Posts Tagged ‘Taiji’

“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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After my return to Chicago in 1997, I finally settled down for a while and went to Columbia College in downtown. It was a liberal art school with concentrations in the arts, and performing arts. I kept my eyes open to Tai chi, though, I kept my self occupied with school. It wasn’t until one November day that I was at a coffee shop, once again, this time it was Kopi Cafe up in Andersonville. I was actually having going their with my friend Ariella while we were walking her dog. Her dog was an exquisite breed, an african hunting dog called a Basenji. The dog is beaut. Nonetheless we dropped in to get a shake and some coffee, where upon walking she ran into another of her friends. She was drinking some kind of shake and to our surprise strapped to her chair was a big broad sword. Ariella began chiding at her, mentioning the ballistics of her going postal, or even assaulting the cafe and taking off with the tip jar. She mentioned that that evening they were doing Tai chi a couple of blocks down at her school. My ears perked up! Tai chi. I haven’t practiced in month, about half a year! This was it! She mentioned that their school was in the back of some little Chinese herb shop, where they practice Yang style and also weapons. She finished her shake, and invited us to come along. Of course we followed, not just to be impressed by her sword, but also to find out where the place was so as not to get lost next time trying to look for the place. We got there, and well, it was like an old reliquary. An Chinese antique store or something. There were jars everywhere with strange herbs in them, and quickly we greeted at the door. He boyfriend was there and we talked for a bit. Some handed us a flyer of their schedule and we were invited to sit in on the demonstration. Ariella didn’t think it was a good idea since we walking the dog. We turned around went back to her place, and I was in the goods, knowing that now there was someone to practice.


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Taking a look back inorder to get an understanding where I am going, an appreciation for those who have taught me should be given. I am really indebted in a way to all those who still strive in the practice of Tai ji, and continue lending support and show the subtleties of the way as well as the basics and foundations. There can never be an end to knowing.

Firstly thanking Sterling, my first teacher in Chicago, who through a student of his lead me to my first steps.

One day in a conversation with a friend in Earwax Cafe/Myopic books (the two were together at a time), the waitress and friend of my friend, eavesdropped and gave a few cents of advice during refills of coffee to such overactive minds. We were discussing Yoga, my friend a Hatha yoga practitioner and I was just getting into Kundalini Yoga. I was mentioning to him, the hard time I was having with the practice. How hard it was to stay focused through the quick breaths. How energized I would be after practicing it but then later would completely crash in exhaustion. I felt loopy sometimes. My friend was mentioning the benefits of Hatha, and how it was a lot more gentler, and more enduring than Kundalini. I was uncertain of staying in certain postures for extended periods of time, and was in way trying to mention that I would like to take a break from Yoga.

The waitress, an older woman, strange to see one working at such a little hip spot in swanky Wicker park, had some advice actually. She just went ahead poured our coffee, and said “Have any of you tried Tai chi?” I  wasn’t too familiar with it, but I had heard of it. “It seems that since you are so young, and with an active mind, that maybe a meditation with movement would be better for you.” And that’s what she said.

This hit the nail on the head exactly. Finding movement in stillness was too distracting for me being young and so full of ideas, an art that stilled the mind through movement was perfect. She recommended a few books, and mentioned the place that she practiced at, Wu kung Tai chi, under Sterling Levine. I let it sit for about a week and then signed up for classes. I learned under Sterling for about a year until I eventually moved to Boston. I finished the 64 Hsu Yuen Yang form. It has been the building block for every other form that I have learned. It is strange also that recently about 3 years ago after studying about 5 years under Dr. Shi Cun Wu, that I ran across a student of Sterling’s, Rodrigo Trupp, who was able to remember the form ago and tune it a little more. Rodrigo has been a confidant and endless support in the study of Taiji chuan, and has introduced me actually to Choy lee fut, which boggles me to this day.



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