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.
Okinawa is more than the Birthplace of Karate - Okinawa is a Mindset
December 4, 2023
Reflections from Dr. Hermann Bayer and his attendance at “Day of Karate” October 25, 2023 Naha, Okinawa, Japan.
Meet the Author: Christopher Bates talks with Gene Ching (YMAA) about Taiwan history and martial arts (video)
November 27, 2023
Translator and martial artist Christopher Bates talks with Gene Ching about Taiwan history, and the oppression and poverty experienced there post-World War Two. This is also where YMAA founder Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming was born and lived until college. They discuss various Taiwanese martial arts styles and their overlap, including Shaolin White Crane (Bai He), Xingyiquan, Baguazhang and others.
The Shaolin Temple and the Shaolin Diaspora
November 27, 2023
With the Abbot of Shaolin Temple visit to California in November 2023, Staff Writer Gene Ching ruminates over the distinctions between some Shaolin styles of Kung Fu practiced around the world and the curriculum propounded at the original Shaolin Temple of China today
Good Retribution of a Kind Heart
November 20, 2023
It’s easy to talk about righteousness. Living it is difficult.
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.
Qigong Flow to Boost the Immune System - April 5, 2021
With the COVID-19 virus pandemic, understanding the immune system has become an important topic of healthcare and self-care. The immune system is an intelligent matrix of biological structures and processes that protects your body against pathogens like bacteria, viruses, parasites and fungi.
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.
Krav Maga: Lower Back Combatives - March 29, 2021
You can perform krav maga kicks at low, torso and head-level heights. To deliver head kicks, you'll need flexibility, balance, and enough strength to lift your leg. The Israel Defense Force, (IDF), in developing its krav maga program, set up tested candidates, many of who were talented martial artists, to run extensive distances with full combat loads. After an exhausting run in combat gear, the candidates were told to defend against an attack using whatever techniques they felt most comfortable. Few test candidates favoring high kicks could perform them. Their physical exhaustion prior to the fighting tests made high kicking extremely difficult.
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.
Chinese Early Sword Development - March 22, 2021
The Chinese word for weapon, Bingqi originated as the word for a group of weapons including the lance, spear, halberd, pronged spear, sword, and saber. Chinese people certainly used more primitive weapons than these before the advent of the language to describe them. The prehistoric Chinese, like other societies, probably utilized the sticks and stones that lay about.
Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost: Gentle Healing in the Face of Pestilence - March 18, 2021
YoQi is heavily influenced by Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). Marisa takes care to describe the various exercises in terms of the TCM view of organs and acupressure points. In Qigong Flow for Immune System Boost, Marisa does not adopt an Ayurvedic perspective. Like yoga, Ayurvedic medicine originates from India and the two disciplines are intricately connected. There are parallels between TCM and Ayurveda. Both systems describe a vital life energy that flows through the body. In TCM, it is qi that flows through meridians or channels (jingluo in Chinese). Ayurveda calls this energy prana and the channels nadi. However, as tempting as it may be to correlate these two venerated medical systems, they are not the same. It would not be wise to mix them too much.
Avoid Teaching Fear to Your Children - March 15, 2021
Although some fears may be irrational, they are all very real and can have devastating effects on our mental state. The fear of interpersonal human aggression can be very frightening and cause us to avoid interacting with others. The fear of financial loss, the death of a loved one, or sickness are all genuine and relevant fears. As adults, we deal with these fears as best we can, and we try not to let the effects of this fear spread to our children.
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.
The Fight - January 18, 2021
Fights are not static. Things move. People move. Bear-hugs and headlocks and all that stuff happen sometimes in a fight, but they are transitional actions. You do not get bear-hugged just to be held (except by bouncers). A Threat wraps his big arms around you from behind either to pick you up and shake you (disorienting and intended as an intimidating show of strength) or to drive you into a wall. Maybe to throw you over a balcony. If you practice technique-based defense, will they work if the Threat refuses to stand there? If he is using that headlock to slam you from wall to wall?
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.'"
Immune Boost Qigong Breathing - January 4, 2021
Qigong means “energy skill,” and it is a gradual process of becoming familiar with the subtle energy circulating within your body on a cellular level, and how it is changing every day, every hour, second by second. This energy, or qi, is bioelectricity; you are a living bioelectromagnetic field. With continued practice and observation, a qigong practitioner becomes more sensitive and aware of how the body’s energy is fluctuating on a daily basis and why. Repeated qigong practice leads one to gradually feel healthier, and ultimately reach a point of feeling that it is “difficult to get sick.”
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.