Saturday, September 30, 2006

A Plan of Action

"Kata is central to good Karate training. Karate kata have existed for hundreds of years and have their origins within the Chinese fighting systems.

There is no direct translation of the term Kata into English. The best we can come up with is form or pattern. Kata is a predefined sequence of movements performed in a special order to maximize your practice time.

Kata teach you about body movement, weight distribution, angles, turning, awareness and how to deal with a variety of situations. Kata are composed of martial-type movements that help you learn certain skills.

Karate kata comes from a time where few people knew how to read or write. Information was passed down from the previous generation in the form of song, dance, ritual, poetry and stories. The human mind works with imagery and feeling, not lists of facts and figures. Using enjoyable playful learning tools like these are the most natural and efficient way to learn and remember things."
- Stephen Irwin, What is the Purpose of Kata Training

All of the mind-body arts use a "predefined sequence of movements performed in a special order." Yoga uses carefully defined postures (Aanas) and sequences of postures (e.g., Sun Salutations). Each style of Tai Chi Chuan has a specific sequence of postures and movements (Forms), unique to its style, that can sometimes take up to 25 minutes to perform.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Strength Training

Lately, I have been placing more emphasis upon personal strength training. "Pumping Iron" is becoming a passion of mine. I now teach six classes a week at the Tehama Family Fitness Center (4 yoga, 1 tai chi, and 1 spin cycling); therefore, I'm in the gym quite frequently. The TFFC has a complete range of strength training equipment, including a large free weight room.

I've done strength training with weights since I was 13 years old. My physique was ectomorphic in my youth, but decades of weight training have put quite a bit of muscle mass on my body. I would recommend a strenth training program for all older persons in good health.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ten Buddhist Precepts

I vow not to kill.
By not killing life, the Buddha seed grows. Transmit the life of Buddha and do not kill.

I vow not to take what is not given.
The self and objects are such, two yet one. The gate of liberation stands open.

I vow not to misuse sexuality.
Let the three wheels of self, objects, and action be pure. With nothing to desire, one goes along together with the Buddhas.

I vow to refrain from false speech.
The Dharma Wheel turns from the beginning. There is neither surplus nor lack. The sweet dew saturates all and harvests the truth.

I vow not to sell the wine of delusion.
Originally pure, don't defile. This is the great awareness.

I vow not to slander.
In the Buddha Dharma, go together, appreciate, realize, and actualize together. Don't permit fault-finding. Don't permit haphazard talk. Do not corrupt the way.

I vow not to praise self at the expense of others.
Buddhas and Ancestors realize the vast sky and the great earth. When they manifest the noble body, there is neither inside nor outside in emptiness. When they manifest the Dharma body, there is not even a bit of earth on the ground.

I vow not to be avaricious.
One phrase, one verse--that is the ten thousand things and one hundred grasses. One dharma, one realization--is all Buddhas and Ancestors. Therefore, from the beginning, there has been no stinginess at all.

I vow not to harbor ill will.
Not negative, not positive, neither real nor unreal. There is an ocean of illuminated clouds and an ocean of ornamented clouds.

I vow not to abuse the three treasures.
To expound the Dharma with this body is foremost. Virtue returns to the ocean of reality. It is unfathomable--we just accept it with respect and gratitude.

Berkeley Zen Center, Buddhist Texts

The Ethical Precepts of Zen Buddhism: Links, Bibliography, Resources, Quotes, Notes. By Mike Garofalo.

The Bodhisattva Warriors. The Origin, Inner Philosophy, History and Symbolism of the Buddhist Martial Art within India and China. By Shifu Nagaboshi Tomio (Terence Dukes). Boston, MA, Weiser Books, 1994. Index, bibliography, extensive notes, 527 pages. ISBN: 0877287856.

The Spiritual Legacy of the Shaolin Temple: Buddhism, Daoism, and the Energetic Arts. By Andy James. Foreword by Dr. Jerry Alan Johnson. Summerville, MA, Wisdom Publications, 2004. 179 pages. I SBN: 0861713524.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Bohr Effect

"Hello, I am not trying to be rude ..however--- I suggest you study your physiology...namely the BOHR effect before making claims about O2 and CO2. Carbon dioxide is vital to our body's ability to use oxygen and deep breathing is NOT good for you as breathing off too much C02 means a tightening of the haemoglobin and oxygen bond, making oxygenation of the tissues very difficult."
- Marlene Jantzi-Bauman


Thank you for the comments on the Bohr effect. I will do some studying on the matter.

What webpage of mine where you referring to? I don't recall making claims about O2 and CO2; but, I do recall recommending that people to breathe freely and deeply while exercising to avoid the Valsalva Maneuver.

The dozens of books and scores of articles I have read on breathing and exercise have never mentioned the Bohr effect in the context of Yoga, Tai Chi Chuan, Qigong, or other mind-body practices. These practices do recommend deep and steady breathing, focused and active use of the diaphram, rectus abdominis, intercostals, and transverse abdominals while breathing, and the use of the breath as an anchor or focus point of concentration during meditation.

Again, I will research the matter. We do need to learn more each day. Thanks!

Techniques, Practices, Exercises, Theory, Lore:
T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Qigong, Yoga, Meditation, Fitness

Marlene wrote back to me on 9/29/06:

"Hello Mike,

You know--I am no longer sure which page I viewed but I believe it had to do with stress. I am working on a research project on breathing and health, and as a health professional I get frustrated when people are misinformed about the function of CO2 and O2. Many people also confuse diaphragmatic breathing and deep breathing also. Enjoy your research on the matter... the BOHR effect can be found in any medical textbook.
I also recommend a breathing technique that works well for many conditions which is named after a Russian MD, Dr. Buteyko. There are many websites on Buteyko Techniques as well as valid research. Check out, the focus of this practitioner is mainly asthma , however there are many reasons to learn this technique other than for asthma alone. there's a nice overview of the gas exchange on this site.

Hope this helps

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Slow Down and See

"Qigong and form are slow for a reason: you need to return to yourself.

Only through being slow can we begin to notice what is around us; the nuances, subtleties and details. A hurried person is careless and never appreciates the depth of substance, the texture of reality, the incredible complexity of it.

It is like magnification. If you started out in space, looking at the planet and then moved in, going smaller and smaller and smaller... Reality would expand indefinitely and you would see more and more.

This is what slowness is like."

Dynamic Balancing Tai Chi

Monday, September 25, 2006

Health and Fitness Studies

I attended the Aerobics and Fitness Association of America (AFAA) workshop on Personal Fitness Trainer this past weekend. The knowledgeable and interesting workshop trainer, Ms. J. Bale, kept us very busy studying and learning on Friday, Saturday and Sunday for over 21 hours. I had read a couple of assigned AFAA textbooks before the training session. On Sunday, we took a 2 hour written exam and a 20 minute practical exam. I believe I passed, but will need to wait for 5 weeks for the results and certificate. The three day workshop was held in Yuba City, California.

I'm sure all the health and fitness information I learned and memorized will help me in my work for the Tehama Family Fitness Center and Valley Spirit Center as a certified yoga, tai chi, qigong, pilates, and spin cycling instructor. Hopefully, by January 1st, 2007, I will be certified by both AFAA and ACE (American Council on Exercise) as a Personal Fitness Trainer.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Kind Words

"So many gods
So many creeds
This wind, that wind.
While just the art
Of being kind
Is all the sad world needs."
- Ella Wheeler Wilcox

"Wise sayings often fall
on barren ground;
but a kind word
is never thrown away."
- Sir Arthur Helps

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Precious Mirror Samadhi Sutra

Song of the Precious Mirror SamadhiBy Dongshan Liangjie (807-869)

The Dharma of Thusness
is intimately transmitted by Buddhas and ancestors.
Now you have it;
preserve it well.

A silver bowl filled with snow,
a heron hidden in the moon.
Taken as similar, they are not the same;
Not distinguished, their places are known.

The meaning does not reside in the words,
but a pivotal moment brings it forth.
Move and you are trapped,
miss and you fall into doubt and vacillation.

Turning away and touching are both wrong,
for it is like a massive fire.
Just to portray it in literary form
is to stain it with defilement.

In darkest night it is perfectly clear;
in the light of dawn it is hidden.
It is a standard for all things;
its use removes all suffering.

Although it is not constructed,
it is not beyond words.
Like facing a precious mirror;
form and reflection behold each other.

You are not it,
but in truth it is you.
Like a newborn child,
it is fully endowed with five aspects.

No going, no coming, no arising, no abiding;
“Monkey Mind”– is anything said or not?
In the end it says nothing,
for the words are not yet right.

In the hexagram “double fire,”
when main and subsidiary lines are transposed,
Piled up they become three;
the permutations make five.

Like the taste of the five-flavored herb,
like the five-pronged vajra.
Wondrously embraced within the complete,
drumming and singing begin together.

Penetrate the source and travel the pathways,
embrace the territory and treasure the roads.
You would do well to respect this;
do not neglect it.

Natural and wondrous,
it is not a matter of delusion or enlightenment.
Within causes and conditions, time and season,
it is serene and illuminating.

So minute it enters where there is no gap,
so vast it transcends dimension.
A hairsbreadth’s deviation,
and you are out tune.

Now there are sudden and gradual,
in which teachings and approaches arise.
With teachings and approaches distinguished,
each has its standard.

Whether teachings and approaches are mastered or not,
reality constantly flows.
Outside still and inside trembling,
like tethered colts or cowering rats.

The ancient sages grieved for them,
and offered them the dharma.
Led by their inverted views,
they take black for white.

When inverted thinking stops,
the affirming mind naturally accords.
If you want to follow in the ancient tracks,
please observe the sages of the past.

One on the verge of realizing the Buddha Way
contemplated a tree for ten kalpas.
Like a battle-scarred tiger,
like a horse with shanks gone grey.

Because some are vulgar,
jeweled tables and ornate robes.
Because others are wide-eyed,
cats and white oxen.

With his archer’s skill,
Yi hit the mark at a hundred paces.
But when arrows meet head-on,
how could it be a matter of skill?

The wooden man starts to sing,
the stone woman gets up dancing.
It is not reached by feelings or consciousness,
how could it involve deliberation?

Ministers serve their lords,
children obey their parents.
Not obeying is not filial,
Failure to serve is no help.

With practice hidden, function secretly,
like a fool, like an idiot.
Just to continue in this way
is call the host within the host.

- Dongshan Liangjie (807-869 CE, China), Tozan Ryokai Daiosho (Jap.)


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Valley Spirit Center

Valley Spirit Center
Michael Garofalo and Karen Garofalo
23005 Kilkenny Lane
Red Bluff, California


Private Instruction and Services in:

T'ai Chi Ch'uan




Sacred Circles


The Concept of the Valley Spirit (Gu Shen)

Directions to the Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California;

The Valley Spirit Center is located 7 miles south of downtown Red Bluff. From Main Street (Highway 99 West) and Antelope Blvd. (Highway 99 East), in downtown Red Bluff, drive south on South Main Street (Highway 99 West) for seven miles until you reach Kilkenny Lane, turn right, and drive .3 miles to 23005 Kilkenny Lane. Kilkenny Lane is 1.7 miles south of the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, and .3 miles north of the Proberta Post Office at the corner of Highway 99 West and Flores Avenue. The Valley Spirit Center is 5.4 miles south of the Tehama Family Fitness Center. There is an Interstate 5 Freeway off ramp at both Flores Avenue and at South Main Street (Highway 99 West).

Accomodations and Attractions in Red Bluff, California

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Doing More With Less Of ...

"Simplicity is power.
The power to do less of what doesn't matter and more of what does."
- Bill Jensen

"The successful person has the habit of doing the things failures don't like to do. They don't like doing them either necessarily. But their disliking is subordinated to the strength of their purpose."
- E.M. Gray

The simplest way for the average American to free up more time to accomplish new goals (e.g., to exercise, to write, to learn a new skill, etc.) is for them to watch less television.

Will Power - Quotes

Monday, September 18, 2006

Walking Meditation

"In summary, the walking process involves four stages: lifting, raising, shifting, and dropping. Your inhalation is coordinated with the lifting movement of the heel of your foot and your exhalation with keeping your foot lifted, while your toes are still touching the ground. Your inhalation is coordinated with the raising and shifting movements and your exhalation with the dropping of your foot. While you
are coordinating your breath with your physical movements, remember to pay bare attention to what is taking place; avoid making judgments, decisions, or comments.

Observe the impermanent nature of your walking experience: the intention that precedes each movement, the movement itself, and every breath which rises and falls from moment-to-moment. When your mind shifts to another object of awareness, focus on seeing that it is also impermanent. Then, gently but firmly, place your attention back on your walking movements, coordinating them with your breath."
- Matthew Flickstein, Journey to the Center: A Meditation Workbook. Boston, Wisdom Publications, 1998. pp.127-132.

"I have two doctors, my left leg and my right."
- G. M. Trevelyan

Walking Meditation

Sunday, September 17, 2006

A Little at a Time

"All good work is done the way ants do things: Little by little."
- Lafcadio Hearn

"Nothing is particularly hard if you divide it into small jobs."
- Henry Ford

Green Way Wisdom - Work

Friday, September 15, 2006

Whirl Like a Dragon

It is easier to leave a circle than to enter it.
The emphasis is on the hip movement whether front or back.
The difficulty is to maintain the position without shifting the centre.
To analyse and understand the above situation is to do with
movement and not with a stationary posture.
Advancing and retreating by turning sideways in line with the
shoulders, one is capable of turning like a millstone, fast or slow,
as if whirling like a dragon in the clouds or sensing the approach
of a fierce tiger.
From this, one can learn the usage of the movement of
the upper torso.
Through long practice, such movement will become natural."
- Yang Family Old Manual, The Coil Incense Kung

Silk Reeling, Spirals, Coiling, Spinning: Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes

Sacred Circles: Bibliiography, Links, Quotes, Resources, Notes

Thursday, September 14, 2006

You Cannot Call It Old

"The Way has its reality and its signs
but is without action or form.
You can hand it down but you cannot receive it,
you can ignore it but you cannot see it.
It is its own source, its own root.
Before heaven and earth existed it was there,
from the ancient times.
It gave spirituality to the spirits and to God,
it gave birth to heaven and to earth.
It exists beyond the highest point,
and yet you cannot call it lofty;
it exists beneath the limit of the six directions,
and yet you cannot call it deep.
It was born before heaven and earth,
and yet you cannot say it has been there for long,
it is earlier than the earliest time,
and yet you cannot call it old."
- The Crookbacked Woman and the Sage
Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson, 1964

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Finding the Liminal Realm

"Waking, sleeping and dreaming are liminal activities, and the very act of breathing may be construed as liminal. Spirals, labyrinths, mazes, tors, mounds, stone circles, groves and sacred enclosures are liminal spaces opening into other realities and other modes of being and thinking — as are winding woodland trails, oak stands, clear streams and mountains (I find myself thinking of the Queen Mother of the West and the mythical Peach Blossom Spring here)."

"We each approach the liminal in our own way and our own time, and the lens through which we filter our liminal experiences is a unique and very personal thing. For some of us, the gateway lies through church services and collective ceremonies — for others it is private prayer, meditation and silence — for still others, the way is through loving observation of the natural world, personal ritual, carefully crafted rites of passage and the old seasonal festivals. Sunrise, noon, twilight and midnight are liminal times of day when according to ancient lore, divination and magic could be worked by those skilled in such arts — such times would have been fearful and vulnerable intervals for those without magical gifts or the protections of the Craft."

By Kerrdelune, Beyond the Fields We Know

Please, do take the time to read her excellent series of articles on the topic.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Hardship and Calmness

"Calm in quietude is not real calm;
when you can be calm in the midst of activity,
this is the true state of nature.
Happiness in comfort is not real happiness;
when you can be happy in the midst of hardship,
then you see the true potential of the mind."
- Huanchu Daoren

Monday, September 11, 2006


Revenge is easy to understand. It is a universal response to the anger we feel towards those who have done us harm, betrayed us, violated us, stolen from us, hurt us ... Revenge fuels more hatred.

Even the gods of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism are vengeful, cruel, and ruthless. They severly punish and seek revenge for disobedience. Their behavior sets an example for men.

Seeking revenge can become a bad habit, an addiction, a endless cycle of bad faith and violence.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Refining the Self

"Refining the self, and setting up the foundation are not a matter of forced control, forced effort, or austere practices. What the work requires is first to recognize the natural, innocent true mind, and then to use this true mind to refine the self. Then a point of celestial energy emerges within the darkness - this is called true consciousness."
= Chang Po-Tuan, commentary by Liu I-Ming

Tai Chi Classics

Friday, September 08, 2006

Reflections on the Circle

I've put together a webpage on the subject of Sacred Circles.

This webpage provides links, bibliographic citations, resources, quotations, notes, and comments on medicine wheels, henges, labyrinths, neopagan sacred circles, holy circles, the symbolism and myths about circles and spheres, the four elements, and related topics.

Those folks who walk the circle in labyrinths, walking meditation or baguazhang might find some of the information in sacred circles to be of interest to them.

Medicine Wheel

Thursday, September 07, 2006

How to Hit with Power

"I am a firm believer in heavy bag and percussion training. I do not like my fighters to train on a bag that weighs less than 80 pounds. The bag should have a firmness consistent with that of softened rock. In other words, whatever the filling, the bag must be quite dense. A fighter must condition his hands, feet, elbows and knees to the shock of impact. Otherwise, all other preparations for combat become useless. When properly conditioned, a fighter has no apprehension about unloading a full-power strike on the opponent. Poor conditioning leads to a fear of injury.Kinetics must be studied and understood intimately by the fighter. You can be the quickest tactician alive, but if you don’t have anything behind your strikes, you will generally lose to the more powerful opponent.Each type of strike must be broken down and analyzed for the fighter to understand how the maximum efficiency of the blow can be attained. I walk my fighters through movements over and over again, making adjustments to their body alignment. The implication here is that the coach must truly understand what he’s doing. Guessing is best left outside the ring or platform."

Kuoshu Winning Secrets
By Mike Patterson (First printed in Inside Kung Fu Magazine - August 1997)

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Music Won't Last


Written by a teenager fighting the effects of cancer.

"Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?

Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?

You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask "How are you?"
Do you hear the reply?

When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?

You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?

Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi!"

You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift....
Thrown away.

Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over."

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Qigong Classes in Red Bluff CA

When I teach Hatha Yoga, I also use many movements from different Qigong forms.
I also attempt to give students information about the traditions of both
Indian Yoga and Chinese Qigong.

For information about class schedules and locations, visit my webpage on the

Locations of Classes:

Tehama Family Fitness Center, Red Bluff, California

Valley Spirit Center, Red Bluff, California

Information on my yoga classes.

Information on my T'ai Chi Ch'uan classes.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Wild Goose Qigong

Wild Goose Chi Kung: Bibliography, Links, List of Movements, Quotations, Resources, Notes. By Mike Garofalo. 149 Kb. Dayan Qigong

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Heart Sutra

"When the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara
Was Discoursing in the Deep Prajna Paramita,
He Perceived That All Five Skandhas Are Empty.
Thus He Overcame All Ills and Suffering.
Oh, Sariputra, Form Does not Differ From the Void,
And the Void Does Not Differ From Form.
Form is Void and Void is Form;
The Same is True For Feelings,
Perceptions, Volitions and Consciousness.
Sariputra, the Characteristics of the
Voidness of All Dharmas
Are Non-Arising, Non-Ceasing, Non-Defiled,
Non-Pure, Non-Increasing, Non-Decreasing.
Therefore, in the Void There Are No Forms,
No Feelings, Perceptions, Volitions or Consciousness.
No Eye, Ear, Nose, Tongue, Body or Mind;
No Form, Sound, Smell, Taste, Touch or Mind Object;
No Realm of the Eye,
Until We Come to No realm of Consciousness.
No ignorance and Also No Ending of Ignorance,
Until We Come to No Old Age and Death and
No Ending of Old Age and Death.
Also, There is No Truth of Suffering,
Of the Cause of Suffering,
Of the Cessation of Suffering, Nor of the Path.
There is No Wisdom, and There is No Attainment Whatsoever.
Because There is Nothing to Be Attained,
The Bodhisattva Relying On Prajna Paramita Has
No Obstruction in His Mind.
Because There is No Obstruction, He Has no Fear,
And He passes Far Beyond Confused Imagination.
And Reaches Ultimate Nirvana.
The Buddhas of the Past, Present and Future,
By Relying on Prajna Paramita
Have Attained Supreme Enlightenment.
Therefore, the Prajna Paramita is the Great Magic Spell,
The Spell of Illumination, the Supreme Spell,
Which Can Truly Protect One From All Suffering Without Fail.
Therefore He Uttered the Spell of Prajnaparmita,
Saying 'Gate, Gate, Paragate, Parasamgate, Bodhi Svaha.' "

- The Heart Sutra of Buddhism

Audio version of the Heart Sutra; a reading by Michael P. Garofalo.

The Heart Sutra (PDF Version) 

Green Way Wisdom - Zen Buddhist Poems and Scriptures

Emptiness (Sunyata, Mu, Inter-Dependent Arising)

Saturday, September 02, 2006

I Ching Trigrams

The Trigrams of the I Ching: Attributions, Bibliography, Links, Quotations, Notes. By Mike Garofalo. 126 Kb.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Returning to the Blogsphere

I'm now using a new Gateway computer with WildBlue as my ISP. I'm ready to begin posting to my blogs again.

I post regularly to:

Cloud Hands: Mind/Body Movement Arts

Green Way

Valley Spirit Journal