Mastering Tai Chi [TTC Video]

Mastering Tai Chi [TTC Video]
Mastering Tai Chi [TTC Video] by David-Dorian Ross, International Master Tai Chi Instructor
Course No 1918 | MP4, AVC, 1000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 128 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 5.89GB

Tai chi is one of the most remarkable and practical philosophies ever devised. It combines the pursuit of health and longevity, the martial practice of self-defense, and the lofty—but attainable—ideals of harmony and balance. It promotes relaxation, joy, compassion, positive growth, and flow. Tai chi gives you a set of mental tools you can apply in all areas of your life, and it helps you learn to achieve your goals with the minimum effort for the maximum result.

Best of all, tai chi is accessible to everyone, regardless of your current level of physical fitness. The movements are designed to emphasize and improve your body’s natural, healthy posture, so that instead of struggling to perform strenuous motions, you playfully relax into a gentle flow. The philosophy of tai chi can be applied comfortably within any spiritual framework, or none at all. The concepts of merit and virtue, of authenticity and mindfulness, of kindness and service to community and the world—all of these are values to be cherished by any thoughtful person who seeks a happy and meaningful life.

Mastering Tai Chi is your invitation to step onto the path of greater health, strength, wisdom, and compassion. These 24 half-hour lessons taught by International Master Tai Chi Instructor David-Dorian Ross, take you deeply into what is traditionally called tai chi chuan (taijiquan), while focusing on a routine known as the Yang-style 40-movement form. As you learn this form, you also:

  • study the principles of tai chi—physical and philosophical guidelines that frame the essential concepts of the practice.
  • delve into tai chi’s long history, contemplating the contributions of the sages who composed the tai chi classics, the Dao De Jing, the I Ching, and other priceless philosophical texts.
  • envision an imaginary opponent to engage the martial aspects of the practice, then connect with a real partner in “Push Hands”—a tai chi game for two
  • learn advanced techniques, including silk reeling and silk pulling, that are rarely taught.
  • discover the transformational power of your focused intention and willpower to achieve your goals.

The course is excellent for beginners, as Professor Ross breaks down arm motions, body positions, and footwork for each movement. He shows you how to sink into and feel the posture, then smoothly transition and maintain your flow. Compared with the 24-movement form and instructional approach in Essentials of Tai Chi and Qigong, this course offers a more extended and deeper familiarity with Yang-style tai chi via the 40-movement form, which incorporates and builds upon movements from the shorter sequence.

Following traditional methods for a private, “indoor student,” you’ll consider ideas from the tai chi classics, and you’ll also encounter many new concepts and applications. Even those who have previously taken tai chi classes in person or studied with an instructor will gain knowledge from the depth and breadth of the presentation, the attention to each detail of the form, and the consideration of foundational philosophical principles and their application, both for better movement and in everyday life.

Mental Tools for Every Realm of Life

Tai chi is based on principles that not only improve your physical health, but also reveal the secrets to emotional health, satisfying relationships, and success in all of your endeavors. You will learn techniques to strengthen and develop traits such as:

  • focused intention
  • willpower
  • mindfulness
  • clarity
  • authenticity
  • balance
  • flow
  • tranquility inside movement and chaos

These tools, and the others you gain, will serve you well in everything you do. When you are mindful of your body and emotions, you become more aware of your strengths and weaknesses. The clarity and authenticity of this knowledge help you focus your intention and employ your willpower to heal and grow more effectively. When you move toward health, your balance improves and your flow increases, and you are able to find tranquility anywhere.

The course makes available a wealth of resources to help you think through your journey, including:

  • vital philosophical texts like the Tai Chi Classics, the I Ching, and the Tao Te Ching
  • traditional teaching stories and wisdom, as well as stories from David-Dorian Ross’s own path to mastery
  • the history and significance of important symbols like silk, tea, and incense
  • cultural information such as the traditional conduct and greetings of teachers and students, as well as the Chinese names and English translations and insights regarding each form movement
  • Armed with this information, you will find yourself well equipped to enjoy and benefit from tai chi, and engage with the challenges of the wider world.

Advance along the Path to Mastery

While the course is entirely accessible to beginners and starts with the basics of tai chi, it also progresses into more advanced topics and techniques. You’ll watch Professor Ross slice the air with a tai chi straight sword in the circling, spiraling patterns shared by bare-hand and weapons forms alike. He demonstrates the principle of smooth, continuous flow with the tai chi staff, making beautiful—and dangerous—”flowers” as he moves. Another tai chi master joins him in the studio for a whole lesson on pushing hands, tai chi’s partner game that lets you accentuate and assess progress along your path. Another lesson is spent on the techniques of silk reeling and silk pulling—styles of movement that are intrinsic to tai chi, but that are often hidden in the form and rarely taught.

Each lesson is visually rich, with supportive graphics designed to focus your attention and make the instruction even clearer and easier to follow. To show you how each part of your body aligns and moves in sequence, you always see this master instructor perform and lead you through each movement – and each combination of movements -- from several angles. Graphics such as arrows that appear during a movement help you grasp the orientation and motion of your own hands, arms, legs, and feet as you progress through the form. On-screen text displays the names of movements in English, and in pinyin, which is the standardized version of Chinese rendered more-or-less phonetically using the Roman alphabet, and in traditional Chinese characters.

Tai chi is an unparalleled system for improving your physical, mental, emotional, and even spiritual health. Mastering Tai Chi is an extraordinary course that can help you achieve the heights of mental and physical fitness. Bring the body you have, and step into a journey of personal mastery.

Mastering Tai Chi [TTC Video]

The Science of Flight [TTC Video]

The Science of Flight [TTC Video]
The Science of Flight [TTC Video] by James W Gregory
Course No 1321 | M4V, AVC, 630 kbps, 640x360 | AAC, 162 kbps, 2 Ch | 29x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 4.59GB

Many of us board a plane without understanding what a truly extraordinary experience flight is: suspended 30,000 feet or more in the air, propelled to our destination at close to the speed of sound, protected from extreme cold and low pressure by the thin skin of the aircraft. We realize it’s complicated, but few of us know how it works. Even more remarkable is space flight, the “rocket science” that we use as a benchmark of difficulty or complexity.

Yet the related principles of atmospheric flight and space flight are not difficult at all, and the study of these two miracles of modern engineering is a wide-ranging lesson in physics, technology, and history. No organization is more authoritative on this subject than the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum (NASM) and its annex, the Udvar-Hazy Center. Together, they host the world’s premier collections of air and space artifacts and the home to some of the most distinguished scholars in the field.

The Great Courses is proud to join forces with the Smithsonian to explain flight as it’s never been explained before. In 24 visually rich half-hour lectures, The Science of Flight covers the inner workings of gliders, airplanes, helicopters, rockets, spacecraft, and other flying machines, illustrated by the incomparable holdings of NASM and with commentary by the museum’s internationally renowned curators.

The Science of Flight is taught by award-winning educator James W. Gregory, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Ohio State University. An instrument-rated private pilot as well as an engineer, Professor Gregory gives as thorough an explanation of the principles of flight, rocketry, and related topics as you’ll get outside of flight school. Throughout, his beautifully clear lectures are supplemented by incisive commentary from NASM experts, who put everything from airfoils to orbits into a fascinating historical context.

The more than one dozen curators and other NASM staff featured in this course include:

  • Tom Crouch: The Senior Curator of Aeronautics at NASM, Dr. Crouch surveys the celebrated early days of aviation. A noted historian, he is the author of a bestselling biography of the Wright brothers.
  • John D. Anderson, Jr.: Serving as technical consultant for the course, Dr. Anderson is the Curator of Aerodynamics at NASM. He draws on his love of aviation engineering history to illuminate pioneering breakthroughs in the field.
  • Dorothy Cochrane: NASM’s Curator of General Aviation, Cochrane focuses on the feats of extraordinary civilian pilots, including aerobatic champions and record-breaking long-distance fliers.
  • Roger Launius: The Senior Curator of Space History at NASM and formerly Chief Historian for NASA, Dr. Launius predicts the future of space travel, weighing past exploits and present plans.

And this is just some of the remarkable talent assembled for this course.

Think Like an Aeronautical Engineer

Aviation has advanced hand-in-hand with our growing understanding of the physics of flight—what causes lift, how to reduce drag, the complex events in the transonic realm. This makes NASM the ideal laboratory for explaining revolutionary milestones—from the three-axis control system of the original Wright Flyer that made winged flight practical; to the supercharged Rolls Royce Merlin engine that gave the P-51 Mustang a winning edge in World War II; to the thermal tile system that allowed the Space Shuttle to survive dozens of reentries from space.

In The Science of Flight, Professor Gregory delves deeply into these and many other developments, explaining how they work at a fundamental level, down to the equations that govern such phenomena as wing loading, parasitic drag, induced drag, power in a reciprocating engine, and thrust in a jet or rocket engine. Using almost no higher mathematics than high-school-level algebra, Dr. Gregory demonstrates how aeronautical engineers think, analyzing forces to predict exactly what will happen with a particular airfoil, structural material, power plant, and scores of other design features.

Such an inquiring attitude will pay off next time you’re in the air, alerting you to intriguing observations like these:

  • Lift made visible: Watch the wing as you accelerate down the runway. As lift builds, you will see the wing bend upward. On large aircraft made of composite materials, such as the Boeing 787, the deflection can be substantial, as much as twelve feet at the wing tip!
  • Wing origami: The sound of hydraulic actuators is your clue to look out the window and observe the wing dramatically change shape prior to landing. By deploying slats on the leading edge and flaps on the trailing edge, higher lift is produced for a safe landing at a relatively low speed.
  • A shocking sight: Supersonic flight is hampered by the formation of shock waves that constitute the notorious “sound barrier.” Under the right lighting, you can see the shadow of a shock wave on the wing of a passenger jet cruising at a four-fifths of the speed of sound.
  • Breathtaking: Commercial jets fly at an altitude that would challenge human survival if the plane was not pressurized. However, the cabin is not set to sea-level pressure but to the equivalent of a high-elevation city such as Santa Fe or Mexico City. This can cause shortness of breath for some passengers.

Let Your Understanding of Flight Take Wing!

One big advantage of taking the engineer’s approach to understanding flight is that it clears up common misconceptions. For example, a frequently heard explanation of lift is that air rushing past a wing has farther to go along the curved upper surface than along the flat underside. According to this view, the top flow of air must go faster to “catch up” with air directed along the bottom. Faster-moving air equals lower pressure, which equals lift. The last sentence is correct, but the rest of the explanation is wrong—as shown by the existence of symmetrical airfoils and planes that fly upside-down.

To get at the real origin of lift, Professor Gregory uses conservation of mass and momentum, a garden-hose analogy, and a standard illustration of smoke streamlines around an airfoil. In subsequent lectures, he employs the same ideas to explore drag. And when it comes to discussing the potentially fatal interplay of lift and drag known as stall, Dr. Gregory takes his private plane aloft and demonstrates an actual stall, explaining why it happens and showing how to recover from it.

Like driver education classes, flight schools frequently warn students with accounts of preventable mishaps such as pilot errors, icing incidents, fueling mistakes, unrecognized design flaws, and other conditions that have led to harrowing landings and often tragedies. Dr. Gregory recounts several memorable cases, underlining how knowledge is power in reducing such incidents.

But along with the cautionary tales, he and his NASM collaborators provide plenty of uplifting stories of pilots, astronauts, and engineers who mastered their craft and achieved wonders in air and space. Thanks to Professor Gregory and the Smithsonian, the drama, romance, and science of this incomparable endeavor truly take wing in The Science of Flight.

Additionally, you’ll receive five bonus interviews with NASM experts, providing further insights into the subjects explored throughout the course. You will hear Dr. John Anderson delve into Gustave Eiffel's wind tunnels, the Wright Flyer, and the science of engineering faster flights. Dr. Tom Crouch explores the Wright Brothers’ and innovation, and Dr. Roger Launius dives into the inventive new ways we are working to fly higher, faster, and further.

The Science of Flight [TTC Video]

The Science of Flight [TTC Video]

The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life [TTC Video]

The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life [TTC Video]
The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life [TTC Video] by Eddie O'Connor
Course No 1699 | .MP4, AVC, 2000 kbps, 1280x720 | AAC, 192 kbps, 2 Ch | 24x30 mins | + PDF Guidebook | 11.31GB

In the classic joke, a New York tourist asks, “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?” The old answer: “Practice. Practice. Practice.”

Today, the relatively new science of performance psychology tells us that the old answer is incomplete at best. In The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life, clinical sport psychologist Eddie O’Connor, Ph.D., shares the best ways for you to reach your personal Carnegie Hall based on the latest scientific research—whether your performance environment is music, dance, business, or sport. These often surprising research results will make you rethink your own performance strategies, offering approaches you might never have considered and busting myths you might have taken as truth.

In addition to the scientific research, Dr. O’Connor brings a wealth of anecdotal examples from his twenty years of clinical experience working with youth, college, international, and professional athletes; health professionals; and corporate executives. His easy-going manner, ability to make scientific theory and research results accessible to all, and numerous illustrative videos and demonstrations provide an energetic and interactive learning environment.

Sport Psychology for the Athlete and Non-Athlete

If you are an elite athlete—or aspire to become one—The Psychology of Performance will help you better benefit from your practice and identify the mental and emotional approaches that will best support your performance goals over the long term. But whether or not you have any connection to the world of sports, this course will help you achieve your personal goals in your chosen field of performance. As Dr. O’Connor explains, the work of a sport psychologist is not defined by sport, but by the science of performance psychology, the mental aspects of superior performance in settings where excellence is central—often sports, but also the performing arts, business, high-risk professions such as the military, and many other fields.

In Dr. O’Connor’s work and in this course, sport is a lens through which to view the issues of practice, anxiety, injury, confidence, and more—issues that apply to any performer. And, if you are the parent of a young athlete or performer, Dr. O’Connor will help you understand this journey from your child’s perspective and how to best support him or her along the way, too.

In these 24 exciting half-hour lectures, Dr. O’Connor explains why:

  • Practice might not lead to peak performance,
  • Excellence in anything isn’t easy or natural,
  • Talent is not necessary (and can even be a disadvantage),
  • You are not limited by genetics,
  • Positive thinking can get in your way, and
  • Being a perfectionist can help you—and hurt you.
  • Why 10,000 Hours Could Be Too Much—And Not Enough

Practicing an activity for 10,000 hours won’t make you great, or even good. Any person could practice shooting a basket for 10,000 hours, but that wouldn’t make him or her a great basketball player. Why not? Because contrary to what you might have heard, practice does not make perfect. Practice makes permanent. If you’re practicing incorrect technique, even two hours is too much.

Research reveals there is really only one thing that distinguishes those who achieve peak performance from everyone else: the amount of time spent in deliberate, purposeful, goal-oriented practice. This type of practice requires feedback from an expert coach, precise goals for each practice session, intense focus, and challenging yourself to consistently move forward out of your comfort zone.

Neuroscientists using brain-imaging techniques have discovered that the brains of individuals that have developed a specific skill over time differ from those without the skill. For example, in musicians, the cerebellum (a part of the brain that plays an important role in controlling body movements) is larger than in non-musicians. Similarly, there is more gray matter in three regions of the brain that plays a role in visualizing and controlling the diving movements of the body in divers than in non-divers.

If talent were the cause of these differences, they would show up in childhood before training began. But they don’t. Instead, they show up only in individuals who have dedicated themselves over time to the appropriate amount and type of practice. We’ve always known that physical training can reshape our bodies. This exciting research reveals that appropriate training can also modify the structure and function of our brains, resulting in an increased neurological ability to perform a particular skill. Purposeful practice gets you there. And it’s the only thing that can.

Mindfulness as a Performance Strategy

If you’ve never practiced mindfulness meditation, you might imagine it as a relaxation exercise on the floor at the end of a yoga class. To the contrary, Dr. O’Connor explains and demonstrates that mindfulness—paying attention in a particular way, with purpose, focused on the present moment, without judgment—can be practiced in a suit sitting in your desk chair, on the playing field, or anywhere else. Maybe you have tried a mindfulness practice and felt like a failure because you can’t seem to control your mind. In true mindfulness training, your wandering mind is not a problem; the benefit comes in actively bringing your thoughts back to focus over and over again. Constant awareness and self-correction is the point of the practice.

People have been using mindfulness techniques for at least 2,500 years and they have been widely applied in medical settings and psychotherapy. Although its use as a performance strategy is in its infancy, science has already revealed positive changes in the brain, such as automatic and improved response to emotions and improved behavioral decision-making in the face of stress, after just eight weeks of mindfulness training.

The core belief of a mindful approach is that a person performs best when maintaining a state of non-judgmental, moment-to-moment awareness and acceptance of one’s internal state, with attention focused on what is essential for performance, coupled with consistent, intentional effort that supports what the performer values most.

Conquering the Obstacles to Success

In The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life, you will learn how to tackle some of the greatest challenges that arise as you work towards your goals. The very first step is to clearly define those goals and your values, discovering how to shape your practice and performance as you go. Even with your path clearly defined, however, there are difficulties you will need to tackle along the way.

One of the most common roadblocks to success is performance anxiety, which you can learn to overcome through imagery techniques and other tools. A crucial thing to remember as you “get in the zone”—that psychological place where everything comes together and feels easy—is to remember to be compassionate to yourself when you don’t succeed right away. Pushing ahead and struggling will always be a part of accomplishing your goals; Dr. O’Connor teaches not only how to succeed, but how to deal with the negative parts of your journey as well, including how to identify and prevent burnout.

The relatively new field of performance psychology is helping performers around the world up their mental, emotional, and physical games in sport, dance, art, and business. With The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life, you, too, can aim for the top with scientifically proven theories and skills.

The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life [TTC Video]

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