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Posts Tagged ‘Tai ji’

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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The essential practice in Tai ji quan, Qi gong and most Nei gong. It is know as “The standing pole”. It is used for cultivation, in order to develop patience, strength and stamina. It is a simple posture where one stands legs shoulder width apart and lifts the hands to about shoulder height. The posture is then held for more than a minute, adhering to the principle of Tai ji Chuan. Lifting, sinking, centering, Intent, breath, vertical posture, empty and full, elbows tucked and hands expressing, all are incorporated in this stance. One listens to the movements of the body, its attachments, it blockages and its strengths. One works on adjusting the posture, easing the movement with each breath. Open and close, in and out. The feet and legs ground the body with the inhalation expressing the opening of the chest through the hands. The shoulders relax and draw down sinking the back with exhalation. One can focus on the palms and soles of the feet all the while being centered on the Dantien. Start little by little, 30 secs, a minute, 5 minutes, progressing until one can hold one’s stance longer and longer.

Zhan Zhuang

Zhan Zhuang

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