My book on Tai Chi sells pretty well. Not a runaway mass-market airport sensation like Da Vinci Code or anything. But well for its niche - and remarkably so for a book with zero professional marketing support, an indie. However, I do realize where I stumbled on this - titling.
That's where a professional service could have stepped in, intervened to help me out. I spoke to a pro titling consultant group though. I thought maybe they could steer me to to something more appealing than Juice: Radical Taiji Energetics.
And aren't I kicking myself in the butt now, for rejecting what they tried to sell me on. But noooo... I just had to take the high road. Damn it. They were practically down on their knees begging me go with: Fifty Shades of Qi.
See this pic? It's from a popular movie theater here in Tokyo (Shinjuku ward), one of the biggest theaters in the city. This is their refreshment counter. The drink sizes are labeled Small, Regular, Large.
Now first, notice that the so-called Large size would be the starter Small size in any self-respecting American megamall superplex. That goes without saying.
But now, look a little closer... notice anything about the Large size? Yep, it is sporting TWO STRAWS! In other words, the Japanese assumption is that NO ONE PERSON could possibly be a big enough pig to swill down that much of this gunk all by himself. To their way of thinking, the only way anybody would order the L size is to share tandem with their date...
So. There you have it. I'll leave the darker cultural and medical implications of this point of comparison between the two societies up to you.
Back almost 15 years ago when nobody'd ever even heard of Russian Systema, I was training with Vladimir and one interesting thing among zillions such that he taught me back then is the following. He said that it's good to learn to rely on sense other than sight. Pretty standard training idea. But how to do in a practical and safe way? He said one good way is to do your morning and evening washing up type of stuff (brush teeth, wash face, etc. after waking and before bed) with your eyes totally shut. This keeps the action within a limited familiar space but over time will develop surprising extra-visual sensitivity without your needing to make a big special deal out of training it. One of the best "training in daily life" ideas I'd ever heard.
If you want to go much, much farther down that kind of training road, first read the astouding memoir And There Was Light: Autobiography of Jacques Lusseyran: Blind Hero of the French Resistance by Jacques Lusseyran.
I told him how, on the previous afternoon, two Mongol strangers had walked up to me in the street, demanded a cigarette each, and marched way without a word of thanks. I asked if he thought they were some sort of highwaymen who enjoyed this form of swaggering. The old fellow grinned uncomfortably, but hastened to defend his countrymen in his halting Chinese, by saying:
'Say "Thank you, thank you" - Chinese way. Give, take - Mongol way. Mongols all brothers. You things me; me things you. You sleep me tent; I eat you bread. "Thank you, thank you" - not good, not brother-talk. Just give, just take.'
Everybody is gonna hate me for this, but I've discovered the secret formula, just one sentence, that explains the entire modern world in a nutshell. This is a huge breakthrough in historical/sociological theory and practice and if people had their heads on straight I'd be offered a Emeritus Professorship at some Harvard thinktank or Institute, instead of being consigned to live in dumpster behind a takoyakiya (fried octopus restaurant) in Kabukicho.
Anyway here is it, the ONE SINGLE SENTENCE that explains why the human race is converting the natural world into one big landfill. The biosphere is caught in a pincer movement, a giant crab with two claws:
Men live to BUILD stuff and BLOW IT UP; women live to SHOP.
Saw The Grandmaster, one of the best martial arts flicks ever. Loosely based on the life story of Wing Chun maestro Yip Man, in fact the story doesn't matter much. Ignore the story and just soak in the look and feel. This pulls off the amazing feat of having emotional punch without any characters that will matter to you in the least. Fights are well done but they too are somehow beside the point. I'll just note in passing it is at least as much about Baguazhang as it is about Wing Chun. And good old Xingyiquan makes a cameo appearance too. All three of which arts I have trained intensively over many years...
Anyway I wish this same crew would make the life story of Yang Luchan. That would be great for business.
Fight in the troubled air that rages, who can stand?
When the whirlwind of fury comes from the
Throne of God, when the frowns of His countenance
Drive the nations together, who can stand?
When Sin claps his broad wings over the battle,
And sails rejoicing in the flood of death;
When souls are torn to everlasting fire,
And fiends of hell rejoice upon the slain,
O who can stand?
O who hath caused this?
O who can answer at the throne of God?
The Kings and Nobles of the land have done it!
Hear it not, Heaven, thy ministers have done it!
- William Blake
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I'm definitely suffering from a severe case of PTSD. It's all down to my horrific experience of warfare. See that line above about "the soul is driven to madness"? Says it all, right there.
But obviously not from this life. no no no, it's from a past lifetime. Therefore, in my case, PTSD means: Post Traumatic Soul Disorder. Anyway as far as I know, there is only one established treatment for PTSD: alcoholism. And there's only one known cure: suicide. So far I heroically resist both options...