Sunday, August 21, 2011

A new cane

Baby blue eyes
Shark fin and handgrips, with the
designer's name in Chinese
I have enjoyed the taiji cane form as taught by Master Jesse for quite a while. I have been thinking about getting a nice cane and discovered one designed by Shaolin monk Shi Xing De (name is on the cane) and made in the USA by master canemaker Merle McAlpin. So, I suggested a birthday present from Jane!
I am so pleased with the cane. It is made of hickory with heartwood (very nice grain), has a "shark fin" on the back edge, several hand grips, and is finished in non-toxic tung oil. The pi├Ęce de r├ęsistance is that it has a pretty face. Blue eyes and all!
Detail of the fin
A very solid cane!
It is perfectly balanced for cane forms and a great walking stick when out with the dogs.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer play

It's been a while since I blogged about my taiji practice. A short update required then.
The summer has been once of consolidation. Rather than learn new forms I have concentrated my attention on consolidating things I have already internalized, practicing between an hour and an hour and a half each day. Master Jesse had given me some valuable tips on knees and waist, and I have given this attention with some good success. The taiji classics say that all begins in the feet and legs, controlled by the waist and then to the arms and hands. Flexibility and relaxation of the waist (dantian area) is of the utmost importance.
Forms I have been using regularly are: Simplified 24 Form, Eight Immortals Cane Yang style (see separate blog) and taiji bang (short stick). I have also enjoyed qigong Eight Pieces of Brocade and meditation for self-healing.
Much is mundane, but enjoyable and taiji play is an important part of each day.