April 26, 2017

Book Review: The Tao of Tai Chi: The Making of a New Science by Bill Douglas

The Tao of Tai Chi: The Making of a New Science

Bill Douglas
SmartTaichi Publishing, 2016
Paperback, 246 pp
US$19.95
ISBN 978-1537117935

The Tao of Tai Ch
i is a very informative, personal, and eclectic book perched on the “boundary” between science and spirituality. Half philosophy, half autobiography, the book gives insights into one man’s journey with taiji (tai chi).

Author Bill Douglas is known to many as the founder of World Tai Chi and Qigong Day, which began in 1999.
For those who are curious about the event’s origin and founder, this book will introduce the thinking and motivation behind this labor of love that has helped spread taiji around the world. Douglas is also author of widely selling The Complete Idiots Guide to T’ai Chi and Qigong (Alpha, 2012).

The Tao of Tai Ch is written more as a conversation with the author. In essence, it is organized as a flow of topics, eschewing standard book formating and page numbers.

Blending of practice into daily life is a given for Douglas. Going to the supermarket becomes a lesson in letting go and seeing the beauty of the universe:

“If I rush into a supermarket I am in a Yang state of mind. I am on a mission with a set of tasks I must perform, holding them, sometimes squeezing them in my heart and mind. However, when I sit in my car before entering the store and ‘breathe’ and ‘let go,’ and fall into that Yin state where my mind lets go of mental control (and my knowing awareness allows the light of the universe, the lightness of the universe, to expand through it), then my spine and nervous system’s sensory awareness lets go of trying to feel or trying not to feel....

“I feel the cool air conditioner on my face as I walk through the doors of the supermarket,. I see the extraordinary beauty of the eggplant’s purple majesty, succulent and massive in its glory. The golden yellow of bananas and peppers, the smells of fruits and flowers...

“I still get things I need done, but it is a completely different reality now.”

This is an inspirational book suited for all readers.


April 21, 2017

World Tai Chi Day April 29, 2017


Join with others around the world to celebrate World Tai Chi Day, April 29, 2017. This fun annual event begins at 10 a.m., and swirls around the world following the sun and clock. Visit their site to find information about events in your area and resources about tai chi and qigong.

November 26, 2016

Review: Concepts for Taiji Partner Training-Dalu: The Four-Corner Push-Hands Training Method

Concepts for Taiji Partner Training-Dalu: The Four-Corner Push-Hands Training Method by Stephen Goodson and Billy Fox
CreateSpace, 2015
paperback, 68 pp
US$25
ISBN 978-1508941224

This slim, succinct volume, Concepts for Taiji Partner Training-Dalu, presents a moving-step sequence related to the “Four Corners” section of solo taiji practice. Dalu, or “Great Rollback,” serves as a complement to typical Tuishou (Push Hands). Tuishou relies on Ward-off, Rollback, Press, and Push, and is most often done with fixed steps. On the other hand, Dalu encompasses Split, Pull, Shoulder, Rollback, and uses moving steps.

After some introductory material, the authors present the solo practice of Dalu, and then its two-person practice. These are followed by application in the form of tifang (uprooting) and “The Game” of how to play with Dalu. Practice and theory are nicely blended, and throughout the book, adherence to the taiji principle of softness is emphasized. “The two-person exercises are akin to practicing tennis with a friend, rather than competing in a tennis match with an opponent.... The cooperative spirit cannot be overstated; competition changes the exercise into a crude wrestling match, which is useless, and your training will be in vain” The authors acknowledge their debt in these concepts and techniques to their teacher Robert Smith, a leading student of Cheng Man-ch’ing (Zheng Manqing).

Concepts for Taiji Partner Training-Dalu is nicely formatted, with clear photography, descriptions, footcharts, and reference materials. It is clearly enough written so that newcomers to Dalu practice will benefit, and those who are more experienced will certainly gain new insights.

October 9, 2016

Tai Chi Excellent for Seniors (and Everyone Else)



 
"According to the 2007 National Health Interview Survey, an estimated 2.3 million U.S. adults had used tai chi in the previous 12 months.[3] That number is growing among aging adults for practical reasons: Tai chi requires no special clothing, shoes or equipment, so it’s affordable; it can be done almost anywhere; its slow, relaxed, and fluid movements are less stressful on aging joints and muscles; when practiced with a group, it lends itself to socializing.
"Most important, though, are the physical and mental benefits that tai chi can provide. In studies by medical researchers, this form of exercise addresses common age-related conditions such as chronic pain, loss of balance and stress. Some studies even show that tai chi can increase flexibility, promote cardiovascular fitness, increase bone mineral density, lower blood pressure and increase aerobic capacity."
 Read this article in full at the National Academy of Sports Medicine website.

September 29, 2016

agingwalking0928 "It’s not too late to get moving: Simple physical activity — mostly walking — helped high-risk seniors stay mobile after disability-inducing ailments even if, at 70 and beyond, they’d long been couch potatoes." Read the whole article at the Post Gazette.

August 28, 2016

World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and TCM


A wide array of experts will present dozens of seminars at the 17th Annual World Congress on Qigong, Tai Chi, and Traditional Chinese Medicine, September 2-5, 2016, in San Francisco. See East West Qi for further information.

New Book on Internal Martial Arts

The Journal of Asian Martial Arts has produced another collection of articles, this one on the sister arts to taijiquan of bagua and xingyi. Taijiquan students may find interesting elements of overlap.

 Bagua & Xingyi: An Intersection of the Straight and Curved
Via Media, 2016
US$17.95

• Single Palm Change: Bagua's Core Movement by Allen Pittman
• Yin Style Baguazhang: Hidden Treasure of Chinese Martial Arts by James Smith, Ph.D.; Matt Bild, Trans.
• How Baguazhang Incorporates Theory from the Book of Changes by Travis Joern
• Baguazhang in the Hong Yixiang Tradition by Hong Dzehan, with Christopher Bates and Robert Lin-i Yu
• Some Insights into Xingyiquan: Interview with Luo Dexiu by Dietmar Stubenbaum and Marcus Brinkmann
• American Boxing and Chinese Xingyi: A Comparison by Robert Lin-yi Yu, M.A.
• Hong Yixiang and Five Fists Xingyi Boxing in Old Taipei by Robert Lin-yi Yu, M.A.
• Insights From the Home of Xingyiquan by Stanley E. Henning, M.A.
• Che Style Xingyiquan in Taiwan as Taught by Dr. Wu Chaoxiang by Stanley E. Henning, M.A.
• One Source, Four Images: Fu Yonghui's Sixiang Boxing by Shannon Phelps, M.A., M.Div.
• Internal Martial Arts of Taiwan: An Interview with Marcus Brinkman by Kevin Craig, M.A.
• Throwing Techniques in the Internal Martial Arts: An Elucidation of the Guiding Principle of
• Sticking and Following by Tim Cartmell, B.A.