San Francisco

I got to spend last week wandering around San Francisco while heather was attending a non-profit technology conference. One of the highlights was meeting up with long time tai chi player Valerie Barntsen for some push hands in St. Mary’s park. And a wonderful tour through Chinatown, ending with a fountain sculpted with highlights of San Fran’s Chinese community.

Included in the sculpture/fountain is the family of Kuo Lien-Ying (right). Valerie and Roger used to study with Kuo in Portsmouth Square – and I got to hear some great stories of early morning classes in the park.

In addition to many fine students and practitioners of tai chi, Kuo also left us a wonderful book on the theory and practice of the art. The T’ai Chi Boxing Chronicle (translated by Guttmann) is one of the few books in English that dives into the specifics of tai chi theory and energetics. Out of print, but find a copy if you can.

Thanks to Valerie, Roger…and Professor Kuo.

Stoic Daoism

a newer translation of the book in question

During a routine check of the martial arts section at Smith Family Bookstore, all of the usual titles were there – and an oddly almost empty shelf. In the middle of the shelf was a single, old, hardbound book – completely out of place.

The book as an object sucked me right in…with beautifully set type, old book smell, the way it fits in your hands. But the content made me buy it. Turns out it was a copy of Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius.

If I’m not, in fact, the last person to know about this work…check it out. Meditations reads like a Roman version of the Daodejing.