Friday, December 21, 2018

You studied a "short form"!

"Hello, I'm interested in talking with you about studying Tai Chi but I'm not sure about what style. I have studied a "short form" and concerned about taking on learning a Long Form, can you explain these differences in things a little?"
First of all I would welcome you in my classes and like to state that I have also done "simplified" and "short" forms myself. If you could indulge my quip here as I paraphrase Mark Twain I should explain that it would take too long to write a "short" answer to your question and so I have to write a "long" one. My teacher has addressed this very well by explaining that the very few old Grandmasters in China dealt with the popularity of Tai Chi by "simplifying" the Long Form. This "simplification" meant it was taught with no "internal discipline" and no explanation. Later these sets of movements were abridged further to containing even fewer movements. These "Short" forms of different styles have become very popular in this day and age. He tells me that the popularity conundrum still exists and the problem is to still teach only a few movements but he has found a new approach to do this. Yes, we teach fewer movements in this additional approach to our "long form" instruction but each movement is to be studied in depth with "internal discipline" as the essential component. The thinking of the "short form" was "less is more" and our approach can be summed up as the same "less is more" with the understanding that teaching a lot of movements will not bestow health benefits. But teaching a few movements with an emphasis on learning even one internal movement very well will give much in the way of health benefit. You can see an introduction and a subsequent series of these movements here starting with the "Introduction" then "Tai Chi Exercise 1 through 11":

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Can you imagine (of all things) the question "How do I breathe while doing Tai Chi" has to be frequently addressed by teachers? For something that really is natural, I have found that people have some pretty unnatural ideas about it. Master Hwa addressed this in explicit detail in his book "Uncovering the Treasure", but I found some information about how his "teacher's teacher" dealt with it. In so many words, old Tai Chi masters never had a doubt about the four words:
'The breathing is natural."

Wu Chien Chuan allegedly said: "While eating or drinking nobody thinks about the breathing. I also never heard, that somebody got harmed by eating or drinking. Let us suggest, that while eating and drinking you also have to think when you have to breathe in and out and how to use the qi. Then it would unavoidably become harmed. That is the easiest way to explain it."

Friday, December 7, 2018

Liked on YouTube: Using Internal Discipline of Classical Tai Chi in Soccer

Using Internal Discipline of Classical Tai Chi in Soccer
Examples of top Soccer Players using Internal Discipline of Classical Tai Chi to generate power in their long ball kicking movements-examples from World Cup 2018.
via YouTube

 Master Hwa's latest video showing the high-level movement of professional soccer players shows and explains detailed momentum based external movement followed by internal movement. Lower quarter body movement of soccer players in this latest Youtube video also shows Yin/Yang pairing quite vividly. As does this photo of Stephen Hwa and Tom Kostusiak I made where it shows blurred/clear mirroring Yin/Yang "pair" separation. Thus putting "...when one part moves, everything moves..." of the Tai Chi Classics out to pasture.

Monday, December 3, 2018

What "it" is

What "it is! 

 Regarding the above "What it is" discussion link and s a teacher of Classical Tai Chi I guess I will never be happy with "...being happy with misplaced praise than ruined by well-placed criticism...". 

 What I think about Rum Soaked Fist's praise on "internal discipline" in sports: First of all in this newest video  Joe Montana and Tom Brady   stabilize the hips and use "upper quarter body" (above the hips). so the statement "...shoulder, hip harmony..." is not germane to explanations. Nor is " ...5 stage map..." as concerns development in Tai Chi and it is off the mark as an explanation of "internal discipline" and thus not sufficient to explain "upper quarter body", etc. However " not something anyone can agree on ..." is somewhat promising. Well, I am somewhat relieved that people at least admit to being bewildered in light of the fact that as my own teacher has said: "...don't argue Jim, it is pointless because they don't do "Internal"..." 

Regarding what Rum Soaked Fist said about videos and "internal" it is difficult to explain, much less "agree" if one has not actually done the trials and tribulations of learning and experience as shown in this video   for example. 

So when they say ( "it's too bad "it" is not something anyone can agree on as to what "it" is, even on an IMA board, when we probably all can agree that it can help in many other ways.") I can only quote my own teacher from his book "Uncovering the Treasure": "There are so many books, classes, and styles of tai chi today. In many of them, there is talk of "internal energy" yet the definition is vague and the route to achieving it left unexplained." ; "The most important instruction on Internal Discipline passed down from Wu Chien Chuan to my teacher Young Wabu is "Every movement in Tai Chi Form has to have two complementary parts of the body, a moving part (called the yang part) and a stationary part (called yin part). When the yin-yang junction is located in the torso of the body, it is an internal move. When it is outside of the torso, it is an external move."