The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Sunday, September 11, 2005


Just had my student George over for a Tai Chi class, and I think it went well.  George I've known for almost twenty years, and he's a hell of a good guy, with some body image and emotional issues, and if I can help him move to the next level of his life, it will be a real triumph.  We started by speaking of his general life issues, and there was (as always) some philisophical discussion, designed to place the physical work in the context of his life.
Body, mind, spirit.  That's one triangle.  You have to have goals in each.  Fitness, career, emotions/relationship.  You should be able to visualize the goal, to feel it in your guts.  This is what creates motivation.
Breath, motion, structure.  This is what composes a physical technique.  Another triangle.  Five times a day, you stop for at least 60 seconds and reconnect.  As you do, visualize your triangle of technique.  Then your triangle of goals.  Overlap them.  Feel them as powerfully as possible.
We worked joint circles (basic Warrior Wellness--elementary motor components).  Then Tibetans, integrating Be Breathed.  Then Tai Chi.  He's got the first five or six movements, and we went over them five or six times. 
Then I had him work on Eclipse, the series of movements Scott Sonnon created for me.  Call them Sophisticated Tibetans--in other words, they are designed to support the body in the same way the Tibetans do, be as easy for beginners or the physically challenged, but also:
1)  Be challenging enough for a pro athlete
2) continually sophisticate, so that the mind is engaged.
3) Be infinitely adjustable, so that exertion levels can be controlled even in the middle of the exercise.
4) Break emotional tension chains in the body, to release energy and remove fear.
5) Work flexibility, strength, balance, coordination, and endurance--the basic components of fitness, all in 20 minutes.
I'm experimenting with it now with my self, my students, and my daughter Nicki.  When I am certain it performs as I hoped, I'll be sharing it more fully with you guys, but one of my cardinal rules is that I never want to hurt the people who have trusted me.
to that end, I use some of Coach Sonnon's protocol, which would be useful to anyone practising Tai Chi, yoga, or any other progressive, evolutionary discipline.
1) concentrate on the exhalation.  Exhale on compression.  Let the inhalation happen naturally as you relax between compressions.
2) Keep your level of perceived pain  below a "3" on a scale of 1-10
3) Keep your perceived exertion level below a "7" on a scale of 1-10.
4) Keep your excellence of form above a "7" on a scale of 1-10.
5) Let the end of one motion be the beginning of another.

Staying in the aerobic zone means being able to talk, but not sing.  Stay in this "zone" for about 20 minutes to trigger 2nd wind, which opens the door to the Fear Removal technique. 
I had George work using a folding chair for support, and it seemed to work fine.  I stopped him a few times to have him check in on the exertion and pain.  And also to make certain that those darned Monkey Mind voices didn't give him a raft of crap.  He is a very good man, and a loyal friend.  I'm delighted to be training him again.


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