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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.”
World Tai Chi & Qigong Day 2021: Starting Tai Chi in the Pandemic
April 19, 2021
If you’re new to tai chi and qigong, WTCQDay is about expanding awareness for these venerated arts. It is an opportunity for practitioners around the world to gather and celebrate their practice. Schools and clubs host practice sessions and mass demonstrations to showcase and promote tai chi and qigong. YMAA has always participated in some manner and there are even a few reports in the archives that give snapshots of activities held in 2010, 2011, and 2014.
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.
Tai Chi Concepts and Experiments: Can You Really Move a Thousand Pounds with Four Ounces?
April 2, 2021
YMAA is proud to release Dr. Robert Chuckrow's fourth Tai Chi book, Tai Chi Concepts and Experiments: Hidden Strength, Natural Movement, and Timing. An award-winning author and an instructor of experimental physics, Dr. Chuckrow tackles the age-old conundrum of East meets West in his latest work, presenting his unique insights on Tai Chi and physics in this new work. It's filled with plenty of pragmatic methods, drills and exercises that you or anyone can do to experience his theories directly for yourself.
Working Together: Teaching Online
March 26, 2021
Online teaching has been trending throughout the pandemic. YMAA instructors Jonathan Chang and Michelle Lin share their experiences providing virtual teaching pre-pandemic until now, as well as hosting a global Martial Arts Virtual Camp. I sat down with them recently (virtually of course) to discuss all this and what they are planning for the future.
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.
Tai Chi Seated Workout - March 1, 2021
Tai chi master teacher David-Dorian Ross has taught for years a seated "Healthy Back" routine that can be practiced by anyone, at any age or fitness level. It allows students to gradually experience pain relief, and develop flexibility. Seated tai chi and qigong exercises stretch and strengthen your back, taking pressure off the spine and muscles, so that you can ease into essential tai chi and qigong postures for alleviating pain and create better structural integrity. Sitting tai chi is actually an ancient practice going back centuries.
Tai Chi for a Healthy Heart - February 22, 2021
Mind-body exercises, such as tai chi and yoga, have been gaining popularity over the past few decades. This is not surprising, given the increasing number of studies on the positive effects of these gentler forms of exercise—everything from lowering blood pressure and managing depression to building strength and improving balance. There is even evidence that tai chi may help you live a longer, more vital life.
Bam Commandments: Spiritual Principles - February 15, 2021
It’s the first of the month in the tough ghetto neighborhood. It’s payday for the poor. The welfare check has arrived, and the drug dealers can’t wait. It’s also their payday, and they can easily estimate $20,000-$50,000 in income. This might seem exaggerated, but it’s not. This dealing goes on every day, and with this business comes violence, guns, and murder for those in top positions of power.
Needle Through Brick: A Postcard of Traditional Kung Fu from Borneo - February 11, 2021
Needle Through Brick is a documentary that poses these questions by taking an intimate look at some surviving traditional Kung Fu and Tai Chi masters of Malaysian Borneo, particularly Sarawak and Sibu. There’s a large Chinese population here, a diaspora of masters who fled the Japanese occupation and the communists. Needle Through Brick presents insightful interviews of Borneo’s unique elder masters as the precious disciplines that they have dedicated their lives to face extinction.
Happy "Niu" Year! 2021—Year of the Ox! - February 8, 2021
To Chinese, this most important celebration of the year is known as "Spring Festival" (春節; pinyin: Chūnjié). It is a time of family reunion. Family members gather at each other's homes for visits and shared meals, most significantly a feast (年夜飯; pinyin: niányèfàn) on New Year's Eve (除夕; pinyin: Chúxī). In Chinese societies, people may take weeks off from work to prepare for and celebrate this holiday. With about 3 billion passenger trips over the 40-day travel season, it is described as the world's largest annual human migration.
Tai Chi for Women - February 1, 2021
Women, more than men, need a workout that both strengthens the bones and calms the immune system. Women are far more susceptible to autoimmune diseases than men, including multiple sclerosis (MS), arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia and psoriasis. Women are also more at risk for thinning bones as they get older, at a time they are more likely to fall.
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.
Working Together: A Powerful Writing Team - January 11, 2021
"Our relationship is not just teacher and student, but also as good friends," says Dr. Yang. "He has been with me for more than 20 years. We know each other very well so we can collaborate with each other without problems. David is committed, qualified, willing, and capable." After writing so many books on his own, Dr. Yang is now grooming some of his talented pupils to carry on his literate legacy. What's more, he adds with a grin, "His English is better than my 'Chinglish.'"
Push Hands: Tai Chi with Friends - December 31, 2020
In Push Hands, two partners work together to improve each other's balance. These exercises are applicative expressions of the various postures within the Tai Chi form. The foundation of Tai Chi lies within martial arts, so self-defense principles are interwoven throughout the routines. Even though many Tai Chi enthusiasts aren't looking to use it in a fight, proper alignment is critical to good Tai Chi practice. It's all based on balance. And nothing informs you that you are off balance better than a good push.
Solving Gut Problems with Taiji and Qigong - December 28, 2020
Learning is a big part of healing, especially in the healing of emotions. We know our emotions influence our physical body. The brain's emotional center needs to be refreshed, nourished, stimulated, and balanced. When you start to learn things you are not familiar with, you start to shift your focus onto new knowledge, new approaches, and a new life. This sort of internal transformation can improve your situation in life. It is as if you are shifting negative energy to positive energy. The more positive energy you have, the better the chance you can be healed.
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.
Know the Land, Know the Martial Arts History of Vietnam - September 28, 2020
Vietnam has a land mass close to 332,000 square kilometers, it borders China to the north, mainland Southeast Asia to the west and has hundreds of kilometers of coastline. As a result, the region has long been seen as a strategically and economically valuable resource. The modern incarnation of Vietnam was first amalgamated by military expansion southwards throughout the seventeenth century, giving the country its distinct "S" shape. Meanwhile, the northern borders have had very little modification since the withdrawal of the Song Dynasty in 1070.
Some Guidance on Chen Style Tai Chi Cannon Fist - September 7, 2020
Chen Style Lao Jia Er Lu is a more complex and advanced level routine that is characterized with burst of power emission movements and more martial applications. Understanding how to utilize softness, gentleness, coiling and silk reeling into a burst of power emission and martial application would be the main focus in learning this form.
Begin Learning Chen Tai Chi - August 24, 2020
The Chen-style traditional forms offer progressive training. The first form focuses on Peng, Lu, Ji, An, or Ward Off, Rollback, Press and Push, as primary techniques and Cai, Lei, Zhou, Kao as assisting techniques. This builds our foundation physically and mentally, and is a common focus in many tai chi styles. But, in Cannon Fist, Cai, Lie, Zhou, Kao or Pull Down, Split, Elbow Strike, and Body Leaning Strike are used as the primary techniques and Peng, Lu, Ji, An are used as assisting techniques, which deepens the skill and nuance of your practice.
Vietnamese Martial Arts and Their Role in the Modern World - July 24, 2020
The land we now know as Vietnam has been defined by centuries of conflict. Within the modern-day borders of the country, countless battles for dominance, resources and survival have taken place, thus ensuring the development of many unique fighting styles. Although there has been a long and intertwined history between China and Vietnam (the name Vietnam even stems from the Chinese "Nan Yue" which means "Southern Dwellers",) various geographical, cultural and physical differences have all coalesced to create combat systems that are distinctly different from their northern counterparts.
Tai Chi—A Tradition of Immunity and Health - Part 1 - May 18, 2020
The question many may be asking is if tai chi may protect you from the coronavirus or other conditions. More research would be needed to determine this, and it is important for legal reasons to avoid making any claims that tai chi is a cure for any condition. But the preliminary research related to benefits for immunity and other conditions at least offers hope for enhanced health. And hope in many ways has been considered by many to be one of the best medicines. As noted by Orison Swett Marden, author and founder of Success Magazine, “There is no medicine like hope, no incentive so great, and no tonic so powerful as expectation of something tomorrow.” Here is hoping for a better tomorrow through tai chi.
Metarobics for Immunity - May 4, 2020
Researchers have also looked at the effects of tai chi practice on virus-specific lymphocytes. A study examining the effects of tai chi on varicella zoster (shingles) virus-specific lymphocytes found a significant increase in the number of these lymphocytes in a group of older adults after fifteen weeks of tai chi training. The tai chi group experienced an almost 50 percent increase in cell-mediated immunity to the varicella zoster virus despite not receiving the vaccine, compared to no change in a comparison group. A third group received the shingles vaccine, which resulted in a 75 percent increase in the number of virus-specific lymphocytes.
Unique Taiji Movement Sequences - March 2, 2020
Taiji movements are not like any other exercise. The special choreographed movements are circular and in constant motion. Many gestures cross the body from left to right, from upward to downward, and from right diagonal to left diagonal. It is multidimensional. The footwork is slow, on the diagonal, well controlled, and involves multiple changing stances.