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Do Tai Chi Players Fight As Slowly As They Do The Tai Chi Form?

Do tai chi martial artists fight in slow motion? The answer: no. There is much confusion about it being practiced slowly for health and also being able to use it as a martial art. A lot of people are misled and believe that you can fight with it as slowly as you most often see it practiced. Nothing could be farther from the truth.
The reason that it’s practiced so slow, is to develop a beyond-normal state of awareness – not just awareness of movement – but also awareness of thought and feeling, much like intuition. Going fast covers up a lot of sensory information, while going slow allows us to “see” and “feel” things that are usually below our sensory threshold. Going so slow forces us to really understand what we’re doing, and not doing, and with later practice, it lets us gain the same information about our opponent.
Think of virtuoso musicians. There are areas in their musical pieces that they study to deeply understand it. Even if the music is meant to be fast-tempoed, the master musician will first read it over carefully and play it slowly to understand every nuance and how to best express it. The over-eager novice musician, on the other hand, will just want to race through the complex areas of the musical piece. Playing fast can even cover up mistake to most untrained ears. Unfortunately, most people do not understand that tai chi chuan is very much like an artful, expressive piece of music.
Its nickname is “shadow-boxing.” This is a good moniker. In combat, the idea is to shadow the speed of your opponent. The Tai Chi Classics which are sadly hardly ever studied anymore, specifically advise the practitioner: “Fast responses to fast actions and slow ones to slow actions. Although the changes are numerous, the principles remain the same.” That quote is attributed to one of the great masters, Wang Zong Yue, of the mid 15th century in China. Actually, in advanced stages of combat, you want to be a very tiny step ahead of your opponent. This is a very high level skill in which you no longer shadow your opponent, but rather, you are the one leading the shadow.
Whether you decide to use this art for its martial arts application or to fight the enemies of everyday life: aging, illness, stress… Make sure you perfect your skills and awareness by first going as slow as possible. That alone will build tremendous stamina and inner peace while developing your awareness.
That’s how practitioners use slowness as the gateway to swiftness. Enjoy your journey!
Article Re-print Rights Information: Articles may be republished, so long as publishers adhere to the Terms of Service for Publishers set forth by EzineArticles.…

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Mark Campbell, Creative Lyricist

Few lyricists are more creative than New Yorker Mark Campbell. Three of his latest commissions have been showcased this spring on Virginia stages. He neither owns nor drives a car, but his imagination travels at supersonic speed.
In March, Signature Theatre of Arlington produced “And the Curtain Rises.” Music for the comedy about the near-demise of America’s first musical was composed by Joseph Thalken, recipient of Signature’s third Musical Theatre Composer Grant; the book was by Michael Slade and the lyrics by the prolific Campbell.
The world premiere of “The Inspector,” a comic opera commissioned by Wolf Trap Foundation for the Performing Arts, occurred the final week of April. This madcap show built upon greed, graft and mistaken identity was Campbell’s fourth collaboration with composer John Musto. Their first joint venture was the opera “Volpone,” also a Wolf Trap commission. The recording was nominated for a Grammy Award in 2010.
Their second opera, “Later the Same Evening,” was inspired by Edward Hopper paintings in Washington’s National Gallery of Art. It premiered at the University of Maryland and will be performed this coming summer by Glimmerglass Opera.
Their third opera, “Bastianello,” was based on folk tales. It celebrated the 20th anniversary of the New York Festival of Song where Musto’s concert songs receive frequent performances and was followed by a Wolf Trap Opera Company production in 2010.
“The Inspector” is the team’s re-imagination of “The Government Inspector” by Nicolai Gogol, a play that delighted Tsar Nicholas I for its satirical look at human greed and political corruption. The new setting is a small Sicilian town populated by scheming politicians who await a bureaucratic inspector dispatched by Mussolini. The Campbell-Musto version is not an adaption of the play, but sails off merrily to suit the unspoken requirement that all opera must be built around dire life and death circumstances. Musto, who leans toward Italian music, did not want to write a Russian opera, so Campbell began scouting about for a time of large bureaucratic rule and rising power. Having spent a month in Sicily, he concluded that the Mussolini regime, the period between 1925 and 1930, was the most amusing setting.
To launch the 15th Virginia Arts Festival on the 150th anniversary of the firing on Fort Sumter, the VAF committee recruited Campbell and Broadway composer Ricky Ian Gordon to create an appropriate musical to premiere at Norfolk’s Harrison Opera House.
Campbell is renowned for his wit, but he took development of the story and lyrics for “Rappahannock County” very seriously, frequently journeying by train to Richmond to study pertinent official documents, letters and newspapers.
He separated the script into five sections to focus on key elements in each of the five years that marked the Civil War. The 30 characters are played by five performers: two Caucasian men and one woman, and an African-American man and woman. As he developed the plot, he jotted ideas for songs on note cards. Of the thirty songs he sent Gordon to score, they selected twenty.
Campbell focused on records about the effect of the war on the people and the reasons citizens put forth for going to war and retaining slavery. The more he read, the more he realized that all of the arguments and discussions that have reemerged since President Obama was elected parallel many prevalent at that time. The lyrics of the opening number giving the religious justification for slavery come directly from a sermon he found in the Virginia Library archives.
In “Sanctified by God,” a minister cites scripture as proof that slavery is sacrosanct and for the common good. A woman in his congregation concurs, believing it to be “A Noble Institution” in which “our Negroes are a happy lot,” and a gentleman declares that the issue is not slavery but “States Rights.”
At the outset of the war, there were no decent maps for Confederate field officers. “Making Maps,” sung by Jedediah Hotchkiss, Robert E. Lee’s chief cartographer for the Army of Northern Virginia, expresses concern that his maps will destroy the world he and his fellow Virginians know.
“‘re aware the final goal…
Is not to orient a man, but parcel to a plan
For spoiling valleys, for torching forests,
For bloodying rivers, for rupturing ridges,
Fields, farms, paths, groves, all lost,
Leveled into an ashen heap…”
As the scenes progress from heralding a “Quick War” to the realization that the South is fighting a “Lost Cause,” Campbell’s songs convey the growing despair among Virginians. His final song, “April Will Return Again,” renews hope to all who have suffered…while acknowledging that a gentle April may be years away.…

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Learn Martial Arts at Home – Learn Realistic Self Defense Without the Hassle of Classes

You probably have a pretty complicated life. Between work and family commitments it can be hard to pursue other activities that are important to you. Nothing is more important to you than your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Since this is something that is so important you need to find a martial arts course that allows you to learn self defense without having to drive back and forth to classes.
Learn Martial Arts at Home
Some people might think that you have to attend regular classes with a black belt instructor to learn how to really fight. That is simply not true. Realistic self defense is all about learning simple, easy to execute techniques that injure your attacker and get you, or your loved ones, out of harm’s way. You don’t have to do any back-flips or scream like an extra in a bad kung-fu movie, you need common sense, yet brutal self defense tactics that can be learned quickly.
Karate Class Alternatives
Instead of heading down to the local strip mall and plopping down a bunch of cash for ineffective lessons, consider an alternative way – learning martial arts at home. There are online self defense lessons that allow you to learn the brutal techniques that will stop your opponent cold in his tracks. You don’t want anything fancy, just the stuff that works. That is exactly what the high quality online self defense classes teach. No frills, no jumps and no blood curdling screams. Just high impact, effective techniques that can help you take out a potentially dangerous attacker.
The Choice is All Yours
If you want to pay a lot of money and spend years earning different degrees of colored belts, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that. But if you want the realistic, cutting edge training that allows you to unleash devastatingly powerful self defense techniques, you may want to consider a course that allows you to learn martial arts at home.…

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Learn Your Martial Arts Skills Faster!

Everybody learns differently, some can read a book to understand something, others need to hear about it to understand and some people need to do it or feel it to understand. If you can figure out how you learn things then you can speed up your learning of the Martial Arts.
Visual
The first way is visual, this means you like to learn things through watching something. For example pictures, diagrams or you might like to read books or watch videos. Basically anything that involves you using your eyes to absorb the information is visual learning.
Auditory
Next is auditory learning, this will be when you like to listen to lectures or audiotapes. You might like to hear discussions or debates. If you follow verbal instructions well then your auditory learning is good.
Kinesthetic
Kinesthetic learning is through learning with movement and direct physical touch. You like to feel what you are doing by moving, touching, experiencing. This is a very hands on approach, full of action.
As you learn something you will use all three of these methods, however one will be more dominant than the others. For most people the visual method is the best, but its worth taking the time to have a little think and figure out which way you learn best.
When you know how you learn, you can structure your training to suit, for example, if you want to learn a new kick you can watch videos of it or get someone to show it to you a few times. If you are a kinesthetic learner you can get someone to physically put you into the correct positions for the kick. On the other hand you may need someone to give you lots of verbal instructions.
If you are in a Martial Arts class your instructor should use all three ways to teach a technique. If you do not quite get the technique make sure they visually show it to you or explain it in words to you or physically get you to try it several times with their help.…

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Exercises to Avoid in MMA Fitness?

In mixed martial arts (MMA) there are different schools of thought regarding whether there are exercises one should avoid for MMA fitness or not. But sifting through the various opinions, we have found commonalities on things to avoid in MMA fitness training, depending on the situation. We have placed them under four categories: 1) Definitely, you should avoid certain exercises for MMA fitness. (This blatantly disagrees with the other three schools of thought but is included for your consideration). 2) You should avoid bad exercise habits for MMA fitness. 3) What you should avoid depends on your training goals for MMA fitness. 4) You should avoid misusing exercises rather than avoiding specific exercises for MMA fitness.
Below are the four schools of thought, plus commentary.
1. Avoid Certain Exercises, definitely, for MMA fitness. For example, some see no need for lifts that are specifically for toning. Also, leg extensions and leg curls on machines are perceived to be useless and may even cause harm. The reason for this is it is possible a mixed martial artist may have a minor knee issue from grappling, so it would be wise to avoid placing any stress on your knee ligaments such as that which occurs on the leg extension machine.
2. You should avoid bad exercise habits for MMA fitness. Some of these habits, as mentioned earlier, are doing a poor warm up. A good warm up will focus on dynamically, not statically, stretching and warming up and getting the blood flowing, and getting the joints ready for lifting and conditioning sessions. For example high knee runs, high leg kicks, skips, and internal and external shoulder mobility drills ensure support of your joints and muscles and your workout will be more productive. Another bad habit is not following through. For example if you don’t follow through the very end of a lift, it can lead to serious injury. Also, after doing kettlebell swings you should not relax too soon because if you do it can affect your back in the long term. So how you cool down after a workout should also be followed through.
3. What you should avoid for MMA fitness depends on your training goals. For example, if your goal is to increase your bench, squat and deadlift, then curls would be useless and should be avoided for the time being. However, if you are planning to fight in an MMA match, then curls have to be considered. So what to avoid would depend on what your training goal is at each specific point in time. All exercises are effective at some point in time, but the idea is to meet your focused goals at each stage of your training.
4. You should avoid misusing exercises rather than avoiding specific exercises for MMA fitness. Some exercises are good for injury prevention, such as the warm up, which also helps to avoid fatigue build up. If you do a poor warm up, there will be consequences. Also some exercises have higher inherent risks, such as lifting exercises. However, if you are an experienced lifter you will be making your choice based on the risks vs rewards. Also, some exercises will inherently be dangerous for some, yet perfectly safe for others, depending on the overall physical conditioning of the person. For example, if you are over-trained or injured, you should avoid deadlifts for the time being. Other times when you may need to rethink your workout regimen are if you plan on increasing your deadlift, as it may mean adjusting your curls. Another situation would be if you had a partial pectoral tear and are undergoing rehab. You would need to rethink the deadlift and squats.
The above are different schools of thought, but they all have one commonality-safety is primary and it is important to train smart for true MMA fitness.…

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Simple Tips For Learning To Play The Guitar

Do you have a desire to learn the guitar? Maybe you wish to help someone that you know learn how to play. There’s a lot you need to consider before you begin. These ideas will get you started playing as well as a rock star.

Look for a good guitar teacher. While many people have taught themselves to play guitar, it is sometimes a good idea for an objective person to watch you play. An quality instructor can offer you suggestions on how to play better and to improve your style. The ability to ask questions will also be beneficial.

If you would like to play a guitar, buy one. It’s harder to practice often without your own guitar. Additionally, you must keep your guitar in tune. If you don’t, it will always sound terrible no matter how good your skills.

Always remember to have fun when playing the guitar. Remember that the reason for learning guitar in the fist place is because you have always wanted to. Don’t turn it into a stressful activity that you dread. If you do this, you are likely to become bored, or you may grow to dislike it and give up altogether. Instead, practice and play music that you love and that speaks to you.

Toughening your fingertips is necessary if you play the guitar. Calluses will reduce any pain felt from strumming the guitar strings. While this won’t happen overnight, but consistent practice will help. There are also products on the market made just for this purpose.

Before you just concentrate on what to do to play the guitar, you should work on your learning what the guitar parts are called. This is going to help you become familiarized with your instrument as you start to learn scales, chords and string names.

You can buy a metronome. One of the biggest hurdles for a new guitar player to get over is keeping time. That’s where a metronome comes in; it can be a real help. With enough practice, you will soon be able to hold a beat on your own without the help of the device.

Teach yourself to use different keys when playing songs. This can help you to properly manipulate the different chords. In addition, it facilitates better understanding of music in general. This will improve your overall talent.

Start slow. The song you want to learn may have a quick pace and need lightening speed, but mastery comes with knowing the song thoroughly, first. Begin by mastering all the notes and chords; then worry about picking up your speed. When you play too fast, you will make a lot of mistakes. Begin at your own pace and master the notes before trying to play more quickly.

Get yourself a guitar playing friend. Find someone who is a little more advanced than you and someone who has just started and may need your help. You’ll be amazed at just how much you can learn from them. It can also be more fun to play with someone you like being around. It’s especially good to find someone who is the same playing level as you are so that you can both root for one another.

Anyone of any age can learn to play guitar. Keep practicing and stay open-minded about technique. Your musical ability will increase as you pick up more and more information about guitars. Use these tips to impress others with your mighty guitar skills.…

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What You Need to Know About Martial Arts Schools

Martial arts are a popular way to gain full body fitness while at the same time training the mind. Unfortunately, as things increase in popularity so do the numbers of people waiting to take advantage of you and take your money. Black belts can be purchased without any real know-how, and a dishonest individual can set up a school without having to answer to any national or statewide regulatory organizations. So how can you make a wise decision when choosing between martial arts schools? Here are four areas to investigate before you make a commitment.
InstructorsIt is a good idea to inquire as to how many years each of the instructors have trained and who with. Keep these questions in mind as you look at martial arts schools: Do they give respect to other students or treat them poorly? Respect must be both given and received to maintain a healthy student-teacher relationship. What is the attitude of students while performing routines? Do you think the instructors will help make this a positive experience for you?
SafetyGood schools will be as invested in safety as they are in teaching martial arts.Before you sign up to practice at a school, check out certifications. Try out a class, to see how the instructors work with students. A good instructor should be concerned with student health and safety by teaching the proper way not only to perform moves but to also condition muscles to prevent injuries.
The FacilityWhile facility types of martial arts schools vary widely and are not always an indication of quality, you should take into account what you require. Basic functionality should be apparent, but past that are you looking for some place that provides lockers and showers, so you can change after work? Also consider the distance you will have to travel and the number of times per week. Cleanliness, heating, and air conditioning are also things to consider.
InstructionDifferent schools will use different methods for instruction, training techniques and style. Some schools will be devoted to one style of martial arts, other will teach a wide range. Most martial arts schools will also have a variety of class size, either large group training, small classes, or one-on-one instruction. There are pros and cons to each class type, and your selection should depend on your personal preferences.
ClassesDon’t forget to ask about the scheduling of the classes. Most schools have set days and times (unless you are receiving private instruction) and missing classes is frowned upon. Will you be able to focus particular nights depending on your work schedule and other demands on your time? Will you be in a mixed ages class? Do you prefer to be taught with other adults?
If there are multiple martial art schools in your area, you can compare privately owned schools with chain schools, as well as affordability. Choosing a martial arts school to train is just a first step in the practice, so if one school doesn’t work out, you can always try out another.…

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Learn To Get The Absolute Most From An Arts And Crafts Hobby

Arts and crafts can be so much fun for anyone. There are so many different selections, so you can basically just do about anything your imagination desires. This article will help you enjoy doing arts and crafts more.

Since many crafting projects create messes, use newspaper to cover your surface before you begin. After the project is complete, simply toss the newspaper to keep your project worry free.

Remember that doing arts and crafts, especially with children, will be messy. If you don’t like messes, use newspaper to cover the area. Consider making use of washable materials, such as adhesives and markers.

Are you trying to save money while buying crafting supplies? Check out a second hand store. A clever artist can find supplies at many different places. You have to check back often because thrift store stock is always on the move.

There are countless jewelry supplies online that offer what you need to make your own pieces of jewelry. You can get beads, chains and other items to create beautiful pieces. A lot of today’s trends incorporate costume jewelry. By making your own, you’re not spending as much, and you can blend your jewelry with your wardrobe.

If you are having arts and crafts time with children, remember that you don’t have to have exact examples of each project. You should not show an example at all or show off different examples so that your kids can use their imaginations. To illustrate, they may come up with ways to paint or glue something that didn’t occur to you. Expressing their own vision is paramount to how they execute the project.

Look in your kitchen for craft materials. Many gems can be found there. Tin foil, empty metal cans, glass jars, paper plates and even uncooked pasta pieces await your creativity. Dried foods like beans and pasta can also be used.

If you change your mind about your oil painting picture, just paint over it. Oil is a great medium to work with when learning to paint. It may even add some depth to your new project!

To create a cute bird feeding alongside your children, use some pine cones and peanut butter. Roll the sticky pinecone in birdseed. Once dried, add a string and hang it from a tree. The birds will come flocking.

Take the time to make a few gifts instead of purchasing them. You can customize your gifts to suit recipients, and give them on special occasions. Many people like homemade gifts better than ones from the store, and you save a ton of cash each year as well.

Etsy is an excellent site for crafters. There are tons of crafts you can buy, or you can use the site to get some great ideas. You can also use Etsy to list some of your best projects for sale to make a little extra money to support your craft.

Now that you know more, you can implement this advice with skill. Regardless of your personal preference of craft, always hunt for chances to hone your craft and get some fresh ideas and inspiration. Use what you learned here and get creative.…

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The Top 5 Martial Arts For Self-Defense

There is a lot of debate about the best martial arts for self-defense. Some consider sports based arts such as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Muay Thai the best. Others believe so- called “Reality Based” styles such as Krav Maga are better. Then there are those who are convinced that tried and true, traditional arts like Karate or Kung Fu are superior. Here is a list of 5 arts that many experts consider to be the best to protect yourself on the street:
1. Kickboxing: Kickboxing (including Muay Thai) is a great combat sport that develops both kicking and punching ability. It also teaches you how to take a punch. While it does not teach you other important aspects of self-defense (such as situation-awareness, prevention, etc.), it does develop the skills you need in a street fighting situation.
2. Karate: This Okinawan art is often looked down upon because of the many bad schools that exist. However, if you can find a good dojo, you can learn great striking skills that can be very helpful in a self-defense situation. Karate teaches you to use powerful strikes against the weakest points of the body, which is a very effective strategy.
3. Wing Chun Kung Fu: This is probably the most popular Kung Fu style that exists, mainly thanks to Bruce Lee, who learned it from grandmaster Ip Man. Like Karate, Wing Chun mainly focuses on lighting fast strikes to vulnerable parts of the body. It is a great self-defense style for women as, according to legend, it was created by a woman.
4. Japanese Ju-Jitsu: Developed by the samurai warriors of ancient Japan, this martial art can best be described as the “mixed martial art” of its day. Unlike the styles we mentioned before, which focus mostly on striking, Ju-jitsu has a much wider arsenal, including throws, joint locks and more.
5. Krav Maga: This fighting system was developed by the Israeli army and incorporates a wide variety of fighting techniques from striking to grappling and wrestling. Because it is meant for the battlefield Krav Maga has many moves that can be lethal, so they should not be used unless in true life or death situations.
There are so many martial arts that choosing the right one for self-defense purposes can be quite a challenge at times. While almost all martial arts will improve your self-defense skills at least a little, some arts will give you a bigger edge than others. By choosing one (or several) of the arts listed above you should be able to significantly improve your chances of surviving an attack.…

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Learn How To Play Guitar Quickly Today

Have you ever listened to beautiful music played on a guitar? The diversity of musical sound the guitar can produce has spurred many a musician to aspire to greatness. Read on to learn how to become a guitarist yourself and follow your dreams.

It is not necessary that you gain all of the skills involved in playing the guitar immediately. Go slow, and you’ll get there. Practice daily and soon enough you’ll realize that you’re getting better.

Maintain your motivation. Creating both short and long-term goals can help you keep playing guitar. If someone you know plays, join up with them for a music session every now and again. At week’s end, if you have practiced faithfully each day, give yourself a treat. Remember, nothing that’s actually worth your time will be easy.

Be certain to keep guitar practice fun. This is something you should want to do, not something you feel like you have to do. Don’t let it become a chore. If you do this, you are likely to become bored, or you may grow to dislike it and give up altogether. Play the songs that you find to be the most fun.

You should get a good guitar if you’re serious about learning to play. If you can’t buy your own, try borrowing or renting a guitar. Using a quality instrument will create better sound and improve skills.

You can buy a metronome. This is one of the largest issues experienced by newer players. That’s where a metronome comes in; it can be a real help. By practicing frequently, you can hold a rhythm without a metronome.

Start learning to play pieces in a variety of keys. This helps you get used to certain chords. You will also gain a deeper understanding of music. You will improve as a musician by understanding music as a whole.

Learn some physical exercises to strengthen your fingers. Some chords require fancy handwork, and that is possible only when you can control the strings with your fingers. Strengthening your hands and fingers with certain exercises will help you play the guitar better.

There are many available items that can help make sure you do not end up with sore fingers. Soak your finger tips in apple cider vinegar before and after playing for about 30 seconds. You can also apply ice to your fingertips to relieve the soreness. Using a product with benzocaine pre and post practice can help.

After you buy your guitar and start practicing on it, be sure to take care of it properly. Learn how to clean and maintain it, as well as just how often you need to do both, so that you’ll get many good years from the guitar. You should find out how to tune the guitar and change out the guitar strings yourself. You are sure to have a guitar that makes you proud.

People worldwide enjoy the sound of a guitar. The guitar can make certain sounds that some other instruments can’t emulate. Take the tips from above to heart, and soon you’ll be playing well enough to wow your friends.…