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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.
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.
Tai Chi Sword Techniques - April 4, 2016
Generally speaking, due to geographical differences, northern Chinese martial artists have developed techniques, which emphasize long and middle range fighting, while southern martial artists focus on firm root, and specialize in short and middle range fighting. Sword techniques, which emerged, therefore differed according to this developmental influence.
Key Points in Taiji Pushing Hands - March 21, 2016
Almost every Chinese martial style, both external and internal, has its own hand-matching training similar to Taiji's pushing hands. In southern external styles it is commonly called Qiao Shou (Bridge Hands) or Pan Shou (Coiling Hands), while in northern external styles it is called Da Shou (Folding Hands) or Dui Shou (Opposite Hands.)
Additional Exercises With a Partner for Tai Chi Ball - November 30, 2015
It is advisable to have one partner at a time lead the exchanges in the beginning. Follow this with the freestyle method of exchanging where either person may choose to change the direction of the pattern between yin and yang. The following exercises will be the vertical yin-yang circling patterns using both sets of hands on the ball, followed by each person using a single hand attached to the ball. When practicing the exercises using both sets of hands, the ball will be turned slightly along its horizontal axis allowing a crisscross pattern.
Tai Chi Sword for Beginners - September 14, 2015
Tai Chi Chuan is a kind of moving meditation with ancient roots in Chinese martial arts. Beyond the bare hand Tai Chi form awaits the elegant and highly effective Tai Chi Sword, which has long been considered the highest achievement in Tai Chi training. The beautiful and flowing Tai Chi Sword form will strengthen your body, sharpen your mind, and raise your spirit.
Qi and Taijiquan - August 24, 2015
There are several questions taiji practitioners frequently ask. How do I experience qi in taijiquan? How do I generate qi? How can taijiquan benefit the body and bring me health? How is qi circulated in taijiquan? How do I use my qi in the martial applications of taijiquan? What is the relationship of qi to jing? All these questions are very important for the practitioner who wishes to approach the higher levels of taijiquan.<br>
Saga of the Chinese Sword - July 13, 2015
The ancient Chinese regarded the sword as a very important weapon, as evidenced by the relatively large number of documents about it and the frequency with which swords turn up in archeological digs. It is the only weapon that has been used and admired continuously from the beginning of Chinese history to the present day.
Power Training for Tai Chi Sword - April 6, 2015
According to Chinese martial Qigong, the power is first generated from the mind. From the mind, the Qi is led to the physical body to manifest it as power. Therefore, we can see that the Qi is the energy, while the physical body is like the machine. A detailed explanation of Qigong can be found in the YMAA book The Essence of Shaolin White Crane.
About Pushing Hands—Part 2 - March 30, 2015
An (Press or Push Down) means to settle the wrist. It is executed by using the base of the palm, either one palm or both palms can press and push. An can be divided into offensive An and defensive An. In offensive An, the base of the palm is used to push upward to the chin to destroy the opponent's central equilibrium; to the throat to seal the opponent's breath; to push forward to Xinkan (Jiuwei) (i.e., solar plexus area) to seal the breath as well as destroy the opponent's central equilibrium or shock his heart; to push downward to the abdominal area to destroy the stability of the lower part of his body or to seal his breath.
About Pushing Hands—Part 1 - March 23, 2015
Practicing Methods of the Four Directions and Four Corners (Eight Doors, Eight Trigrams). What are the four directions and four corners? They are the eight doors. It is also the theory of Eight Trigrams in Taijiquan. What are the four directions?
Basic Taiji Theory - March 16, 2015
If we desire to understand taiji theory, then we must first trace back to its origins and roots. Only then will we know how and where it came from. Although a great proportion of Chinese martial arts history is vague, we can still trace it with some accuracy and in some detail.
What is Qin Na? - November 17, 2014
Taijiquan (太極拳) was originally developed for combat in ancient times. Its fighting theory is to use the soft against the hard, and to use the round to neutralize the straight or square. In order to achieve this goal, the body must be soft and the movements must be smooth and natural. Taijiquan also emphasizes the cultivation of qi (氣), or internal energy.
The Sword Way - October 20, 2014
In ancient China, the way of the sword was widely respected. This was so not just because sword techniques and skills were difficult to learn. The main reason was that moral and spiritual qualities were required in order to attain the highest levels of its art.
Historical Survey of Chinese Martial Arts - Part 2 - May 7, 2014
During the Song dynasty (A.D. 960-1278) the monks of the Shaolin Temple continued to gather more martial skills from outside sources. They blended these arts into the Shaolin training. During this period, one of the most famous Shaolin martial monks, Jueyuan, traveled around the country in order to learn and absorb high levels of martial skill into Shaolin training.
Historical Survey of Chinese Martial Arts - Part 1 - April 30, 2014
Chinese martial arts probably started long before history was recorded. Martial techniques were discovered or created during the long epoch of continuous conflict between humans and animals or between different tribes of humans themselves. From these battles, experiences were accumulated and techniques discovered that were passed down from generation to generation.