Notre Dame de Paris


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Notre_Dame_afterPerotinus Magnus, often known only as Pérotin, was a late 12th century or early 13th century composer associated with the Notre Dame school of polyphony in Paris and the ars antiqua musical style. He followed the esteemed Léonin, probably the founder of he Notre Dame school of polyphony, in both time, technique and musical taste. I do not recall that either wrote a funeral Mass. Perhaps a Gloria with references to rising again will suffice.


In other sports


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Congratulations to Tiger Woods on winning the 2019 Masters. For you hard-core martial artists that’s a very prestigious and difficult professional golf tournament.

I would imagine Worknesh Degefa will dominate the elite women’s marathon in Boston. There’s a chance she will literally win by a mile – more than five minutes ahead of her nearest competitor. That depends on how well she closes the race with no one in sight to push her. One of our advantages from practicing together in class is synergy or inspiration to and from others.

The men’s elite race will likely be very close. It could come down to a decent-sized pack (say a dozen runners) sprinting the last couple of miles.

UPDATE: Closer than I thought, but Worknesh Degefa did win the women’s in 2:23:31 followed by

Kiplagat, Edna (KEN) 2:24:13
Hasay, Jordan (USA) 2:25:20
Assefa, Meskerem (ETH) 2:25:40
Linden, Desiree (USA) 2:27:00
Rotich, Caroline (KEN) 2:28:27
Ngugi, Mary (KEN) 2:28:33
Eshetu, Biruktayit (ETH) 2:29:10
Flanagan, Lindsay (USA) 2:30:07
Saina, Betsy (KEN) 2:30:32
Mccormack, Fionnuala (IRL) 2:30:38

UPDATE #2: Lawrence Cherono won the men’s by two seconds over Lelisa Desisa and by ten seconds over Kenneth Kipkemoi. Considering that they had been running for more than 7600 seconds that’s a razor-thin margin.

Cherono, Lawrence (KEN) 2:07:57
Desisa, Lelisa (ETH) 2:07:59
Kipkemoi, Kenneth (KEN) 2:08:07
Kandie, Felix (KEN) 2:08:52
Kirui, Geoffrey (KEN) 2:08:55
Rono, Philemon (KEN) 2:08:58
Fauble, Scott (USA) 2:09:10
Ward, Jared (USA) 2:09:25
Talam, Festus (KEN) 2:09:25
Kipruto, Benson (KEN) 2:09:53




Weighty matters – blankets


No one has asked for a weighted blanket either informally or through an IEP or IBP.

We are not so sure that weighted blankets are all that useful, but it seems like a reasonable idea to buy one or two. If anyone out there has favorites, dislikes or anything in between, we’d love to get some serious advice. Bear in mind that we have some LARGE students – 6’5″ 270 pounds – so the blanket needs to be available in a reasonably large size. We’ll post details about length, width, thickness and weight after we look around a little more, but among the candidates are:




Weighty matters – continued


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Initially, we had thought to embed sensors in a Pi Sha as those garments are colorful, traditional and elegant. They also usually indicate that the wearer has some sort of advanced standing with the Taoist discipline he or she is following. BUT Pi Shas can move independently of the limbs that they cover due to an outdoor breeze, indoor air movements such as forced-air heating or air conditioning, or even just another student passing by. So we reluctantly switched to sports sleeves which closely follow the limb, do not have static electricity build-ups, and do not lose contact during movement.

Then a new student’s Individual Education Plan mentioned weighted clothing. The use of weighted clothing can be a form of resistance training: the wearer needs more effort to move at all; additional effort to overcome the inertia of a heavier mass (very often in Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan practice there is a pause before a punch); and additional effort to stop at the end of the movement to avoid injury or over-extension. Fans of the book/movie Iron and Silk will recall Mark Salzman training with weights on his ankles and a sack of bricks on his back. In some cases heavier weighted clothing can also be used to slow or modulate movements so the wearer can reduce flailing limbs, rapid spasms, losing his or her balance and so on.

  1. Neck “collars” and vests – these come in two types: those intended to simply drape and those secured along the lower edge so the wearer can twist or bend over. We have some concerns about such garments slightly limiting deep breathing. Presumably, were such garments encountered we could measure oxygen usage.
  2. For some, weighted vests increase the exertion needed for walking, distance running or speed, agility and quickness (SAQ) drills. We would likely want to keep a close eye on heart rate, temperature and blood pressure. There are claims that such vests build leg strength and stimulate the metabolizing of fat.
  3. A variation on vests would be a back pack – these are used by firefighters, military and police to increase resistance during push-ups and to train for carrying an injured person. Offhand, we do not see much application for Tai Chi Chuan.
  4. Belts
  5. weights strapped to upper arms, lower arms, upper legs or ankles
  6. gloves

A bit of engineering that we will have to deal with is can the weighted garment be worn over the sports sleeve without interfering with the sensors. The biosensors for heart rate, temperature and blood pressure depend on close access to skin.

Sensory integration therapy uses weighted vests, weighted belts and weighted blankets, hypothesizing that the weight provides proprioceptive feedback. We have not found much scientific research on this treatment:

“The Use of Weighted Vests with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorders and Other Disabilities,” Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, Jan. 2009, vol. 39, pp. 105-114


Weighty matters


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For a very long time – probably centuries – some martial arts have included arm weights as a form of resistance training. The images below show steel rings that were popular in Wing Chun back in the 1970s and 1980s (at least). The photo of the opponents armed with hatchets and top hats is from the 2004 movie Kung Fu Hustle.


The late Grandmaster Wing Lam was an advocate of using brass rings not only to  strengthen forearms and biceps but also to increase grip strength as shown below.DragonRingGripped

I never got the full story of what caused a break in commercial relations, but he stopped importing Chi Gu stones.


We experimented with ABS pipes filled with sand


As I recall, the filled pipes were not generally regarded as a satisfactory substitute for the stones, so the use of the two sizes of brass rings increased. Today Wing Lam Enterprises sells three sizes of brass rings (Product TD15S) and Kung Fu Direct has steel rings (Product TDS016) – you will likely want to order an even number.


Houseplants – even more palms


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Almost as many palms as a Bagua Zhang curriculum

Dwarf date palm (Phoenix roebelenii) – also known as pygmy date palm, miniature date palm or just robellini. The important thing to consider here is that “dwarf” palms mean a tree nine feet (108 inches) high.  Very similar to Phoenix acaulis (the other date palm among the 15 species in this genus) – both help with formaldehyde, toluene and xylene and are not toxic.


The Areca palm (Dypsis lutescens), also known as golden cane palm, yellow palm, or butterfly palm.  There are at least 64 species in the Dypsis genus. Again, this tree can get very large. It is claimed by NASA to help with formaldehyde, toluene and xylene and the ASPCA asserts that the Areca palm is not toxic.


Houseplants – more palms


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Chamaedorea elegans, known as the neanthe bella palm, good luck palm, miniature fish tail dwarf palm, or the parlor (parlour to Europeans) palm, is claimed to be one of the most heavily sold houseplant palms in the world. This sale takes two forms: whole plants and cut palm leaves known as xate (pronounced ‘shatay’). Note that leaves from Chamaedorea ernesti-augusti and Chamaedorea oblongata are also used in xate. Xate is used in flower arrangements, for funeral decorations and for Palm Sunday services. An estimated 400 million stems are exported annually from Mexico, Guatemala and Belize to North America and Europe. In many liturgical calendars Palm Sunday will be April 14 this year. Presumably, prior to closing the border with Mexico, the United States government has carefully checked that sufficient xate has been imported for Palm Sunday.