Monthly Archives: January 2014

Manchu archery


This is a very interesting clip, going over the art of archery as practised by the Imperial Guard of the Qing Dynasty. Thanks to Bai Yiming for the link! It features Scott Rodell, who’s an expert in many aspects of the Chinese Martial Arts – though I confess I only really know of him because I was (and am) very tempted by the jian that he designed… Still, that’s not going to happen while I’m in Russia! Maybe one day…

Armoured Kangxi Emperor” by Author of Qing Dynasty – Originally from www.sina.com. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.


One of the most irritating aspects of studying TCM has been the response of a certain type of Western friend. Often self-identifying as modern, liberal, Guardian-reading bobos, they react to the concepts of Chinese medicine almost with anger; “it’s just superstition”, one old friend told me.

Well, to get correct answers you have to ask the correct questions, and one of th eproblems scientists have encountered is that they’ve been looking in the wrong ways for explanations of how TCM works.

Which leads me to two stories from this week.

The first is that CT scans are now demonstrating that acupuncture points do have unusual physical qualities.

The second is that a House of Commons committee has confirmed the allegations made in Ben Goldacre’s book, Bad Pharma, that the pharmaceutical companies are developing and marketing medicines based on selective use of data – meaning doctors are not able to properly make decisions on what to prescribe for their patients.

It strikes me that blindly believing what the Western pharma-industrial complex says in its well-funded marketing is the superstitious approach…

Carus-p48-Mystic-table” by An unknown Tibetan artist – A Tibetan work, reproduced first in Waddell, “The Buddhism of Tibet…”, p. 453, and then in Carus, ” Chinese thought”, p 48. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

Category: TCM

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White nights ahead


This time next week, I will have just arrived in St. Petersburg, on the shores of the Gulf of Finland. I’ll be there for at least a year, and possibly longer – we’ll see how things go. I’m hoping that during my stay there I’ll be able to train in systema and other Russian martial arts. It’ll be a completely different experience to training in the Chinese internal martial arts in Beijing, so I’ve set up a new blog for it: Sing, Dance, Fight. I’ll continue to post here occasionally when I find, or think of, something relevant.