Earth Protector’s Dance

The Earth Protector Dance:

Nando Raynolds   541-821-6623

This dance is designed to be done in gatherings of all kinds.  Do the dance at the level of physicality that feels good to you with a natural feel, a pattern of movement that feels personally congruent, and that is an expression of your personal feelings of each statement.  It is designed as both an energizing action and a display of personal and group unity and resolve.

These movements draw primarily from the martial arts and qigong traditions. “Display” type dances of this kind have been performed by many traditional cultures.  We offer this dance with respect and humility as a starting point for the development of dances of this type.

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Effective Conflict Resolution – Non-Violence and Time Outs

Fighting Fair and Functionally: More on creating a functional conflict resolution pattern – Agreeing to Non-violence and Time Outs

I hope you have been thinking about how to reduce pain in your relationships by improving your conflict resolution strategies. Here is a little more about this. In my first Blog on this topic, I talked about the 5 steps at the core of an effective pattern:

  1. Make An Appointment– schedule a time to have the conversation
  2. Mutual Respectful Listening – each person takes turns speaking and listening. Take any necessary time outs – do what you need to do to stay calm and respectful!
  3. Brainstorm solutions – be creative and bring your sense of humor
  4. Negotiate – agree on a solution
  5. Re-assess – fine tune your solution at an agreed upon future time

These steps work best within a shared commitment to non-violence. In some ways this goes without saying, almost everyone would like to have relationships that are non-violent. However, many people have old habits that allow some forms of violence and most people get violent when upset.

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Relationships Need A Conflict Resolution Protocol

One of my specializations is helping couples resolve conflict.  I have found that all deeply successful relationships have an effective conflict resolution protocol.  It may be formal or not, but both parties are happy with it and follow it as needed.  This and my other posts on this topic will help you develop your own protocol.  Doing so is one of the most loving things you can do for others.. as well as yourself!

Here is a pattern for loving friends and companions to follow to increase mutual understanding and reduce emotional injury.

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My movement background…

I have been playing Taiji since 1978. I started with Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s form and have studied with a number of Yang style traditions. My practice includes sword and saber, standing meditation and qigong. I have also studied a little Wu style, some Bagua, some Aikido and a bunch of Karate and Kenpo. I have my third degree black belt in Daimon Ryu Kenpo Karate.
I also have a background in massage – used to do that professionally as well as having taught prelicensing classes in Oregon.
Over the years I have studied a bit of Feldenkrais, Rosen work, Polarity, Shiatsu, Connective Tissue work, Authentic Movement, Continuum, Alexander technique, and Kentro.
I love partner play, whether we are sparring, doing push hands or dancing. The latter has led me to square and contra dancing, ballroom and Contact Improvisation.
I love the martial side of Taiji, and as I’ve gotten older, my interest goes more to the moving meditation aspects of Taiji. This is drawing me to take my love of push hands and apply what I learn there to relationships in general.
A pet peeve of mine is that those who study one movement art can be so ignorant of the broad field of Somatics and movement in general. This is particularly true in T’ai Chi and other martial arts. In my view, the task of Western Taiji authors is to demystify the art. This means writing in clear English, grounding the art in accurate physical descriptions including specific bones and muscles, and it means connecting Taiji to other movement arts. My wish is that this blog will help students of one art broaden their studies and see that all these somatic practices are studying the human body.

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T’ai Chi “how to” books and DVDs

Each year there are more “How to” books and DVDs on Taiji form. This is a good thing. As more people become exposed to Taiji, the benefits of practice will become more apparent. However, we should all recognize that it is very difficult to learn form well from a DVD and even harder from a book.

Books and DVDs are great support for beginners taking classes and can allow more advanced students to compare the details of one form or interpretation to another. There are also sets of DVDs (Jiang Jian-ye’s or George Xu’s, for instance) that serve as archives of many different forms and allow those who do not have access to teachers locally to get an introduction to these forms. Even for an advanced student, however, it remains challenging to learn a brand new form well from a DVD.

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Book Review – T’ai Chi by Cheng Man-ch-ing

T’ai Chi by Cheng Man-ch’ing and R. Smith, Tuttle, Vermont 1967

This is a hardback. It has a few chapters of discussion – history, principles, a brief discussion of push hands, a few martial applications, and translations of a few of the Classics. Most of the book presents CMC’s shortened version of the Yang style with good B&W photos of CMC (Cheng Man-ch’ing), weight diagrams for the feet and decent descriptions of the movements. The book also includes a fold-out of all the movement photos and another that shows the foot placements.

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Standing Meditation or zhan zhuang

Many martial arts include training in standing meditation. In Yiquan, for instance, static standing postures are the foundation exercises for a powerful self-defense system. In martial arts and qigong systems there are a variety of different postures used for a variety of purposes. Some are more for healing or fitness, martial skill, or perceptual training.

In a series of posts, I will be providing guidelines for exploring this powerful personal development approach. If you are a beginner, as with any type of exercise I encourage you to check with your doctor, start slowly, and stop if you experience discomfort or dizziness.

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Starting up my blog

Well, this is exciting, now I have this template up and can load this blog with useful information and use it as a networking tool.

In the future I plan to add book summaries and reviews as I read things as well as brief entries my interests.

I’ll also be using this as a way to connect with others around my T’ai Chi work, my push hands book, my dvds and my Teaching T’ai Chi book project. This may also be a way to connect with folks around psychotherapy.