“Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.” ― Bertrand Russell,
I mentioned to students of mine that I never do any weapons practice outside of the studio. I do not trust the public at all to have any discrimination between legitimate use of a practice sword and exercise with that implement. I trust even less the officers of statute who have even less common sense in dealing with the Tai Chi player going about his exercise. The growing trend of marginalising and demonising martial arts practitioners is now of epidemic proportions.
There was a case, not so long ago when a man on Hampstead Heath was surrounded by the Para Military wing of the police force, all because some person of low IQ, infected with media fear, reported to the police that a bloke with a sword running about the Heath. In actuality the man in question was going through a fluffy slow moving straight sword Tai Chi form. ( clearly a plastic sword and clearly an exercise ) His back was facing the stealthy Para Miltaries closing in on him. So utterly frightened for their safety and eager to defend the realm they ordered the man " Put down your weapon , " scared shitless the Tai Chi warrior turned slowly to witness a group of super cops training their sights on him. "it's a plastic Tai Chi sword" the man whimpered!! ...."Drop the weapon or we WILL shoot " My thoughts about acts of structured cretinism need no amplification at this point.
On a more serious note: if that can happen to someone exercising with a plastic sword then this more next example should make you think seriously about never going outside with your practice weapon and never with a shiny metal replica sword, no matter how blunt. In this next case the man arguably was lucky to get away with his life. We live in a world now where warnings may or may not be given by armed police units and we run the serious risk of some andrenalised officer letting off a round or two to probably to avert the next Boxer Rebellion.
In this next case the Tai Chi player gets a custodial sentence for practicing in some woodland with a metal practice sword. (A conditional discharge is where an offender is not punished at the time of sentence, but receives a period of grace, often for 12 months. If the offender were to be convicted of another offence during the period of discharge, they face being sentenced for that offence, as well as the original offence.) I am disgusted that this even went ti court let alone that the poor man be treated as a criminal, which clearly the judge said he was not and yet sentenced him as if he were.
For martial arts practitioners it is not illegal to possess or practice with a blunt metal practice sword. I tell my students that I no longer go to the park even with a wooden sword as I know only too well what kind of world we live in.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 24 February, 2014
Motivation is the key to getting things done. Without a motive factor nothing will occur. Let’s face it we are generally motivated by security and making money to provide that security. If you think this is not so then be unemployed and see if your creative expression flourishes during an patch of no income.
We all have stories because we need motive factors to live. There are good and bad stories. Does the story I have serve me well or hinder me. The thoughts behind my story are the motive factors. Does a person who wants to be a policeman do so to help people, or does he/ she want a career where he/she can have power over people. What is the back story, what motivates the Copper, Soldier, Politician or priest. We make assumptions based on our own story about what motivates them based on personal experience or mostly borrowed stories from the media and we side with the story that fits our neurosis. Where does someone else’s story end and my own begin. Can you trust what you think. Do you really know if what you think based on anything that is personally experienced and thought through or just what is pumped in via and episode of LOST.
During times when we have some spare time we could do spiritual practice, meditation, yoga and tai chi, painting, perhaps write a novel or a screenplay or maybe make great strides in awareness because we have the time to practice. But if you have been in such a situation where you have time and no money, you may notice a subtle story going on in the back of your mind that goes a bit like this , “one day when I am secure in job and income and therefore have enough to have the peace of mind I will then be able to pursue what I desire to do”. It could be a different story. But if you are not doing in your life what turns you on, illuminates or fulfills you then running some kind story about who you think you are. What else could stop you doing what you want to do but yourself.
We create stories all the time. Old stories embedded into the mind, the very tissue bristling with feelings of revenge, needing to belong, to love be loved, respected or to even abused, or a story like, “I just want to be left alone to do my thing” Then there are the new stories. Ah, now I have learned a new technique and this special technique will bring admiration and it is so special that I will be successful in business ” only to discover that then when you come back into time you realize that nobody actually cares how special the technique is, they just wanted something done and you were close by and they could afford to pay.
The mind is brimming with old and new stories that stain and obscure and can produce in one a distinct lack of flexibility to life situations. These stories are in nature self limiting. Our externally experience is constantly changing yet we tend to simply react in predictable ways, even in ways that others can predict.” I knew he would do that”, “I knew she would do this and react that way”. How we take life is usually preordained because we match the world to these self stories where we have the starring role and like a petulant star when life does not match the story we freak out.
The main point is that what limits beings in every way are stories. In the developed world we have it easy because we have opportunity to learn many many things and to create avenues for our creative expression. if you have creative leanings and are not producing and if you have time on your hands and yet do nothing but create obstacles in your mind, then, when alone and quiet ask what story am I running? what am I not seeing, if you see the story then maybe you will see the negative feelings within your self that created the story as a defense against the world and you can let it go.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 12 February, 2014
'Relaxation is the crying need of our age, but what it is and how to attain it are still unanswered questions" Mabel Elsworth Todd 1937
Has much changed since Mabel uttered these words?
What does relaxation really mean and is such a state meaningful or even achievable?. I think that the collective ego of our Corporate Gods wants the little ego of individuals to be so involved in distraction that we choose more distraction as a substitute for real relaxation. If you want to see the collective face of misery then ride the London tube, a seething mass of mental health problems masquerading as life.
Relaxation is a lack of unneccssary tension in repose and in effort. An instant and complete felt sense of ease. It is expedient effort, pure balance, a state that is experienced without having to create it, it arises out of aware activity. When we cease our activity we can be genuinely at rest and ready again for movement. When we are addicted to our life story and are not being aware in the moment it is easy to miss the perpetual opportunity to relax. What comes first letting go or relaxation? or do you have to first relax to get space or do you let go and then experience relaxation?
What is clear to me is that we must to want to relax. We have to be prepared to lose our attachment to tension, our addiction for seeking out trouble. Tension will always attract more tension !
Do we approach our day in a relaxed way, or we are agitated, frustrated and charged up, endlessly looking for the next sugar fix. Food is saturated with so much sugar, preservative, additives thatany normal level of anxiety we have goes off the scale once we consume everyday processed food..
The action to relax is a felt sense experience. To relax is a sensation and a feeling, in essence it is an experience. Move through life at the speed necessary to get things done and leaving room inside for repose. If you are stressed out and brushing shoulders with your breaking point, the last thing you want to do is hit the gym, run home from work or plan a jaunt up Kilimanjaro in some vain effort to create pseudo relaxation or even to placate your own egotistical ideals ( or the ideals of others ) when really it would be wise to discover whether you are relaxed enough to engage in strenuous physical activity at all.
We were not born tense, we certainly experience tension but we do not have to own it or become it because one day it will make no sense at all to hold on. If we can encourage the feeling of relaxation at every turn of events then whatever we attempt to do, we can do in a relaxed way. If we keep some awareness of our energy levels then we will have a better chance to actively relax. Aspire to be relaxed and get used to the experience.
There seems to be a lot of false ideas about how to relax. A relaxing break away. So we jump in our car and we book a B&B in the country only to discover that the roads are so busy and the weather so incumbent that by the time we get through with the relaxing break we need a holiday to get over the stress. This is a false idea that we have to do something else to create the state of relaxation, when what we can do is try to breathe a bit deeper and let our body relax and if the weather is incumbent we relax a bit more. Take a holiday inside yourself, so that you can relax at will.
We can exercise our mind whilst focusing on good posture, gentle observation of breath and a healthy dose of intelligent movement that balances our vital energy/ the life force. We can develop relaxation simply by keeping a natural posture. Yeah, the one we all forget about..
stage one practice : when alone ( in any position, lying down, sitting or even when standing, let your whole skull and face go limp, ( I am doing this as I write, it is out there for the experiencing ) utterly let your face, eyes , ears , nose, lips, jaw and throat relax and notice what happens to the sensation of your whole body, do this for 60 seconds with complete conviction! let the feeling course through every nerve and tissue of your body, this may cause you to spontaneously breathe deeply. Now remember this feeling and recreate this attitude and feeling when you next feel stressed. Catch the moment and imprint the feeling .You do not need to dissolve your face in public, but in private reinforce the feeling frequently.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 23 January, 2014
Below is a good blog link written by a top London Acupunctirist Dan Maxwell on the topic of Corporate Health and the emotive tag line of deception. We need to keep talking more and more about this topic. The image of health is seen as the Holy Grail, rather than encouraging ( mindful, intelligent exercise ) as Daniel clearly points out, being stressed compounded by quick fly by intense Gym work burns energy, which especially impacts the hormonal system and the nerves. If you start to burn your reserves of vital energy, you will end up with no reserves.. High impact exercise led to an epidemic of ruptured bodies in the 80's. The pathetically unitelligent Aerobics craze, did it just go underground to resurface in disguise as new high impact exercise.
Brian McHade's Personal Qi Gong application on Alaska to San Franciso Bike Ride
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 3 December, 2013
You can read about how my student and Hun Yuan teacher Brian McHade used Hun Yuan to overcome being stranded literally hundreds of miles for anywhere. As Brian told me, he over did it one day and he could not ride any more. As he was in the wilds of Alaskan country there was considerable peril to the story. Fantastic Photo's as well.
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 16 October, 2013
All movement can be very beneficial ( intelligent
movement is even more efficacious) for us and standing believe it or not
is a form of movement. It burns up more calories than sitting about,
which is the accepted new age form of living now! and there is apparent
science to back it up this claim. Standing for 3 hours a day over the
period of a year is equivalent to running 10 marathons, according to Dr
John Buckley from the University of Chester.
If you decide to stand about, you can learn how to do it well .
Mmm, I must run the equivalent of a marathon a week.
here is a link a very interesting article on the findings of Dr Buckley
Self-proclaimed qigong master attracts officials and celebrities
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 2 September, 2013
This is the not Qi Gong....you have been warned.RT
Qigong, the ancient Chinese healing practice, has seen a
revival in popularity of late, becoming one of the latest fads for
celebrities. Although a number of pseudo-qigong masters have
been revealed as frauds, losing much of their appeal with the public,
their celebrity fan base appears to be more loyal than most.
devotion of prominent personalities to their masters came to light
recently when photos surfaced of Ma Yun (Jack Ma), the billionaire
founder and ex-CEO of the Alibaba Group, visiting Wang Lin, a
self-proclaimed qigong master from Pingxiang in Jiangxi
Province. The reaction online was one of shock that such a successful
entrepreneur could fall prey to a charlatan like Wang.
Chris Chappell, Master of Taoism June 30, 2013 by the gentle author
Posted by Christopher Chappell on 8 July, 2013
Chris Chappell, Master of Taoism
June 30, 2013
by the gentle author
photo: Alex Pink
Turn right off Brick Lane into a narrow courtyard and there, in a long gallery above an old stable, you will find Chris Chappell,
the Spitalfields Master of Taoism. Blessed with a sinuous grace in his
movement, Chris appears possessed with a spirit of another world –
Having a functional rear end is s useful thing to have. Taking away the visual aspect of the derriere there is a lot to be said for having a healthy Stern. The problem arises not because of the Bunns themselves but because of the inveterate disconnect between a life expressed in feeling and moving in a healthful way when compared to sliding eerily into the sedentary hypnosis of modern work and home life.
We have become biological waste storage units stacked up on mighty hindquarters. We need bigger keister's to support distended putrifying colons. The toxic cocktails of animal flesh pumped full to the brim with growth hormone, pesticides, sugar, internal organ run off literally poisons us from the inside out. One saving grace is to claim back our body and have a physical life , a life that engages us in some serious movement to at least help the elimination of the nutrient dead cardboard that often passes for food.
You may think that it cannot be that bad, well I am afraid it is worse than that. Cancer and heart disease are legion and growing like a Australian wildfire. We only get our information from the people who want us to be servile, static and compliant. Wake up and get out and enjoy a life of moving and feeling.
Below is a link to an article in the Telegraph. regarding sedentary lifestyles in Britain