Archive for February, 2010

Why stretch?

February 24th, 2010 No comments

Of course we should stretch, I’d just like to explore the reasons why. Here’s my theory:

We stretch to maintain or increase our maximum range of motion. We do that so we can avoid injury while moving within our usual range of motion.

We stretch our arms so we can comb our hair. We stretch our quads so we can run. We stretch our hamstrings so we can kick. The length or angle of a stretch is greater than the length or angle through which we would move the relevant body part.

When I speak of stretching, I speak of lengthening the muscle and/or tendon and/or fascia longitudinally. Along its length. If you want to talk about opening up the muscle between the fibers, that’s best left for another day.

Here’s my point: If we want to keep doing something physical, we need to stretch beyond that just to “maintain”. We need to stretch gently, while relaxing, with no bouncing and no tension.

Make sense?

(Hey, it looks as if somebody else has the same theory. Sort of.)

(edit: A little more research may reveal this to be a simplistic point of view. For example, stretching may allow the body to repair injury. I’ll get back to you.)

Categories: fitness Tags:

Roger Ebert: inspiring stuff

February 17th, 2010 No comments

Yes, Roger Ebert may not be well, but he’s still with us, thank God. Esquire did a piece on him that’s wonderful reading.

Just to let you know, the article opens with a more recent portrait of Roger without the turtleneck. Poor guy lost his lower jaw to cancer. He doesn’t remember the last thing he ate, drank or said, but he’s still writing. Quite a guy.

It just makes me wonder: if the same thing happened to me, would I remember the last thing I ate, drank or said?

Here’s a follow-up (rebuttal?) by Roger.

… and here he is with his new voice.

Categories: inspiration Tags:

Secrets of Youth #7: keep moving!

February 15th, 2010 No comments

(Gotta love those war posters. I didn’t want to use a shot of seniors running in pink tracksuits for this one. For those of you who enjoy looking for subtext, please feel free to do so.)

We call it exercise, cardio, fitness and so on. But really, we just need to keep moving. Whether we were designed to do that doesn’t matter: movement is a natural function for us. The more we move, the easier it gets, and the more natural it feels.

Movement is life.

Now for those of you who’ve been paying attention, yes, stillness is necessary too. You must have both. But the odds are, that in Western civilization, we’re not moving enough. I’m not telling you anything new, but hopefully simplifying it. Move more, sit less.

Make motion a normal state for you.

Categories: fitness, secrets of youth Tags:

Now that’s Yiquan!

February 10th, 2010 No comments

How’s that for a grabber headline?

I’ve just stumbled upon a great interview with Master Cheuk Fung, a Yiquan (yee-chwan) master who studied under the teacher of Master Chau, my Yiquan Sifu. It contains some of my favourite descriptions of the art that I’ve seen yet: practical and simple, just like Yiquan. Master Fung just makes so much sense to me. The interviewer comes off as a bit of a goof, but his questions help to illuminate the difference between our western-biased way of categorizing information and the art’s eastern-based reality.

Check it out under “articles”, just to the right of this post.

(For those just joining us, Yiquan is a martial art that doesn’t emphasize a specific set of forms or patterns, but instead teaches the martial artist to develop a full-body strength that can be applied to any martial art. Its interdisciplinary nature appeals to me, which is why I study it and include it in my blog. It also has great health benefits, so there.)

Categories: Yiquan Tags:

Happy birthday to us!

February 2nd, 2010 2 comments

Celebrating a year of unsolicited advice! Yessir!

It’s been a year since the first post at RnR, and I’d like to take this opportunity to thank all those people who’ve commented over the year: Caprice, Bill and Mom! But of course, I also would like to thank all the stealth readers such as Ben L, Mike 2, John H, Doug N, Paul and Alex W. If you’re a reader, please let me know. Every now and then I check the stats on the site when I can find the stat-checking password, but aside from personal feedback given in conversation, I have no idea who reads this thing.

As part of the birthday celebrations I’ll do some housekeeping around the site to better reflect the way I do things now. The focus will be less on Tai Chi per se and more on general health, emphasizing an east-meets-west point of view as often as possible. There’ll also be some Yiquan in there, as well as whatever else I get into.

Thanks for reading!

Categories: Admin Tags: