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self improvement

4 Tips for Better Balance

I have many students who have sought out tai chi training specifically to improve their balance.  A decline in the body’s stability can be incredibly unsettling, whether it’s from an injury, a health condition, or the ageing process, it can really knock your confidence. However, with practice and determination, it’s …

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Three Treasures

In my late teens I spent a few months working in a book warehouse, saving up to go away on another travelling adventure. I wasn’t interested in much else at that age, other than books, so compared to some other mind numbing temporary jobs I had grafted away at in …

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Martial Arts for Stress, Balance, and Happiness

During the 15 years that I had a career in the corporate world, I was often asked how I was able to not display signs of stress when everything seemed to be going wrong – as it very often does when you work in IT!   My standard answer was, …

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Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong

One of the oldest and most famous of all qigong sequences is ‘Ba Duan Jin’, or ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade’, also known as ‘Eight Treasures’.  Visit parks across China in the mornings and you’ll see individuals or groups practicing a variation of the form which has been passed down and …

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Routine, Reflection, and Readiness

As we slide into week two of isolation and / or social distancing it is beginning to feel like a new kind of normal and I am sure that I am not the only one who has slipped into a new routine that is making my ‘normal’ day to day …

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The Subtle Power of Qigong

It’s easier than tai chi and less physically strenuous than yoga. It builds a subtle strength and flexibility throughout the whole body and you feel great afterwards.  Entrenched in Chinese medicine and having stood the test of time (5000 years by some accounts), Qigong might just be the perfect activity …

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Kung Fu Beats Coronavirus

As a martial artist we spend a great proportion of our lives putting our bodies as well as our minds into uncomfortable situations and positions.   Take my favourite exercise for example, the low horse stance (those who know me will not be surprised!). It’s the perfect example of physical …

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Jack Kerouac, Toilet Paper, and Finding Your Purpose

I haven’t written a series of blog posts for a while, the last time was whilst I was in China last summer. I was expecting to do something a little similar this summer coming but you know what they say about the best laid plans.    So here we are, …

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Tick Tock Tick Tock

I really don’t like the sound of a ticking clock, I find it incredibly irritating and (as happened in my kitchen this morning as I had previously been enjoying a coffee) my conscious thoughts and the tick tock tick tock became synchronised and I swear it became louder with each …

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Death

This week, to ease her suffering after a couple of illnesses that she couldn’t shake, I was forced to make the difficult decision of putting my cat to sleep. It is a week in which I have spent a considerable amount of time thinking about death. It seems to me …

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