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Feel Better About Healthcare In 2010, Here's An App For That

posted Dec 20, 2009, 3:47 PM by Site Mgr   [ updated Dec 22, 2009, 11:44 AM ]

Make a New Year's resolution to take a personal interest in sustainable healthcare reform. Dynamic mind-body exercises improve wellness at all ages. Use Sun Moon Foot Tai Chi to hone new techniques for coordination and perception. Get out of the half-pipe or the bathtub unscathed. Tai Chi develops the balance and motor mechanisms in the body. "SMF Tai Chi HR", for the iPhone, reveals how to maximize the body's stability while in motion. Understand balance by watching how to position and strengthen key anatomical elements, like the body's core. Be confident that you only need one leg to stand on.

Deeper Understanding    Sun Moon Foot Tai Chi presents a unique visual perspective that makes practice more productive. Interacting with a master is a gift to be cherished. Watching demonstrations are instructive but, often biomechanical requirements are difficult to discern. Even in slow motion, it can be challenging to identify key transitions in movement. SMF Tai Chi solves the problem by pinpointing the orientational relationship between key body parts in a format that is easy to follow.

Master Momentum    Stability, power, speed and finesse are attained by controlling the momentum generated by the body's center of gravity as it moves through space. Tai Chi, like many sports, uses the core muscles to power and direct the limbs. Sun Moon Foot Tai Chi's animations illustrate this technique of propulsion by showing how the movement of the hips affect the weighting of the legs and purchase of the feet. 
  • Each movement is broken-down into sequential segments with the waypoints of stability clearly identified. 
  • The 3D figures emphasize the anatomical alignment of the skeleton for each waypoint. 
  • The 2D aerial view highlights the flow of momentum and force from the body's center to the feet. 

Tai Chi is different from most mind-body exercises (like yoga) because it adds bodies in motion. Sun Moon Foot provides both a static and dynamic choreology of Tai Chi to help develop a new pattern for movement that is both agile and robust. 

Athletic Principles    One pillar of Tai Chi is an appreciation of dynamic balance and strength; this makes it applicable to many sports like surfing, skiing or rock climbing. Traditionally, Tai Chi is practiced continuously with every movement in one's daily life. From a practical standpoint, Tai Chi is learned in the context of a style and form. There are several major styles with their associated forms, kind of like different dialects of the same language. There is an interesting story in every style and some common lessons from them all. The system for movement is one of the common lessons among different Tai Chi styles.

Healthy Mind & Body    The form is a set of postures that are repeated in different orientations to "form" a string of sequential positions. Practicing a form (any style's form) is good for the body because you are learning a new pattern of neuromuscular control. 
  • The brain wins because the learning process is fostering neuroplasticity. 
  • The body wins because it is staying in shape and learning to recover from (or better yet, avoid) unbalanced situations. 

It's important however, to learn the proper techniques of movement and awareness that are common to all styles and forms. SMF Tai Chi's choreology illustrates proper control of the body's center of gravity. Sun Moon Foot derives its exercises from the Yang Short Form adapted by Grandmaster Cheng Man-ch'ing in the middle third of the last century. 

Perceive and move well to be in good stead for any situation.

Practical Tips for Balance & Leverage

posted Dec 20, 2009, 2:16 PM by Site Mgr   [ updated Dec 20, 2009, 2:34 PM ]

SMF Tai Chi teaches you how to move from your core to keep your footing on life.

  • All movement originates from your body's core at the Dan Tian, center of gravity, strength and energy.
  • Your feet are the gateways from your center to the earth. Your foot movements should be deliberate yet effortless.
  • You will find balance in movement when your lower body is firmly rooted to the earth and your spine, neck and head are neatly stacked on top.
  • The arms are your weakest tools. Let the intention of your movements be delivered by the core of your body. Don't let the tail wag the dog.

Tai Chi & Science

posted Dec 20, 2009, 2:14 PM by Site Mgr

Talk about getting the juices flowing. This summer's brew of Tai Chi, science, medicine and fellowship was a potent dose of brain food dispensed at Vanderbilt's Medical Center for Integrative Health. I had a blast and got a handle on some real science. You can see me in the top row :)

Solid week of Tai Chi

posted Dec 20, 2009, 2:10 PM by Site Mgr

We enjoyed our second summer at the Tai Chi Foundation's summer camp in Bennington, Vermont. Super instructors, great food and a jovial crowd. Mark your calendar for next year.

Philosophy Behind Learning Tai Chi with Sun Moon Foot

posted Dec 20, 2009, 12:52 PM by Site Mgr   [ updated Dec 20, 2009, 2:38 PM ]

How do you learn an interactive mental and physical discipline that has been taught for nearly 1,000 years? You need an instructor and fellow students. The good news is that you don't have to become a monk.
  • You need an instructor to provide hands-on corrections.
  • You need to "play" with fellow students.
  • You need to practice more than once a week.
Unfortunately, most of us struggle to accommodate the necessary solo practice, let alone, group play. Oh to be a monk! Too much to remember between classes? First, better to put in some floor time (even if it's "wrong" in your mind), than do nothing. Let go and feel the movement; this should be fun. Second, I created Sun Moon Foot to help solve this common student's conundrum, "How can I practice what I don't remember?"

Choreology is the notation of movement. Sun Moon Foot is your cheat sheet or ghost partner for Tai Chi. More important than replicating a pose, Sun Moon Foot shows you the techniques of movement. SMF Tai Chi HR covers 17 positions in 76 animations, coordinating 146 movements of the hips and feet. You can do one "round" in under five minutes or three peacefully repetitions in 20 minutes. Spend 20 minutes a day practicing and every class will be great.

In SMF Tai Chi, watch how the Body Oval initiates movement of the feet. Movement in Tai Chi (like most sports) flows from the core of the body. Your center should drive all movement of the limbs. You need to follow the principles of Tai Chi (like straightness, alignment and softness) while moving your center. The Dan-Tian is the primary concern for a beginner.

Your center holds the energy of a gentle ocean swell that's only recognized by the power of the crushing wave on the beach. 

Your goal is to control the powerful momentum from your core so it's agile, sensitive and discerning. Where do you get feedback when you are practicing alone? Go to the earth.

Watch the weight in the feet change as they react to the body's center and the floor in SMF Tai Chi. From a martial standpoint, you want to be on your feet! SMF Tai Chi focuses on the feet over the hands because you get continuous feedback about your center through your feet. Your first goal is to learn how to move.

Empty steps lead you down the path of awareness. 

Move your foot into position before committing any of the body's weight. Only then, smoothly shift weight from one foot, via your center, to another. These are the basic skills that are applicable to any posture.

SMF Tai Chi will step you through the fundamental movements of the art but, don't miss the enjoyment of playing with fellow students.

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