Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Monday, March 22, 2010

Lenten Challenge Update

How is the Lenten Challenge going for you?

For me, it's been very good. I've been practicing regularly, I've been focused, and I believe I'm making headway.

When practicing the form, it's easy to just "go through the motions." While this is better than nothing, it's not a lot better. You have to have your mind in the right place when you practice. There is a good post at Classical Tai Chi Blog on this very subject.

I am doing a deep dive on the Wu Style Taijiquan Square Form, and my goal is to consistently not make any mistakes in the sequence, all the while trying to apply internal discipline and exploring the potential for internal discipline within the form and myself. That ought to keep me busy for a while, huh?

My goad towards performing he TCC form with no errors in the sequence is coming along. It's a test of paying attention to what I'm doing. If I'm paying attention, I shouldn't make an error. If I'm just going through the motions, anything can happen.

Lately, I have been making just one error, one lapse of attention per round, and never in the same place twice. It is at the same time both encouraging and very frustrating.

In the past, I did nothing but the standing practice for several years. Before beginning the form, and after just ending it, I just stand. Sometimes I stand only briefly. Other times I stand for a good long while. Whatever fits at that time.

When I feel like I'm getting to a point where I'm putting "enough" time into my Taijiquan practice, I'd like to rejuvenate my standing practice, or zhan zhuang, the fundamental practice of Yiquan. Not because it would somehow improve my Taijiquan, but because I just like it. It'll be a good long while before I'm putting in "enough" time into Taijiquan.

Something else I'm about to put a lot more energy into after along break in my Japanese Language study. I haven't hardly spoken Japanese at all in nearly a year. I'm planning on my study a jump start with Rosetta Stone Japanese, then continue to my study by reading a few collections of Japanese short stories I have, as well as subscribing to the Hiragana Times, a Japanese/English magazine created just for this purpose.

I found a few nifty FREE tools to help me out on the internet. One is Excel@Japanese, which is a very clever Excel application that helps you to learn Kanji. It's a free download. Another is a plug in for Firefox, called Rikaichan. Once you install it, you can go to a web page, hover the cursor over a kanji, and get a translation.

Here's a link to 10 online resources for learning Japanese.

I recently finished reading Effortless Action: Wu Wei as a Conceptual Metaphor and Spiritual Idea in Early China by Edward Slingerland. I had to put a lot of effort into the reading! It's an expansion of the author's doctoral thesis, and it was well worth that effort.

Well, that's enough for now. Back to work!

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