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 ~

Friday, August 22, 2008

What a week!

What a couple of weeks it’s been! I’ve been running around at work like my hair (what’s left) is on fire. That and visitors, and meetings, and presentations to prepare, and more local travel. Whew! The worst is behind me for the moment, and it’s back to what passes for normal.

In spite of my best intentions to really work the supplementary exercises of the Wu family style of Taijiquan into my daily doings, I find that the real center of gravity for my personal practice is the 108 Standard form.

When it comes to working on the 108 Standard form, there is practice and also performance. What we would do in class as a group, when we all do the form together is what I am referring to as performance. Breaking the form down, trying to get every small piece of it technically correct is what I’m referring to as practice.

Up until I got back from Japan, when I tended to do is to run through the form once as a performance with the intention of working in the refinements I’ve been taught in the appropriate places. While I try to get each movement right as I go along, my emphasis had been on relaxation, alignment, and pacing.

What I’ve been up to lately, is to just slow down, and break each sequence down. I try to remember and implement every refinement I’ve been given, and work it into my movements. Yes I still put a premium on staying relaxed, because that’s a requirement of getting the movements right, as is alignment. I’ve been leaving the pacing for when I’m in class.

As a result, my form has not only improved, but I’m finding my ability to maintain the same pace as the rest of the class has improved as well.

I’ve also recently been introduced to the 4th of 12 forms of push hands practice that the Wu family teaches. You always are supposed to begin with #1, which is the most basic, and work your way through to #12, which I think is free style.

Even though I only get to practice push hands for maybe 20 or 30 minutes, about once a week (we practice push hands in class most of the time, but not always), I’m getting better at it.

My older daughter is still unemployed and very frustrated in finding work in her field. I still can’t fault her efforts. She usually makes it to the last round of call backs. She’s sending out tons of resumes, and applying on line all over the place.

For my youngest, high school volleyball season is just starting. They will have a very competitive team. All things being equal, they should go deep into the playoffs for the state championship. Several schools are looking at her to play volleyball in college. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that we can find a good fit for her so she can continue to play at the next level without compromising her education.

My associate M.E. Hom of Collaboration360 Consultants [] recently developed a "Strategic Assessment" process that is based on the strategy principles of Sun Tzu's Art of War. Its general approach enables the implementers to use it in any situation.

Half of the game is being able to take stock of the situation around you. Once you really understand your resources, limitations, and can define the problem, you’re half way home in finding a solution. But how?

Sun Tzu said that the general goes into the temple and makes his assessment, then goes on to outline some of the major factors the general must take into account. Well said, but most of us mortals could use a little more guidance. That is where this Strategic Assessment process comes into play.This is the first time that I have ever seen Sun Tzu principles organized in a way that makes sense to a normal person. Take a look and see if this process doesn’t help you get a handle on some of the issues in your life that you’d like to develop a strategy to tackle.

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