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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Tai Chi, Metarobics, and Immunity - February 17, 2020
Tai chi practice has been shown to have beneficial effect on T cells. In a study conducted at the Chang Gung Institute of Technology in Taiwan, 12 weeks of tai chi practice resulted in a significant increase in regulatory T Cells. Monocytes (large white blood cells) also decreased significantly. Lower Monocyte counts are an indication of good health, since Monocytes increase in response to infection and chronic inflammation, indicating poor health.
Why Tai Chi and Qigong Assists in the Healing of Depression - January 6, 2020
I was surprised to see so many people suffering from depression during my time of taking care of patients from 1997 to 2013. Many of their problems were not genetic, which can often be the underlying cause of depression.
Maximizing Metarobic Effects - December 16, 2019
Those forms of exercise that focus on relaxation, efficient movement, and slow, deep breathing yield consistently higher blood oxygen saturation levels, as well as feelings of enhanced oxygen diffusion. This includes relaxation- and breath-focused forms of qigong and yoga. Since one of the drawbacks of traditional formats of tai chi is the long learning curve, I developed an easy-to-follow format. This format consisted of shifting the feet back and forth in place through the range of movements found in tai chi, focusing on movements that maximize Metarobic effects.
Metarobics, Tai Chi and Alzheimer’s - June 10, 2019
Alzheimer’s is a scary disease. To go from having memories and full mental functioning to not knowing who you are, a decline in mental and physical functioning, and eventual death—what can be scarier than that? And as a disease, Alzheimer’s is becoming increasingly prevalent. According to the Centers for Disease Control, death rates from Alzheimer’s disease increased 55 percent between 1999 and 2014. Approximately one-third of all people age 85 and older may have Alzheimer's disease. Although genes and environment can play a factor, much of the growth of Alzheimer’s may be linked to a more sedentary lifestyle.
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).
A Fight of No Fight (無爭之爭) as told by Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming - April 15, 2019
The best way to win a fight is without fighting. Often you can win a fight with wisdom, and this is better than physically beating someone up. Instead of aggression, use patience and endurance to succeed. Big successes always come from many little efforts.
The First Rule of Self-Defense - April 8, 2019
I’m fond of telling my martial arts students that the First Rule of Self-Defense is “Don’t get hit.” After all, how can you be defeated if no one hits you? This rule makes perfect strategic sense from a pugilistic perspective. However, there is a better and more broadly applicable rule that I prefer to stand by: “Protect your best interests.” What is self-defense, really, if not protecting, or defending, your best interests? The advice “Don’t get hit” is simple and unambiguous, and therefore easy to understand.