It is one of the greatest challenges for martial artists. Can we discern the difference between the real threats and the imagined dangers? Are we still being deluded by our own internal conflict? Can we tell the difference between emotional defensiveness and practical engagement?
Because when we try to assert power by claiming victimhood, then we abuse ourselves as well as others. We create more conflict when we let our emotions obscure the truth. We must learn to free ourselves from our own fear and selfishness and to avoid the negative consequences of that pesky flinch response.
As men, we may feel threatened by #metoo. But we are not. Not really. The movement is good for all of us if it enables honest communication, self reflection, compassion, and better behaviour all around. If it helps us to be more aware, and more kind and more respectful, then that is a good thing. If it helps actual victims to feel less guilt, and enables their abusers to recognize their responsibility, that is a good thing.
Of course, there are 6 sides to every story, and 64 degrees of nuance. But it starts with letting go of fear, and opening ourselves to the possibility that for a martial artist, one of the best things we can do to defend ourselves is to become more compassionate.
Note that some classes will be held at Black Lotus Academy of Martial Arts and Fitness. They have just finished moving into their new 11,000 sq. ft. facility on Kitchener Street.
Private lessons can be shared. So, if you have a few people, you can create your own "group lesson." We can either keep it private or add it to the schedule.
Friend: "So, you teach tai chi?"
Friend: "What style do you teach?"
Me: "I don't teach a style. Style is a personal expression of an art. But the art is not a style."
Friend: "Okay. What art do you teach."
Me: "An art cannot be taught. It is too profound and too personal for one person to pass on to another."
Friend: ".....um...okay. But you do consider yourself a teacher. Don't you?"
Me: "If I flatter myself, yes. I call myself a teacher."
Friend: "Well, then what do you teach."
Me: "I teach people."
I encourage students to find themselves, their power, their balance, and their place in the world. I try to find ways to help them understand their relationships between the mind, the body, the environment, their peers, their families, and the universe. I try to help them to feel how every thought has an emotion, every emotion has a physical effect, and every physical effect resonates throughout the Universe.
I try to help people to find balance and harmony within an inherently violent world, by realizing that balance is a verb, and harmony is a constant process. Self defence is best practised in peace time, and that inner peace is a powerful weapon in times of conflict.
The most effective way for me to do this is to let go of style, dogma, and even the art itself. I have to find where each student is and start there. I can't lead them from somewhere that they are not.
In this respect, teaching is like self defence.
For when we are in combat, we must know the enemy and know ourselves. We must follow in order to lead. We do not strive to control so much as to regulate. We do not confront conflict so much as adapt to it. When an opponent has begun an attack, it is already too late to stop it. Confronting a stronger opponent's strength head-on is usually the least efficient method of defence.
Likewise, when a student has difficulty understanding a concept, dogma will never conquer misunderstanding. I must try to see what the student sees. I cannot force my understanding upon them. But I can help them see through their own understanding, and to expand their view. In the process, I learn to be more adaptive, more responsive, and better at my art.
Early in my career, I would encounter students whom I thought to be unteachable. At the very least, I doubted their ability to grasp the finer points. I have learned, since then, to suspect such students of being divinity in disguise. When a student with an obvious mental, emotional, or physical disability comes to class, part of my mind says, "What secret super power does this one have?"
I have also discovered that the best way to teach students is to learn from them.
These changes to the schedule for the Orillia classes will take effect 1 November, 2017.
Tai Chi Workout
A comprehensive exercise program for mind, body, and spirit. Relaxing, meditative, healing, rejuvenating.
- Tuesday evenings 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
- Thursdays evenings 6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
- Saturday mornings 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Martial Arts Training
A 2-hour, session for students of all levels who wish to learn practical martial arts. This includes the 1-hour Tai Chi Workout, plus an hour that includes tuishou, martial applications, xingyiquan, baguazhang, and more.
- Tuesday evenings 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
- Thursdays evenings 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM
- Saturday mornings 9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
Create your own group
- Tai chi,
- Martial arts
- Self Defence,
- Therapeutic exercises
Personalized programs including:
Private lessons allow for fixed scheduling or flexible scheduling, and enable a special custom curriculum to be designed for each student. Private lesson rates apply to individuals or to small groups
The instructor can come to you, anywhere in Canada, or overseas.
Full-time and Part-time intensive training
Students come from around the World to train for various lengths of time. Some come for a day, a week, or a month. Some move here temporarily to train full-time or part-time.
The instructor will, on occasion, travel to Toronto to work with air travellers who are on a brief stopover.
Typical group lesson rates vary from $55 per month to $165 per month depending on the number of classes and payment options. Or, you can create your own group lesson by splitting the cost of a private lesson amongst up to 10 friends.
Private lesson rates vary from $ 45.00 per hour to $ 95.00 per hour depending on frequency, regularity, and payment options.
The instructor may be able to come to you, whether you are in Orillia, elsewhere in Canada, or overseas. There is a base rate per hour or per day, plus travel and accommodation expenses.