prAxis ~ Tai Chi

When people are born
They are soft and supple. 
When they perish
They are hard and stiff.
When plants shoot forth
They are soft and tender.
When they die
They are withered and dry.
Thus it is said,
The hard and strong
Are followers of death;
The soft and weak
Are followers of life.
When an army becomes strong
It suffers defeat.
When a plant becomes hard it snaps.
The hard and strong dwell below.
The soft and weak dwell above.
~ Tao Te Ching, Verse 76

"Tai Chi is strength training that gives you a high, not unlike smoking dope, but without the side effects.  It is also completely legal." ~ The Mandarin Menace

The Mandarin Menace understands that Strength and Suppleness are two sides of the same coin.  How does one develop both using a common frame - our skeleton, joints, muscles?  Hard Style kettlebell lifts and Tai Chi may appear diametrically opposed, but they are complementary and indispensable pillars in the prAxis practicum. Being able to summon and dynamically adjust the degree of tension and relaxation appropriate to the task while maintaining perfect form and posture - that is the ultimate goal of such a blended approach.  


I have studied Tai Chi with a number of teachers in the Bay Area, always in the context of martial arts training, where mental clarity, poise, stable and strong stances, balance, and rotational power are highly valued and consciously cultivated.  Since 2002, I have trained exclusively with Brent Hamby at EBM Kung Fu Academy in Oakland.  EBM is home to the Oakland San Shou Team, which has fielded several national champions.  I have always been impressed by the fact that the best fighters are also the most accomplished Tai Chi practitioners.  That says a lot.  

Tai Chi is a traditional Chinese martial art that the little old ladies in the park have made to look easy.  That is because they have had a lifetime of practice.  If you aspire to move with agility and grace well until the day you drop, or if you just want to fend off the hip replacement or knee surgery that the medical establishment loves to foist upon its victims, take up this practice now.  It is never too late to start, but the time you spend waiting to qualify for senior status will be the weeks and months and years that you don't get to enjoy the age-defying benefits of Tai Chi.

Classes in the Bay Area
The Mandarin Menace draws upon her martial arts background and the neurologically based movement paradigm of Z Health to make Tai Chi accessible and enjoyable for a diverse population.  There are several ways to study with her ~ 
1. Students at the University of San Francisco - register for Prof. Tom's Tai Chi class, offered by the Exercise and Sport Science Department.
2. UCSF staff at the Mission Center Building - come to the complimentary class on Thursdays at noon.
3. People of the 1% - take one-on-one lessons as a prAxis client.
4. People of the 99% - sign up for group classes at both UCSF health club locations (Mission Bay & Parnassus) that are open to all. 

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