Tuesday, May 31, 2016

-  TAI CHI BOOK REVIEWS  -

THE POWER OF THE INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS and CHI  by Bruce Frantzis

Over the past few decades there has been a veritable explosion of martial arts books on the market. Perhaps in no other quarter has the impact been so great as in the topic of Chinese internal martial arts. In that genre few works can compare with Bruce Frantzis’ THE POWER OF THE INTERNAL MARTIAL ARTS and CHI.  



For those unfamiliar, Bruce Frantzis is an extraordinary US martial artist who started his martial career in New York City in 1961. Around the age of 12 he began learning judo which eventually lead him to take on karate, jiu-jitsu, and aikido. Before completing his teen years, he had achieved five black belts in Japanese martial arts and had won medals in several tournaments. 

In 1967 at the age of 18 he enrolled at Sophia University in Tokyo, leading his training to expand to numerous other systems, teachers, and training in journeys to China, Taiwan, Hong Kong and even India, to study yoga. During this period he was able to train for two years with Aikido's founder, Morihei Ueshiba. His experiences, particularly with Ueshiba's use of ki (chi, life energy) eventually shifted his main focus from hard style, "external" martial arts to soft style, "internal" systems. Over time this also facilitated a shift in interest from fighting to healing. Frantzis' sojourn continued through decades of training with outstanding teachers and in remarkable disciplines. It's hard to imagine a more comprehensive and authentic exploration of related Asian arts with a long list of many of the world's leading experts. 


One result of the author's many years of travel and study, has been the growth of his EnergyArts.com website and its generous offering of books, videos, and training programs. A seeming keystone to all this information is Frantzis' book on the internal arts. 

THE POWER OF THE INTERNAL ARTS and CHI is a unique work that doesn't teach these arts but presents an integrated, dimensional, and comprehensive portrait of them. Frantzis has great treasury to draw on, including personal experiences, anecdotes, photographs, illustrations and deep insights into the nature of these arts and the masters who have lived them. With his many rich experiences he is able to paint from a broad pallet.

Primarily, the book is about China's three, main internal arts: Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua Chan, and Hsing Yi Chuan. In presenting them, Frantzis incorporates other information to fortify his material, including his own experiences working with qigong and meditation techniques. He also provides knowledge acquired from Chinese healers and qi masters. In the second edition of the book, released in 2007, the author included a 9th chapter, THE TAO OF SPIRITUAL MARTIAL ARTS, giving the work another facet of information on these arts. 

To some degree this book is autobiographical, though it goes much further, with numerous profiles of the author's most prominent teachers. He relates their bios, expertise, perspectives, opinions characteristics and abilities. Of particular consideration is the story of Frantzis' final teacher, grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh, a renowned master of Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua Chan, Hsing Yi Chuan and Taoist Meditation. Liu learned Wu Style tai chi as a student with one of the style's founders, Wu Chien Chuan.



It's with Liu that the author spent three years of intense training in Beijing. He became one of only two to become a disciple/lineage holder of Liu's teaching, a rare and privileged honor for a westerner to receive from an extraordinary Chinese master. 

After decades of reading books on tai chi, chi kung, and related disciplines, I have yet to see a work of such extensive comparison and in-depth exposure on this material. Frantzis has amassed an incredible life experience and wealth of knowledge, usually unavailable to foreigners seeking to learn cherished, ancient teachings. This book could only have been written by someone who had invested his life in this pursuit and found access where normally forbidden. In a very real sense, Frantzis is an explorer and this book is somewhat of a dairy, catalog, and review of his learning and expeditions.

For any appreciation of Chinese internal martial arts and traditional healing systems, this book is a necessity. It's an eye-opening, instant classic and a treasury of esoteric understanding. It should be included in any serious library on these topics and held onto for continuous research and review. And it should also be appreciated and enjoyed for the sheer pleasure of reading about these fascinating, mysterious, and wonderful arts and the cultures from which they came. - TCJ
#Books #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Saturday, May 28, 2016


Tai Chi's 13 "Postures"
  
They are more accurately 
described as conditions 
of Tai Chi movements, 
expressed by the bagua 
transitions from full yin 
to full yang. The 13 may be 
exemplified by more than one 
Tai Chi posture.

- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan - Vol 5 - Chi Kung, Push Hands

"In tai chi we follow nature 
- relaxed, centered, 
rooted, connected. 
Some call this Tao." 
                                                            - TCJ
#TaiChi #Taijiquan

"A healthy baby is relaxed, 
soft, strong, vital. 
Tai chi returns us 
to those conditions."
                                                             - TCJ
#TaiChi #Taijiquan

"Tai chi releases 
the strength within us all." 
                                                                     - TCJ 
    #TaiChi #Taijquan

Sunday, May 15, 2016


"Only when the forms 
are fully mastered 
do they become no-forms." 
                                                                      - TCJ
#TaiChi #Taijiquan

Friday, May 13, 2016


"Tai Chi is 
a mind-focusing, 
stress-reducing, 
life energy amplifier." 
                                                         - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Thursday, May 12, 2016


"Tai chi sword teaches us 
to move with the sword 
and make our chi 
move through it." 
                                                  - TCJ  
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Wednesday, May 11, 2016


"Tai chi presents 
a set of principles and practices. 
It's up to us to feel what they do." 
                                                                                    - TCJ  

Friday, May 6, 2016

- TAI CHI MASTER PROFILES -

BOW SIM MARK

During the latter half of the 20th century, many notable Chinese martial arts masters migrated to distant shores and western cultures. Among the most recognized and admired of these artists is a small, energetic, and inspiring woman who stands out from her peers. Bow Sim Mark has long been a dynamic, driving force promoting Chinese wushu throughout the world.



Grandmaster Mark was born in 1943 in Guangzhou, Guangdong (Canton), in southern China. She began learning martial arts at an early age while still in elementary school. Her training gained further momentum in high school, after which she continued her study at several wushu schools. The arts of tai chi chuan and Northern Shaolin Kung Fu were her primary focus.

Eventually she became a student of Fu Wing Fay, son of Fu Style tai chi founder Fu Chen Sung (1872-1953.) Under Fu's instruction she learned Fu Style tai chi, Wudangquan, and Wudang Sword. Her training with Fu continued for ten years and she was a teacher at his school from 1968 to 1974. 

In 1973 Grandmaster Mark moved to Hong Kong. While living there she was both an instructor and performer at the Miramar Traditional Chinese Dance Company and was chief instructor of the Women's Wushu Association.  

In 1975 she made the even bigger move with her family from Hong Kong to the US, where they made their home in Boston. She and her husband, Klyster Yen, have two children.  




The elder child, Donnie Yen, is a repeated wushu tournament champion who went on to become one of the top all-time stars of Hong Kong's action/martial arts cinema. He has starred in many big box office films, including Iron Monkey, Hero, and Ip Man. Daughter Chris Yen was the youngest competitor at the first International Wushu Competition in 1985 in Xian, China. She was only 12 years old and placed third in the all-round division. She has since entered the film industry as well.  

Grandmaster Mark founded her school, the CHINESE WUSHU RESEARCH INSTITUTE, in Boston in 1976. Since then she has also taught at Harvard, Boston University, MIT, and several other schools in the Boston area. In addition to teaching, she has produced numerous books and training videos sold in over 30 countries. Her TAI CHI ARTS ASSOCIATION, which she founded with her advanced students, now has expanded her teaching to new locations in the US, Asia, South America, and Europe. Her wushu mastery has also been displayed in her choreographed stage performances including "The Quest for the Magic Herb" and "The Song of Yang Guan."

Over the years Master Mark's list of accomplishments has become quite extensive. She was the first to publish a book on Beijing's Combined Tai Chi Forms in the 1970s and is credited with bringing the term wushu to the west. In 1984 she participated in the first International Tai Chi Chuan and Sword Demonstration in Wuhan, China, taking the gold medal for her Combined Tai Chi forms. She has been named Kung Fu Magazine's "Woman of the Year" in 1994 and 1996 and was Black Belt Magazine's Kung Fu Artist of the Year in 1995. Black Belt has also named her one of the most influential martial artists of the 20th century. Her complete list of magazine articles, awards, and honors are too numerous to include.
 


Although Grandmaster Mark is in her 70s now, she and her CHINESE WUSHU RESEARCH INSTITUTE have remained a mainstay of the Boston Chinese martial arts community. She has been a tireless teacher and diplomat of Chinese wushu arts in the western world. For that and her dedication, hard work, and inspiring career, the martial arts world owes a great debt of gratitude. - TCJ


"Centering, rooting, 
softness, stillness, movement - 
elements of tai chi perfection." 
                                                                               -TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


"Give life to what you learn - 
make it breathe, 
make it move, 
make it you." 
                                       - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Tuesday, May 3, 2016


"Each day should breathe - 
inhale/exhale, 
action/non-action, 
activity/meditation." 
                                                      - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

"TAI CHI: 
Awareness of center. 
Awareness of form. 
Awareness of formless. 
Awareness of being." 
                                                       - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Monday, May 2, 2016


"Persistence is 
the master of outcomes." 
                                                                - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan

Sunday, May 1, 2016


"We grow closer to perfection, 
understanding balance." 
                                                             - TCJ 
#TaiChi #Taijiquan

"A cat is relaxed yet strong, 
quiet yet alert, 
balanced and sensitive 
- tai chi purring." 
                                                    - TCJ 
- #TaiChi #Taijiquan