Steel Bar Wrapped in Cotton

Poet Linda Addison recently thanked me for introducing her to Bone Breathing. Years ago she was diagnosed with osteopenia, a condition where bone mineral density is lower than normal. It is sometimes a precursor to osteoporosis. a serious loss of bone mass that makes bones highly susceptible to breakage. She credits Bone Breathing and taijiquan with a correction of her her current state of good bone health. She is not alone. May others have experienced profound improvement in bone density. One of the promises of taijiquan is to develop bones that are like “steel bars wrapped in cotton.” Muscular tension is… Read More

Unhitched and Untethered

I watched a lot of westerns when I was a kid. Gunsmoke, The Lone Ranger, Wild Bill Hickok, Have Gun Will Travel…the list goes on. It was a staple of our meager television diet when there were only three channels available and the world was seen in black and white. One thing always puzzled me as I watched this feast of oatburners. The cowpoke would ride up to the saloon and would loop the reins over the hitching post to park his horse. No sailors knot required. Not even a granny knot. Just once around that post and this half-ton… Read More

Tensegrity Revisited

Check out this video by Thomas Myers, author of Anatomy Trains. It is a lively explanation of how the connective tissue system uses the principle of tensegrity to greatly enhance its effective power as well as its reliance. Myers is an authority on the myofascial network and his explanations are clear and colorful. In Chapter 14 “Tensegrity” of Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate, I discuss the importance of this principle: Chinese martial arts and Chinese healing arts have long emphasized the importance of the connective tissue system in the conduction of internal energy. The Western model has primarily focused on… Read More

Song Kua: Clarification

I devoted a chapter to the kua in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate and it’s time to clarify what is meant by song kua. (pronounced soong) I recently posted the steps to take to get more from your kua and I’d like to sharpen the focus a little here. For years, I have been telling students to “release” the kua in preparation for any movement. And that is still true. But don’t stop there. “Releasing” gets you out of the habitual hip tension that prevails in our culture. (I blame it on the flush toilet. In China, where you squat… Read More

Big Change! Getting More From Your Kua

Understanding the kua is essential to internal gongfu. It’s what connects the legs to the torso physically and energetically. I devoted a chapter to it in Taijiquan: Through the Western Gate:            The pivotal point for the nine-channeled pearl is the hip area, known as the kua. It is more than the ball-and-socket hip joint, taking in the whole area, centering at the inguinal crease. It includes the relationship between the thigh and the torso.             The kua includes some of the strongest muscles in the body. It is the area that we use when we… Read More