A Yang Warrior is…

The Great Taiji

A Yang* Warrior is…

A force for good in people’s lives;

Says what needs to be said;

Does what needs to be done;

Protects the innocent;

Receives what is given to her;

Continues to develop her art, her body, her mind and her spirit;

Is responsible for her actions;

From self-love moves out into the world in love;

Makes choices that nourish her on all levels – whether it is food, literature, companionship or work;

Heals with food, herbs, breath, massage, meditation and movement;

Knows that compassion sometimes looks uncompassionate;

Honors herself and others;

Is respectful to her masters, ancestors, family and the Dao;

Marshalls her time to be of best use and service to others;

Is patient, waiting on the Dao, and therefore has impeccable timing;

Conducts herself with honor and respect and humility;

Reads from scriptures to nourish and heal and share;

Listens with her whole being;

Is always ready to be of service;

Doesn’t complain;

Is in command of her energy and her boundaries;

Seeks to be clean and clear and pure in her heart and her actions;

Treats all beings with respect, gentleness, compassion and honesty;

Is natural and lives simply and honestly;

Does not waste resources;

Freely walks her destiny;

Treats fear as a teacher;

Trusts the practices and doesn’t stray from her truth.

Knows the soft overcomes the hard;

Accepts both the dark and the light as the Taiji teaches;

Acts with purpose in all things;

Seeks precision in her art, her words, her thoughts, her actions;

Sees her students as teachers;

Trains hard, fights easy.


A soldier fights, a warrior protects, a martial artist serves.

We can go through this life as a victim or as a warrior. It is our choice.

If we are handed a bag of stones, we do not have to pick it up and carry it.

Most of all, a Yang Warrior strives to live these principles all the days of her life with the goal of progress, not perfection.


*There have been books, movies and operas made over the centuries in China of the Woman Warriors of the Yang Family [Yang Men Nü Jiang, 杨门女将] during the Song Dynasty. I’ve picked up the phrase to mean a warrior of the Yang Family Style of Taijiquan martial arts that I study and teach. It is solely and wholly my understanding as influenced by my studies and training with masters and teachers in martial arts. If I fail in my principles or character it should not in any way reflect upon any of them.

Yang Warrior in the Mountains

Wild flowers

Walking in the Berkshires

The sun came out today after two chilly, rainy days. The warmth inspired the flowers to show off these last few days of summer. There were delicate cosmos in orange and pink and white, some few remaining blue bachelor buttons, sunflowers, and a lone poppy stuck his crimson head out in chorus. In the fields, my favorite for wild flowers, there was purple clover and small, white daisies mixed among the plantain. Plantain stalks stirred in the breeze and furry plantain made handy landings for the insects. Small yellow butterflies danced in a helix, rising above the green like a fountain.

Along the edges of the woods were tall golden rod, leaning over, heavy with flowers. Dragonflies, butterflies and dirt-brown grasshoppers were everywhere. Mosquitoes too. I walked on a trail for a while, until I heard the sound of crunching and breaking wood — with a heaviness that signaled, at least to me — that whatever it was or whomever it was — was my size or bigger. I split after that and walked on the more travelled path. I could feel the heat coming off the ground and the sun on my neck, but knew it was fleeting. It would soon turn cold. Some maples were already displaying red and orange and gold.

The days are shortening, shorter and shorter, dwindling down the hours of sun as the yin begins to stretch out and embrace the season. I loved my summer; nights with Kevin at the ocean or in bed in his arms. Waking up naked and happy and safe in our world. Showering and drying off, lying side-by-side and breathing in and letting go.’Tis the season of letting go — the trees and flowers and bees tell me so as I walk along the way. I talk back to them all — cooing and aaaahing at their magnificence.

We all know nothing lasts. But we take refuge in the cycle. The season of endings gives way to the season of beginnings. The yin will grow and surround our world and plunge us into the midnight of winter, and the yang will creep up slowly in the heart of darkness, with tendrils of light to awaken the world and inspire newness. That nothing lasts is our pain and our blessing. Tears make way for joy, love makes way for loss and death makes way for life. This is our world.

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