BRIAN SERAIAH WOOD & DRAGON TAO - BLOGS

10/01/13

Chinese Qigong for Healing and Longevity

DRAGON TAO CHRONICLES are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

Chinese Qigong for Healing and Longevity

As a Pro MMA fighter and professional trainer, most of my time is spent in preparation and maintenance of my own physical body as well as those I teach. Last year I was approved through Workers Comp as Pain and Rehab Specialist focusing on Eastern Healing Modalities. As a Qigong and Yoga practitioner I have been my best test subject concerning injuries and the painful rehabilitation sometimes involved. Understanding the benefits of Western medicine when it comes to acute and life threatening issues, I find it all to common that the prescriptions are usually pharmaceuticals and physical therapy designed to to slowly heal and milk the twisted system of insurance payment programs. Often people come to me and find quick results and steadfast self-motivation to heal themselves after wasting valuable time with lazy or uneducated therapists.

In many Eastern cultures the Doctor wont get compensated unless the patient is healed and healthy...imagine that in the American Culture? During my time in China I met many masters and saw things that were normally impossible due to the my conditioned belief system. It was mind blowing and the revelations conveyed to and through me were life changing. Examples of such experiences were how through Qigong, intention, acupuncture, herbs and meditation 86% of paraplegics got up and walked out of Master Wan Su Jian's Beijing Traditional Medical Qigong Exchange Center. Additionally, Master Duan JuLian had a baby at 101 years old, he is now 104 and still spars with his young students in Kung Fu.

I began my spiritual journey in 2001 when I was introduced to Yoga in Portland, Oregon, by my good friend and Instructor, Stephen Brown. I quickly realized that regardless of my raw athletic ability I had limited core strength, focus and balance. I then began studying Chinese Qigong in 2003 inspired by Gaiam's DVD Series featuring my current Qigong teachers, Daisy Lee (www.RadiantLotusQigong.com) and Francesco Garripoli (www.WujiProductions.com). Years later in 2008, I was blessed to travel to China with them and experience first hand the amazing ancient energy of Qigong from it's homeland. The focus of the trip is to learn and study Medical Qigong techniques to heal the mind, body and soul.

Going from America to living and breathing the essence of Qigong and Traditional Chinese Medicine was overwhelming and inspiring at the same time. I learned that where the mind goes the Qi (Chi or vital life force) follows and that through intention and focus one can transmit and send energy to affected areas as well as pull stagnant or sick energy from the body and organs. It's been scientifically proven that almost all disease, cancer and illness comes from stress. So it makes complete sense to me that by changing ones mental intention, direction of thought and negative habits one can heal themselves and those they love. These same techniques can be used on severe injuries and trauma by gathering Qi or energy from the elements, loving intention, desire for change and emanating such Qi from the Loagong points found in the middle of the palms. Reiki and other energy based systems use the same design to heal patients.

The most important thing to remember and know is that WE are not the healers but the divine energies moving through us like a channel or conduit are. I have experienced first hand the effects of being to empathetic to patients and taking on their injuries as they start to feel better as well as heard stories from my teachers about how they too have became sick or ill trying to heal others using their own personal Qi and not letting the universal flow through them and into the patient.

The main focus of Qigong is to improve the immune system by stretching, opening and strengthening the acupuncture meridian lines that run endlessly throughout the body. The Chinese believe that all illness and injuries are due to blocked, stagnant or trauma induced chi deficiencies. When one practices these ancient techniques one can begin to immediately feel a difference by increased energy levels and feel-good endorphins thus opening channels and moving the chi through with better efficiency. In future articles I will explain such techniques and how this universal energy can be utilized to heal oneself and others.

Blessings and Respect.

Thank You for Taking the Time to Read the Dragon Tao Chronicles.

-Brian Seraiah Wood (NSCA-CSCS & CPT)

Brian@Seraiah.com
10/01/13

Sportsmanship – The Art of Integrity

DRAGON TAO CHRONICLES are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices. The main focus of these articles will be around Chinese Qigong, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

Sportsmanship – The Art of Integrity

In the vast world of MMA and combat fighting sports, ego and arrogance have become subtly blinding to many athletes as they strive to be the next Champion. What very few fighters or born with is a natural integrity and karmic understanding of proper energy exchange. In the pursuit to be the best many forget to look at themselves and analyze their actions as they speak, and compete in front of fans, family and friends. This process is painful and revealing and must be done by an individual with strong will and drive to respect themselves, their opponents and the very sport that they compete in.

All to often I see the person I used to be in many young and seasoned MMA veterans. The person I used to be was very into showmanship and even though I said I would never do so, I even got consumed in mouthy and ego driven fight interviews where after everything was said and done I looked and sounded like a fool embarrassing only myself. Luckily I learn lesson quickly and changed my persona and demeanor in response to making myself look contradictory to the individual I am on the inside…someone who is spiritually evolved and knows self.

The false bravado and ego driven world of MMA is understood because of the fierce competitiveness but I know personally that one can be classy, calm and confident in response to ignorance, attitude and egocentrisms. As a fighter I feel much better about myself when I express myself honestly…not lying to myself about who I think I am or how I will portray myself in the eyes of my peers, fans and press media. This is a true test to release the attitude, dissolve the ego and remain humbly aware in the cage of humility.

Fans are attracted to fighters with a positive and powerful presence and those very fans respect and appreciate the charismatic and unique ways of such a champion. The bad guy role is played well by some fighters and has made them appealing in media eyes based on the simple fact that they are attracting negative attention…but any attention is better thank none in the minds of the disillusioned. I'm pretty sure that Tito Ortiz was more than popular because of his bad guy persona but feel empty knowing that its not really who he is. In the same way, I can see Josh Koscheck's almost saddened demeanor after his split decision win over Mike Pierce at UFC 143. Josh was humbled by the fact that he did not handle Mike Pierce like he thought he would and that in all reality he lost that fight in many peoples eyes. May it open his mind and force him to change the way he looks at himself and his MMA character. Getting booed and hated by every full stadium regardless of state or country cant be a good feeling at the end of the day.

As I write these words I feel compelled to reiterate that I was at a young age full of anger and aggression and intimidated people without knowing it. As I look at myself now I feel the ancient masters and teachers transmitting the wise traditional truths from sages living ages ago. Sometimes the best thing to say is nothing and I know from experience that the toughest fighter in the room is not the one yelling and talking about how tough he is. A true martial master boasts not nor acts in ways that conflict with the selfless teachings of ancients before him. A true martial master believes in humble integrity and honorable intentions. A true martial master studies and knows ways of healing, light and love in balance of fire, fighting and defense.

In conclusion, Nick Diaz, who labeled himself the best fighter in the world lost a split decision to Carlos Condit at UFC 143. Both fighters were there to fight but Carlos came to compete and won by conditions of rules, points and tallied techniques. Despite Diaz's last minute takedown he didn't do enough to win in the eyes of judges as well as millions of people. I too have lost a split decision battle where takedowns and cage control were counted more than submission attempts and striking connections. But as a competitor I know that in the judges eyes it may differ from what I see and feel concerning the last call. Yet the way that Diaz immaturely acted and how fast his insecure ego created excuses was very disappointing for me to watch. If he wishes to quit now and retire despite his amazing potential then indeed the doubters win and indeed the fans will remember him as "one" of the best ever but never will they remember him as "the best MMA fighter of all time." For to have that label one must have the attitude, abilities and discipline to live that label with a humble heart filled with unconditional humility.

Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.

-Brian Seraiah Wood (NSCA-CSCS & CPT)

Brian@Seraiah.com
10/01/13

Misconceptions of Yoga & Meditation

DRAGON TAO CHRONICLES are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as. Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

Misconceptions of Yoga & Meditation

Western and religious conditioning have persecuted other cultures and their traditions and have thus given ancient traditions negative stigmata and false labeling. Concerning the questioning of Yoga and meditation and wether it there is a gateway for evil to enter the mind or demons to take over the body are but illusion. Meditation and prayer are very similar but in all truth prayer is speaking to God and meditation is silencing the thoughts so that one can listen or have a deeper insight delivered through intuition.

Meditation is currently practiced by millions worldwide and regardless of social, religious, financial or other status, the positive effects it has on overall health, stress and immunity are scientifically proven with amazing clarity. When one empties the mind and clears the thoughts they are not opening a gateway for demons to enter nor is there any portal for evil to move through. The fast paced western world is finally realizing that these ancient traditions such as meditation, yoga, qigong and tai chi are highly successful ways to calm the mind, body and soul.

Meditation is used by athletes, musicians, executives and countless other occupations with the same focus and emphasis of perfecting mental visualization and seeing performances as the wish to be. Kung Fu and movies star, Jet Li, has spoken many times about meditating 14 hours a day before his first world championships in which he was outstanding and victorious. Bruce Lee was a big proponent of meditation.

With some many styles and ways to meditate one can create their own protocol. Seated or lying stillness meditation is a great way to completely calm the mind and relieve the stresses of life. Movements meditations such as Chinese Qigong and Tai Chi are wonderful ways to align the breath, intentions and movements in a flowing and graceful expression of self. One doesn't have to clear the mind completely but rather can focus on one thing, affirmation, prayer...anything that may override the 10,000 meaningless thoughts.

One of the goals of meditation as referred to by Buddhists, Yogis, Taoists and even many Christians is that it is not a religious requirement or protocol of religion but rather a beneficial element of peaceful and healthy living. Quality and longevity of life are found through keeping the mind free of stressful constraints and confines. Everyone has their ways of dealing with stress but meditation had been medically and scientifically proven to reduce blood pressure, increase immune system and aid in stress management.

So only self-experience brings understanding and one should research meditation before judging and labeling. It has changed my life dramatically for the better. I now have the ability to control my emotions, focus my energy and concentration while having the ability to handle stress in safer ways with higher productivity. All good things happen in time and indeed meditation does not come easy at first but one learns about themselves quickly by viewing thoughts and patterns objectively and being a witness to emotions and unconscious conditioning.

Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.

-Brian Seraiah Wood (NSCA-CSCS & CPT)

Brian@Seraiah.com
10/01/13

Defeat, Integrity & Honor

DRAGON TAO CHRONICLES are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as. Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

Defeat, Integrity and Honor

In the world of Mixed Martial Arts, fighting and combat sports, there will always be a winner and subsequently a loser. In the pursuit of greatness and perfection we are all striving to be better than we were yesterday and as we engage in competition there is always the possibility of defeat and or injury. Concerning these matter I hope to express that there many paths to self and understanding self through competition is the best way to cultivate and honor the skills and abilities that the spirit has blessed us with.

In my last article, "Spirituality: The Lost Art in Martial Arts," I express my viewpoint that most athletes are training only physical aspect of the total package. Many fighters neglect the mental and spiritual side of competition, which enable one to have a clearer awareness of themselves along with the many trivialities of won and loss. No fighter is undefeated forever, and even if his record states so at some time in his career or training he has indeed been knocked down, knocked out or injured while training or as a youth. So one must be weary that as the wins rise so also does the pressure to maintain that record.

All the great legends and heroes of the eras have lost at some time, and those who are labeled the best of all time will one day be surpassed by the next youthful generation. The hope is to be the best and stay on top for as long as possible, but someday there will come the time to retire or quit either forcefully or humbly. In example: where the Gracie family once dominated and astounded the MMA world, now its rare that they even are recognized as contenders or high level competitors unless its strictly GI Jiu-Jitsu in which they are still regarded as respected founders. You can watch Matt Hughes vs. Royce Gracie to see a prime example of how in 10 years one can be both legend and obsolete within the same MMA decade.

We all must accept defeat at sometime, and it's the way that one handles such experiences that one either grows or crumbles, one learns or shuts down and or one frees themselves or adds more weight to their already burdened shoulders. What is the purpose of competition for you? If your answer is always, "Smash someone's face or hurt someone badly," then the very thing which your hope for others will someday possibly happen to you. I have learned the hard way that words, energy and actions will manifest in reality and karma is a real encounter that can be painful or blissful. The outcome is up to you.

The EGO is the most illusionary component of the human design yet some grip so enduringly to this image that they become blinded to the truth about themselves and the world around them. In MMA, everyone is the "best or the baddest" self-proclaimed fighter in the world. It's curious how the very foundation from which most build themselves is the same destructive ego that misleads the spiritual enhancements of such souls. We as humans are always looking for new ways to better ourselves and it's in the face of adversity that ones knows who they are at a core level. In defeat we must learn to look at ourselves from a third-person perspective while analyzing the situation and circumstances that were involved.

So much can dictate the outcome of a fight and the stressors involved can be: food, diet, sleep, personal matters, family, relationships, travel, illness and focus etc. So when we look at dynamics of competition there is so much more involved than people in the crowd think. And in the event where someone who shouldn't have lost experiences such hardships then the emotional aftermath can be evolving or destructive. If the ego is still in tact and has a voice then one will usually direct the negative energy towards others such as refs, coaches or the opponent. The classic "should've, could've, would've" dilemma arises and one focuses on what others did that restricted them from fulfilling the mission.

Only when one releases the ego and with humility and humbleness will the competitor understand the lessons, teachings and ability to differentiate between positive and negative reinforcing factors. Pride will also be a detriment to cultivation by creating the idea that one deserves or is entitled to win just because he/she fights outs of a certain gym or has certain coaches. All the underdogs are doing is training everyday thinking of new ways to innovate and adapt their style as to one day upset the champion.

A true champion is a humble, honorable and respected by both fans and haters. Attitude and presence is paramount and I have seen myself in the eyes of others and I have seen the errors I have made during my MMA undertakings. By seeing myself, hearing myself and understanding myself through others perceptions I can create the changes I wish to have in myself. The hardest thing to do for most people is look inside and really want to change and similarly in meditation the hardest thing to do is gaze inward searching for answers and divine intuition. I feel at times I will be a much better coach than a competitor and its my hope to guide the young talent I'm surrounded with to reach a level of performance that I couldn't during my time as a modern day warrior. Our dreams are what we wish them to be yet even with our highest hopes and desires we still will fall short of our goals, and it is here that we must appreciate the journey God has blessed us to be following at the current time.

No one can fight forever and no legacy will remain untouched. So when the fans forget your name and the crowds no longer cheer just remember the times you once had and the person you have become in the process. My hope is that you are content and happy regardless if you are a World Champion or not. For truly smashing another face in does not make one a good person and it's in the hidden gems of humility that the humble heart beats eternally.

Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.

-Brian Seraiah Wood (NSCA-CSCS & CPT)

Brian@Seraiah.com
10/01/13

Spirituality: The Lost Art of Martial Arts

DRAGON TAO CHRONICLES are articles and exploratory writings delving into ancient Eastern systems and techniques that are unique to mind, body and soul practices such as. Chinese Qigong, Thai Fon Jeung, Tai Chi, Kung Fu, Yoga and Meditation. With articles being both educational and instructional the reader will gain insight into these systems and themselves through personal practice.

Spirituality: The Lost Art of Martial Arts

As I watched Ip Man 2 last night I felt a deep connection of understanding as to the true essence of Martial Arts and the sacrifice that one makes to manifest their dreams as well as survive the sad and demoralizing ways of humanity. He spoke if the spirit of Chinese Martial Arts and the integrity one develops from the ancient techniques and training. He spoke of how it's better to train for self-cultivation than the destruction of others even after the horrible treatment and eviction from the Japanese military. When forced to fight he fought for something much greater that title or purse and something much greater than winning a bout. He fought for the spirit of his culture and the honor of his people in defiance of tyranny and oppression and in doing so became a legend and still to this day his teachings came be found worldwide.

Here in America, we are so blessed to have what we have, train in nice gyms with top quality equipment and work with coaches and trainers on the path to self-experience. In the words of the Bruce Lee, "To Me, Martial Arts means honestly expressing oneself….and it is very hard to do." To know oneself through training and through competition are very different experiences yet they fine-tune the individual's skills and reactions based upon ever changing concepts of free will and fate. Certain situations are but learning lessons to build better character, dismiss the ego along with building faith in the pursuit of personal perfection.

We are what we meditate upon and if one only dreams of blood and violence then that will indeed be what they become. I often read posts and blogs about how excited fighters are to hurt someone else without thinking about the repercussions or aftermath of what might ensue. What I mean by this is people don't think about what happens when one goes home to their family, kids, wife etc….with mangled face, body or being permanently injured from such encounters. I know that both fighters are there for the same reason – to win, yet the sport of MMA has slowly lost the essence of morality and ethically proper karma based energy dynamics. I have learned the hard way about karma and how it can switch on you in an instant, how your thoughts and actions will create and doorway to self-detriment. I know now that my words have power and my thoughts have the potential to alter my very reality the second the thought is released. I have learned such things the hard way and it is my hope to guide others to live better lives and utilize the inherent beauty we all were divinely born with.

My Shaolin Master, Shifu Yan Lei (www.ShifuYanLei.co.uk), expressed his appreciation for MMA but also explained his cultural belief that the Chinese don't train ground fighting with the notion that if someone goes down in a fight, whether it be in ring or street, that the down fighter is let back to his feet out of respect. Coming from someone like Shifu with scars and wounds from knife fights and potential death encounters, this statement speaks to me truth about the honor and appreciation concerning such things. He told me that after being attacked by 3 people with knives that he would never be afraid to fight again. The amazing thing is that he prayed for his attackers and meditated that peace may enter their hearts and that their anger may subside….being that they ended up much worse than he did.

In Chinese Kung Fu, as practiced traditionally at the Shaolin Temples, has no differentiation between internal or external training systems. When I speak of internal systems I speak of Qigong (Energy Exercises) and Meditation, whereas in reference to external I speak of Kung Fu and Physical training. In most Western based schools even the Shaolin is taught primarily with focus on external while neglecting the mind and spirit cultivation. It is my hope to bring something deeper to the lives of those I train and teach and to somehow inspire those I don't know to a better way of life through such ancient systems such as Qigong and Meditation.

Our ever-growing sport of MMA has both humble and arrogant champions who equally urge the youth of today to follow in their tracks. George St. Pierre has always impressed me with his traditional and spiritual connection to competition along with the conscious awareness to know how to win with ethics and respect. I remember seeing him fight against Tim Hardy knowing that he could easily break his arm with the arm lock but chose to let it go and win by points going the distance rather than ending it early along with his opponent's career and future in the sport. This showed me the honorable nature of a true champion with a secure understanding of who he is and what he is doing and how his actions can and will affect others in potentially positive and negative ways.

Haters always hate that champion for being on top but in all reality they really hate all that they cannot be nor can cultivate within themselves. They are not content with self so they tear down others to satisfy ego yet the ego is the very enemy that combats the spirit. Release the ego and move into realization of self through and honorable existence thus focusing on the only thing one can control – oneself. I am still learning about me daily and will always be a master-student and in being so I will strive to become the shining light the Great Spirit within has destined my to be.

Thank you for your time to read The Dragon Tao Chronicles.

-Brian Seraiah Wood (NSCA-CSCS & CPT)

Brian@Seraiah.com
Recent Blog Post
10/01/13
Western and religious conditioning have persecuted other cultures and their traditions and have thus given ancient traditions negative stigmata and false labeling. Concerning the questioning of Yoga and meditation and wether it there is a gateway for evil to enter the mind or demons to take over the body are but illusion. Meditation and prayer are very similar but in all truth prayer is speaking to God and meditation is silencing the thoughts so that one can listen or have a deeper insight delivered through intuition.

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