SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

Are you feeling run down? Suffering from tired blood? Do encounters with foreign cultures leave you confused and angry?

WholyFit SlowFlo Christian Tai Chi

If so, then we have a solution for you. It’s called SlowFlo, the Christian alternative to Tai Chi.

Inspired by Chuck Norris, the art of SlowFlo reforms the inscrutable pagan art of Tai Chi Chuan into a safe and guilt-free form of Christian exercise. Continue reading SlowFlo: The Christian Alternative to Tai Chi?

Mark Nesti on Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

This is the second entry in our special week-long focus on Qigong and energy arts.

Mark Nesti

Mark Nesti is not your average New Age flake. After five years’ service with a recon/sniper cell in the Australian army, his career shifted into helicopter testing and maintenance, emergency communications, and business development. When he eventually began to explore the fields of theoretical physics and alternative therapies, his broad engineering mindset granted him a unique perspective.

Mark wrote a book about his exploration and research into quantum mechanics, meditation, chi, and consciousness. He isn’t promising you a new car or a diamond necklace in return for your fealty, but you may find his work rewarding in other ways. Mark recently sent me a few words regarding his personal inspiration and investigation, which I share with you below.

Perhaps, in some measure, modern society has lost regard for nature, in a divine sense, or otherwise. If true, this can only be attributed to a loss of spirit within the individual. In an attempt to define the connection between science and spirituality, between the observer and the included, I hope that spirit will be reunited.

If We Are Anything: OM, Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

I would like to share with you a personal experience of just how powerful some types of meditation can be. Many of you already know that there are many forms of meditation, from practices which are designed to energize and relax, all the way to practices aimed at raising awareness, and some with the specific goal of raising the levels of Chi (accumulations called Kundalini) within the human system. I am of the belief that western society, in a general sense, is not yet ready to tackle the more advanced forms of meditation. My reasoning is that, as a culture, we have not yet been exposed to this type of practice as a part of our daily activities. Furthermore, we have not been raised from children with such disciplines integrated within our daily lives. You will see what I mean as we progress.

Several years ago, my partner and I brought over an Indian meditation teacher to conduct courses at our wellness centre and alternative therapy training institute; this became a regular event and one which attracted many students. One type of meditation he conducted, Dhyan, is a practice originally designed to promote prolonged awareness. However, the ancient Indian Hindu yogis referred to this particular meditation in a more appropriate manner: “the practice of dying”. Continue reading Mark Nesti on Chi, Consciousness and Quantum Gravity

“This I Believe” On Martial Arts

This I Believe

This I Believe is an international project engaging people in writing and sharing essays that describe their core values. More than 90,000 of these essays, written by people from all walks of life, are archived on their website.

Naturally, some essayists shared their beliefs on, and experience with martial arts. Here are a few of their stories.

Life Is A Spiritual Struggle
by Joseph Laycock (Brighton, Massachusetts)

Over the din of boxing gloves pounding against leather bags, I struggle to hear this Brazilian explain yet another way to choke someone unconscious. This is a martial arts gym. Most of the regulars are amateur fighters with dreams of going professional. When they’re not here, some of them work as firefighters or bouncers. I’m definitely the only schoolteacher in the room.

My students take interest in my training. Sometimes I’ll enter the classroom with bruises or a slight limp from the gym. In world history, I’ll discuss the cultural significance of the fighting styles I study. In Thai kickboxing, the eight striking weapons — fists, shins, elbows and knees — represent the eight-fold path of the Buddha. Brazilian jujitsu has more improvisation than Japanese martial arts, which reflects different cultural attitudes towards tradition.

Every class asks me the same questions, “Have you ever beat anyone up?” And, “Why are you a teacher instead of a professional fighter?” When I tell them the truth — that I have never been in a fight and have no aspirations to go professional — I get a range of reactions from disappointment to accusations of cowardice.

“So why do you do it,” they always ask.

I believe that life is a spiritual struggle. My battle is not against another fighter but against the unjust and apathetic system that is attacking my students… [continued]

Continue reading “This I Believe” On Martial Arts

The Religion of Inception

Inception

There are seventy thousand Jedi knights in Australia. Four hundred thousand in England and Wales. In New Zealand, Jedi is the second most popular religious affiliation, ahead of Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and most everything else. So concluded the official 2001 census in each of these countries.

It is unclear how many respondents were serious about their Jedi faith, but their governments did not take them seriously. Tallies were ignored or reclassified, and citizens were threatened with fines for providing “false or misleading” information.

So it is forbidden. Religions may not originate in movies–at least not in movies of Star Wars mediocre quality. But with the unprecedented critical and commercial acclaim of the hit film Inception, some of the formerly irreligious are reportedly inspired to worship again. Continue reading The Religion of Inception

Qigong 102: Secrets of Meditation and Emotional Balance

Introduction

  • Qigong (chi gong) is most often understood as a set of active exercises, guiding qi (chi) energy around the body through intention, movement, and sound. It is less well known that Qigong incorporates rigorous courses of standing and seated meditation. These active and passive, external and internal modalities are mutually supportive.
  • One of the first goals of Qigong meditation is to reach a deep level of quietude within the mind and body. Sustained quiet allows a student to perceive increasingly subtle objects and movements inside their body.
  • In a quiet meditative state, relationships and correspondences that were previously hidden or overlooked, become clear and credible. In other words, meditation allows for biofeedback training without the need for electronic biofeedback instrumentation.

Continue reading Qigong 102: Secrets of Meditation and Emotional Balance

Interview with an Intuitive Warrior

Intuition is a phenomenon most widely associated with women and mothers–but what about soldier’s intuition?

The Intuitive Warrior: Lessons from a Navy Seal on Unleashing Your Hidden Potential

In his new book, The Intuitive Warrior: Lessons from a Navy Seal on Unleashing Your Hidden Potential, author and retired Navy SEAL Michael Jaco describes how he channeled the challenges he faced in military training and combat toward aligning his body and mind. With the two working in unison, Jaco remained calm and positive in extremely stressful situations. When he retired, Jaco then used these techniques as a civilian to enrich his everyday life.

Through personal accounts of real experiences, Jaco explains how the challenging situations he endured as a member of one of the most elite Special Forces units in the United States taught him to control his emotions and tap into his intuition. Using these capabilities, he enhanced both his mental and physical strength. In The Intuitive Warrior, Jaco says that anybody can develop the perception and awareness skills that he learned and employ them to achieve a more fulfilling life, whether seeking to improve job performance, personal relationships or physical shape.

Michael Jaco answers a few questions for Martial Development readers in this exclusive interview… Continue reading Interview with an Intuitive Warrior

Bleeding, Brainwaves and Biofeedback

Beyond Biofeedback

Excerpted from Beyond Biofeedback, a record of Elmer and Alyce Green’s research on theta brainwave training, which they describe as an accelerated form of meditation.

When Jack Schwarz was in his early teens, he saw a stage hypnotist enter a self-induced trance and then push pins into his arm while he talked about the power of mind to control pain and bleeding. Jack had the normal response to pain until he saw that demonstration, and then, for no particular reason, he knew that he would be able to do the same thing. He got some pins and tried it, and sure enough he could turn pain off. What a conversation piece, he thought.

Jack said that at first he never tired of amazing his friends. He developed a cocky attitude, in spite of the fact that he had not had to develop his skills, but “woke up one morning and found all the diplomas were on the wall.” He could stop pain, stop bleeding, influence people through hypnosis, remove pains in other people by putting his hands on them and thinking about the pain going away, and could often “guess” other people’s thoughts precisely.

We did not make a focused effort to interrogate Jack when we began the laboratory work. As with Swami Rama, we asked him to tell us what he would like to demonstrate. Dale and Alyce wired him in the same way we prepared college-student subjects in other research. When he sat down in the experimental room he produced an envelope with two 6-inch steel sailmaker’s needles. Continue reading Bleeding, Brainwaves and Biofeedback

“Marathon Monk” Runs Away From Worldly Concerns

Genshin Fujinami

For more than seven years, Genshin Fujinami dressed in white from head to toe while covering the backwoods trails of Mount Hiei in one of the world’s most grueling feats–a punishing quest that combined starvation, isolation and the equivalent of a lap around the equator.

For 1,000 days, rising well before dawn, Fujinami embarked alone, rain or shine, on his journey, running or briskly walking more than 50 miles–that’s almost two marathons–each day as the trial neared its climax. Along with his white robes, his only gear was a pair of straw sandals, a long straw hat, candles, a shovel, a length of rope and a short sword.

The rope and sword weren’t for survival. If for some reason he could not complete his daily trek, he was to use them to kill himself.

Continue reading “Marathon Monk” Runs Away From Worldly Concerns

When and Why to Quit Kata Practice

For how long should we continue to practice our kata? Many senseis would simply answer: forever. Personally, I do not have forever to spare. Neither do you, I’d guess.

What do you have? A long list of responsibilities and interests, including but certainly not limited to karate (or other martial arts). You have a desire to maximize the benefits of your practice, while minimizing the costs. And you want to know when, if ever, you should quit your kata.

Simply put, you can justifiably quit when the costs of practice exceed the benefits. Here are a few of the potential, proposed and actual benefits of kata training.

Benefits of Kata Practice

Kata as a Memory Aid
The most frequently cited justification of kata is as a mnemonic device. The kata serves as a living dictionary of fighting techniques and sequences. Continue reading When and Why to Quit Kata Practice

Five Reasons Why Sitting Meditation is the Ultimate Self-Defense

5) Personal protection experts agree: “the best defense is not being there” when trouble starts. If you are sitting at home meditating, then you obviously aren’t there.

Cung Le kicks Frank Shamrock
Cung Le kicks Frank Shamrock

4) Some expert fighters, such as Cung Le, throw punishing high kicks. Sitting down renders you completely invulnerable to these kicks! They will sail right over your head, missing you completely. Continue reading Five Reasons Why Sitting Meditation is the Ultimate Self-Defense