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"TAI CHI can be treated as the driving force of the

universe, which generates two poles (Yang, Yin),

then evolving the four phases (sky, earth, men and

matter), which then produce the eight sections

(sky, earth, men and matter, time, space, material

and spirit) -

 

They give rise to all kinds of activities on earth"

                                                                                             

                                                                                   - Dr. Nie Zhi-fei 

 

Taijiquan (also written Tai Chi Chuan) is an ancient Chinese martial art &

an art of movement. Its purpose is the cultivation of life, of health, and

the wholesome evolution of body and mind as well as self-defence.

 

IT IS meditative and physically strengthening, and it stimulates

the development of internal energy, Qi.

 

It therefore applies to both therapeutic and martial purposes.

 

With inner energy being applied instead of muscle power, Taijiquan can

be practised effectively by both young and old, man and woman, big

and small.

 

This system, developed by the Chen family

over centuries, utilises the philosophy of

Yin and Yang, their changing phases, as

well as the harmonisation of  body, mind

and soul. In this way Taiji (TaiChi) depicts

man/woman as between heaven and earth,

thereby granting him/her reason (dao/Tao).

It combines movements of self-defence (wushu) with the control of the

internal energy, and thus considered an internal martial art.

 

 

 

 

The better we understand things, the more we'll be able to describe

them in depth and illustrate their contexts. Within Taijiquan this means

that we can integrate the body in a more and more refined mode, being

able to gauge it with more subtlety, and being able to direct energy with

more intensity through our MIND & BODY. This philosophy of Wuji and of

Yin and Yang is not only the foundation pillar of Taijiquan but of all other

arts in China as well, such as geomantics, fortune-telling, astrology, music,

calligraphy, even science and medicine.

 

Taijiquan centres our body and our mind - it creates a strong centre

and harmony within. It gives us the knowledge and the feeling that enable 

us to act adequately by intuition.

 

Wuji, Taiji and Wuwei (non-action) are not abstract terms estranged from

worldly matters. They are conditions of unending harmony and a joyful life

to be lived and experienced by every person. To achieve these, however,

takes more than a good conversation. Integral practice of self-discovery

is required.  Taijiquan IS eminently suited to this, since it is the vital,

liveable and direct access to the(se) old teachings of wisdom.

 

Taijiquan is the exercise.  Taiji is the goal.

 

 

 陈小旺. 陈小旺陈式太极拳推手实战

 

The philosophy of Taijiquan is among the oldest in the world. The symbols of Yin and Yang, and what the Chinese call Taiji, have influenced Chinese thinking within living memory. Notations about the relationship between Yin and its counterpart Yang have existed ever since we are able to retrace the sources.

All the classical books of China such as the Yijing (I-Ching), the Doadejing (Tao Te Ching), the books of Dshuang Dsi or Confucius - everywhere the theory of Yin and Yang is found. This philosophy is thousands of years old.

 

                                                                             Master Jan Silberstorff         

 

 

"No leaps, no high kicks, no running. The feet always firmly on the ground ... movements intrinsically beautiful and at the same time charged with symbolic meaning. Thought taking shape in ritual and stylised gesture. The body transformed into a hieroglyph, a succession of hieroglyphs, of attitudes modulating from significance to significance, like a poem or a piece of music. Movements of the muscles representing movements of the consciousness ... It's meditation in action; the metaphysics of the Mahayana expressed not in words, but through symbolic movements and gestures" 

                                                                        

                                                                                            Aldous Huxley "Island"

 

 

 

SO where DO WE GO from here ?

 

 

.

Views: 762

Comment by Michael Grove on December 24, 2012 at 10:46

As Master Jan Silberstorff has so succinctly stated in his epic -
Chen - Living Taijiquan in the Classical Style -

With Wuwei another important point is introduced. Non-acting indicates a condition of spontaneity, namely, acting in accordance with the actual situation, backed by all my expertise, but within the here and now. Therefore my actions are never rigid, not following any stiff dogmas established in the past; instead my actions rather grow afresh within the situation they they arose from. Therefore Wuwei does not represent an ideology, but the wise and not predetermined spontaneous action which is part of the great whole, adapted to the course of nature from where its decisions evolve. Or even better: spontaneous action depicts acting out the nature of things. The same goes for one's personal nature as well. Knowing about my nature, perceiving it and being able to understand my inner voice in a clear and lucid way means that decisions are no longer determined by results. What remains IS merely to flow side by side with our own naturalness. The only thing required is just to follow, following being the only thing that happens. Determinations do not have to be taken until a relationship with one's own nature no longer exists, namely, when the inner voice can be perceived. Then I do have to determine an action out of a certain argument. In this way, however, my intuition would most likely result in a random hit. Wuwei however turns it into an extremely reliable source.

Within a deep level of meditation 'non-acting' literally means the way of reaching the spiritual experience of emptiness.

Comment by Michael Grove on December 25, 2012 at 9:53

Learning taijiquan is in principle similar to educating oneself; progressing from primary to university level, where one gradually gathers more and more knowledge. Without the foundation from primary and secondary education, one will not be able to follow the courses at university level.

To learn taijiquan one has to begin from the elementary and gradually progress to the advanced stage, level by level in a systematic manner. If one goes against this principle thinking he could take a quick way out, he will not succeed. The whole progress of learning taijiquan, from the beginning to achieving success consists of five stages or five levels of martial/combat skill (kung fu). There are objective standards for each level of kung fu.

The highest is achieved in the fifth level.

In order to master Taijiquan you must begin with the most fundamental steps, and systematically work up to the advanced levels, slowly building up your knowledge and technique as you go. This book explains the five levels of Taijiquan from complete beginner to highest level practitioner. Presenting a word for word translation, with commentary, of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang's original Chinese text, Master Jan Silberstorff provides detailed guidance through each of the five levels. Readers will learn how to assess their current Taiijiquan ability and identify exactly what is needed to reach the next level and ultimately the highest goal - the perfection of Taiji, or reaching a complete state of being. This is an accessible and motivational book for all Taijiquan students and practitioners, as well as anyone wishing to gain a deeper understanding of the ancient art of Taijiquan.


"ONLY together
, [as merchants of LOVE ] , can our starlight help

us find our way, in this cosmic soup of choices and beauty."

 

                                                                                                                            Janie Hedrick

Comment by Michael Grove on August 17, 2013 at 8:30

 

 

In practising taijiquan, the requirements on the different parts of the body are: keeping a straight

body; keeping the head and neck erect with mindfulness at the tip of the head as if one is lightly

lifted by a string from above; relaxing the shoulders and sinking the elbows; relaxing the chest

and waist letting them sink down; relaxing the crotch and bending the knees. When these

requirements are met, one's inner energy will naturally sink down to the dan tian. Beginners may

not be able to master all these important points instantly. However, in their practice they must try

to be accurate in terms of direction, angle, position, and the movements of hands and legs for

each posture. At this stage, one need not place too much emphasis on the requirements for

different parts of the body, appropriate simplications are acceptable. For example, for the head

and upper body, it is required that the head and neck be kept erect, chest and waist be relaxed

downward, but in the first level of kung fu, it will be sufficient just to ensure that one's head and

body are kept naturally upright and not leaning forward or backward, to the left or right. This is

just like learning calligraphy, at the beginning, one need only to make sure that the strokes are

correct. Therefore, when practising taijiquan at the beginning, the body and movements may

appear to be stiff; or 'externally solid but internally empty'. One may find oneself doing things

like: hard hitting, ramming, sudden uplifting and or sudden collapsing of body or trunk. There

may be also be broken or over-exerted force or jin. All these faults are common to beginners.

If one is persistent enough and practices seriously everyday, one can normally master the forms

within half a year. The inner energy, qi, can gradually be induced to move within the trunk and

limbs with refinements in one's movements. One may then achieve the stage of being able to

use external movements to channel internal energy'. The first level kung fu thus begins with

mastering the postures to gradually being able to detect and understand jin or force.

 

The martial skill attainable with the first level of kung fu is very limited. This is because at this

stage, one's actions are not well coordinated and systematic. The postures may not be correct.

Thus the force or jin produced may be stiff, broken, lax or on the other hand too strong. In

practicing the routine, one's form may appear hollow or angular. As such one can only feel the

internal energy but is not able to channel the energy to every part of the body in one go.

Consequently, one is not able to harness the force or jin right from the heels, channel it up the

legs, and discharge it through command at the waist. On the contrary , the beginners can only

produce broken force that 'surge' from one section to another section of the body. Therefore

the first level kung fu is insufficient for martial application purposes. If one were to test

one's skill on someone who does not know martial arts, to a certain extent they can remain 

flexible. They may not have mastered the application but by knowing how to mislead his 

opponent the student may occasionally be able to throw off his opponent. Even then, he may be

unable to maintain his own balance.

 

Such a situation is thus termed "the 10% yin and 90% yang; top heavy staff ".

 

What then exactly is yin and yang? In the context of practising taijiquan, emptiness is Yin

solidity is yang; gentleness or softness is yin, forcefulness or hardness is yang. Yin and yang is 

the unity of the opposites; either one cannot be left out; yet both can be mutually interchanged 

and transformed. If we assign a maximum of 100% to measure them, when one in his practice can

attain an equal balance of yin and yang, he is said to have achieved 50% yin and 50% yang.

This is the highest standard or an indication of success in practicing taijiquan.

 

In the first level of skill in kung fu, it is normal for one to end up with '10% yin and 90% yang'.

That is, one's quan or boxing is more hard than soft and there is imbalance in yin and yang.

The learner is not able to complement hard with soft and to command the applications with ease.

As such, while still at the first level, learners should not be too eager to pursue the application

aspect in each posture.

 

 

 

 

Comment by Michael Grove on April 1, 2014 at 8:34

"A Taijiquan saying is that "learning slowly also is fast". At first glance, this seems

contradictory but training slowly gives you time to think about the rules. In Taijiquan every

part of the body has its own rule. After you have trained these rules into your body, you no

longer need to think about them. Whether you move fast or slow it is the same, when your

are going fast is no different than when you are going slow. Now when you move, still your

mind during the turning of your body, the knee turning, ankle turning and your leg turning.

Later you don't need to think about it, because your body knows it. So this needs training.

When you train a lot you will get this. Then you can start to learn the applications"

- if indeed you even want to move onto learning the applications !!!

Translated by David Gaffney, from Wang Haijun's ...
"Chen Taijiquan's Six Stages of Learning"

Comment by Michael Grove on April 2, 2014 at 9:21

While the ART of Taijiquan was yet to make an appearance the martial tradition of the Chen clan

continued. The Chen family was famous for several generations for their Cannon Fist (Paocui炮捶)

Boxing and was known as the “Paocui Chen Family” (炮捶陈家)” (Gaffney and Sim, 2002).

Detailed historical records of people, events and martial arts in Chenjiagou started from

the time of Chen Wangting陈王庭 (1600-1680), the person who created Taijiquan. According

to the Annals of Huaiqing Prefecture怀庆志 and Wen County Annals温县志, Chen Wangting

was a military officer and served as Commander in the Garrison Force of Wen County in 1641,

just before the fall of the Ming dynasty. The Genealogy of Chen Families陈氏家谱 stated that at

the end of the Ming dynasty Chen Wangting was already famous for his martial skills, “having

once defeated more than 1000 bandits and was a born warrior[…]”

“According to Charles Hucker (1975) “…the wei-suo standing

army declined in strength and fighting ability. It was

supplemented by local militiamen, then by conscripts

from the general population, and finally in the last Ming

century by recruited mercenaries in awesome numbers.

In the last Ming decades the military rolls swelled to a

reported total of four million men. But they were poorly

equipped, ill trained, and irregularly fed and clothed; only

a small fraction of the total can have been effective soldiers”.


Chen Wangting was fiercely loyal to the Ming dynasty and

its fall put paid to any ambitions of advancement he held.

Consequently he retired to Chenjiagou where he lived out

the rest of his days.”


Excerpt From:  “The Essence of Taijiquan 太極之粹.epub.”
by David Gaffney & Davidine Siaw-Voon Sim.

 

Comment by Michael Grove on June 9, 2014 at 6:08

Grandmaster
CHEN Tai Chi

PRACTICE

PRACTICE


PRACTICE

and more PRACTICE

Comment by Michael Grove on October 13, 2014 at 19:35


Tai chi essentials

Tai chi gently twists and elongates tissues that have become tense or suffered physical trauma. It also opens the body to release the central nervous system.

Sophisticated methodical choreography encourages the mind and body to work together. This not only develops coordination and balance; tai chi boosts the brain and memory as efficiently as both serious mental exercises and strenuous aerobic exercise.

The grounding nature of the moves and emphasis on bringing awareness to the lower body can help people who are “stuck in their heads” after a day in the office.

Doctors acknowledge that tai chi improves arterial compliance, i.e. expansion and contraction of the arteries, which is crucial for heart health, whereas strength training alone brings about a decline in arterial compliance.

In tai chi the emphasis is on internal development powering the external. It may

not produce six-packs but it has given tiny women the capacity to lift cars.

.

Comment by Michael Grove on September 13, 2015 at 15:08

This is the qigong practice of the 8 Brocades, or Baduanjin. Regular practice is believed to

improve organ function and overall wellbeing. It was filmed in Beijing in September, 2014.

Watch out for some cameo appearances from interested onlookers and passers-by !!!

Hope you enjoy it.

Comment by Michael Grove on October 23, 2017 at 21:42

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