Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Longevity and Immortality

It surprises me that most everyone wants
to live forever-- or at least until they're 100--
and yet almost no one does what it takes to
live that long. Most folks eat too much, drink
too much, neglect their bodies, and continue
stupid habits like smoking, watching too
much TV, and improper sexual practices.

When it comes to longevity, Okinawans
wear the crown. You can go out and read
a bunch stuff on the internet as to why.
You'll find snippets like the fact that they
only eat until they're 80 percent full; and
they eat a wide variety of vegetables and
soy products.

I went to Okinawa in 1999. When I was
there, I was a little obsessed with why they
live so long. I had a number of translators,
so I could ask lots of them why. Most of
them told me it was dietary. They all said
that seaweed is a big reason, and that it's
imperative to eat small amounts of pork.

What may be imperceptible to them is the
fact that their lifestyle is so relaxed. Okinawa
is like a Japanese version of Hawaii, so you
can imagine it's very beautiful and cushy.
The Okinawans don't have words for lying,
cheating, stealing and rape; and they certainly
do not do those things. By the time I left
and landed in Taiwan, white people freaked
me out.

The longevity reign of Okinawans is only
questionable in my mind because we can't
research the Chinese in the same way.
China is closed-off, enormous, and lots of
its people live high in the mountains or way
out in BFE.

The Chinese use the word "immortality"
to mean "live longer than yer sposta, and
live well in your old age."

Behold, Li Ching-Yuen !
He is known as "the 250-year old man."
Li was an herbalist and a martial artist.
There are records in China from 1827
congratulating Li on his 150th birthday.
In 1927, General Yang Sen was said to be
impressed with Li's youthfulness, strength
and prowess. Li died May 6, 1933--

In my experience, I've learned there are
three real keys to longevity:

1. Diet
Don't eat too much. Live with hunger,
it's good for you. Be sure to eat
Onion, Garlic, Ginger, & Cilantro
as often as you can. These things are
very good for your health. Also, eat
Greens, Small Amounts of Pork,
Fish Oil and Green Tea. I highly
recommend you take vitamins; and
when you feel your energy running
low, read up on the different kinds
of Ginseng.

2. Healing Exercise
Li Ching-Yuen was a Chinese martial
artist. If you don't believe me, believe
him-- practice of proper martial arts
will extend the usable life of your
body well into your golden years.
Fu Tai Chi is the best exercise there is.

3. Relaxation
Li's secret of long life was:
  • Tranquil mind
  • Sit like a tortoise
  • Walk sprightly like a pigeon
  • Sleep like a dog
All four of these points mean to say,
"relax, loose the tension." This echoes
what I know of Okinawans, and also
exemplifies an important principle of
Fu Tai Chi.

Live long and prosper.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Why We Love Dogs

Dogs are lovable and playful.
And they way they express their love to us
is through their play.

In their youth, dogs are super-flexible. We love
to watch them stretch when they wake up, and
fold their bodies in half when they lick their own
butts. A dog can scratch his ear with his hind
leg with no trouble at all.

Dogs are super-powerful. Although they lack
the ball-like rotations of our shoulders and hips,
dogs have amazing range of motion, superb
tendons, and muscles that explode like dynamite.
This allows them to do things like jump fences,
run 40 mph, grab frisbees out of the air, and
fight with other dogs.

The physicality of a dog is no more and no less
than the rest of the animal kingdom. The difference
is that we get to house, keep and interact with
these awesome creatures. Until they grow old,
dogs are a personal circus right in your living
room or your backyard. We live vicariously
through them, wishing we could move, stretch,
jump and run they way they can.

If we learn the magic practice of Fu Tai Chi,
we can be much more like them: moving
effortlessly and freely. If we practice weight
lifting and jogging, and the other forms of
hard exercise-- or if we do nothing at all--
we will get old and stiff, and break down
just the way a dog does.

In Chinese martial arts, we say,
"Like dogs, karate masters get old."
But if you practice Fu Tai Chi, you
will remain vibrant and youthful,
like a dog jumping a high fence.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My New Big Toe

In ninth grade, I took typing class.
with Mrs. Corp. On the first day,
she taught us to keep our wrists up
so that our fingers hung down onto
the keys. When we got lazy and let
our wrists drop, she would remind us.

In college, I enrolled in the first
volleyball class and learned the
proper way to pass the ball, set
and spike. I also took swimming
and learned the proper form for
all the major strokes. Then I took
kinesiology and learned the
mechanics of the human body.

All developed forms of physical
activity have proper form. Running
form; climbing form; swimming form--
even throwing a frisbee has form.

But what do they all have in common ?
Breathing is an obvious answer; and
using the bones and joints for leverage.
And how about the fact that skill comes
from practicing proper form and developing
good habits ?

There are also many commonalities between
sport-specific forms, like the way running
and boxing both keep the chin down; and
the way skiing and swimming both elongate
the arms; the way a baseball pitch and
a golf swing both create rotational speed
from the trunk; and the way bowling and
surfing require whole-body coordination.
And almost every high-level athlete uses
relaxation and skeletal stacking for balance,
speed, stability and power issuance.

But little is it known which form supersedes
all individual athletic forms. You might be
surprised to learn how all of the form
commonalities I just mentioned are proper
to Fu Tai Chi practice. However, Fu Tai Chi is
far more developed than any of those forms.

Check out this photo:

This is what a chiropractor will tell you is "normal,
healthy posture."

But when I practice my Fu Tai Chi posture, my back
looks like this:
See how straight and flat it is ?

After seven years of practicing Fu Tai Chi posture,
and Tai Chi principles, my whole body has

The most surprising and recent change is that
of my big toe on my right foot. As of April 2010,
my right big toe had gotten so much stronger
that it started developing new calluses. By
May, it started wearing holes through socks and
slippers. By June, I had to start taping it with
athletic tape because it was wearing the skin
off itself. This toe has literally reorganized itself
to be reborn as a much, much stronger asset to
my balance, speed and coordination.

Since I began Fu Tai Chi, I have found it to boost
and accelerate all of my other athletics. I have
better balance, more efficiency, I can run faster--
I'm even better at putting the dishes away.

I challenge you to practice Fu Tai Chi for six
weeks and see how you feel. I bet you'll
feel the changes too.