Monday, February 29, 2016


BAODING BALLS 

- Manufactured in Baoding, China, 
since the 14th Century, "Medicine Balls" 
or "Baoding Balls" are manipulated 
in the hands, promoting dexterity 
while strengthening and relaxing 
the fingers and palms. They are made from 
a variety of materials, 
although the hollow cloisonne balls 
are favored for their beauty 
and for emitting high and low 
chime tones that are said to be 
beneficial to the nervous system.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

-  TAI CHI BOOK REVIEWS  -

QIGONG OF THE CENTER, ESSENCE OF TAIJIQUAN  by Jan Diepersloot
 
Jan Diepersloot's book, QIGONG OF THE CENTER, ESSENCE OF TAIJIQUAN, (originally published as, WARRIORS OF STILLNESS, Vol. 1, 1995), is the author's extraordinary work encompassing the content of a very rare, esoteric tai chi workshop the author took part in back in 1987. Essentially, this title is a workshop-in-a-book, covering potent and rare training in some of tai chi's once most hidden methods.


In 1975 Diepersloot became a student of San Francisco tai chi master, Fong Ha. Fong was well-liked among the city's tai chi community and had an impressive lineage to boot, having studied with the famous Dong Yienjie and Yang Shouzhong, eldest son of Yang Cheng Fu. On one of his trips to China, Fong met up with grandmaster Cai Songfang, also a tai chi master with extraordinary knowledge and training.

In the 1950s Cai had been a student of the renowned Ye Dami, who had studied with several masters including Yang Cheng Fu, famous grandson of Yang Style's founder. Through his training with Yang, Ye learned the great secret art of the Yang Family, Wuji Breathing, a type of standing qigong, often referred to as zhan zhuang. Although practiced in China's other major "internal" martial arts, bagua and xing yi, Wuji Breathing, the standing qigong of taijiquan, had mostly been kept under wraps.


According to Cai, "Yang Cheng Fu kept wuji standing meditation practice a zealously guarded secret..." Cai inherited this secret art from Ye and went on to become known mostly for two accomplishments: teaching Wuji Breathing Meditation for patients in several Chinese hospitals (with great health improvements for patients) and as "The King of Push Hands" in Canton.


In 1987 Fong invited Cai to visit San Francisco and conduct a workshop in Wuji Breathing Meditation. During the workshop Cai met with Fong's students and presented his long-held secrets of standing qigong.


Diepersloot's book presents the 1987 workshop training, breaking it down into precise and detailed descriptions and illuminating illustrations. The reader is given both concepts and specific exercises to practice in order to absorb the material for health, meditation, and martial applications. The author's rendering of the material is both thorough and effective, giving the material a comprehensive examination, a worthy and skillful handling of a profound system for health and exploration.


One of the simplest, yet most valuable nuggets presented is an easy method for locating the "wuji point," the center of the lower abdomen, used in creating proper internal alignment. This should not be confused with the lower dantien, and is a great orientation tool for aligning other important points within the body.


At a time when much of tai chi literature seems to be returning to the search for "internal martial art" knowledge and values, this book is a standout as a repository of ancient tai chi training. As a reader I found this book to be eye-opening and empowering to my previous experience with Wuji Breathing practice.


QIGONG OF THE CENTER well deserves to be read and re-read by those seeking to sound greater depths in the exploration of tai chi health, meditation, and martial aptitude. This is a rare and valuable glimpse into the training practices of many of the most accomplished tai chi masters of long ago. - TCJ

 
#TaiChi #Taijiquan #Qigong

Saturday, February 27, 2016


"Tai chi is a symphony, 
uniting the many instruments 
of one's being 
in rhythm, harmony, 
and beautiful expression." 
                                                                         - TCJ

#TaiChi #Taijiquan

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


THE WARRIOR WITHIN is an award-winning, short documentary about Lee Burkins, a Vietnam War Vet who has suffered from PTSD and has found healing through tai chi. Bukins talks about what it's like to have PTSD and how tai chi has helped. He is now an Energy Arts senior instructor, seeking other war vets with PTSD in order to help them through learning tai chi.
    #TaiChi #Taijiquan
Link to 7:09 minute video:   
https://vimeo.com/122663858

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


  
"In tai chi 
we root into the earth, 
swim through the air, 
extend to the horizons 
and center with the tao." 
                                                                    - TCJ
#TaiChi #Taijiquan

Saturday, February 13, 2016

 

"The artistic content of taijiquan 
lies in both movement 
and the spiritual level."

- Henry Zhuang, THE MIND INSIDE TAI CHI

#TaiChi #Taijiquan

Monday, February 1, 2016


 

Play Pipa - In the West a certain Tai Chi move is commonly called, "Play Guitar" or "Strum the Lute." In China it's called, "Play Pipa." The pipa is a traditional four stringed, 30 fretted Chinese lute with a 2,000 year history. It is held upright and plucked forward (pi) and back (pa), suggesting the movement in the tai chi martial application.
 (Image from the Chao Feng Chinese Orchestra)

#TaiChi #Taijiquan