Tiger Mountain   8 comments

For the last nine months I have been studying Tai Chi with David Block at Phoenix College.  I am not a good student.  I have neither grace nor balance nor dedication, but I do what I can.  The things I know with my head don’t translate that well into the things I know with my body, but I try, and I am learning some things little by little.  I still can’t flow all the way through the first set without making mistakes or putting my foot down in the wrong place, or lifting my shoulders when I should be lowering them or falling over backwards when I should be rising and kicking forward, but I have moments when I almost feel I understand parts of what I am doing.  The teacher is very patient, and he has to be with a student as poor at this as I am.  I think I will always be a better writer than a martial artist, but I do what I can.  Lately I have been inspired by my exercises to reconstruct this poem–I do not know if some Tai Chi master has already written the Tiger Mountain poem or not.  Perhaps for them it is simply a series of phrases used for teaching their disciples.  For me, it is more of a poem, and it has to have a story.  Story is very important in my life.  I cannot just Be.  I must Do.  I must Create–even if what I make is only a sequence of words in my mind.  Still that is who I am and what I do.  Out of Tai Chi, this poem has arisen.  I put it out there in the world because it needs to get out of my mind and into reality.

Ceifu talks about old friends and new friends and how we students are all babies in Tai Chi, taking baby steps. Thus my image of myself as a baby tiger. Strange for an old man like myself to be a baby, but then, I want to be young, so I can dream myself as a tiger cub.


Tiger Mountain

          Reconstructed by Ken St. Andre

The sun rose over the mountain.

The moon sank into the sea.

Clouds sailed through the sky.

(The Goddess was there.)

From clouds She wove

Heaven and Earth.

Then the Tiger (attacked)

(and) Brought the Horse

To its knees.

He saw the Twin Peaks

And Crossed the stream

Where herons lifted their wings and Pushed

Until peace came at last.


 (Meditate, Relax, Do it again until it flows.)


So many forms to learn, and when we do, still we know almost nothing.

If you do Tai Chi, or have met a tiger on a mountain, feel free to leave a comment here.


Posted November 16, 2011 by atroll in Tai Chi, Tiger Mountain, Uncategorized

8 responses to “Tiger Mountain

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  1. Hey! Great fun to see you have started practising taiji, Ken! It’s what takes up most of my time these days when the gaming is scarce. So what style is it you’re practising, and what forms? Yang, I guess?

    Is it this Dave Block?

    That guy seems to have a solid lineage indeed!

    I find that even old and stiff I have begun to feel a lot agile and “in the body” so to speak. Quite interesting experience!

    This is a link to the stuff I do:

    There are some nice pictures there of my friends and our Master

    • Yes, that is the man who teaches me twice a week and sometimes on Saturday. I’m just about to stand up from the computer and do Tiger Mountain today to work a few of the kinks out.

  2. Isn’t it interesting that there are always a few more kinks to work out? 🙂

    Sadly I don’t know if I will have the possibility to do my qi gong workout this weekend. It takes 30 minutes after all, and during weekends with the family I have almost no time for myself. Kind of ironic…

    Reminds me of this:

    Come Monday, then! 😀


    • That is so hard. I know that posture–did not know what it was called, but have done it on Saturday mornings with the tai chi group. God! To stand like that for 20 minutes twice a day. I know it would be good for me, but I so begrudge the time. Eli is right. My balance is terrible and I don’t feel any energy flow, because there probably isn’t any energy flow in my messed up old body. Thanks for the tip. Grimly, Ken

  3. We call it the “pillar of the cosmic circle”, and I think 10 min once a day is quite a start! I have done that and after a week it feels quite good. The first week it felt terrible though! 🙂

    One tip which will benefit the stance even if you do it once in a while, make sure there’s a circle in the back, in the arms and in the legs!

    If everything is slightly curved *and the shoulders are relaxed*, then it will make quite a difference. Breathe with your lower abdomen and try to change the curvature of the body and you will probably feel a difference. Consult with your teacher of course, but I’ll just say that it helped me find some energy where none was to be found before!

    It is hard, yeah. 😉


  4. Hi Ken, I had a David Carradine Tai Chi dvd and was practicing with it for a while. I should get back into it too. Good luck it’s fun and rewarding!

  5. I feel a Tiger cub is a wnoderful thing for you to choose to be –
    What immortal hand or eye could frame thy fearful symmetry? -suits you man.

    Kharrr Nalll

  6. sorry-“wonderful”

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