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About Taomeow

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  1. Unpopular Opinions

    The joke was funny when heard for the first time, a long time ago, but by now it's an old joke, probably not even counting as a joke anymore. Gravity sucks. Black holes suck. It's an unpopular opinion today -- the latest view is that, contrary to the earlier picture of what happens in the vicinity of a black hole, over 90% of infalling matter will never make it inside at all. Instead it will get spewed out into the outer regions of the galaxy and return to the interstellar medium. Matter is charged. If a particle misses the event horizon and simply approaches a black hole, it's going to experience humongous acceleration, create a magnetic field, and magnetic fields change the direction of every other charged particle around them. They will heat up, gain speed, emit light, and produce bipolar jets perpendicular to the plane of the black hole's rotation. So, a black hole has no special sucking power, it's just mega gravity, and apparently it doesn't suck. Good to know, right?
  2. Unpopular Opinions

    A riddle. In a certain city there were knights who had armor-bearers. All knights always told the truth and were loyal. All armor-bearers always lied and were traitors. A certain person said: "I will lie to you. I will betray you." Was he a knight or an armor-bearer?
  3. Unpopular Opinions

    I wish I hadn't misplaced an early online exchange where I got gently chastised by Marvin Minsky, no less (one of the fathers of artificial neural networks and the founder of the MIT AI laboratory). The forum was about cognitive neuroscience, another one of his interests (as well as mine), and I made a joke which he found funny but off topic. (The joke contained an unpopular opinion about gravity and black holes.)
  4. Unpopular Opinions

    This happened to me on a reddit sub. I lurked for a year or so, then I felt like setting something straight. To wit, the location of a city that was being discussed as holding the keys to some ancient mystery in its architecture. I'm all for ancient mysteries and love to look at old architectural landmarks as puzzles full of symbology to decipher, but that discussion placed the city under scrutiny hundreds of miles to the east of where it's actually located, and landlocked it in order to support this or that point even though it was built as a seaport to begin with and remains one to this day. I pointed it out and was immediately banned. Turned out the geography genius who came up with that theory was a mod.
  5. when should long time lurkers speak up?

    For many years I've been friends with a lurker who contacted me privately at some point and has been keeping in touch ever since. A Sinologist, by the way. I don't know if he does much (if any) lurking anymore or not, we found other things to talk about, not TDB related. So, you never know.
  6. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    A British colonel came up with this name for a lamaist monastic routine he learned while exploring Tibet in the early 20th century. He was a member of the exclusive Travellers Club in London, described as "the quintessential English gentleman's club."
  7. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    Yi Jin Jing is good. Other routines to choose depend on your goals -- for general maintenance, I think versatile activities, ideally with whole-body involvement, are very useful. Brisk walking (which I favor over running -- better yet, walking qigong), swimming, hiking with some climbing (choosing the difficulty level based on your current physical shape but aiming to challenge yourself a bit), a good yoga routine, a good stretching routine (I like the Five Tibetans and the TKD warm-up I learned a long time ago), and you know I always push taiji so, consider that. As for pull-ups -- I'm in favor, in moderation, and as for push-ups -- on the fence... Light dumbbells maybe, and a really good set of instructions (otherwise, more harm than good.) Tennis. I think regularity is important, it isn't so much what you do as whether you do it every day that matters. Thorough housecleaning. If you want to turn it into a muscle-challenging routine, try it the Japanese way or the Buddhist monks way -- wash the floors by hand on your hands and knees. (That's what I sometimes do when it's too hot or too cold outside or I'm otherwise not in the mood to exercise but feel I should. )
  8. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    P.S. 70 --75% is about right for any kind of exertion activity (including even eating to "75% of your hunger" in the taoist tradition) but not for stretching. With stretches you are shooting for 100% of what you can do today (provided you're familiar with the correct way to do it safely -- there's body parts you never stretch in certain directions, e.g. the knees, and there's stretching techinques you never employ, the ones that overstretch ligaments instead of relying on internal power -- "dragon emerging" in Chen is a good example of that latter one, a challenging stretch which should never be done the calisthenic or yoga way and has shocked me many times in those beautiful and visually impressive wushu performances that are going to destroy the performer's ligaments and joints once the performer is past the all-permissive young age). If you've been meticulously taught the correct stretching technique, you can safely assume that what constitutes 100% for you today is maybe 10% of what you should be able to do as a future goal. (An example -- the chin-to-big-toe taiji stretch, which if you start from an "average" place might take a minimum of a year to master -- often much longer -- and will both give you healthy spinal flexibility which is the holy grail and might come as a bonus if you do everything else diligently and correctly even without specifically training this particular stretch.)
  9. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    Sounds like a lazy teacher or else one generous with his (and his students') time. Horse stance is something I'd teach in detail, correct, correct again -- and again -- and then treat as homework (for those who need it. I don't know where the idea of its universal usefulness comes from.) The typical muscle building exercises and sports are indeed often in the way of qi flow and meridian opening, and I believe so is hard qigong. But there's many soft qigong forms and routines that are pretty physically challenging, and many will build up inner muscles without having much visible effect on the external ones. Those inner muscles (intercostal, psoas and iliacus, core abdominal and back, and with some qigongs even some smooth muscles of the internal organs) are the ones primarily involved in qi circulation (while the external ones are in charge of qi expenditures). Good qigong routines known for building strength and stamina do it with inner muscles involvement and without a specific focus on the external ones (which will never overgrow from those routines like bodybuilders' or specific sports practitioners', yet will also gain strength, though by a different mechanism.)
  10. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    There's many kinds, the most crude division is between hard and soft qigong. Hard qigong (favored, e.g., by Shaolin monks) can be more physically demanding than most athletic activities, and will produce athletic bodies. I have no idea if it will do stuff on the level of qi, some of its methods seem to be completely opposite (e.g., multiple ways to make parts of the body or the whole body extremely hardened against striking force, insensitive to pain, and so on.) Soft qigong can be quite useful for building physical strength and flexibility too, but by different means and with more of its effects going into inner core muscles rather than external muscles (as well as into joints and ligaments.) Then there's other distinctions within each category. E.g. there's medical qigong among the soft varieties, and within that, internal and external medical qigong -- internal for self-healing, external for healing others. And so on. Duck-walk was something my taekwondo teacher made us do. No huge track, just round and round the perimeter of the dojo, but. Every. Single. Time. Oh how I hated it! The first qigong I ever encountered, many moons ago, was falun gong... There was this one static exercise there where you stand with your hands holding the falun ("law wheel") above your head. And stand. And stand. And your arms start falling off. I couldn't remember pull-ups being this hard. But tone the arms to perfection it did, if nothing else.
  11. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    I don't have the context of course for how suggestive the comments were (you initially asserted they were "thirsting" for him and my imagination didn't quite cooperate painting the corresponding picture.) And of course there's all kinds of middle-aged white women in the world and it's possible (though not very typical in my experience) that the most lascivious of them prey on young celibate martial arts teachers and take classes specifically for that purpose. In my more mundane experience, older women won't think twice about admiring the good looks of younger guys because they have grown sons or sons-in-law that age or even older, sometimes grandsons, and they may make those comments specifically because they don't think twice about it. So, don't know how inappropriate it was, maybe a monk is not supposed to be good-looking, or if he is, women of particular age and race are not supposed to notice... but this demographic may not be familiar enough with Communist monasteries rules and regulations. As for hands on tuition, I don't know what kind of training you got but in mine, it's absolutely precious and a game changer... yet most teachers are reluctant to make hands-on corrections precisely because in our deviant society, human touch is supposed to be either sexualized or else nonexistent. The age of untouchable "either fuck me or don't touch me" sexual maniacs is upon us... Don't know about arts far less subtle and far less dependent on fine-tuned sensitivity, but you can't really learn taiji without hands-on instruction. You can have tai chee to be sure. But to think that students could possibly only want hands-on instructions because they are "thirsting" for the teacher... I dunno. Maybe. Then again, there's jokes. Women of all ages and races joke about "these things," not just men do. So?.. In other words, your reasons for not liking the teacher or his students could have been chosen more appropriately methinks. Also sprach Taomeow.
  12. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    Something Chinese. Their record keeping (strictly enforced by the imperial bureaucratic apparatus by the way) goes back 3,500 years.
  13. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    Me neither. It was you who wrote "apologies." I merely quoted. And I merely noticed that it's my favorite kind -- shifting the responsibility from words or actions one actually produced to the person who "felt" something in response. I.e. "apologies for the way things are wrong with you," effectively. Sadly it has become a rather popular way to offer "apologies" from a place of _________ but I find it despicable. Sorry if it makes you feel______.
  14. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    my favorite kind of apology.
  15. Body Focused Forms in Qigong

    It's 20-30 years, earlier generations were closer to 20 (people had children earlier, and once they had their own children, they became a "previous generation" in the same family), nowadays in many countries it's closer to 30. Let's take an average -- 25. So 36 generations is 900 years. Now then. In spiritual and martial lineages, generations are counted if the unbroken lineage -- teacher to disciple -- is known and documented. There may have been countless generations before, that's quite possible, but they are not taken into account when someone claims such and such generation in a lineage unless they are proven, either by direct or (rarely) very convincing circumstantial evidence. E.g. I am a 13th generation Chen style lineage taiji practitioner (not "lineage holder" though -- there's a distinction I won't go into right now). The lineage is unbroken for 325 years and I can recite the 12 generations that went before name by name. If a teacher who claims to be 35th generation (of anything) can do likewise and it can be verified, his claim is legit. If not, it's either made up or in any event shouldn't be made.