Meet the Author: Joe Varady and Gene Ching Have a Fun Chat About Hitting People with Sticks
April 6, 2022
YMAA Publication Center author Joe Varady talks with Shaolin staff practitioner Gene Ching about his new video series The Art and Science of Staff Fighting, his method of cross-training many martial arts, HEMA (Historical European Martial Arts), and the reality of using long weapons (or a broom!) in real life defense situations.
Four Gates Breathing—Balance (sìxīn xí—pínghéng, 四心息-平 衡)
March 21, 2022
In this practice, a practitioner will use his mind, with some specific physical movements, to lead the Qì to the Láogōng (P-8, 勞宮) cavity and allow the Qì to be distributed to the entire hand. This practice has also been commonly used to improve the Qì circulation in the six Qì channels, circulating to the tip of the fingers.
Muscle/Tendon Changing and Brain/Marrow Washing Qigong
February 28, 2022
China has more than seven thousand years of history. The greatest contribution it can make to benefit the human race is to share the knowledge it has accumulated in the field of Qi.
The YMAA Qigong Curriculum
February 21, 2022
The Chinese word Qi (氣)is defined as energy, as in all energy in the universe, and Gong means hard work or study. Therefore, Qigong (氣功) means "the study of natural energy." Western science has identified a bioelectric potential in the body which could be one of the primary aspects of Qi energy. This "bioelectricity" is recognized by YMAA as an important area of Qigong study and research.
Returning to Simplicity—Returning to the Origin, Translation and Commentary - December 20, 2021
Therefore, when you know your honor but can keep your humility, the people of the world will come to you and stay around you just like the valley streams collecting the water from all directions. When you have achieved this level of leadership, you have built a sufficient eternal De. Then you should return yourself to simplicity. Applied to the world, this simplicity can be an effective tool.
Set Up Precepts—Knowing Contentment Translation and Commentary - November 22, 2021
"The Dao De Jing is also referred to as the Lao Zi. It has been interpreted mostly by scholars instead of qigong practitioners. However, it is evident that the entire book was written based on Lao Zi’s, (476–221 BCE), personal qigong experience, especially spiritual cultivation. In order to acquire the real essence of the Dao De Jing, we must interpret it from a qigong point of view. Only then we will see the origin of Lao Zi’s thinking." - Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming
General Differences Between Buddhist and Daoist Qigong 佛家與 道家氣功之不同 - September 27, 2021
Often Qìgōng practitioners are confused by the differences between Buddhist and Daoist Qìgōng. Both share the same fundamental theory and similar practices….The main emphasis of Buddhist Qìgōng is on becoming a Buddha, while Daoist Qìgōng focuses on longevity, enlightenment, and spiritual immortality.
Some Martial Applications in Taiji Pushing Hands - August 16, 2021
The Thirteen Postures, (are derived) according to the theory of five elements and eight trigrams. They are the thirteen total jings of pushing hands. There are not another Thirteen Postures. The five elements are advance, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium. They can be interpreted by dividing into internal and external.
False Dignity Gets Its Reward - July 26, 2021
In this collection of fables, Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming shares the stories that have influenced him most as a martial artist and lifelong student of the Dao. They bring the Dao to life for readers of all generations.
Heng and Ha Sounds Qigong - June 7, 2021
In the taiji classics it is written, “Grasp and hold the dan tian to train internal gongfu. Heng, ha two qi’s are marvelous and infinite.” It is also written, “The Throat is the second master.”
Chinese Early Sword Development - March 22, 2021
The Chinese word for weapon, Bingqi originated as the word for a group of weapons including the lance, spear, halberd, pronged spear, sword, and saber. Chinese people certainly used more primitive weapons than these before the advent of the language to describe them. The prehistoric Chinese, like other societies, probably utilized the sticks and stones that lay about.
Training Contents for Taiji Push Hands - January 25, 2021
From the fundamental practice of single pushing hands, advancing into double pushing hands, (you learn) to listen, understand, advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, and look to the right. When (you) have reached a natural reactive stage of using the yi without the yi, then (you) may enter the practice of moving pushing hands. (However, you should know that) in moving pushing hands training, the practice of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right, and central equilibrium also start from single pushing hands. Its main goal is to train central equilibrium so it can harmonize the criteria of advance forward, retreat backward, beware of the left, look to the right.
Theory of Taiji Pushing Hands - December 14, 2020
When discussing the concept of pushing hands we often envision two individuals engaging in an exercise where one is attempting to find the other’s center of gravity (i.e., physical center) and push them off balance. In some cases, the tendencies of aggressive behavior evolve into a competitive interaction between the two individuals, and unfortunately the essence of taiji pushing hands becomes lost with one person winning the match through use of force. Pushing hands practice involves the application of taijiquan theory and basic movements into matching actions with a partner.
Taiji Ball Qigong - November 30, 2020
Traditionally, taiji ball qigong training was a very important training for many external and internal styles. The reason it is so effective is because taiji ball qigong, using wood (internal styles) or rock (external styles) balls in the hands, helps focus the training in round movements. Consequently, this training is able to increase the endurance, strength, mobility, and flexibility of the practitioner's physical body, especially the torso.
Cultivating Observation—Caring for Others - November 23, 2020
"The great learning of the Dao is to pursue comprehension of the bright De (i.e., the manifestation of the Dao) and to influence other people until the ultimate goodness can be reached. Once you know, then your mind is steady without doubts. When the mind is steady, then you are able to acquire calmness. When you are calm, then you find peace. When you are at peace, then you are able to ponder. When you are able to ponder, then you gain. All objects have their initiation and ending and all matters have a beginning and expiration. If one knows the beginning and the end, then one is closer to the Dao."
Tai Chi Jing Practice - October 26, 2020
Often jing has been considered a secret transmission in Chinese martial arts society. This is so not only because it was not revealed to most students, but also because it cannot be passed down with words alone. Jing must be experienced. It is said that the master "passes down jing." Once you feel jing done by your master, you know what is meant and can work on it by yourself.
How to Boost/Condition Your Immune System - April 28, 2020
We cannot deny that the immune system is a crucial key to longevity. Before antibiotics were discovered, many people died young. Only those whose immune systems were strong enough had a better chance of surviving the pathological challenges of nature. In ancient times, Chinese Daoist Qìgōng practitioners worked on developing ways to boost and maintain the immune system from within the body
The Scientific Foundation of the Ancient Chinese Secret of Youth - April 11, 2020
The most essential keys to longevity and anti-aging are rooted in your body’s ability to maintain a strong energetic center, which directly aids in the natural production of your body’s hormones. This center is comprised of two important energetic points—the brain and the gut—and they are connected by the spinal cord. It is imperative that you have a strong, uninhibited flow and quantity of Qì throughout this core energy system to maintain your health. To gain a more comprehensive understanding of the underlying theory, I will first give a brief background of traditional methods and findings, tie them into more modern scientific research, and then finally close with a look at practice techniques that I recommend for your regular training today.
The Coronavirus Crisis – A Time for Us to Awaken - April 6, 2020
The human body was made to move and to exercise. It is the reason we have so many different muscles and joints. At the most basic level, movement and exercise will help your blood move, facilitating nourishment, repair, and energy circulation (Qì) in all of your body’s cells. The body functions most efficiently when this circulation is happening, and it is the foundation for a strong immune system.
Practice Dao—Value Dao, The Treasure of the World - March 16, 2020
The Dao conceals myriad objects.’ This is just like the ancient saying: ‘The Great Dao in this universe is shapeless, and (in a state of) quietness and solitude. It can be the master of myriad objects and does not wither with the four seasons.’ It transcends this universe, independent, and goes beyond time and exists alone.
A Brief History of Stick Fighting and Why Learn It - March 9, 2020
There are many practical reasons to learn how to fight with sticks. Stick fighting is a healthy, competitive activity that has real world applications. Stick fighting skills are very practical for self-defense, while stick fighting also serves as a sport, offering both entertainment and fitness. It appeals to all types of people, of all ages and ability levels.
Essential Stick Fighting: Crossing the Gap - February 24, 2020
The human mind can be very predictable. Our brains have a natural tendency to look for patterns, and you can use this knowledge to trick your opponent into doing what you want him to do. This is called programming. Programming is an exceptional method of setting up your techniques, maximizing the probability of eluding your opponent’s defenses in order to land a decisive, disabling strike.
Dispensing Utilization-Returning to the Root - January 27, 2020
Nothingness is the origin of having. Nothingness and having are two, but one. They cannot exist without the other. The Dao is the one who initiates myriad objects from nothingness and also the one who returns myriad objects to their root, to nothingness.
Limiting the Use of War—Ways of Treating People, Translated and Interpreted - December 23, 2019
As a leader, your mind must be confident and firm and your spirit must be strong. However, you must also be humble enough to take counsel from others before your final decision. Advisors around a leader are crucially important. Often a wise leader is successful due to his humility and willingness to listen. A stubborn leader will usually fail.