November 30, 2008

The Green Dream

Posted in culture, film, politics, soup at 4:24 am by Jerry

I just came across this video from my brother’s blog. It’s probably longer than the patience quota we give for other videos, but I wouldn’t edit any bit of it out…

Now that the U.S. has stepped towards reality by voting for Obama (and have yet to step farther by legalizing same-sex marriage), let’s put aside more of our apathy by politically pursuing the green dream. And by “let’s” I mean global action. Canada sure needs a wake-up call. The one political party that didn’t express any clear environmental messages during the last election was the one we many Canadians voted for. Pathetic.

November 20, 2008

Another Taiji Quote

Posted in martial arts at 10:37 am by Jerry

via Pacific Rim

Many practice Taiji nowadays but it is not the real Taiji. The real has a different taste and it is easily distinguished. With real Taiji your arm is like iron wrapped in cotton. It is very soft and yet feels heavy to someone trying to support it. In tui-shou (“pushing hands practice”) you can feel this. When you touch your opponent, your hands are soft and light, but he can not get rid of them. When you attack it is like a bullet penetrating neatly (gan cui – clean and sharp) without recourse to force. When he is pushed ten feet away, he feels a little movement but no strength. And he feels no pain. Your hands lightly adhere to him and he cannot escape: soon his arms become so sore he can not stand it. This is real taiji. If you use force, you may move him, but it will not be gan cui. If he tries to use force to control or push you, it is like catching the wind or shadows. Everywhere is empty.

– Chen Weiming

November 19, 2008

T’ai Chi Ch’uan Quote

Posted in martial arts at 11:15 am by Jerry

First seek extension, then contraction;
then it can be fine and subtle.

It is said if the opponent does not move, then I do not move.
At the opponent’s slightest move, I move first.”

To withdraw is then to release,
to release it is necessary to withdraw.

In discontinuity there is still continuity.

-by Wu Yu-hsiang (Wu Yuxian) (1812 – 1880) sometimes attributed to Wang Chung-yueh as researched by Lee N. Scheele

November 15, 2008

“I’m Praying For You”

Posted in culture, religion at 10:13 am by Jerry

“I’m praying for you” can be a nice sentiment. When I’m troubled by something and someone says they’re praying for me, I consider it to be synonymous with “Gesundheit” – which means wishing you good health. And even if I’m not troubled by a sneeze or worse and someone says they’re praying for God to “bless” me, I still think it can be considered a nice sentiment like “I hope the best for you in your future” (or ‘Live Long and Prosper’ for you Trekkies out there).

But when someone says “I’m praying for you” not because it’s clear that I’m troubled by something, and not because they just wish more good things for me, but because they are telling me that I need saving from my “lost” self, this… this offends me. If these same believers of the supernatural tell me that they are justifiably offended when someone calls them “deluded” for believing what they believe, then I think they need to reconsider their own judgments before making any demands.

There are others who choose not to proclaim these prayers in public by just keeping those judgments between themselves and God, which is kinda like judging-in-the-closet. And that’s fine. I think we’re all guilty for that (although, I doubt anyone needs to feel guilty if they’re proven right). But for those who think it justifiable that they publicly proclaim their patronizing prayers to me, then according to their standard, I would be just as justified to bring out my own judgment of them from my closet, and equally reply to the words “I’m Praying For You” with…

“..and I’m being patient with you, too.”

It’s so tempting to give this reply, but I don’t know if it’s in me to say something like that. I don’t want to hurt others’ feelings just because they carelessly hurt mine.

So, in the meantime, whenever I’m told through this pedantic euphemism that I purposely chose an afterlife destined for Hell OR, in the all too common gnostic fashion, that I’m unaware of the supernatural consequences of my actions, I guess I’ll stay in my judging closet and perceive this use of “I’m Praying For You” as nothing more than the equally fictional “May the Force Be With You”

November 12, 2008

Love vs. Ideology

Posted in culture, film, history, marriage, politics, religion, scripture at 3:45 am by Jerry

November 9, 2008

Bagua Quote

Posted in martial arts at 12:50 am by Jerry

via Cloud Hands

The functional aspect is harshly effective, without sporting elements as its martial effectiveness was refined by the many practitioners at the turn of the century who earned their living as personal bodyguards and merchant convoy escorts.  Like the other internal arts, pa-kua emphasizes balance, natural breathing and relaxation, stability of stance, the development of twisting strength and internal power both for healing and martial purposes as well as the use of the mind to create intent and lead chi flow.  Most defensive and offensive movements are done with the open hand; the horizontal energy of the twisting torso is emphasized; the weight of the body stays on the back foot when walking in a circle (though not necessarily when doing postures within each “change”; the steps are rather tight, the knees staying in close proximity one-to-the-other; and, kicks are normally aimed low, to the ankles, shins and knees.  The essence of the art is learning to be upright, stable and comfortable in your posture and body mechanics while cultivating the ability to change quickly to deal with the tactics of an opponent. The smaller student learns to evade strikes while counter-attacking and the larger learns to batter his/her way through the attacker’s arms as a prelude to counter-attacking.

–  Michael Babin