, sinking or standing firm on the sandy bottom.

Create a sea of chi.
Since most battles occur on land, Tai Chi Chuan as a form of combat is fairly limited unless you can create a Tai Chi Chuan churning sea of chi around you. Yes, chi is real. A Tai Chi master harnesses it with his mind and swims in it on land. If an opponent attacks using hard style tactics, his punches and kicks will be blunted and dispersed by the master's sea of chi, as if he were fighting in sucking whirlpool or pounding riptide of deep ocean water.

The odds of a physical hard style martial artist winning against an authentic Tai Chi master are slim but not impossible. It's all about being in the right place, in the right way, and at the right time. Unfortunately, for most challengers, it would take great luck to find himself in that space.

You can read more about how a Tai Chi master creates his sea of chi in the book Taichi: A Personal Learning Experience by Arthur Orawski. 


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Austin TX Most Popular Weight Loss and Fitness Workout Is...

by Lester Sawicki

The most successful weight loss exercise is...
Are you looking for a workout which over the last thousand years met with the most universal success for health, fitness, and weight loss?  An exercise that challenges the cardiovascular system? Strengthens your core? Stress relief? Flexibility and balance? Weight loss and toning?

Austin's Fit4Zip™ offers Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ which is the perfect workout. It binds the mind and body into something fast and slow, hard and soft, physical and mental. It's an exercise you can seamlessly take out of the gym and do any time at home or during work and play, all without any special equipment other than your body and brain.

Uniquely designed for both couch potato and pro athlete.
You can start Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ no matter where you are in your fitness scale. For the couch potato it's as easy as sitting and rising off the floor during a home movie. Pro athletes use it to break through stubborn plateaus.

Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ is about making small changes in the way you think about weight loss fitness exercise. It builds on small steps of success that last a lifetime. Work with a Fit4Zip™ professional Tai Chi trainer to make a plan and  work the plan uniquely designed for your goal.

Gong Fu means consistent effort.
Most people fail in their fitness and weight loss goals because they want everything right now. Tai Chi is the brilliant perfect mind-body gong fu exercise that dishes out real results over time with consistent effort.

Perfect Tai Chi Fitness™ can help you change your entire fitness and weight loss thinking in a week. Slow and steady with a plan that works. Guaranteed!


Monday, September 8, 2014

Tai Chi Shoes Deliver More Energy With Retro Walking

by Lester Sawicki

There's power in your Tai Chi shoes when you walk backward.
If you're training under a competent Tai Chi teacher, the very first move you'll learn is downward-backward. Don't take it lightly as being too simple a technique to do. Downward-backward is how you start all basic Tai Chi forms. It's how you put chi energy into your Tai Chi shoes. Master this one simple movement and your training will progress faster.

Retro Walking
Generally speaking, if you want to speed up your Tai Chi training you'll want to do a lot of walking outside of the studio. Walking is something we're all expert at and it's easier to get in touch with your chi if you meditate while doing something that's second nature rather than complicating the process with 108 Tai Chi forms. The best way to practice the downward-backward form is by walking backward.

Backward walking should make up about 5-10% of your walking time. That means at least 50 steps back for every 1000 steps forward. Some call it retro walking. Once you're good at retro walking you can transition into retro jogging, retro running, and retro sprinting.

Fit4Zip™ puts heavy emphasis on walking backwards. We recommend doing it daily. It's one of the best exercises for self-discovery. Your life's journey forward always begins with a movement downward-backward. The theory is, if you know where you came from then you'll better know how to get where you're going. The Tai Chi Classics call it returning to your origin by separating yin from yang. Knowing front from back.

Walking backwards, in a safe environment, can be very relaxing and meditative where you'll feel like you're gazing into the spotless mirror of the Tao.

A Chinese walking secret
The ancient Tai Chi Masters discovered the benefits of backward walking. It must have been one of their secrets because the first Tai Chi Masters that came to America in the early 1960's never talked much about it, even though it's a type of qigong the Chinese have been doing for centuries. It wasn't until western sports exercise research in the early 1970's that the physical benefits were scientifically validated. Backward Running by Robert K. Stevenson was the first book published on the topic.

The measurable benefits of retro walking reflect exactly what Tai Chi is claimed to produce:
  • More erect posture
  • Less slouching
  • Realigned vertebrae and more open disc space for greater chi flow
  • More supple spine
  • Improved center of gravity
  • Better balance
  • Stronger leg muscles
  • Quickness
  • Stamina
  • Improved peripheral vision
  • Increase in proprioception
  • More natural abdominal breathing
  • Increased oxygen consumption and higher heart rate allows a shorter workout time
  • Promotes coordination and stabilization
  • Prevents knee injuries with gentler biomechanics
  • Attains a superior level of physical fitness
  • It's neurobic which can cause new neural connections to grow in your brain
  • It can sharpen your mind with improved concentration
Put enough time into backward walking and your Tai Chi skill will take a huge jump forward.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Don't Buy Tai Chi Shoes Before Reading This

by Lester Sawicki

Tai Chi barefoot, like a baby.
Some Tai Chi Chuan martial art schools teach their students to train in the shoes they'd typically be wearing while out on the street. The idea is that, if you're attacked on the street, you'll be most comfortable and capable defending yourself wearing shoes you train in. The theory might sound reasonable until you unlace it because, first of all, the chances of getting physically attacked on the street are pretty small today.

Most violent criminals have weapons. Carrying a gun on your person would protect you a heck of a lot more that your Tai Chi skills ever would. Even if you do get assaulted by a non-carrying person, Tai Chi Chuan isn't going to help much unless you started sparring at a young age with a variety of tough-minded martial artists. In order to be effective in real life situations, fighting and sparring skills have to be driven into you while you are young and growing, under the age of 25. That's why Tai Chi, today, is studied more for meditation and exercise than as a self-defense.

Teaching Tai Chi is no different than helping an infant learn to walk. You'd never expect an infant to stand up from a crawl while it's laying on a large bouncy balloon. An infant learns best with bare feet standing on hard stable ground in order to push itself up into a balanced standing position.

Most athletic shoes sold today have thick bouncy cushioned soles, like a balloon with laces. A beginning Tai Chi student, even one that's a top athlete with excellent balance skills, will struggle more with shock absorbing soles that make learning the principles of Tai Chi rooting and suspension difficult.

Minimal zero-drop shoes
The old timer tai chi masters that lived in remote villages long avoided wearing modern rubber sole athletic shoes. Most would only wear shoes made of cloth or leather. Maybe it was the cost, but there could have been some Tai Chi logic behind their stubborn resistance.

A beginning Tai Chi student should always practice barefoot or wear socks, moccasins and other shoes with minimal sole thickness and zero drop. Zero drop means the shoes are designed without a built-up heel or a steep slope from the heel to the forefoot. A sole of about 4 mm. or less would be ideal.

The logic behind it is that with each step you take your foot absorbs the earth's vibration and reflects it throughout the entire body. It's part of the process of collecting chi elastic energy into your tendons and bones. The more interference you have between the earth and your foot, the more difficult it is to absorb the earth's vibration. Having your foot closer to the ground also increases balance and stability.

In self-defense, the chi you collect and store using your mind, body, and earth transmits into your opponent as an attacking force. It's released from your fingertips, fist, elbow, foot and any other part of your body. Your mind's imagination is actually the major player in collecting, storing, and transmitting chi, but having the soles of your feet, not the arch, as close to the ground as possible makes it easier for a beginner to tap into the process.

Remember! The arch is where chi is pulled back like a bow, and shoes with minimal zero drop soles help develop and stabilize the foot arch.

Bubble wrap on your feet
Some seasoned Tai Chi practitioners say putting on today's 'stress protective' athletic shoes feel like lacing their feet into bubble wrap. Using a shoe during Tai Chi practice to protect your feet and joints from stress is not the quickest way to mastery. Wearing shoes with a thick shock absorbing sole dampens vibrations making it difficult to reap the full benefits of Tai Chi exercise. A study from the National University of Health Sciences has also shown that wearing barefoot shoes improves balance and lessens knee pain.

Once you become experienced, especially with the concept of qi, shoes don't matter as much.


P.S.
When you're startled into thinking there's a predator nearby, the most natural reaction is to step backwards in a circle to search out the danger. Walking backwards, however, has many more benefits beyond the survival instinct in self-defense. 

Interestingly, when you walk backwards, your heart rate tends to rise higher than it does when walking forward at the same pace, which suggests you can get greater cardiovascular and calorie-burning benefits in a shorter period of time.

There appear to be “neurobic” benefits for your brain, too, meaning it requires brain activity that may help you stay mentally sharp. Researchers found that when you walk backwards, it sharpens your thinking skills, improves balance, vision, and enhances cognitive control.

You live your life forward. Walking backward gives you time to meditate on all you've passed. 

Fit4Zip™ highly recommends you walk backwards daily for health, fitness, and self-defense.

To learn more read Tai Chi Shoes Deliver More Energy With Retro Walking.