Excerpt from Chojun—A Novel
January 10, 2022
Set in Okinawa during World War II, it’s a story of reverence, the coming of age, love, tragedy, war, and honor. A retired Okinawa karate instructor, Ota Kenichi Ota, writes memoirs of training with world-famous master, Chojun Miyagi.
Understanding Natural Movement
December 27, 2021
By learning to move independently, we can become highly sensitized to frozen or inappropriately used muscle groups, thus providing a tool for directly working on releasing such unnecessary and harmful tension. Finally, the more able you are to consciously move a particular part of the body independently, the more successful you will be in sending qi to that area for healing an injury… and ultimately leading to the ability to do unified movement.
Dealing with Obstacles in Tai Chi
August 23, 2021
Students of any Teaching often lack the tools to make refinements to what they learn. Such a process requires critical thinking, analytical skills, perseverance, and knowledge of other arts such as science, mathematics, philosophy, etc. Henry Ford said: 'If you need a machine [or tool] and don't buy it, then you will ultimately find that you have paid for it and [still] don't have it.' A similar truth holds for tools for learning Taiji.
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.
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.”
Balance - May 3, 2021
When you begin to lose your balance—even to a small degree—shifting your weight is often a factor in recovering stability. So a combination of mobility and leg strength is important in preventing falling. The stronger your legs and the greater their range of motion, the greater the ability to correct for a loss of balance.”
Tai Chi: Swimming on Land - April 12, 2021
Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing wrote about the importance of what is described as "swimming on land,"1 "swimming in air,"2 and "dry swimming."3 We are advised in these writings to imagine the air as having the resistance and consistency of water when doing taiji movement.
The Benefits of Expansive Strength and How to Cultivate It - March 8, 2021
I learned about such strength from a dancer, Elaine Summers, with whom I studied in the 1970s because of problems I had with my back. At a certain point of practicing taiji, I realized that the strength she taught for movement and therapy was the same as nei jin. In order to develop such strength, it is first necessary to relinquish one’s accustomed contractive strength which would mask experiencing any fledgling emergence of expansive strength.
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.
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.
YMAA Tai Chi and Internal Arts Curriculum - April 22, 2019
At YMAA, students learn qigong (energy cultivation) as part of their taiji or kung fu classes. In ancient times, Shaolin monks trained the cultivation of qi (energy), and realized muscular power could be enhanced to a tremendous level, making martial techniques more powerful and effective. This was the beginning of internal cultivation in Chinese martial arts, starting around 550 AD /CE. In internal styles, YMAA focuses mainly on traditional Yang-style taijiquan which originated from Yang, Ban-Hou (楊班候).
The Meaning of Taiji in Taiji Ball Qigong (太極在太極球氣功中之義) - December 17, 2018
What is taiji? It is generated from wuji, and is a pivotal function of movement and stillness. It is the mother of yin and yang. When it moves it divides. At rest it reunites." From this, it is known that taiji is not wuji, and is also not yin and yang. Instead an inclination of the natural pivotal function which makes the wuji derive into yin and yang also makes the yin and yang reunite into the state of wuji. This natural pivotal function of movement and stillness is called the 'Dao' or the 'rule' of great nature.
What Does Taiji Training Include? - February 19, 2018
Taiji has been evolving for more than seven hundred years, and it is very difficult to state just exactly what makes up the art. The content of the art has varied from one generation to the next. For example, one generation might specialize in the taiji spear, and gradually come to ignore other aspects of the art, such as the sword or saber. The contents of the system can also vary from one teacher to another. One might have learned only the sword from his master, and so naturally the sword would be the only weapon he could teach. Some masters will emphasize a particular principle or training method because of their experience, temperament, or research, or perhaps create a new training style for a new weapon.
Combining Qigong, Yoga and Acupressure Using Meridian Qigong Exercises - February 7, 2018
Over the last fifty years, I have been searching for and compiling information on the qigong and yoga (which is essentially Indian qigong) that can be effectively used to benefit today's society. Our lifestyle today is very different from that of a hundred years ago.
How Do You Learn Taijiquan? - January 21, 2018
Whether or not a person learns something depends upon his attitude and seriousness. First he must make a firm decision to learn it, and then he must have a strong will to fulfill his intention. He needs perseverance and patience to last to the end. Even if a person has all these virtues, his achievement might still be different from that of another person’s who has the same qualities and personality.
Introducing New YMAA Author! Daisy Lee - January 3, 2018
This article is being reposted to reintroduce Daisy Lee, one of YMAA's newest authors. Daisy Lee is the disciple of the 58th generation lineage holder, Master Wang San Hua, descendent of Hua Tuo, originator of the root form of medical qigong, Five Animal Qigong (五禽戲) from Bo Zhou, China.
Introducing YMAA Author: Helen Liang's Early Training Years - May 7, 2017
Bestselling YMAA author Helen Liang was born in a very remote village in China's Sichuan province during the Cultural Revolution, where her father had been forced to relocate after graduating from University for "re-education." Her father, the legendary martial artist Liang Shou-Yu was already a famous kung fu teacher, highly educated, and one of China's top coaches. Grandmaster Liang was raised on Emei mountain, where he started training at the age of six with his renowned grandfather, Liang, Zhi-Xiang.
Learning Training Sequences of Taijiquan - March 16, 2017
Every taiji master has his own sequence of training, emphasizing his methods and content. The following is a list of general training procedures according to my experience with three taiji masters and his teaching experience of more than thirty years.
About a Real Fight - February 20, 2017
Before you get into a fight, you must first ask yourself a few things: Is this fight necessary? What is my motivation in this fight? What are my chances of winning? What will the consequences be?
The Importance of Posture in Taijiquan - November 29, 2016
Since taijiquan is an internal qigong martial style, correct posture is essential. Incorrect postures can cause many problems: a tight posture can stagnate the internal qi circulation, wrong postures may expose your vital points to attack, and floating shoulders and elbows will break the jing and reduce jing storage.
Analysis of Taijiquan Techniques - August 22, 2016
It is important to understand how martial sequences are created and what purposes they serve. Sometimes people who lack this understanding tend to view the taijiquan sequence as a dance or abstract movement. A proper understanding of the root of the art will help you practice in the most effective way.
Reflections on Taijiquan—A Complex Art - June 6, 2016
One of the best decisions I ever made in my life is to learn Taijiquan. It is one thing that has always brought me great happiness. I cannot deny how much health I have gained, how balanced my mind has become, and how deeply I have pondered life since I began training it at 16 years old. Taijiquan enabled me to not only live a healthy life, but also a calm and peaceful one.
Some Remarks About Sparring - April 18, 2016
Taijiquan is an internal style of Chinese martial arts. All Chinese martial styles, after a thousand years of practice and experience, understand that in order to have an effective way of fighting, they must acquire the four skills of kicking, striking, wrestling, and Qin Na.