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
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

• 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.

July 7, 2016

Women and Asian Martial Traditions
Edited by Michael DeMarco
Via Media 2016
US$18.95 paperback, 174 pages, illustrated 

 The Journal of Asian Martial Arts continues to compile special-interest anthologies of material from past issues. The latest offering is a group of twelve articles about women in the martial arts:

 • The Role of Arms-Bearing Women in Japanese History by Ellis Amdur

• Martial-Acrobatic Arts in Peking Opera With a Brief Analysis of Fighting Movement in a Scene from The Three-Forked Crossroad by Haishing Yao

• War and Worship: Evolution of Martial Music and Dance in India by Bandana Mukhopadhyay
• Ulla Werbrouck: Olympic and European Judo Champion Retires by David Finch

• The Art of Conversation: Random Flow Training in Visayan Corto Kadena Eskrima by Majia Soderholm
• The Ki to a Lasting Marriage: The Application of Internal Martial Arts Principles in the Marital Dojo by Richard Vogel

• North Korean Kye Sun Hui, An Extraordinary Olympic Judo Player by David Finch

• The Maiden of Yue: Fount of Chinese Martial Arts Theory by Stanley E. Henning
• Fighting Women of Kabuki Theater and the Legacy of Women's Japanese Martial Arts by Deborah Klens-Bigman
• Learning India's Martial Art of Kalarippayattu: Unsettled Ecologies of Gender, Class, Culture, and Ethnicity by Sara K. Schneider
• Why Women Need Sunzi's Book The Art of War by Becky Sheetz-Runkle
• Silat-Based Randai Theatre of West Sumatra Makes Its U.S. Debut by Kirsten Pauka

June 7, 2016

The Professor: T'ai Chi's Journey to the West

"The Professor:  T'ai Chi's Journey to the West" chronicles Professor Cheng Man-ch'ing's decade in the United States. Told in the words of Cheng's direct students and family, this feature documentary film casts a spell that brings the 1960s to life again...."The Professor" is highly recommended for anyone interested in t'ai chi, Asian martial arts and spiritual disciplines, Chinese-American history, later twentieth-century America, and in understanding the nuances of global cultural exchange on a very personal level. Beyond this, "The Professor" is an intimate look at how big an impact one person can have on so many lives."
Read the complete review of this recently released movie at the Cheng Biography blog.

March 21, 2016

World Tai Chi and Qigong Day 2016

Join people from across the globe in this great health-inspiring event! At 10 in the morning, local time, on Saturday, April 30th, people will gather to practice Taiji and Qigong of all styles, in an effort to share these wonderful healing exercises from ancient China. Taiji and Qigong help balance your energy, strengthen your body, focus your mind, improve your balance, and help you relax!

Check your local newspapers for information, or check the organizers' website.