Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Experience Promo Ending Tonight

Hello All,

I just wanted to let you all know about a promotion we are having on our Online Health Store ( for the product Experience.  Below is a screen shot of our site showing the buy 2 get 1 free deal we have going right now.  It ends tonight (7/27/16) at 11:59pm, though, so jump on it while you can. ;)

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

Friday, July 1, 2016

Tai Chi Tip: Music?

A question that has come up a lot in the past is whether or not one should listen to music while practicing Taiji. Some people say it's fine, some say it doesn't matter, and other shun the idea of listen to music while practicing altogether. Does it really matter all that much? If you listen to music while training is it actually going to hinder your progress, or will practicing in silence really advance your training at an increased rate?

It is very common for new Taijiquan students to prefer listening to music while training. It helps them find the flow in the movements, keeps their minds more focused, and helps drown out the mental and emotional noise pouring in from the outside world. In fact, while I was teaching I always had tranquil, instrumental music playing in the background during each class. I found that it helped set the mood for the class and allowed my students to stay focused a little better.

With such obvious benefits arising from listening to music while training, why would anyone discourage this practice in training? There are many reasons that could be given, everything from it hindering your ability to focus on your own without musical aid, to it creating an artificial sense of flow that stunts you in finding the flow of the movements within yourself. However, instead of giving a list of reasons why music should or should not be used during training, I would like to view music as a tool that can be used during training and examine the point at which music becomes a stumbling stone in training.

Using music during practice is an excellent starting place for a beginner, for all of the previously mentioned reasons. The focus, the flow, the tranquility it provides, aid new students in letting go of everything else and becoming present within their training. However, this tranquility is artificial and as a student progresses it is important that they learn to develop tranquility, to find their flow, and to become present without the aid of music. A sort of weening period may be necessary, in which music is used less and less during training, until the student is able to find all of the flow, tranquility, and presence within her/himself. When a Taiji practitioner can find all of these things within, then music does not matter because the art is coming from inside and the presence or absence of music will not effect the source of the student's abilities.

For beginners music may be necessary, but for students who have been training a while, music becomes a hindrance at the point at which it is a crutch used to find a flow externally, that should be coming from within. But why does it matter whether the peace that one experiences during their Taiji training is because they have developed tranquility and flow through training his/her mind and body, or whether it is because she/he has some really good music on? It matters because finding things that are easy to find is not a skill worth training to acquire. In other words, if one can become peaceful in a peaceful environment, then he/she has not learned any new useful skill that can be applied in a stressful environment. When soft music is playing, it is easy to feel tranquil and stay focused, but when soft music is not playing it can become more difficult and when the environment as anything but peaceful it becomes even more difficult. Therefore, if you want to be able to use your Taijiquan skills to manage stress levels at work, handle social situations, or even to defend yourself, you need to train yourself to access those skills and draw them up from inside of you in any setting. This can be done by learning to train without the use of music and even can be carried further by occasionally training in noisy or busy areas.

In conclusion, I recommend the use of music during Taiji training, so long as the practitioner does not become dependent on it. So long as music does not become a crutch, it should not hinder any advancement in training and beginners will probably benefit more from the presence of music during training, than it's absence, while they are becoming familiar with a whole new world of movement and ideas that is wrapped up in Taijiquan.

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

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