October 28, 2008

Lecture on Tai Chi History & Cheng Man-ch'ing

“Cheng Man-ch’ing:
Master of Five Excellences”

A talk by Barbara Davis
Director, Cheng Man-ch’ing Biography Project and editor of Taijiquan Journal
Saturday, November 8th, 2008, 6:30 pm
Sun Gallery, 4760 Grand Avenue South
Learn about this intriguing master of painting, calligraphy, poetry, medicine, and t’ai chi. Cheng is most well known for his role in the spread of t’ai chi into the US in the 1960s. Come explore his life, his dreams, and his prodigious talents. Slides and movies of his artwork and t’ai chi will also be shown .
For further information, read the project blog, call 612-822-5760,
or email editor"at" taijiquanjournal.com.

October 6, 2008

Taiji is True North?

Ever wonder why we face certain directions in taiji practice?
One might argue that it's because "taiji" can refer to the Pole Star, or because the Chinese emperors faced south, or because of the placement of a courtyard used for practice, but the real reason might be in our bodies.
A recent study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences "Direct observations of roe deer revealed that animals orient their heads northward when grazing or resting. Amazingly, this ubiquitous phenomenon does not seem to have been noticed by herdsmen, ranchers, or hunters. Because wind and light conditions could be excluded as a common denominator determining the body axis orientation, magnetic alignment is the most parsimonious explanation. To test the hypothesis that cattle orient their body axes along the field lines of the Earth's magnetic field, we analyzed the body orientation of cattle from localities with high magnetic declination. Here, magnetic north was a better predictor than geographic north."

{Picture} Rob Taverner in the UK practicing taiji in front of his herd. Metro.co.uk

October 3, 2008

Think Twice About Incense

Incense is a mixed blessing, it turns out. Used by some as an aid to rituals or mental focus, heavy use of incense is now linked to some respiratory cancers.
A recent study at the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen followed 61,000 Chinese in Singapore for twelve years, and found increased risk of certain types of cancers. This is further exacerbated by cigarette smoking. (Reported in Cancer October 2008.)