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Archive for the ‘Tai ji’ Category

A Chinese documentary on whether Tai Ji as a martial art still has any interest on China’s youth. It goes through its history and its applications as three youths learn from masters.

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I first encountered the Practical Method in the lonely winter of Japan, where I lived in rural Wakayama, with a Ukelele to strum the cold weather out. Japan has mild winters, though too cold to practice Tai ji, I turned to Youtube for hints and fascination. Having learned from Dr. Wu, many varying styles, I became interested in Chen, because it was the one I had the least exposure to, also it being said as the original form, I knew I had to learn it. Flipping through the channels of Chen, I encountered the prolific, Chen Zhong Hua, teaching from western pacific Canada. He was one who had broken down the old forms from its present flourished forms to a simple elegant dynamic force. His demonstrations are powerful and unique. One cannot but be amazed by the power of this beauty. At that time, he had a small youtube following with some blogs by fellow practitioners. Quickly his following grew, and his presence became international. I did buy his DVD of his form, but found it difficult to follow through. I left it on my back burner, as I came back home. Two years had passed, and again I remembered about that time that I was fascinated with this style, there had to be a practitioner back here in the states. Only finding a small group in Milwaukee, and one person in the far west suburbs, I tried to follow through it again, but failed miserably. In a strange coincidence of things some time later, a posting by a fellow acupuncturist, Yaron Sideman, who practices a form of Chinese Herbal Medicine that has a similar regional root, Huan Yuan, reminded me of the Practical Method. I reached out again, with my interwebs, and stumbled finally on someone, Spencer Jones, who recently had studied in China intensively the form, and lives in Chicago.
So far, its nothing like the Tai ji that I have learned, finding it a lot more rooted than any form I’ve done. I have only completed the first form, and I am eager to continue.

Spencer Jones teaches in Ukrainian Village, out of Bend Yoga on Damen.

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Earlier today, I went to the park simply to get out and enjoy some of the sun doing Tai ji. Enjoying my practice, with some children playing flag football in the distance, I spied an Elderly Chinese man holding his “grand daughter” at his bosom. Upon finishing the form, He walks up to me smiles, and stands parallel to me in and begins to embrace the ball. I follow him and embrace the ball also and he quickly corrects some of my posture. He just shakes his hand or moves his hand to his hip to gesture, “like this.” I make my corrections, and all this while he has his “grandchild” at his shoulder. He continues doing the form, and I follow. Impressed that he can do Tai ji with a toddler at his shoulder, I smile and say thanks upon finishing. He struggles with his English, stating that “She doesn’t understand English, yet.” Directing my attention to the child at his shoulder. I smile at her also, and say thank you, in English and Chinese. And say good-bye. I think I might of met two teachers today!

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Quick morning basics. With some light stretching, or silkreeling, this is a great way to start the day. The video does a nice break down in showing the moves of the form.

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Remember to polish your sword.

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A change of pace, since picking up the Broadsword, I started practicing Choy Lei Fut with my good pal, Rodrigo. At first I was so hesitant, since it is a hard style, and my mind sometimes wants to put it all in nice circles. Easily said than done. However, I do appreciate the cardio! There is a nice qigong form that is a little softer than the wide horse stances and 120* flung fists. It is mindfull with long oblique stretches.

18 Luohan demonstrated by Chen Yong Fa

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Was on vacation for a little while, and there is nothing like some silk reeling to loosen the joints for the New Year.

These simple exercises loosen the joints, promote flexibility , and develop fluidity.

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