Yin-Yang Theory of Movement and Stillness in Taijiquan
January 22, 2024
If you are able to understand the theory of calmness, then you can comprehend the applications of Jìng (i.e., martial power). Reading Time 6 minutes
Thoughts from the Tai Chi Science Conference at Harvard in Boston, Massachusetts
December 11, 2023
Numerous research findings indicate that Tai Chi & Qigong is as effective as, if not more effective than, conventional exercise, physical therapy, and cognitive-behavior therapy.
November 6, 2023
When you practice Tàijíquán skills to a high level and have reached the state of “fight of no fight” (i.e., regulating without regulating), then every action is ultimately natural, comfortable, skillful, and effective. This is the stage of “fighting with enlightenment.”
This is the Way…of the Dao
September 25, 2023
If you practice Chinese martial arts or qigong, how important is it to understand Daoism? YMAA Staff Writer Gene Ching ruminates on this by reflecting upon his own personal history as a practitioner who is not Daoist.
Importance of Regulating the Emotional Mind in Taijiquan
August 28, 2023
In the last seven centuries many songs and poems have been composed about Tàijíquán. These have played a major role in preserving the knowledge and wisdom of the masters, although in many cases the identity of the authors and the dates of origin have been lost. From these songs and poems, Tàijíquán practitioners have had a guideline or a map which continues to lead them to the correct path of practice. Most of these documents were considered secrets in every Tàijíquán style. It was not until the last few decades that these secrets were gradually revealed to the general public. In the last twenty years, Dr. Yang has translated and made commentary on many of these documents.
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.
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.
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.
Xingyi, Bagua, Taiji and Liuhebafa - August 26, 2019
The approach to teaching and studying martial arts in China was based upon a monastic tradition that is characterized as door, hall, and chamber teaching. In times past the monastery, both Daoist and Buddhist, served as schools for medicine, the classics, and martial arts.
Bagua for Beginners - June 17, 2019
Bagua Zhang, Taiji Quan, and Xingyi Quan are known as three major internal martial arts styles in China. Bagua literally means "Eight Trigram" and Zhang means "Palm." The original name of Baguazhang was Zhuan Zhang, which means “Turning Palms.” This refers to the way the art is practiced—moving around a circle, turning the palms in various ways.
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).
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.
Yang Taijiquan at Medium Speed – A Bridge to Understanding Jing Training - March 18, 2019
Contrary to what is commonly seen in parks or in pharmaceutical commercials, Taijiquan movements can be quick and used for combat. For martial proficiency, the natural progression is slow, medium, then fast. Medium speed is the bridge to understanding different types of "jing" (martial power 勁) and applying "fa jing" (manifesting explosive martial power 發勁) in future practice.