bamboo thoughts

Bamboo cultivation can be a metaphor for life:
sometimes you have to pay attention, others you have to leave it alone to thrive by itself.
Bamboo, Taijiquan, living in Pittsburgh, part of the human family.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Mad as Hell

“I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore.”

How often have we heard that?  Did he/she continue to take it, just spouting off steam, or actually take the bull by the horns and vault over the beast that caused such passion to blossom?

It’s probably difficult to determine which monumental decisions occurred from “mad as hell” 
decisions versus organically grown passion, but a few plucked out of recent history seem clear:

  • Osama bin Laden’s decision to form al Qaeda to strike back at the great Satan, US of A for perceived sleights against Islam;

  • George W. Bush reaction to pursue bin Laden and al Quaeda into it’s various recesses of the globe after the 9/11 attacks with commercial aircraft;

  • Mohamed Bouazizi’s decision in Tunis to set himself on fire to protest his treatment by city officials in which they routinely confiscated his street-vending cart of vegetables. This act initiated the movements that swept North Africa and the Middle East, known collectively as The Arab Spring.

While my motivations pale in comparison to these great earth-rattling decisions, they are no less heartfelt.  On March 9th, 2012, my long-time friend and teacher, Leonard Lamaar/Robin Tolbert died of a massive heart attack, brought on by years of smoking, poorly treated high blood pressure, and cumulative decisions to not improve his diet when given ample opportunity.  Larry, as many of us called him, was a very stern and gruff individual, but held an enormous capacity to love all of us by seeking to teach us every facet of the various martial and internal arts he studied, and he enjoyed immensely learning new things from teachers, books, and media sources.

Why did Larry make such poor choices?  Why do I continue to make poor choices in my own health arena, even though I encouraged him to continually change his habits?  Why do any of us make poor choices?  Is it due to an unchangeable human nature to seek that which is at once most comfortable and known.

These questions are as difficult to answer as they are to ask.  In August of this year I decided that I needed to take the proverbial bull by the horns, in a challenge presented unwittingly by Larry's life and death.  I left my long-time employment with one company, and decided to teach Tai Chi full time. This is my one chance to see if I can put all of Larry's teaching into practice, see if the sum of all his learning can help me to become a better person, and develop a way to help others learn of Tai Chi and the internal Chinese martial arts.  

I am now the Tai Chi instructor for Pro Martial Arts in Cranberry Township, PA, where I'll be teaching Yang Family Style Tai Chi and Qi Gong, and am separately presenting Tai Chi/relaxation classes for free to several senior centers in Western PA. 

Let's see, Mr. Tolbert, if I can live up to the spirit you presented, and make a good decision on my path forward.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Developing a Product - Tai Chi

The Atlantic's recently titled "A Crash Course in Getting Hired at the Next Facebook" highlights the Boston Startup School, in which participants learn how to do all the jobs needed in a startup, so that ideally they can get hired by or create a startup company.  The curriculum is split into Product Design, Software Development, Marketing, and Sales & Business Development.  This is a way cool idea for recent college grads or those transitioning out of one career and feel that they are edgy enough to chase down the startup field.

As a recently career-transitioned individual, I find myself in the second set, except that I have chosen a startup, and it is me.  My "startup" as it were is teaching Tai Chi through a traditional martial arts school.  While the new school, Pro Martial Arts in Cranberry Township, PA is sourcing many new students for it's Tang Soo Do karate Classes, few leads are trickling in for my tai chi classes, so if I want to eat this month, I've gotta start treating my teaching as startup material.

Traditionally, Tai Chi classes are taught as part of an existing school in which various arts have been taught for a relatively long time, or the classes are taught for free to groups of students who are part of a local social scene, such as a senior citizens center, apartment complex, etc.  Within this framework, Tai Chi classes may be marketed using the Tai Chi title/name itself, or perhaps chi kung or another term is used.  This should work if people have heard of Tai Chi, but if they have not, then some other link needs to be used.

My self-appointed task here, then, is to determine how Tai Chi classes are traditionally marketed, ways in which it appears that others are marketing Tai Chi in association with other products, or if people are using seeming unrelated methods to draw students/teach people about Tai Chi.


Monday, May 17, 2010

Video Taiji Twenty-two - Weight Distribution

Video Taiji Twenty-two - Weight Distribution -

Taiji can be an exercise, a meditation, or a form of self-defense. Taiji Can be You.

Find a Teacher, Read a Book, Watch Video Taiji.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Thirty-three Before Thirty-two

Well, looks like a YouTube upload error this morning on episode 32 is causing me to upload episode 33 first. Ep 32 is some 600+ MB and roughly 8 min long, longer than I like to film, but there you go - it's about breathing, and you can't, or shouldn't, rush breathing. :-)

Thirty-two filename: VideoTaiji32-BreathinginTaiji.MP4 ... then changed to VideoTaiji32.MP4

Upload error: The upload failed due to an unknown error. (helpful, eh?)

Thirty-three filename: VideoTaijiThirty-three-GoalsinTaiji.MP4

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Video Taiji Twenty-nine - WuChi

Video Taiji Twenty-nine - WuChi

- Taiji can be an exercise, a meditation, or a form of self-defense.

Taiji Can be You.

Find a Teacher, Read a Book, Watch Video Taiji.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Podcamp Cleveland 2010 - Video Taiji

Podcamp Cleveland, taking place at the Cuyahoga Valley Career Center in Brecksville, Ohio, is almost upon us. Saturday May 1st, May Day, will be the day.

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I will be present a discussion of shooting and uploading to YouTube with no post-production. Why would you do that? How can you do that? Who's crazy enough to contemplate such a thing?Well, Video Taiji creator, Alex Landefeld, of coure. Learn to roll with the punches in quickie, impromptu videos.

Come Podcamp with us in Cleveland

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Twitter: alex_landefeld