Me And Momma

By Sydney Gay

“Strike The Tiger In Both Ears”

taichi 2019


My Momma was no fool. She was a Baptist dance teacher who loved the Lord. After she died, five hundred students attended the funeral. When she was seventy-two-years old, a Chinese student of the Tao introduced Momma to Qigong and Tai Chi, mastery of body and mind. Tai Chi has great depth and good humor, and to Momma it was a dance of many steps with strange names. 

For example, Strike The Tiger begins as you imagine you are a warrior who sees obstacles, acknowledges them, then dances through or around them by striking the tiger’s right ear with one fist, striking the tiger’s left ear with the other fist, rotating slowly in the opposite direction, suddenly striking tiger’s head with both fists; this aroused Momma’s competitive edge, made her feel she could conquer anything.

As Momma qigong’d and tai chi’d, her energy blossomed like a symphony; before, this life seemed one-dimensional compared to the new way she moved through the world, every day revealed deeper higher awareness of colors and sound, she could see the colors with her eyes shut, she could feel color dancing through her body, teaching students to foxtrot, waltz and tango was profitable but she was losing interest.

Adding Qi Gong to what she understood of Christian psychology might not agree with everyone, but in Momma’s opinion learning the laws of the universe, learning to move thought at divine levels of energy was the Chinese version of the holy bible 

This much I know to be true: I was  affected by the change in my Momma, at age seventy- five, she was a shining star, love flowed through her pores, when she’d walk into church on Sunday, people stopped and stared. She lit up the room. So, what was this all about? Why did she feel so wonderful? 

After she passed away, I began attending the qigong and tai chi class Randy and Alice teach at El Parque here at Lakeside. The first class was a mystery. Alice explained imagine your hands are holding a ball of energy, move the ball, make it big, make it small; three times a week I made big and small balls. Guided by Alice and Randy the entire class played with the imagined ball in extremely focused states of mind, as we felt energy move, expand, contract and began to see things we had not noticed before. 

To this we added Tai Chi steps, “Strike the tiger in the ears, repel the monkey, scoop the sea bottom, stand like storks, stretch your wings.”  Today, at the end of each class, twenty smiling faces celebrate feeling good. Some of us will soon be ninety years old.


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