Posts Tagged ‘stress’


The internal martial arts train the student to become more powerful in his everyday world, not just in fighting itself.  They were a way of encoding ancient secrets of keeping your body and mind young throughout your life and developing magnified vitality.

The first principle is the use of minimum movement.  While you duck away from a strike, you move only an inch away from the opponent’s fist.  When you strike, you tense your arm only as much as needed to prevent the arm from collapsing.  Your power comes from the sequential expansion of your joints and muscles from the ground up.  The power is a surge through the body and the body as a whole stays still. 

In everyday life you change your perspective from reacting to the negative qualities of other people to letting go of the “handle” that other people seem to have on you that allows them to affect you with their behavior.  Your mind and emotions become like a still lake.  The lake reflects the scene around it but is not disturbed by that scene.  In the same way, you are fully aware of all that is going on around you but you have dropped the internal mechanism that makes your “internal waters” choppy.

This does not result in losing your emotions.  It just means that your emotions don’t get churned up because of the behavior of other people.  You are still affected by the beauty around you and your connection to nature.  The result is that you can be the calm in the middle of the storm and clearly see how to be effective in any situation.  In our modern world the “storm” never seems to end.

In grappling, you can maneuver the part of the body the other person grabs while keeping the rest of the body calm.  Your whole body is not thrown by the force of the opponent.  If he grabs your arm, your arm joints, including the shoulder, move and rotate to deflect his force.  If he grabs you from behind, a small shift in the hip joint can break his connection to the ground (his “root”) and allow you to throw him. 

Your body becomes a collection of many parts and you have control over each part individually.  When confronted with force you don’t tense up the whole body.  Instead you direct his force through your body into your own root and use it to strengthen your foundation.  Once the opponent’s force has been drained in this way, you can throw him.

In our everyday lives we have many “parts”.  There is the physical part, the emotional part, the mental part, the spiritual part, etc.  The study of how to keep all those parts in balance is called, “The Elements”.  In this training we learn to be a “passive observer” (of our own behavior) as if we were an audience member watching a play.  We ask ourselves, “Does our behavior make any sense?”  Then we play the part of the director and adjust the script.

In this way we don’t have an investment in any particular pattern of behaviors.  We realize that we are not those behaviors – that we are so much more.  We are a beautiful, natural creature connected to the rest of nature.  So much of what wears us out in everyday life is our investment in a set of behaviors that hurt us.  Even though we know that our addictions and negative behaviors hurt us, we feel they are us and we don’t want to change who we are.

The key is to learn who we truly are – not a set of damaging behaviors but an incredible interaction of many parts, all of which are connected to every other part of nature.  We learn to become like an orchestra conductor harmonizing many instruments to play a beautiful piece of music, and that music is our lives.

When I listen to Public Broadcasting programs of the oldies groups, I am still amazed at the talent of those groups.  It used to be all about the music.  While there is still talent to be found now, it is more about the money now.  I don’t hear the kind of talent there used to be (or at least that kind of talent can’t seem to get commercially successful).  We use a lot of throw away products now that are cheaply made.  Is that what is happening to our lives? 

Even our religions, which are supposed to guide us, are more cheaply made.  If you are a member of this religion you will go to heaven.  If you are a member of any other, you won’t.  So religions are based more on the fear of going to hell than on spiritual development.  That to me is “cheap” religion.

The cheapening of lives wears us out.  When we yearn for value in our lives, to develop ourselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually, we continue to grow and improve throughout life.  We become healthier, stronger, smarter and happier.  The quality of our lives reflects the quality of our products and our art. 

Martial arts are called an “art” because they really train you to improve your everyday life.  The internal martial arts teach you how to let go of unnecessary movements and behaviors, to stay calm in the midst of turmoil and to become intimately aware of the balance of your “parts” so that you stay in harmony within yourself.  They teach you that sparring is not a struggle but the art of remaining calm and centered and yet effective. 

You strive not to conquer the opponent, but to conquer your own ineffectiveness.  You learn that your power comes from your awareness of what is going on around you and your stillness – reacting only as much as is necessary.  In this way you don’t wear yourself out by living life as a great struggle. 

As the minutes and hours go by in your life ask yourself if you are enjoying those minutes and hours.  How much of the day is spent being aggravated and worried and how much enjoying life?  Isn’t it worth investing time to change that proportion?  Life goes by quickly and time can’t be recovered. 

While ancient knowledge can’t help us with modern technology it can help us change that proportion.  It can help us stay healthier and more active throughout our lives, enjoy each day and become more effective.  That is the kind of technology some of the ancient cultures were good at.  While Tai-chi and Zookinesis may seem just like physical exercises or a martial art, they really teach so much more.  They are a treasure of ancient knowledge.


Tai-chi Massage is a form of acupressure that is part of the Zookinesis system. Physically, it uses finger and palm pressure as well as muscle and fascial stretching. With the Zookinesis background, the masseur is able to apply a pressure along a very narrow channel through the outer muscles and into interior muscles, thus achieving a great depth of effect.
The most unique aspect of this massage is that the masseur can connect his own attention directly to the attention and internal energy of each muscle. Within the chi and attention of the muscle lies the mechanism that is tensing the muscle (by causing the nerves to agitate the muscle fibers). The masseur lines up his attention and chi with that of the person being massaged (the client) and uses his own will to “convince” the muscle to release.
The initial pressure applied is very light. As the muscle lets go of its tension, the masseur then adds pressure in the direction that the muscle is already releasing. He does not force a release or simply practice a pre-set technique on the client’s body. Much of the action is internal as the masseur convinces the muscle to release, and only then is there an “external” action of applying more pressure.
If the muscle stops releasing, the masseur stops the extra pressure. In this way the client can perceive how his own muscle relaxes. He can perceive that “on/off switch” of tension/relaxation, within his own body. Gradually, the client learns how to use that switch and learns to release his own tension.
In this way, he gains awareness of the consciousness of the muscle itself and gains a direct connection to his own body. The depth of relaxation is much greater than with other types of massage. You can penetrate much deeper with the pressure because the muscles willingly relax to create a path for that pressure. They “get out of the way” as they “see” the pressure coming.
The body doesn’t resist the pressure because it “knows” that the pressure will stop as soon as the muscle doesn’t want to release any further. So the body develops a trust in the massage. Clients feel that there are many layers of tension within each part of their bodies, developed over their entire lifetimes. This massage peels away these layers so the tension can be released permanently.
To do this, the masseur must have developed the senses of chi and attention. He must be able to perceive the intricate dynamics of those energies. Usually, the body is a twisted, mangled mass of chi, attention and physical tension. He must be able to see exactly how to best unravel this mess to bring the quickest results.
When the client emerges from the massage, he literally feels as if he were floating in the air. He is then able to enjoy every moment of life instead of feeling combative and defensive. When we are relaxed we are better able to handle any situation because we are clear about how to respond. If we are tense, we feel jammed up and the solutions to everyday problems are hard to find. If you look back on your life, how much of it is lived in a relaxed, joyful way? If you only have a few moments of joy out of each week, that is certainly no way to live.
The bills and problems of everyday life won’t disappear but if you are in a more relaxed state they won’t bother you as much and you will be able to solve them more easily. And to be simply more aware of your own body is a joy in itself. To many people, the body is just a big lump under the head. They don’t feel the beauty of the skill of each joint and muscle.
The Zookinesis exercises provide this skill and the Tai-chi Massage gives you the relaxation to bring your attention within your body. If you make the inner skills of your body beautiful, you will become beautiful. The beauty you perceive within yourself will shine outwardly for others to see.
When someone looks at you, part of their eyes look at your outer appearance but a large part of their eyes looks directly at your inner spirit. How they see you is a combination of both. I feel it is more important to release your tension and to become more aware of your body than to use the proper make-up or to have large muscles.