A Drop in the Ocean
Mark Johnson was my first Tai Chi teacher. He is not your typical internal arts instructor. He enlightened you 30% of the time, bewildered you 30% of the time, upset you 30% of the time and the rest of the time he made you laugh. I was very pleased to see him in this video. It really represents his view on the universe and all it’s minutiae. He has a few videos out there. This one is his most prolific, Tai Chi for Seniors.
An Architect for Tai Chi
One of my first experiences with explosive internal energy was when I met Master Henry Look. I met him through a friend who knew I wanted to learn Hsing-I (one of the three major Internal Martial Arts) and he was the best teacher in the area. I had earned a black sash in kung fu and recently discharged from the Army Special Forces and I was in pretty good shape. Master Look appeared to be as any elderly gentleman would look who had had a stroke. Part of his face was paralyzed but, he seemed to move around OK. Our first conversation went to the power of internal energy pretty quickly. He asked if I wanted to experience it. (In retrospect I feel that it was important that I needed to get off my high horse and know that external strength was not what this was about). He invited me to try to push him and just when I was about to go he said, “Stop, you might damage the wall behind you”, “Let’s move over here.” I just shook my head. Well, I tried to push him. The second my hand touched his arm I went flying back into different wall. He barely moved. He seemed to shudder a bit and grunt and I was in the air. I got back on my feet and became his student. The next class is a story in itself…(later)
It’s like being Bullied by a Pillow
I invited Master Tam to my Tai Chi class for a seminar when I was teaching at Disney World. I didn’t know what I was in for. He is the most gentle person I’ve ever met. I didn’t understand everything he said, but his actions were clear. After he gave is introduction he asked for a volunteer, I thought if I was the first one it would add validity to whatever he was going to do for some reason. He asked me to touch him and the next thing I knew I was flopping around classroom like a rag doll. The most incredible thing about this though is that I felt no pain associated with his movements. He would move my wrist an inch and I would fall to the ground and I felt like I was just hit with as pillow, now a very powerful pillow, but there was no discomfort. When I was learning kung fu, I would also get thrown around like this but it hurt, a lot. In this video, when you see these guys moving backward, they have no choice. I know what they are experiencing, a gentle force you can’t fight.
The Integral Way
Master Ni, Hua Ching was my teacher’s teacher. He has written about 70 books in English about the Integral Way. His book Mastering Chi is one of my go to’s when I get stuck in my practice. I have a few of these books available for purchase on this site, but there are dozens more available. He is also the founder of Yo San University in Santa Monica, a school to study Traditional Chinese Medicine among many other things.