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Posts Tagged ‘Tai ji’

“The most reasonable part in us is the part that does not reason.”- Tom Myers

The theory of Anatomy Trains, is an innovative relook at how the fascia integrates the coordination of multiple muscles in a single movement. In a simple way of describing fascia, the connective tissue that protects and wraps our muscles and organs, is in the relation to muscle movement would be as the plastic that wraps the electrical threads, muscle tissue, in wiring. The extracellular make up that lies outside the muscle tissue wraps it as a whole integrating a single movement instead of separate muscles working in a cascading chain of events as previously thought in physiology. For example the muscles of the entire arm could be likened to a chain of “sausage links” that can be moved together in a complete movement rather than one muscle activating another and then another and then another in response. The latter of course would not be an energy efficient system. These chains, or as noted as trains, are myofascial meridians and are likened to the the meridians in Chinese medicine. There are twelve trains, similarly like the 12 meridians in Chinese medicine, though, the connective trajectories along the body vary in various forms. I’m sure inspiration was drawn from Chinese medicine in this intuitive theory on how the body works. Though there is a lot of work going on at the moment in Anatomy Trains, the connections haven’t been proven in research or scientific studies. One can definitely see though the similarities in meridian theories and kinesio-therapeutics.

The twelve trains are,

The superficial front and back lines
The lateral line (2)
Spiral line
Superficial front arm Line
Superficial back arm line
Deep front arm line
Deep back arm line
Front functional line
Back functional line
Deep front line

These fascial line can demonstrate the kinetic movement of the body together or that of individual limbs in their directional movements.

So what does this have to do with Tai chi chuan?

In the integrative movements of the whole body while doing the form, one can see the coordination at work of these fascial lines.
One sees the movement lines and the stability lines as one performs a particular movement. Of course one could call the movement line as the Yang line, and the stability line as the Yin line.

These are some thoughts as I am progressing further through the form. In the next post, a break down of the arm lines and the movements of the negative and positive circles of the form will be discussed.

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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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In the middle of the picking up the double fan form, my move back to the States occurred. Upon coming home, and going through my belonging once again, I stumble upon my nice big broad sword. I remember about six years ago, Master Wu taught us this form. It was a bit much for me since I wasn’t really quite sure what I was getting from the Tai chi palm form that I was learning also at the same time. I simply put it in the back of my head, and kept the book for use another time, when I would be able to devote some time to it. I seeing my Broad sword which my good friend, Rodrigo, gave me for Christmas about two years back when he went to China for his Choy Lee Fut Seminar, I felt that this was the time to pick it up and practice.

The postures of Tai ji dao
1. Crossing the Saber by standing as if riding a tiger
2. Moving, Turning, Thrusting, and Spreading Vigorously
3. Making the Saber and arm one, a level line and looking left and right.
4. Moving one palm and the saber as if a white crane spreads its wings.
5. Drawing the Saber and One palm in as the wind rolls the Lotus leaves
6. Moving the saber in every direction
7. Moving the Saber and one palm in and out
8. Kicking up and striking a tiger
9. Keeping the body upright and holding the Saber slanted
10. Revolving the Saber as if pushing a boat
11. Freely coordinating the three movements of the saber with three of the lower limbs
12. Moving the sber as if parting water to both sides and jumping
13. Withdrawing the saber

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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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  • Intangible energy should lift the crown

    The head should be held up in perfect vertical and should not be misaligned or forced into position. Otherwise stress will create and bring tension to the neck and shoulder, blocking energy. It should naturally hang, with the body’s energy supporting it.

  • Contain the chest and lift the back

    The chest should be centered supported by the breath with the back perched up from a tucked in sacrum

  • Relax the waist

    The waist should be like a pivot ready to turn with any movement, not stiffened only to accept blows

  • Know empty and weighted

    Find balance between empty and full, then one will know how to follow in movement

  • Sink the shoulders and tuck in the elbows

    The shoulders must be relaxed to express movement, and elbows tucked in to the sides to ease movement of the waist and anticipate coiled energy

  • Use consciousness not strength

    Mind with intent can only use an opponents strength to overcome him, strength will only encourage him to try harder

  • Upper and lower follow one another

    Upper follows lower, and lower follows upper

  • Internal and external are united

    When one sees that the outside is an extension of the self, and the internal an expression of the external, then movement begins

  • Link without breaks

    Continuity is essential to one’s practice. When one feels real movement, it cannot be stopped. If one has breaks, then one will be broken

  • Seek stillness in motion

    Calmness in mind can direct intent and the will, and center the body.

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As usual with my training with Dr Wu, we would just immerse ourselves in a form and not really have an idea what we were doing. I think it had to do with with the language barrier, since I do like having things explained out nicely. However, I do appreciate the concentration that does come from simply observing, repeating, and then observing one’s self. After relearning the 24 form, and then having a taste of the larger Yang forms. We learned the combination and competition styles that were a synthesis of many styles of  Tai ji. When Tai ji was to be introduced in international competition, the question was as to which form would be the standard. Someone brilliantly, didn’t want to exclude any of the other styles and decided to create combinations of the styles of Tai ji. In the 1980’s, for the 11th Asian games the 42 form was introduced so that in the international arena, an exposure of Tai ji would be introduced. This form is part Yang, part Wu, part Sun and part Chen. Composed of 4 movements it expresses a sense of the 4 forms and integrates them into a sampler package. I had no idea what I was learning, until years later when I would have a taste of each of the forms.

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Another digression, but a good one. If you haven’t seen this movie, you should….

“You want to go with the flow…

The sea refuses no river..

The idea is to remain in a state of constant departure while always arriving

The ride requires no explanation”

I am sure you can use it in your practice……

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