Taichi and drugs

Postby Wushuer » Wed Dec 24, 2003 3:41 pm

Guess we're both bored at work today?
In my head keeps ringing the words of a guy who doesn't seem to come here anymore.
He is a Wu stylist, a student of Wu Kwong Yu, like me.
He once said, on this board, in answer to the question of why Wu Chien Chuan stylists use 100/0 weight distributions at all times during practice (I am paraphrasing here):
We practice at 100% so that in case we ever need to fight at 100%... We can.
That is a very typical Wu style statement. I felt like I'd gone home when I read that.
In that same vein:
I practice under the influence of alcohol, in case I ever need to fight under the influence of alcohol.
I practice when overly full, in case I ever need to fight when overly full.
I practice when I am weak, sick, starved, heck insert your own condition here, in case I ever need to fight under that particular condition.
I have had to fight, real, honestly fighting for my life kind of fighting. You never, ever know when it is going to happen or what kind of condition you will be in when it does.

By the way. I learned at Wu's T'ai Chi Ch'uan Academy that TCC is a full time art. You do not ever NOT practice.
When lifting my finger to type, I practice TCC.
When I eat, I practice TCC.
When I breathe, I practice TCC.
Everything for me is TCC. It is my life. I live it, I practice it in every aspect of my life at all times.
Why would I not then practice when things are at their worst?
I do so, because when you are faced with a survival situation, things are at their worst.
If I've only "trained" when things are at their best, a very unreal situation when you need your skills the most, then how can I expect to survive when things really are bad?
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Postby Michael » Wed Dec 24, 2003 6:56 pm


Know where you are coming from.

You do all those "bad" things to yourself? Move over brother, you are not alone.

Your description of "practice" at the end of your last post, in my opinion is the correct one.

My best to you and yours, Happy Holidays. I am headed for I 39 to meet up with some family to stuff ourselves--I'll try to practice in that condition but instead I will probably reach for another Hackor(sp) Schorr or a gin and tonic instead.

[This message has been edited by Michael (edited 12-24-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Wed Dec 24, 2003 8:05 pm

Have a good holiday.
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Postby Polaris » Thu Dec 25, 2003 12:47 am

Doing drugs recreationally or drinking to get drunk are both incredibly bad for one's health, from a Traditional Chinese Medicine point of view. Alchohol is pure poison, and depletes the ch'i almost instantly upon ingestion. The more you drink, the more you deplete. Hangovers happen for a reason.

Smoking anything, tobacco, marijuana, crack, injures at least the lungs and our absorption of oxygen is impaired, again affecting ch'i. Not to mention the toxicological effects on the brain, liver, etc.

So as a student of the Wu family, it has never been suggested to me that I should ever train while high. Quite the opposite, it has always been: "You'll be sorry!" As a teacher, I would never suggest such a thing in my turn.

This world is what it is, people are who they are, and I'm not saying that you should never drink or whatever, that is up to you. I'm speaking from a purely professional standpoint as regards substance abuse and training T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
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Postby Louis Swaim » Thu Dec 25, 2003 1:32 am

Greetings Wushuer,

I’m not arguing against drinking, and I’m certainly not saying one shouldn’t practice at all if conditions aren’t ideal. Your attitude toward full-time practice is admirable. What I’m taking issue with is the notion that there’s a good rationale for practicing under the influence of alcohol. The notion that doing so would improve your ability to fight while under the influence is, in my opinion, false. It’s analogous to saying that because you may have to drive drunk, you should practice driving drunk. I’m sure there are plenty of people who believe that, and who have convinced themselves that they can drive just fine after a few drinks. Some of them have discovered that not to be the case, and sometimes under very unfortunate circumstances. The school of hard knocks/survivalist stuff is not relevant to this issue. Lots of us have lived in rough neighborhoods. We learn how and where to place ourselves.

So, while I respect your right to your opinion, I respectfully disagree with this idea.

Take care,

[This message has been edited by Louis Swaim (edited 12-24-2003).]
Louis Swaim
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Postby rvc_ve » Fri Dec 26, 2003 6:06 am

[QUOTE]Originally posted by Louis Swaim:
[B]Greetings Wushuer,

The school of hard knocks/survivalist stuff is not relevant to this issue. Lots of us have lived in rough neighborhoods. We learn how and where to place ourselves.

This argument can be used as an excuse for many issues. But if we where to look at it from this point of view, being drunk certaintly keeps us from fighting 100%. so if that is the case, A TRUE survivalist will not drink at all, since in his "rough neighborhood" fights can happen anytime.

So there is realy no excuse to mix alcohol with martial arts. If you think you are going to get into a fight in a bar, well here is the secret to come out of it successfully: DONT GO TO A BAR.

Ever heard of walking away? well I guess that if your drunk and you judgement is impaired, you will find this option extremely boring, and will rather get into a fight to prove you "manhood" Again, nothing personal, but I fint the "I drink and I fight" argument less and less consistent as I continue to think about it.

I remember back in my Shotokan Karate days, and by the way this is whan I was still living in south america, in a "rough neighborhood" (LOL).

Anyway, me and my frinds got in this stupid fight at a bar. Since we knew some karate and the other guys were old drunken idiots, we actually won. The next day we told the story to our SENSEI, feeling prunds of being able to use our karate in real self defese situations.

He got mad at us since we were responsible for the fight, for not having the wisdom to avoig going to a place like that on the first place. We also did a loooot of pushups. This kinda stuck with me so I think the best defense it to avoid a dangerous situation. But hey...what do I know right!

Im a Taiji/xingyi guy now (well...for a while now), and this are damn hard arts, so all the free time I have I devoted to train and I dont have time to do to a bar anyway!!!

Like I said before, martial arts are a way of life and in order for us to live it correctly, there are some things that we can avoid doing.

Happy Holidays again guys!
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Postby psalchemist » Fri Dec 26, 2003 11:21 am

Greetings Ray,

Our thoughts seem to tread similar paths on this one...

Merry Christmas to You too!

Take care,
Best regards,

[This message has been edited by psalchemist (edited 12-26-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:36 pm

I believe I have done my best to make it clear, let me look....
Yep, I stated clearly that I do not drink to excess. Ever. I have a two drink maximum, that's it. I have stuck by this personal rule for nearly twenty years, longer than I have practiced TCC.
I also believe I said, let me look....
Yep, there it is. I have said, repeatedly I have to add, that drinking or otherwise inpairing your senses is not a good idea.
What I am doing here is being H-O-N-E-S-T about my life and practices.
Does anyone here have trouble understanding this concept? Do I need to explain to anyone the difference between a "best practice" and "what really happens"?
I sincerely hope not.
Where have I ever made a case that getting blotto'd on alcohol, or anything else, and starting bar fights is a good idea? I'm looking...
Nope, I have never, ever, said that. I have not even implied it.
Again, this form of practice was suggested to me by an instructor, I did not come up with it on my own. I don't know which Academy Polaris attends, but I will say this: at the Academy I attended, I am not alone in this practice.
As I have stated before, this is NOT a best practice. What it is, is a relation of what I have done in the past. Nothing more, nothing less.
I am not putting it forward as a practice method for all to try. I am saying I have done this, and sometimes still do.
For the record:
I drink two drinks, about once every couple of weeks. I usually drink at home with friends, but occasionally hit a local watering hole very close to my home.
Sometimes, not every time, not even most times, I do some form practice after these two drinks.
Yes, I notice a slight decrease in the amount of available chi and jing expression is impaired. Not badly, but then I don't drink much.
Let me make clear, I could legally drive or operate heavy machinery at this point. The local watering hole has one of those breathalizer machines and I have never even come close to the legal limit for driving when I use it. Most times, I barely register anything.
I am not at these times "drunk", or even under the influence by a legal meter of these things.
I have never tried to practice "drunk". I haven't been legally "drunk" in twenty some years. I've certainly not had the opportunity as I don't ever drink more than my personal limit.

I respect your disagreement. If someone came on here and said: "I get drunk as a Lord and go out and beat people up in bar fights I start for fun and giggles", I too would say some harsh things.
Nowhere have I said these things. I'll look, just to be sure...
Nope, I never said that.
What I have said, and I'll paraphrase here, is:
I occasionally drink small amounts of alcohol. I occasionally do form practice afterwards.
I have found it helps ME, personally, myself, only me, no one else needs to try this, in my personal practice methods.
That's all I've said.

I have said I do NOT use marijuana and I don't. Back in what I call "the before time", when I was young and stupid (now I'm just stupid) I did try the stuff. Didn't like it much. Would I tell someone to go get high and practice TCC. Nope.
Would I tell someone to go have two drinks and practice TCC? Nope. I do it, I never said I trained a single student this way. Let me look.....
Nope never said that.
What would I tell a student who asked me? The exact same thing I told them when they DID ask me back when I trained students: "You'll be sorry".
You see, P, I went to the same school as you do, had the same master. I know the answers he expects us to use, maybe not as well as you do, but I do know them.
I also know quite a few of his disciples who answer these questions the same way I did and you do, who also drink and smoke both pot and tobacco.

I do NOT smoke or chew tobacco or pot. To me, this is the nastiest stuff around.
One word: YUCK!
I did, however, have a Sifu who smokes cigarettes like a chimney. Still does.
He drinks, too. Let's just say that he drinks more than me and much more regularly.
As this guy has more chi in his little finger than I have in my entire body, I have to wonder about the efficacy of Polaris' sweeping statements regarding thier debilitating effects.
Oh, and to be clear, P, this same Sifu does teach, currently, at a WTCCA.

I drink caffeine, both in tea and in coffee. I use sugar in both of those things, though considerably less than most people. I also eat the occaisonal sugary snack.
What does alcohol turn into in your bloodstream?
What does caffeine do to your body?
I'm sure you'll all be telling me in short order and grand detail, so let's just say "too many bad things to list here".
It is just about as bad physically for you as alcohol, and nearly as addictive.
How many of you drink coffee or tea and do a form? Isn't that, GASP!, bad for you?
Caffeine is a drug. Just like alcohol. It lowers your available chi which impairs your fa-jing. Just like... go ahead, you know... come on, it won't hurt to say it...
So now are we going to lecture everyone who does caffeine too?
I know you won't, but it would be fair if you did.
I will be the first to stand up and volunteer to be vilified for my belief in drinking tea and coffee, with sugar too, and then practicing TCC.
I do it EVERY SINGLE DAY. I've seen the disciples doing the same thing at my old school. I've done it with them. Tea and coffee both are available there.
This is not good.
Because, I can tell you from the firsthand experiences that apparently NONE of you have, that caffeine also depletes the chi and hampers jing emmission, just like alcohol.
Worse, because no one seems to think twice about drinking a gallon or two of coffee and practicing their forms. Even the worst drunken sot in the world thinks twice about doing martial arts on alcohol. They do it, but they know it's wrong.
The more caffeine the less chi in your body, the more impaired your fa-jing. If you don't believe me, try it for yourself. Go for a few days without tea or coffee and see how much more chi you feel, how much smoother your jing will transfer. Now, drink a few cups of coffee.
How do you feel?
I have tried these things. Have any of you?
I didn't think so. Since you're all so quick to jump on me for practicing my form after a couple of belts of booze, I just can't believe any of you would drink the demon COFFEE either. I know you're all too deep in your TCC morality for that.

The silence is deafening me here...

Do any of you people smoke or chew tobacco, or anything else for that matter, then do forms?
Don't you know, that's BAD for you? It depletes the chi and hampers fa-jing!

All of these "poisons" have the same effect, they lower your available chi, which in turn hampers fa-jing. They ALL do. I imagine some are worse than others, but they all have this effect.
Are you all going to stop drinking caffeine, eating sugar and smoking now?

I thought not.
Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 12-30-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Dec 30, 2003 5:37 pm

By the way, Polaris...
One of our "Masters" used to drink.
Quite heavily, in fact. More in a day than I have in the last five years.
I would have to imagine that he didn't forgo practice, or even teaching, for weeks on end while this was going on....
I'm sure you're aware of this, just as I am.
How's his chi doing now?
I can tell you, from personal experience, that his chi is strong, alive and vital.

This makes it neither "OK" nor a good thing. I just don't believe that having a couple of drinks and practicing TCC is going to kill me. Either slow, or fast.
Notice I didn't say "get falling down drunk and practice". I didn't say "get stoned until you can't see straight and practice".
Did I?
What I have said, what I believe, what I practice, is that if I'm going to have these two drinks every once in a while, then I should learn how my body reacts after I do.
Most of the fights I have ever been in have been after I've had a couple of drinks. This is historical fact for me. If I can't be effective against my opponent this way, I will very likely lose.
Your chi is lowered, your jing is not expressing in exactly the same way. But if you know these differences, then you can somewhat compensate for them.
That's all I'm trying to say.

Between you and me. If you wish to discuss this further, than you may contact me off this board via the e-mail adress in my profile. I'd be glad to talk to you about this, or anything else you'd like to discuss, privately.

[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 12-30-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Dec 30, 2003 9:48 pm

Respect returned, in full measure and then some, because my respect is for you, personally, as well as your opinions.
You have an insightful mind and your knowledge of Yang style TCC theory is comprehensive.
Your knowledge of day to day survival in an urban setting appears to be less than that, however.
I have told this to more "high ranking" TCC people than I would care to admit and now it's your turn. While your knowledge of yang style TCC theory may be superior to mine, you wouldn't last one day in the world in which I survived, and flourished, for over thirty years.
It's just that simple.
The school of hard knocks, "survivalism", is not to be tread lightly and those who feel their TCC is so great they can overcome anything and comport themselves this way in my world, are usually killed.... and eaten.
Or, to say it a bit more succincltly (I love this one):
"You may know Kung Fu, but those people carry guns, foo'!"
If you feel that TCC theory and practice are all there is to knowing how to survive...
I must say, your niavete simply astounds me.
As I mentioned, you're not the first TCC practicioner I have had to say this to. Some of them didn't believe me, so I took them places where they wouldn't even get out of my car.
Funny how that seems to make most folks realize they really DON'T know all they need to know to survive.

In my opinion you are completely incorrect on all counts in your last post.
But as this is one of those topics on which we could go back and forth for years with no resolution...
I will simply and respectfully agree to disagree.


[This message has been edited by Wushuer (edited 12-30-2003).]
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Postby Wushuer » Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:18 pm

Have I ever heard of "walking away"?
Why... That's BRILLIANT!
Revolutionary, that is! History making! How could no one have ever thought of this before?
It's going to work every time, that idea.
Why, if I walk away from people who are accosting me, I'll get away from them every time. No one is EVER going to chase me. No one is ever going to catch me and force me to have that fight I tried to walk away from.
There will never be a time when I'm surrounded by a whole group of belligerent people who are looking for a fight, no matter what it is I'm doing.
I'm never going to be with my wife, children or friends who are being attacked either. Or, if I am, I could just "walk away" and let them get mugged, raped, killed, or worse. Who needs 'em! If I just walk away, they'll be harmed, but I won't!
Brilliant! Just freaking, amazingly, horrendously BRILLIANT!
I really, really need to learn from your "Master"! He seems to have instilled in you the idea that TCC theory coupled with the simple idea of "walking away" will allow you to survive in this rotten world. His TCC must be greater than mine or my past "Masters". I would walk through fire to learn at his feet.

Now, I have a question for you.
Ever heard of sarcasm?

I tried for about four hours now to come up with a non-sarcastic answer for your posting to me.
I didn't find one.
Finally decided, "Why should I? It deserves a sarcastic response, if ever I saw something that does."

Surely, to all you consider sane, this idea is not one on which you hang your hat?
If we could all just "walk away", why on this green world would we ever practice TCC? What would be the sense? We could just "walk away" from every single encounter.
Do you see now why I had to respond this way? I'm honestly not denigrating you, as you have shown a great deal of sense in every post I've read of yours so far.

And as far as never going into a bar?
Do you go to concerts? I do. In the Detroit area, most of the venues that show concerts serve alcohol. Here in the bluegrass we serve booze at most concert venues and we don't serve booze anywhere near as freely as they do in the old home town.
If you go to a concert, a sporting event, a family picnic, any park anywhere, just about any private home for that matter, anyplace in the U.S.A. for all that, you are going to run into people and situations where alcohol is served.
Are you going to avoid EVERY single person, place or thing that serves alcohol?
What about restaurants? A lot of them serve alcohol. Are you never going to eat in another restaurant again?
Are you never going out in public again?
Do you hide your head in the sand like this? Would you sublimate your life for this?

Please, spare me the simplistic view.
As I told Louis, your niavete simply astounds me on this matter.
I hate to tell you this, but if you go ANYWHERE in this world you will run into people under the influence of alcohol, and other things that alter peoples perceptions. It is niave, in the extreme, to believe that you will not encounter people "under the influence" of something or other, ever. Even more niave to suggest that just "walking away" will remove you from these situations if they turn ugly on you.
All the meekness and humility in this world are not going to get you out of it.
Please, you really need to think these things through before you get on your high horses and try to lecture on something.
At least, make sense.
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Postby JerryKarin » Tue Dec 30, 2003 10:32 pm

Ugh! This is generating more heat than light. Let's leave it at that.
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