Setting the Knee (Part One)

I have long advised taijiquan practitioners to consciously “Set the Knee” before loading the substantial leg. Meaning, you make sure that your structure is in place before you put weight on it. The knee should be in the optimal load-bearing position before asking it to handle not just the weight of the body, but also the force generated by the powerful muscles of the legs, back, and buttocks. To which I now add, “No, really.” The habitual patterns established long, long, LONG ago tend to override that simple instruction and filter it out. It requires a conscious decision to tell… Read More

Reflections on TCA in Sedona 2017

After 23 tries I think I’m starting to get the hang of this. The 23rd annual Tai Chi Alchemy in Sedona wrapped up a couple months ago and the magic is still very much alive for me. The love, laughter, and open-hearted appreciation of this group pervade my every breath. TCA arises each September, Brigadoon-like, in the exquisite red rocks of Sedona. We enter a time warp and seemingly pack a year of experience into a few short days. People start to roll in a week early to get their full measure. Newcomers are greeted as old friends. Old friends… Read More

SuperConscious! Seeing With Three Eyes.

  SuperConscious! is the theme of September’s Tai Chi Alchemy in Sedona. The idea was central to my talk at the Society for Consciousness Studies Conference in June, and it has been at the core of my research for a long time. This is a continuation of a discussion begun in two recent posts: “Awareness vs. Consciousness” and “Conscious and Preconscious.” If you haven’t checked them out recently, I recommend you do so before going on. It’s ok. I’ll wait. Some will recognize the idea of “Seeing with Three Eyes” from Chapter Six of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate: Eye… Read More

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

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