Back story episode 3

Back story episode 3

When months and days and hours of training in martial arts, specifically in tai chi, comes together in a matter of a couple of seconds:

When months and days and hours of training in martial arts, specifically in tai chi, comes together in a matter of a couple of seconds:

Tips on basic stances in taiji

Tips on basic stances in taiji

Sifu Leo Ming shares some of the common mistakes in tai chi stances and his tips to correct them.

tai chi stance

For more information on online Tai Chi Classes broadcast from Johannesburg during lockdown, contact Sifu Leo Ming on 0833780468.

Sifu Leo Ming shares some of the common mistakes in tai chi stances and his tips to correct them. For more information on online Tai Chi Classes broadcast from Johannesburg during lockdown, contact Sifu Leo Ming on 0833780468.

Scientific evidence for benefits of tai chi

Scientific evidence for benefits of tai chi

For the unconverted or scientifically minded person, if you need some scientific proof of the many benefits of tai chi, then check out this easily understood video, entitled “Qi Gong & Tai Chi – Evidence Based Medicine”:



For more information on Tai Chi Classes in Johannesburg, contact Sifu Leo Ming on 0833780468.

For the unconverted or scientifically minded person, if you need some scientific proof of the many benefits of tai chi, then check out this easily understood video, entitled “Qi Gong & Tai Chi – Evidence Based Medicine”: For more information on Tai Chi Classes in Johannesburg, contact Sifu Leo Ming on 0833780468.

Tai Chi Retreat 2019

Tai Chi Retreat 2019

Whether learning something new, or practicing it for many years, there is such value in focusing one’s efforts for an extended period of time on that activity.

Retreats offer just that kind of opportunity, and so the tai chi retreats offered by Mings Martial Arts is a yearly, and sometimes even bi-yearly, event, for those students wanting to deepen their practice.

The cat stalking the disinterested chicken, at the tai chi retreatThis year’s retreat in September was enjoyed by a range of students, who came to not only learn more about martial arts, but also get away for a weekend from the hustle and bustle of daily city life, and enjoy some tranquil time in the pecan nut orchard, amongst nature.

There was a mix of favourites like the Short Form, and the qigong exercises, which feel powerful under blue skies, with fresh air and birds singing, and the loving dogs of the Melody Hill Retreat Centre joining in the energy.  Even the young cat felt playful, exploring the lines of students breathing and moving as they connected to their chi.

Sifu Leo Ming taught a new Broad Sword form, affectionately dubbed by the students the “Melody Mings Form”, which he choreographed.  It is a short, feisty form that challenged and brought laughter from the students.

Sifu also had the students balance water bottles on their heads, which brought a most useful awareness to the energy bow lines and body posture, that is developed during tai chi forms.

For Brenda, this quote best sums up the retreat weekend:

“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” – WB Yeats

Horse with foal, at the tai chi retreatTony shared his reflections of the weekend, saying:

“Dear Sifu… had a day to reflect on the wonderful retreat we had.  The new broad sword form is beyond incredible. Poetry in motion… aggressive powerful majestic riveting…. The company was wonderful… The location manifesting nature’s rebirth flowering into a beautiful young foal on the farm next door. I’ve grown as a person through the experience. Thank you, Tony”

Ralph added his thoughts:

“The tai chi weekend is always a highlight during the year for me. I always look forward to practicing the new forms and improving on sections of the ones I have some familiarity with. It is also a great opportunity to socialize and spend time with my fellow tai chi class mates.  The setting is also wonderful and I find it very relaxing and contemplative and one just feels so much closer to nature with all the bird calls to listen to and with the opportunity to take the odd walk between the pecan nut trees. 

The new sword form that Sifu has taught us is magnificent and so graceful and I can’t wait to practice more with my new broad-sword. Thinking back, I think the highlight for me was the exercise of attempting to balance the water bottle on one’s head while attempting the short form. This practice immediately highlights so many of the teachings with respect to balance, posture and flexibility. All I can say is that I’m glad the bottle was filled with still water and not carbonated as it may have burst with all the times it went crashing to the floor. 😊”

With scrumptious, healthy vegetarian food shared amongst old and new friends around the wooden, long tables, and the ample down time to read and reflect, everyone enjoyed the weekend and got to recharge, ready to head back to city life.

Will you join us at next year’s retreat?

Contact Sifu Leo Ming to find our more information about upcoming Tai Chi Retreats in Johannesburg, by calling 0833780468.

Tai Chi Retreat in Johannesburg

(Photos courtesy of Brenda and Tony)

Whether learning something new, or practicing it for many years, there is such value in focusing one’s efforts for an extended period of time on that activity. Retreats offer just that kind of opportunity, and so the tai chi retreats offered by Mings Martial Arts is a yearly, and sometimes even bi-yearly, event, for those …

Fire and Ice Tai Chi Team Building

Fire and Ice Tai Chi Team Building

Corporate Self Defense Course on a roof topSifu Leo Ming ran one of his tai chi experiences, as well as a self defense course, for the Protea Hotel chain, for their team at the Melrose Arch “Fire and Ice”.  They got to enjoy the views of Johannesburg, and some winter sunshine, from the roof of Melrose Arch.

The principles behind ‘fire’ and ‘ice’ were fun to explore, as they relate to the principles of tai chi, being concepts like ying and yang, and of soft and hard.

Sifu brought these aspects into the sessions, so that the team could have a physical experience of these different energies and aspects of their brand, as well as creating the opportunity for the team to have a common experience to strengthen their working relationships.

They also left with some self defense techniques to keep them safe on the busy and sometimes dangerous streets if our bustling city, Johannesburg.

Self defense corporate event

The fun part of this corporate team building experience as the breaking of the board with a rolled up piece of paper.

“Thank you for an amazing experience” shared one of the participants. “We cant wait to practice every morning!”

To learn more about Sifu Leo Low Ming’s corporate team building experiences, contact him on 0833780468.

Sifu Leo Ming ran one of his tai chi experiences, as well as a self defense course, for the Protea Hotel chain, for their team at the Melrose Arch “Fire and Ice”.  They got to enjoy the views of Johannesburg, and some winter sunshine, from the roof of Melrose Arch. The principles behind ‘fire’ and …

Why Millennials are learning Tai Chi

Why Millennials are learning Tai Chi

The millennial generation spend a lot of their time doing many things, especially as their lives are so intertwined with so much technology and social media.  Yet it is very important for them to have “alone time” with themselves. 

Doing practices like tai chi, meditation, qigong or similar types of activities would provide this quiet time.  These perceived slower activities though are a big contrast to what you find with the young people of today, who are active and busy all the time, mostly in virtual worlds.

Finding a physical activity that promotes “alone time” is important because instead of being distracted and having their attention outside of themselves, it would bring them back towards themselves, making them aware of their inner quiet which everyone has, and which needs to be nurtured.

The benefit of developing this inner quiet, is so that they can focus better, have clarity of mind, and they can make better decisions going forward that will impact their future.”

– Leo Ming, Martial Arts and Tai Chi Instructor

 

The above is Leo Ming’s response to an in depth article CNN published in September, 2017, entitled “Tai chi fights stress, getting popular with Millennials.”

This article explains how the younger generations are taking up tai chi in order to reduce stress and ‘ground’ themselves. 

The gentle nature of the practice of tai chi has a different impact on them than other popular sparring sports found in gyms, and is thus helping those who spend their days sitting behind computers, being more introverted, to destress.

They mention that even the employees are offered tai chi classes by Google Headquarters.

A student of tai chi explained the slowness of tai hi as being deceptive, saying that it is not easy, as you have to remain connected to your breath while moving slowly, and each movement uses almost every muscle.  “Everything’s engaged but not stressed like it would be in a workout in the gym,” he comments.

The article also covers the following aspects of tai chi:

  • The research into the health benefits of tai chi, how it impacts our immune system to help it guard against inflammation and fight off chronic disease.
  • “The earlier you start in life, the more you reap the rewards [of tai chi] …. as the benefits are cumulative.”
  • How it is believed that the act of moving slowly in tai chi keeps us in the present moment, and this mindfulness is what aids tai chi in being so impactful on our health, because it promotes calmness and also interrupts the stress pathways in our physiology.
  • Millennials learning tai chiThe power of slowing down, and getting back into ourselves and our centres, in this demanding world of ours.

Read the full article and watch their video here.

 

 

To learn more about Tai Chi Classes in Parkview, Johannesburg, contact Sifu, Leo Low Ming on 0833780468.

The millennial generation spend a lot of their time doing many things, especially as their lives are so intertwined with so much technology and social media.  Yet it is very important for them to have “alone time” with themselves.  Doing practices like tai chi, meditation, qigong or similar types of activities would provide this quiet …

For Beginners in Tai Chi: Tips from a Life Coach

For Beginners in Tai Chi: Tips from a Life Coach

Written by Telana Simpson

Tai Chi is an integral part of my life- but it hasn’t always been that way.  I had to make it part of my lifestyle.  From developing that routine and tweaking my attitude to how I practice this martial art, I have come to experience not only it’s benefits in health and chi, but also in a sense of balance in my life.

I am also a Courage Coach, and feel privileged to share time with my clients, and facilitate them to create courage and a life that they love.

Often, a key part of a life we love, is to have cornerstone practices which we routinely get to enjoy, as this brings moments of joy and peace into our lives.  It also helps us ease between the hectic work pace and busy family life, to time for ourselves to fill up too.

From a coaching perspective then, I share here some pointers to keep in mind, as you start to incorporate the practice of tai chi into your lifestyle.  These ideas come from my professional experience related to learning how to create habits that are useful and set us up for success, and also from my personal experience with tai chi.

Ten Tips to practicing Tai Chi

1. Be clear on your purpose

What is your reason for doing tai chi?  A good intention to have is one that is bigger than just learning tai chi.

  • What benefits of the practice of tai chi are you looking forward to experiencing?
  • Where do you see yourself in 5 years time with having tai chi as part of your lifestyle?
  • Is it the calm that comes from doing a moving meditation regularly that you seek?
  • Or do you want to develop your chi to experience more inner strength?
  • Do you just want to focus on being moving, with friends, in nice environments to keep flexible and healthy?

When we get in touch with our bigger Why for practicing tai chi, this will bring more meaning to our practice and keep us motivated.

2. Make a commitment

Plan your life around your class times, otherwise there will always be something else to do than attend class. Make it a priority and life will have a way of happening around your tai chi.

Remember, they say it takes 21 days to create a habit, and 90 days to create a lifestyle!

So in the beginning, make a firm commitment to yourself to attend for 3 months at least.  The benefits of tai chi are experienced the more regularly you practice it, and so you can only truly grasp the movements and gain the benefits by giving it a good chance and showing up regularly and often.

Also, once you have this as part of your routine for 1 to 2 months, it is much easier to keep it up.  It just takes a bit of extra effort in the early stages to stick to something you are learning, and also to create the routine and space to fit it into your life.

3. Embrace the beginners mind 

We all start somewhere.  A key part of tai chi is the beginners mind, Sho Shin as Sifu Leo explains – to be open to learning and not knowing.

And tai chi is a lifestyle practice, not a class you take once or twice and then you can tick it off.  To gain the full benefits, and the long-term benefits, stick to it and remember that anything takes time and practice to develop.  So embrace the beginning stages, remembering there is not one perfect way.  The more open and “empty” we are, and willing to show up and learn, the more we will enjoy ourselves and ultimately gain.

4. Don’t compare yourself to others

If we bring to the dojo a mindset around growth, we come ready to focus on our own development.  Instead of comparing ourselves to others, we place emphasis rather on if we have improved since last week, or last month.

It’s an unfair comparison to look to others, as we are all unique and at different places on our own paths of learning.  Your fellow students are just examples to observe to learn from, and it doesn’t motivate or help much if we compare ourselves to them and degrade ourselves for not measuring up.  So develop more of a growth mindset, and enjoy it’s many benefits.

5. Be open to ask for help

Another benefit of the growth mindset is we become more open to ask for help.  You’ve just started, and others can share what works for them to assist you on your journey.

Also, it helps others with their own learning when they get a chance to explain or show you a move. And Sifu Leo is always there too to answer any questions.

One day you’ll get to help someone else, and then gain the learning one gets from such a teaching opportunity. So ask for guidance and others will help, and one day you’ll get to pass it on.

6. Count what counts

Focus on the small improvements, on the peace you gain from being present, on the co-ordination that is growing, on the small moments of recalling the next movement.

Noticing your own growth and the development of your chi, this is what counts.  It’s not useful to have a competitive attitude or a striving to know all the forms as quickly as possible.  And if we don’t count the small improvements, and rather tend to discount them because we don’t know the bigger things (like the whole form), then we miss out on the beauty of tai chi, and on our most valuable learning moments.

7. Match, look for sameness

A good strategy to learning something new is to look first for what is similar to what you already know– not for what is missing or different.  There are patterns in tai chi and its basic moves, and these patterns are repeated often.  Notice them, and you will find the rhythm of tai chi, and you’ll notice your improvements more.

When we focus on what we are getting, rather than on what we are missing, we enjoy the process more and this adds to our motivation to keep with it.

8. Be gentle and lighthearted with yourself

When we get serious, we get silly – and we miss the purpose of what brought us to tai chi in the first place.  When we are flexible and gentle – yet strong – we can laugh more easily at ourselves, and enjoy the process of learning and growing.

Because tai chi is a journey more than a destination, each milestone should be just a mark along the way, and we can have fun while we grow on this never-ending journey.

9. Practice practicing

I have mentioned a few times now about practicing tai chi.  This concept of ‘practice’ is often misinterpreted, as it is seen as something is wrong with us if we need to ‘practice’ a skill.  We don’t have the skill, or are not ‘good enough’ or doing it well enough, and so we need to practice.  This is not a useful way of using the word.

If you look up the word in a dictionary, practice refers to the actual applying of a method or idea, and is about habit and routine.  So it is more useful to see tai chi as this kind of practice which you do often, because then the focus is not on getting the moves right, but on moving the moves.

The thing with tai chi, is there are endless levels to learn and develop, and you can only learn the next level once you have experienced fully the current level you are on.

And to experience something, you need to do it- to practice it.  So take on an attitude of experiential practice, rather than perfection.

10.  Keep your self-worth out the dojo

The level you are at for a specific skill is not a measure of your self-worth – it is only the level you are with that skill.

So to develop confidence in tai chi, and to get to the stages of feeling more graceful with the moves, you need to practice and develop the muscle memory of those moves.

Our self-worth or esteem is a very different aspect of ourselves to confidence, even though these concepts get mixed up and are not well understood.

When you make them distinct though, it is easier then to not link your worth to if you get the moves right or wrong, and to know that confidence only comes from active practice.  From this flows the growth mindset, where we are in the dojo to learn and develop, and not to prove anything

May these ideas help you to gain the many benefits of tai chi, and be steps towards creating a life you love!

To learn more about Tai Chi Classes in Parkview, Johannesburg, contact Sifu, Leo Low Ming on 0833780468.

About the Author:

Telana, Courage CoachTelana is a dynamic, transformational Courage Coach who helps talented people have no regrets in life by having the conversations that count.

Written by Telana Simpson Tai Chi is an integral part of my life- but it hasn’t always been that way.  I had to make it part of my lifestyle.  From developing that routine and tweaking my attitude to how I practice this martial art, I have come to experience not only it’s benefits in health …