Author: Troy Williams

Troy Williams is a technology and science fiction nerd. The Fundamentals, was his first work of science fiction and there are many more stories in The Fundamental’s Universe. At his day job, he is a web and application developer experienced at coding and managing projects as small as an individual’s website to large enterprise integrations.

Cosmology

Cosmology is an account or theory of the origin of the Universe, and by extension man’s place in it. Many martial arts take their name or philosophy from Confucian, Daoist and/or Buddhist cosmological concepts. At The Walking Circle we do not view these concepts as being fixed in time or in polar opposition to each other, rather we seek to understand how they influenced and borrowed from each other over time.

Many cultures have creation stories derived from scriptural teachings or considered dogma. In some creation stories, the universe was created by a direct act of a god or gods who are also responsible for the creation of humanity. In many cases, religious cosmologies also foretell the end of the Universe, either through another divine act or as part of the original design. Many esoteric or occult teachings create elaborate cosmologies that represent a “map” of the Universe and various states of existence.

Baguazhang

Eight Trigram Palm, or Baguazhang (Pa-Kua Chang), is the youngest of the Chinese internal martial arts with much of its growth happening at the beginning of the last century. Baguazhang is easy to practice and the health benefit that continuos walking provides is obvious.

The practice of circle walking, or Turning the Circle, is Baguazhang’s (Pa-Kua Chang) characteristic training method. Practitioners walk around the edge of a circle in various postures and periodically change direction as they execute martial forms. This practice trains flexibility, body alignment, and martial agility. Since the circle walking practice can be applied to any martial art, Baguazhang contains a wide variety of techniques that are executed while moving. This variety can be overwhelming, but the greatest masters of the art are known for training extensively in only a few postures or palms. In short, Baguazhang is an excellent activity for those looking for a new exercise program or for those seeking to improve their martial art practice. It takes the simple post training skills of classical martial art training and ads a walking component that, when combined with some imaginative changes of direction, provides a fitness program that never grows stale.

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Bagua

In 2852 BCE Fu Xi is credited with creating the Eight Trigrams (Bagua). The trigrams of the Bagua, and the hexagrams of the Yi Jing are more complex representations of the simple Yin and Yang symbols of a broken and solid line.

There are two arrangements of the Bagua trigrams. The first, pre-heaven Bagua, is based on The River Map. The dots are unitary (base one) representations of the integers one through ten. In this diagram the sum of all the odd or even integers on the periphery equal 20. Adding any number on the inside squares with 5 (the center) will equal the number on the outer square.

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Time Enough for Love: Heinlein’s Work

Science Fiction Time Enough for Love

I have started this task of reviewing every book I have read since childhood. It is a ridiculous notion. I can’t remember every book I have read. Just now, I thought of one; a bear, and I am pretty sure an otter, have an adventure or two (no it’s not what you’re thinking). I think it was a series. I loved the books, but they were paperback, and I trashed them in a fit of organization. Still, I am an author now. The Fundamentals is moving to publication, and as for sharing my love of the written word I have been mum.

Reviewing my list, I decided that grouping the historical works by author would save time. Another problem with dredging up memories of old books is the desire to read them again before putting a finger to the keyboard. No problem, I have decided to cheat. I will piece together recollections from what others have said and make up the rest.

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On Writing Well

This book has become mantras I recite as I edit my work. I first turned to it when I worked for Cargill. After ten years in retail, I was rusty on the basics of a good paragraph. When you are heads down on a project, struggling with how to say it, the advice in this book grounds you to what is important: pulling weeds.

Book Review

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Choosing Other Exercise

In my two books on the martial arts, I shared how my early focus on taijiquan benefited me on multiple levels. I also shared how my related success led to pain from sitting with a computer for hours on end. My focus on taijiquan helped to create my success, and that success lead to the later pain. That same pain lead to my intense study of baguazhang and hours of circle walking every night.

Mindfulness

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The Fundamentals

A stranded alien must choose between returning his queen to their home world, or saving his human daughter from the invasion that will result.

Explorer Bridge allows humanity to travel the distance between stars in the blink of an eye, but few know the actual price of its development. Stranded in our solar system and fearful of humanity, a secretive alien species, the orhatea, slammed an asteroid into Earth to manipulate humanity with a savior figure. Now that Explorer Bridge is complete, the orhatea can go home, but one of them has other plans.

Tenakee has studied the Book of Engaro since she was a hatchling. She recognized the humans as seed for the orhatea’s next evolutionary jump, but the others did not believe her. As the crews only female capable of creating telepathically controlled human clones, she used them to gather allies in Explorer Corporation. Now, with her transformation to Engaro complete, nothing can stop her from leading the orhatea to their destiny.

Earah has spent two human lifetimes working to return Amah to their home world. When he wakes as the human, Earl Clark, for the third time he feels betrayed. As prince to the orhatea queen and mother he has been loyal to her plans, even the one that left them stranded in Earth’s solar system. When Amah confirms that Explorer Bridge is functioning he knows he should be on Ora, but Earl’s memories haunt his vision, forcing him to choose between his alien heritage and his human family.

Erin Smart was comfortable with her special place in the Universe: The human daughter of a stranded alien. She assumed that when Explorer Bridge was complete, she would go with her father to his home world, but he died before they could make the trip. She was just getting comfortable as a leading member of the First Expedition Crossing when Earl Clark, her dead father, called looking for help. Now she must question everything she took for granted.

{loadmodule mod_banners,The Fundamentals Book One}

Preview of The Fundamentals

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Teacher, No Teacher, Teacher

My process of learning Taijiquan is not unique. I know this because one of my earliest inspirations in Taijiquan study, Jou, Tsung Hwa, said so. Now, Jou was not talking directly to or about me, but he shared his journey with Taijiquan in his books, and those stories spoke to me and my journey.

The title of this post paraphrases the Zen Koan: "First there is a mountain, then there is no mountain, then there is."

Learning a new art or skill is like this. First you see the mountain, and think that others have climbed that mountain, and you would like to follow them. You start climbing the mountain, and the trail goes up and down, back, and forth, and you are not sure if you are on the right trail, or even the right mountain. You think back to when you decided to climb the mountain, how beautiful it was in the distance, but now, when you look around, you cannot see the mountain because you are too close to it. Finally, you reach the peak of the mountain and looking back you can see all its peaks and valleys behind you.

Mindfulness

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China is Killing Itself

In October, the Earth Observatory project posted a photo of the smog over China.  The haze was thick enough to completely hide the land or water surface below, and it extended far to the south and east. The air is so bad in Beijing that the US Embassy measures and shares the air quality on a Twitter feed.

I wanted to share this image to give you an idea of how bad the situation is. The problem with pollution in China is not just Beijing. It stretches for hundreds of miles. China’s pollution problem is so bad it is changing our climate. When you hear about a product recall, such as pet food contaminated with steroids, or tea poisoned by diesel truck fumes that is a side effect of China’s poor environmental regulations as well.

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Evolution and Salt

The Underground Salt Museum is an old, and still active, salt mine in Hutchinson, Kansas. You can get the history of the mine from the website, so I will spare you those details.

Before you enter the mine, the museum guides show a short video describing how to use the hardhat, and an emergency breathing device. The hardhat is simple enough. The breathing device is a chemical canister that you activate if there is a fire in the mine. It creates twenty minutes of breathable air, includes a clothespin to plug your nose, and comes with a warning that it will burn your lips. A good thing, because if it’s getting hot, it’s working.

Essay

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Thankful For … ?

The trend on Facebook this month is to post what you are “thankful for.” Most of my friends are pretty much where I am at. Catching up for the four or five days we have missed. While most have went for things like god and family, the same stuff they will say around the table on the 25th, I am taking a different approach.

Here is my catch up list:

Day 5: I am thankful that I won’t have to wait 6 hours to vote in the morning. Kansas has done a much better job of suppressing the vote than other states.

http://goo.gl/y6tdg

Day 4: I am thankful that billionaires and corporations can give an unlimited amount of money to political campaigns. Maybe now “trickle-down” will finally work.

http://goo.gl/ATfcM

Day 3: I am thankful that legislature in Ohio allowed fewer days to vote in the general election, than in the primary. Without it, these mimes would not have gotten any press.

http://goo.gl/BQGXr

Day 2: I am thankful that I do not have to read my D20 dice in Egyptian.

http://goo.gl/G7f2D

Day 1: I am thankful for Science Fiction.

What is Martial Art?

Martial art practice is more than the study of physical movement. It’s an exploration of the body through the mind and the mind through movement of the body. Martial art practice can expose humanity’s worst instincts, or reveal an inner nature that desires harmony.

The greatest martial artist of the twentieth century promoted the martial arts to a world searching for reason in the torrents of blood spilled around the globe. From the worst of those conflicts, masters arose that sought to restore balance and civility.

Mindfulness

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