Centeredness and Rootedness

Apr 28, 2021

The images above come to us from the author of the “Brisbane Chen Tai Chi” blog.  It’s a great resource no matter which style of tai chi you do: than once, my students have complained that at times their feet feel like they’re sliding out from under them.  This has happened in nearly every…

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Postures and Transitions

Apr 26, 2021

I’ve probably said it before in class, and I’m sure I’ll say it again in class, but it’s worth putting up here so I can say I’ve done it.  Put very bluntly, the transitions – the movements we make from one posture to the next – are as important as the postures themselves. It’s one…

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Monkey Mind

Apr 25, 2021

The Buddhists have a phrase they call “Monkey Mind.”  It’s basically our everyday, normal, active mind, roaming around inside our skulls, always chattering, always busy, easily distracted and more than a bit annoying at times.  Everyone has it – it’s part of being human. Putting “Monkey Mind” in its place may be one of your…

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More About Qi and Jin

Apr 22, 2021

In a previous post, I said the Chinese make a distinction between qi and jin.  A basic understanding of the differences between the two is important when learning the form. Qi, as we’ve discussed before, is a word with a cluster of meanings all relating to energy of some sort, such as breath, air, physical…

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Tai Chi Fundamentals – Yin/Yang Theory

Apr 20, 2021

Much of what follows comes from notes I took at a seminar with Grandmaster Yang Jun near Detroit in September 2019.  It was a transformative experience, not only to receive instruction from the Grandmaster, but also to learn what he thinks is important, and how he teaches it.  I tried to learn as much about…

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Why So Slow?

Apr 19, 2021

The most common response I get among people who do any martial arts, when they find out I do tai chi, is that it isn’t really a martial art at all; that saying you do tai chi as a martial art is a lot like saying you do “Combat Pilates.”  A humorous (and slightly gross)…

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Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essentials

Apr 17, 2021

Every martial art has a foundation – those essential principles which define it, and without which, no matter how good you look, whatever you’re doing isn’t that martial art. Yang Family tai chi has the Ten Essential Principles.  They were codified by Yang Chengfu but they’ve been around rather longer, either expressly or implied in…

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Apr 16, 2021

A student’s progress in tai chi is pretty straightforward. There are certain steps one takes in his or her journey; they go roughly in order, and there’s really no “skipping a step.” It’s a process, and we must learn to trust the process. The first thing we learn is the “external” part of tai chi…

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Jargon, Chi and Hocus-Pocus

Apr 15, 2021

Any activity has its own unique language which will be more-or-less meaningless to those not undertaking it.  For example, the only reason I know that “purl” is a knitting stitch is because I went and looked it up. Tai chi is no different.  However, it has the added challenges that much of this jargon is…

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Apr 14, 2021

The long name of the tai chi style we do is “Yang jia taiji quan” or “Yang family tai chi boxing.”  I’ll explain more about the differences and spelling in tomorrow’s blog, but for now just work with me. Traditionally, martial arts in China are based on lineages – passing the art down from one…

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