Philosophy, spirituality and tai chi

Jun 3, 2021

Look through enough tai chi blogs or read enough tai chi texts and you’ll run across references to the “bagua,” the “Eight Trigrams” of the I Ching.  It’s represented in the diagram below. A very simplified version of the Bagua symbol.  Most are far more complicated.Without going into needless detail, this symbol is a representation…

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May 18, 2021

Among his many other accomplishments, Confucius is said to have been an archery instructor.  If you want to know whether he considered this a career or whether it was just a side gig between studying the I Ching and writing the rules for an entire society, you’ll need to consult a better historian than I…

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Martial Arts and Self-Defense Are NOT the Same Thing

May 17, 2021

Back when I first introduced myself to the staff at East Wind, the studio owner asked me about the possibility of including self-defense training alongside tai chi instruction.  I was hesitant to answer, largely because I didn’t quite know how to answer her.  It’s taken a while to form a satisfactory response; it’s a valid…

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Zhan Zhuang – the Only Shortcut in Tai Chi

May 7, 2021

Earlier I promised my students I’d share something about Zhan Zhuang – the “standing meditation” we briefly did at the end of tonight’s class.  What I promised was an essay that goes into detail about what it is, why it works and why we should do it. Zhan Zhuang is a “supplemental” exercise to tai…

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Tai Chi Checks

May 1, 2021

One of the best things in tai chi – or in any pursuit, really – is reading something that we not only agree with, but that also challenges us, inspires us and broadens our outlook in ways we may not have recognized.  That’s how I felt when I read the following, which a friend and…

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“But I Don’t Wanna Kick Butt!”

Apr 30, 2021

It’s likely to happen in class – and I’ve addressed it somewhat – that a student will come to me and point out that he or she took the class to improve their health, not learn to dislocate joints or crush skulls.  I’m not judging – it’s a perfectly valid reason to study the art…

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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: More 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…

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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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