In class recently we were discussing the many ways to analyse tai chi chuan movements. One simple method is to observe compression and expansion, although one can also observe spiralling. In the sequence below, a variation of beginning style as an application, you can observe compression, expansion and spiral in both participants. its worthwhile studying the slide show, then perhaps follow the link, to a video version of the same move.
See the slideshow here (bottom right), and observe that compression and expansion is not merely through the legs, but involves the whole body..
See the video here
For any student of Tai Chi Chuan there is a great deal to be learned from the practice of 'Brush Knee', (for the sake of ease I will use the shortened term) especially when that practice is repeated. It is for this reason Gloria and I often have our classes practice Brush Knee in one direction, and then Repulse the Monkey in the other, a great opportunity for exploring some of the mechanics of Tai Chi Chuan.
When added to the 'Eight Gates' you have a simple, repeatable form, which trains changes of direction and turning steps, alongside the basic Brush Knee, emphasising clear weight shifts, and weight free side steps, with twisting of the rear foot.
'Brush Knee through the Eight Gates' provides a thorough training ground for the basic step-work of Tai Chi Chuan, as each change of direction gives you the chance to practice key principles of stepping.
I will put up some videos Here; and the diagrams can be found here.
Emerging from the cool interior of the house onto the terrace, I shield my eyes against the brightness, treading carefully on the hot pink surface, carefully, to let my bare feet adjust to the searing heat without burning. I reach the lounge chair opposite Gloria, and sit back. Within a breath or two my muscles relax under the soothing warmth of the afternoon sun, penetrating deeply despite the cooling of a gentle Atlantic breeze.
Gloria semi prone has one long brown leg stretched out, one raised at the knee, her head in shade, eyes closed, and exquisite profile clearly outlined against the azure blue of the sky. Gloria is still…. Everything is still.
I have written about the benefits to health achieved through regular practice of Tai Chi Chuan many times, in many platforms and publications.
There are so many benefits that, if you wish to list the scientific studies that support the many anecdotal claims, you would need more than a book, perhaps even a small library.
there have been an increasing number of studies in recent years that do more than suggest that Tai Chi is beneficial, they confirm it.
Whilst parts of the British NHS currently promote the view that Tai Chi is considered beneficial but that more studies need to be made, something no reasonably person would disagree with, others are actively using it for pain control, falls prevention, and to allieviate stress. The fact is there have been an increasing number of studies in recent years that do more than suggest that Tai Chi is beneficial, they confirm it.
From the training hall to the office, the infant school to the care home,
So for the sake of brevity, here is a link to a 2010 article published in the New York times which positively skips along, yet lays out the issues around scientific studies of such a complex activity, yet at the same time, covers the things many people are interested in, All credit to the author and previously mentioned publication. I can not vouch for the links or adverts placed in the NYT, so caveat emptor as usual. Enjoy.: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/health/28brody.html?_r=2
There are several stages in every Tai Chi practitioners journey, understanding the structure of the various stances, learning to separate weight, smooth transitions, good alignment; every one must learn these things and more, and the standard square and round forms will provide many opportunities to learn them all. At some point you may wish to make your practice more personal, we need not become clones of our teachers, rather we should aim to surpass them, add to the knowledge and ability they passed on. Owning your tai chi form can be part of that process, obviously you should not exceed the boundaries of sound structure and efficient bio-mechanical movement, (use the language of the tai chi classics if you prefer)
but that leaves a great deal of room for experimentation. Are your movements minimal and pragmatic, embellished and artistic, dynamic and enthralling? the choice is yours.
Below you see a clip of Cheng Tin Hung, perhaps in one of his more pragmatic moods, you can contrast this with the clip further down of a more dynamic performance by the same teacher. image quality is poor because its old material, best viewed small.
In response to numerous requests, we have finally uploaded a short section of the hand form shown from different angles. If I can overcome my desire for perfection we may complete publication of the whole form, (don't hold you're breath) Although we are seriously considering a move by move breakdown.
Enjoy the clip,
Some of you are following the activity on our social media pages- Facebook -Twitter, etc and may have seen this article published on Keith's website. It is actually a response to another video and explains the concept of ground connection as simply redirecting the incoming energy to ground, and /or back into the opponent. It is a subtle use of the basic principle of yin becoming yang. Yielding (yin) is to make a strategic controlled withdrawal to a position of stability and strength, in order to redirect, or (in this instance) 'bounce' the opponent with his own force, by feeding it back to him. In the video for the sake of safety we only direct, rather than bounce. This is the strategic use of one particular form of 'Jin' or trained force/ energy in Tai Chi Chuan, there are many other manifestations available. follow the link to find the video if you cannot see it below.
Christmas and New Year 2014-15
It's that time of year when everyone is thinking of celebrating and relaxing, and perhaps (whisper this) easing up on practice a little?
So in the spirit of the Season and Wu Wei (non doing) we aim to facilitate that with the following information:
Last classes for 2014.
Trowse 16th December
Hindolveston 18th December
New term 2015 Fee payable on first lesson unless paying weekly
Hindolveston 8th January £25.00
Trowse 13th January £18.75
Private classes remain according to the schedule agreed with your personal teacher.
Drop in fees remain at £7.50 per session.
Have fun over the holidays and we look forward to training with you in the New Year.
Stay in touch during the break
The Eight strands of the silk brocade is one of the first Qigong sets I learned, almost 40 years ago, also known as the eight fine treasures the Ba Duan Jin is one of the most widely practiced sets of Qigong, as it is included in most kung fu and Tai Chi classes. There are many different versions of this Qigong set, without thinking I know at least 5, varying in intensity and complexity from simple and easy, ideal for entry level inactive people, to vigorous and demanding. It is not just the physical aspect that demands more, there is also an increased demand on the mind and breath as befits a more advanced form.
The video below is comparatively simple, Keith is not using the horse stance to rise and fall with the movements, the shots are taken to emphasise the breathing. As always use the 70% rule and stay within your comfort zone. This series was filmed during a public display in the Millennium Forum, Norwich,as part of a National health promotion day.
So here we have the new series of Coffee break Qigong, in response to those many requests for short follow along pieces.
Part 1 was first published on Gloria's site, Part 2 is below. let us know how you like it. subscribe, like or share on your favourite social media outlet.
Traditional Tai Chi
Golden Rooster School
274 King Street
Norwich, NR1 2BL
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