Fighter or Martial Artist? Which Are You?

This article appeared in Inside Kung Fu magazine, Spring 07. Ten years ago!   Fighter or Martial Artist? Which are You? by Rick Barrett “He’s a martial artist, sure…but can he fight?” How often have you heard (or said) some variation of that refrain? It is actually an important question, but it does beg other questions: Is there a difference between martial arts and fighting? Is there value in martial arts independent of preparation for fighting? Does such a distinction matter? There are some who would answer the last question with a resounding “No”. To them such a distinction is… Read More

Coherence and the Human Microbiome

“Human microbiome”? This was a term that was not really on my radar until very recently. Sure, I had encountered in the past and had some vague ideas about its relationship to health, but it was pretty far down the list of things to think about. Thanks to a fortuitous encounter with Rhonda Wilbur, acupuncturist and PhD candidate in Integrative Biomedical Sciences, that changed very recently. (Here is a study she co-authored titled, “Collaborative study by USF and China partner reveals acupuncture can treat hypertension through antioxidant effects.”) She is researching the relationship of the human microbiome on immunology and… Read More

Taste Your Food, Dammit!

Ooh, a donut! I see them beautifully arrayed on a tray and they are calling to me. My mind is immediately awash in the epic donuts from my youth. Sometimes my friends and I would drive thirty miles to Meadville from Franklin to catch the “Spudnuts” as they rolled down the conveyor belt at midnight, still hot and moist and deliriously good. I order a French cruller and coffee and eagerly bite in. Disappointment! It tastes nothing like the heroic donuts of my halcyon memories. I stuff it in my mouth out of habit, but grudgingly. This one falls way… Read More

Instant Meditation? What Does That Even Mean?

I’ve gotten  some pushback lately about my use of the term “Instant Meditation.” It was felt that calling it “instant” trivializes the long hours that experienced meditators spend in their own practice, as if all the same results could be gotten in an instant. This surprised me. I hadn’t considered that it could be read that way. Did I need to call it something else, or just do a better job of clarifying what I meant? What I was trying to say with “Instant Meditation” was that substantially increasing energetic coherence has the effect of clearing the mind and calming… Read More

Tai Chi Alchemy visits China – Day 1

It was the trip of a lifetime for me. Last spring my friend/teacher, Master Yang Fukui, suggested we visit Wudang Mountain, the legendary birthplace of taijiquan. We would also visit his hometown of Tianjin, another place with a rich martial arts history (see Jet Li’s film Fearless).  Sign me up! I had visited Beijing in ’99, a great trip, but going to Wudang with Master Yang was like a back stage pass to a world I could never access on my own. Maria was immediately up for the adventure, and so were some Tai Chi Alchemy regulars: Jonathan Bricklin, Mike… Read More