Sunday, July 13, 2008

Stress Reduction: The dynamic balance of yin and yang

To rest the mind beneath the navel is to condense your spirit,
To direct the qi to the abdomen beneath the navel is to regulate the breath,
The breath and spirit correlate with each other.
To maintain their purity and naturaless is termed not-to-neglect.
To follow their purity and naturaless is termed not-to-aid.
With stillness and relaxation, the breath is smooth, and the spirit is calm.
Let your mind dwell in emptness, and rest your spirit in silence.
Over and over, purify and purify, suddenly you feel your breath and spirit as if they did not exist, It seems that theyb lend together with the whole body.
You are then entranced by a spiritual light, and intoxicated with a sense of euphoria as if you were drunken. - from The Collected Works of Zhang San-feng.

Friday, June 27, 2008

白鹤亮翅 - White Crane Spreads Its Wings

White Crane Spreads Its Wings - this form has 3 moves:
1. Step up and hold a ball
2. Shift weight to back and turn the body
3. Empty stance and sepearate hands

Those 3 moves only help you to memorize the sequencies and composed moves, once you feel you have mastered the move, the transition will be your focus. You shall try to make the moves flow through with smooth transition.

When you practice this form, common mistakes are: When standing in empty stance, the body either lean forward or lean back; buttocks goes out; chest goes out; the left leg too straight; the right knee is not inline with right toes; no empty and solid; double weighted on both feet; step between two feet is too far...

Advanced students shall understand the key practice method for this form is to entirely relax the shoulder and albow when you split the two arms, also coordinate splitting arm and emptying stance. The application (not mentioned here) of the form will be very helpful to train your mind, spirit and moves.

A good teacher will explain in detail where the force is, and how to apply the mind and spirit.

Here are a few key points:

For step up and hold the ball, slightly turn your body to left (this is called "Xu Jin", or make your waist tighten up so to prepare - accumulating the force to the right), the weight shifts to the left leg, your right leg steps up a half step, only use the front of right foot to touch the ground, the right foot becomes completely solid, your body weight shifts to the right leg. Your torso turns slightly to the right side, the left foot moves forward and touches ground with toes point down, and again torso turns slightly to the left side... (will continue...)

This White Crane Spreads Its Wings can also be practiced in still posting: To fully digest the details of this movement, it is better to just hold in still post position. Here is how you can practice; hold standing position of WCSW for more than 5 min or even longer, breathing - natural but deep... make slight move on your two arms that feel they are just two wings, forward and backward, you can start the move big then small, while you are doing that, try to get the feeling of this small move is causing the air around you waved...

Grand Master Chen ManQing's instruction for White Crane Spreads Its Wing:

"As you sit fully on the right leg, the left leg becomes empty, Now raise the left foot and place the toes off to the left-front side, at the same time, the right arm rises, the open right had moves up to protect the right side of the forehead, and drops, brushing past the knee to protect the groin, assisting next to the left hip joint."

Connected movements
In traditional form, White Crane Spreads Its Wing is started from Lift Hand, and transition into Brush knee and Push hand. However, in Simplified 24, the previous movement is Pat Wild Horse Maine.

Question to advanced students: What is the major difference when previous moment is Lift Hand? How do apply the right principle to make the connection absolutely right?

Saturday, May 24, 2008

2008 World Qigong Taichi Day Photos

Here are some photos taken from 2008 World Qigong Taichi Day. Thank you for participation. Sal was leading his team in demonstration of Chen Style Taichi Quan.

Click here to see the pictures:

Monday, April 28, 2008

2008 World Taichi & Qigong Day in San Antonio

To westerns, Taichi exercise is just a flowing dance; it is slow and it seems endless.

April 26, World Taichi & Qigong Day in San Antonio, 80 people had an opportunity to participate and learn what this exercise is about. Sponsored by S.A Taichitoday, Taichi Health Dynamics, S.A Chen Style Taichi Association, BodyMind Centered Therapies, and Matt & Greg Wing Tsun School, the event provided people with much more understandings and flavors.

After practiced together for the first 20 min, each school presented their various styles and forms: Chen short form, Chen old 1st frame, Yang traditional form, Yang short form, Chen Lao Jia Yi Lu, Yang taichi sword, Wu taichi sword, Din bu push hands, free form push hands, Da Lui push hands, Fa Jin… “it opened my mind, I did not know there are so many different ways to practice, and it can be so competitive” said Elma.

It has been proven that Taichi practice has following benefits: Release stress, strengthen Immune system, increase breathing and circulation, gently improve cardio health, lower blood pressure, improve physical alignment, relieve arthritis pain, reduce muscle and back pain, renew sexual vigor and interest, helps alleviate MS and asthma, rehabilitate old and new injuries, increase core strength and balance, gain new flexibility and coordination, restore youthful exuberance.

“Our goal is to promote this Chinese Treasure, to lead them into the door, so people from all age can benefit from it, and we want to share it with everyone and tell people ‘yes’ you can do it”, Xie Ming said, a Taichi instructor.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Most commonly asked questions and answers

About Teacher
Instructor Xie Ming has over 25 years Taichi teaching experience in China and United States.

What skill level is this for?
The class is designed for beginners and intermediate students, and it is for anyone who is seeking a gentle sport to regain his/her capabilities. It is to introduce someone into TaiChi's amazing power. The class addresses great deal in internal development and Qi Gong which a lot of schools in now days rarely mention.

How long can I see the result?
The key is the persistence, it takes at least 1 month to see any result, and that is non stop, practice everyday regardless if you know the complete form or just a few forms. Only relying on 4 times a week will not make you batter quick. You have to commit about 30 min at minimum each day for practicing. Most of student sees the result in 3 months program.

How long can I sign up for (one class, one month, etc?)
For first time, you can sign up just for a month to see if you like it or not, then sign up for a 3 month program, and later sign up for 6 months or 12 months program to enjoy our special discount.

How long and how often is the class?
The class is 1 hour long, and it occurs once a week.

Can I come to observe the class without sign up?
Yes, you can come to join us for free for your first visit, (you still need to pay Botanical Garden admission)

What do I wear?
Wear comfortable, loose clothing. You may practice in appropriate exercise shoes, or in bare feet, or cut-off socks (cut the toes off for grip). Please do not wear perfume, cologne or noisy jewelry.

Is TaiChi just for old or sick people?

Not at all. TaiChi is developed as a martial art, it has very soft look, but not soft result. Today most people want to learn it because of health healing power, however, the training can pave you the entrance into Internal Art which is focusing on the internal strength that ultimately generates incredible fighting power and technique.

I have done no exercise for many years, is it safe for me to do Tai Chi?

Tai Chi is one of the safest forms of exercise - it is even prescribed for heart patients in America. However, having said that, the responsibility lies upon each individual to check with his health care practitioner before engaging in any new exercise.

I have terrible coordination and balance, can I learn Taichi?
In the beginning most people struggle with the movements of the Tai Chi form - our brains have to learn again how to properly control their bodies. This is a very common phenomenon, in our modern technological society, where almost all our activity is purely mental - reintegrating body and mind through Tai Chi is one of the best ways to restore our proper human functioning.

Saturday Taichi Class at Botanical Garden, San Antonio

Introduction of Taichi
Taichi, Taichi Chuan, or Tai Ji Chuan is an unique physical exercise that benefits people of all ages. This uniqueness is reflected through: a. slow and graceful movements (from an external view), b. combined meditation in motion (from an internal view), c. provides remarkable relaxation and healing effects, d. can produce incredible fighting power.

It is a proven sport that strengthens the legs while conditioning the tendons and ligaments of the ankles, knees, and hips, increasing their range of motion and making them more resilient, less prone to injury. The constant weight shifts train balance and body awareness, leading to confident ease of movement within the form and in everyday life. Tai Chi is a physical exercise that focuses the mind, while conditioning the body. Practicing twenty minutes a day dissipates stress and reduces stress-related debilities, increases stamina, and strengthens the body and will.

Taichi exercise provides cardiovascular benefits to the body. After practicing Taichi, instead of feeling exhaustion you will feel a rejuvenation of energy. The Taichi exercise is a self-tuning process that empowers your own mind and body to improve your health conditions.
The study has already shown the great evidences that consistent Tai Chi practice is very effective to lower blood pressure, increase bone density, increase heart-lung capacity, lessen arthritis, Diabetes, and reduce back pain.

Taichi is also an ancient philosophy that has been around in China for thousands of years. It represents the Ying and Yang concept which stating everything is in endless changing. A concept that is the foundation of Taoism.

In today’s fast-paced society, many are pursuing ways to regain the qualities of life. Purifying the mind, slowing the aging process, and happiness are becoming very important aspects to each individual. Taichi Chuan has been a proven tool to help you to reach these goals.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

New readings in 2008

The article provides considerable research in comparing the styles from different taichi lineage.