Loading...

Follow Violet Li Tai Chi on Feedspot

Continue with Google
Continue with Facebook
or

Valid

There is an important Tai Chi (Taiji or T’ai Chi) Chuan principle that in Tai Chi Chuan movement there is neither a straight line nor a plane.  We move our body and arms in a three-dimensional sphere. So the question is: How do we photograph a Tai Chi movement to illustrate it’s fluidity and three-dimensional maneuvering? Many try to capture the true essence of Tai Chi movement but fall short. After years of experimenting with various cameras, lenses, and lighting, Mr. Yin Jie Li 李英杰 of Henan, China found the secret to capturing the dynamic beauty of Tai Chi Chuan on film.  Critics praise him for successfully illuminating the Jing 精 (strength), Qi 氣 (energy), and Shen 神 (spirit) of the Tai Chi masters.

A few months ago, I came across Mr. Li’s photos by accident while browsing through the posting in WeChat (a Chinese social media app on smart phones). I was mesmerized by the exquisite images he created. I was glued to the photos as if I was watching Grandmasters Wang Xi-an, Chen Xiaowang, and Chen Zhenglei performing Tai Chi chuan live in front of me. I was perplexed at how these photos were created. With the kind introduction of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, I was able to interview Mr. Yin Jie Li. 

Mr. Li has been an aficionado of photography since his college years. He has photographed various subjects and events.  Mr. Li is a pubic servant of Wen County, which is in the vicinity of the confluence of the Yellow River and Luo River.  This is the birthplace of ancient Chinese culture or Tai Chi culture.  Wen County is unique because four hundred years ago General Chen Wangting created Tai Chi Chuan in a small village: the famous Chen Village (Chenjiagu).  Chen village is under the supervision of Wen County. So Li sees people in the village practice day and night. He befriended grandmasters and masters of the Chen Tai Chi linage. He photographed them in action and in stillness, in color and in black and white, indoors and outdoors, in the fog, under the moon, in the smoke, on snowy days, at sunrise and at sunset, using flash bulbs, with light and without light. Year after year, gradually he developed a technique and called it Tai Chi photography.  

Tai Chi photography uses photography to demonstrate the Tai Chi philosophy through the Tai Chi Ch’uan fundamentals, mainly Peng 掤, Lu 捋, Ji 擠, An 按, Cai 採, Le挒, Zhou 肘, Kao 靠, Stepping forwards 前進 and backwards 後退, Looking Left 左顧 and Right 右盼, Central Equilibrium 中定, External Three Harmony 外三合, Internal Three Harmony 內三合, Silk Reeling 纔絲, Solid and Emptiness 虛實, Action and Stillness 動靜, Yang within Yin 隂中有陽, Yin within Yang 陽中有隂,  Alternate Fast and Slow Movements 快慢相間, Qi Flowing through Joints One by One 節節貫穿, etc. Even though Li does not play much Tai Chi, he is well aware of the meaning of the Tai Chi movements and the principles required to execute them. Li has developed a profound understanding of Yin and Yang theory, and he realized early on that to capture the essence of the art, one must take the picture at exactly the right moment. 

He utilized a large abandoned warehouse that has no windows and painted the floor black. He employed a special lighting setup with multiple lights. He carefully lengthened the lens exposure to record the actual movements. There is no post-production or manipulation of the images digitally. We can vividly see how a master moves his arms and legs through time.  

There are three Tai Chi photography series. The first collection are Chen Style Tai Chi Grandmasters: Chen Xiaowang, Wang Xian, Chen Zhenglei, and Zhu Tiancai demonstrating Peng, Lu, Ji, and An.  Then Masters Wang Zhan-jun, Chen Bing, Chen Pei-ju, Chen Yuan-yuan, Chen Bin, and a few others demonstrate barehanded movements, weapons, and push hands. (See slideshow below) In general, these photos are more realistic. 

  • Lazily-Typing-the-Coat By Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei
  • Golden-Rooster by Master Chen Yuan-Yuan
  • Cloud-hands
  • Elbow-strike
  • Le by Master Chen Bing
  • Nimble-Dragon by Master Wang Zhan-Jun
  • Push-Hands
  • Push-Hands-2

The second collection consists of photos that are more abstract. Mr. Li tries to use Tai Chi movements to explain the Tai Chi philosophy. We can see the movements and spirits being fused together to exhibit Yin and Yang, opening and closing, and Hardness and Softness are complementing each other. In this collection, he used two Tai Chi practitioners for most shots. Some of the pictures took eight to twelve hours to photograph and some demanded retakes.  (See slideshow below)

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Violet Li Tai Chi by Violet.li@tadi.com - 1w ago

Written by Sifu CJ Rhoads

In the beginning was Tai Chi Farm.

Okay, it wasn’t really the beginning.  After all, Qigong and Tai Chi (i.e. Taiji, T’ai Chi Ch’uan, or Taijiquan) have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years, though not always called by those names.  Even here in the United States teachers from China and/or Taiwan have been around teaching the internal arts since the sixties and seventies. 

But for me, personally, in 1995 my Tai chi teacher brought me to the boonies of New York to join hundreds of other people at the Tai Chi Farm, hosted by Master Jou Tsung-Hwa, and it was an eye-opening experience. Master Jou was a Math Professor from Rutgers University who brought dozens of Tai Chi Masters from different styles and backgrounds together and provided, at a very low cost, a weekend of camping and workshops called the Zhang San Feng Festival after the mythical founder of Tai Chi.

It changed my life. 

My lineage at the time was very insular, and didn’t really associate with other schools and styles.  But at the Farm, not only were there other styles and lineages, they all seemed to get along!  There was very little “my style is better than your style” (although if there was, it wasn’t open and apparent as it would have gone against everything Master Jou Tsung-Hwa believed).  It was through Tai Chi Farm that I got connected to A Taste of China run by Pat Rice in Winchester Virginia, which then connected me to dozens (and over the years, hundreds) of other Tai Chi organizations and events.

Sadly, the original event is no more. After Master Jou Tsung-Hwa’s untimely death due to an automobile accident, the actual Farm in Warwick, New York, was sold. 

  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering
  • Award ceremony hosted by CJ Rhoads (left) and Steve Watson (right) due to the sickness of Loretta Wollering

I provide this background as a foundation for three articles that I plan to write; this one, about Tai Chi Gala, the next one about Tai Chi Park, and the final one about Symposium for Integrative Health, Tai Chi and Qigong.  These three events are directly related to the Tai Chi Farm, children, as it were, of the parent event.  A triumvirate of multi-style Tai Chi Festivals on the East Coast. 

I just recently came from The Tai Chi Gala & Intuitive Arts Retreat which is lovingly run by one of Master Jou Tsung-Hwa’s top students, Loretta Wollering.  Loretta actually did most of the administrative back-end work running the Tai Chi Farm so she is masterful at creating a fabulous event with top-notch teachers and an incredible space.  (For years Loretta ran her event out of hotels and universities, and I have to say that the current space is far superior.  Being together in a smaller space surrounded by nature cannot be beat, and staying together in cabins is ever-so-much-more-community oriented than being in separate hotel rooms or spread out across campus.  And, of course, now that I don’t have to make a too-long trip all the way up to Albany New York, I can just come for a day or two if I need.)  The Poconos, where the location of Tai Chi Gala has been since two years ago, is just a few hours west of New York City, a few hours north of Philadelphia.  The facilities and staff are tremendous.  This year, the food was really good, and the staff was ultra-responsive to our needs. 

  • Tai Chi Sword Class
  • Tai Chi Class
  • Sword Class
  • Tai Chi class
  • Dao De Jing discussion
  • Friendship among attendees
  • Tai Chi class
  • In-house musicians
  • Taoist Incense Ceremony
  • Tai Chi Sword Class

The worst or only problem we had (and it’s a great problem to have) was that so many people came we hadn’t really organized the parking properly initially.  That ended up with a lot of people being asked to move their cars so that others could get out.  But we worked it all out, getting everyone into spots that enabled everyone to get around – good naturedly, of course.  Next year they will probably put some kind of lines in the field to avoid the problem.

This year Loretta tried something new – having a workshop on Friday before the official “beginning” of the event at dinner.  I was honored to be able to teach that workshop, and there were so many people we had to move out of the space allotted and down into the large flat courtyards where there was plenty of room.  I will truthfully say I’ve never taught so many people at one time – somebody said they counted 80 people.  They were all wonderful participants, following along extremely well and showing a great deal of interest in the short form I was teaching.  I’m sure Loretta will do this again – perhaps even expand on it and have more than one workshop on Friday.

The rest of the workshop leaders were absolutely terrific – I didn’t go to a single workshop that I thought was uninspired or boring.  They were all unequivocally great.  Space does not allow me to review the individual workshops, but I can tell you all the great workshop leaders who shared their knowledge, talents, and skills with the attendees (in order of their appearance in the program):  Shifu FengXiao Lu, Shifu Harry Legg, Shifu David Ritchie, Sifu Ken Lo, Shigong RenGang Wang, Shifu William C. Phillips, Shifu Stephen Watson, Shigong Richard Clear, Shifu ZhongHua Lu, Shigong Dr. John Painter, Simo Angel Lo, Shifu Dr. Bob Bacher, Shifu Paul Ramos, Shifu Erik Oliva, Shifu Alan Marshall, Shifu Violet Li and, of course, Shifu Loretta Wollering.

The event was only marred by the fact that for the first two days, Loretta was ill from overwork to prepare for the Gala and unable to take up her normal duties, but it is a testimony to her organizational skills that no-one missed a beat; she had everything lined up so well, we carried on smoothly with everything. She was able to do the Sunday Sunrise workshop to everyone’s relief and delight.

(Edited by Sifus William Phillips & Violet Li. Note: The Editorial Board of www.VioletLiTaiChi.com is not responsible for the content of the article.)

Dr. CJ Rhoads

About the Author: Dr. Christine “CJ” Rhoads has been studying Tai Chi for almost thirty years.  She is the managing director of HPL501c3 Institute, an umbrella organization with over 30 programs and partners devoted to helping develop Health, Prosperity, and Leadership for everyone, everywhere.  Many of those programs are in the Integrative Health world including Tai Chi. 

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Authored by Sifu Alan Ludmer

There is a major problem in the Tai Chi (Taiji) Community regarding accepting and practicing Tai Chi as a martial art.  Many Tai Chi practitioners are averse to the art’s martial aspects. They see TCC’s martial aspects as conflict, unharmonious, dangerous or just unnecessary?  I believe the problem is that that many have very little understanding of value of studying the martial.  It is unfortunate that many current Tai Chi teachers have no or very little martial experience.  We are in danger of losing an incredibly valuable component of our art and a critical vehicle that can enable us to maximize the value of Tai Chi Chuan.

Prof. Huo (left) and Alan in 1970 in Chicago, IL, USA

I was fortunate that I came to the internal arts with years of western boxing and hard old school karate experience.  It exposed me to the most immediate value of the martial arts, self-defense.  Like almost everyone else, I got into the external martial arts to resolve personal issues. The external martial arts provided me with an important measure of self-validation, but never addressed my desire for internal growth. However, over the years I began to redefine my concept of self-defense.

Prof. Huo (right) taught Alan with Tuey looking in 1975 in Chicago, IL, USA

The marital is the key to understanding Tai Chi Chuan

My Tai Chi teachers always stressed the critical value of the martial in understanding the art.  My first introduction to Tai Chi was in Chicago, IL in 1969 with Professor Huo Chi Kwang.  Professor Huo was both a scholar and a superb martial artist.  My size, strength, and years of boxing and karate meant nothing when we sparred. He could dissolve at will and touch me with enormous power.  When we discussed the martial, he always stressed that Tai Chi Chuan was boxing, but boxing for physical and mental health.  The self-defense was secondary.  However, one had to master the self-defense aspects in order to attain the understanding in order to access the higher level physical and mental health benefits. 

Tuey Staples (right) taught Alan in 1975 in St. Louis, MO, USA

In 1975, I moved to St. Louis, Missouri and was very fortunate to become a student of Tuey Staples.  Tuey had an excellent external background and became a profound internal martial artist and teacher.  When I ask him why he practiced the internal martial arts, he replied, “To become one with the universe.”  He teaches that the study of the martial is the key to understanding Tai Chi Chuan.  He sees the internal arts as a vehicle to be in the now, to be truly present.  When you are in the now, you can respond appropriately to any situation, physical, emotional, or psychological.  This is what I now see as Self Defense.

Tai Chi is an art of change.

Demonstrating Torqueue against a punch 1 by Tuey (left)

One can only harvest limited value from the practice of solo form and push hands.  Form tends to foster a rigidly of thought; the form is always this, never that way. Master Somebody always did it this way. So after time, form trumps function. We take an art of infinite flexibility and make it rigid.  We forget the most basic premise of Tai Chi which is the ability to accept and redirect all energy, and that all art is contextual. Although, push hands is an excellent drill for helping interpret your own and your partner’s energy, it is way too limited and structured.  It is now either Tai Chi Sumo or Mush Hands.  To learn the internal, you must expose yourself to those with real internal martial experience. One needs to learn how to execute energetic movement within an appropriate context.

  • Torque 3
  • Torque 2

To truly grow, one needs to liberate themselves from the tyranny of form. Tai Chi is an art of change based upon the individual practitioner’s interpretation and understanding. It is an art of change and constant movement. The intent is the ability to respond to all situations. It is like music. To grow as a musician you transcend from playing other artist’s music to playing your own songs.

Why is the martial critical to mastery? 

Back to the question, “Why study the martial aspects of Tai Chi Chuan?”  This is what I have learned from the internal martial arts:

  • Single whip circles engery back to weighted foot creating a throw
  • Ward off roll back uses chi to withdraw and circle
  • The ability to accept and redirect energy.  Life is not a game of soft pitch.  Life throws all kinds of pitches, at all kinds of speeds, in every direction.  Most practitioners can accept soft slow energy.  What happens when opposition is hard, fast, and focused? Unless our art prepares us to address all situations, then it is incomplete.  The martial teaches the ability to respond to all types of energy and safely redirect it.  This isn’t just physical energy, but also emotional and psychological assaults.  See a parallel to real life?
  • The ability to create your own art.  Form has value, but in time practitioners must learn to make their own movements. Form is like a scaffold for a construction project.  At some point, the scaffold has to come down, and the entity to has to exist on its own.  If you would like a musical analogy; learning a form is like learning one song. However, if you learn composition, melody, timing, etc you can make your own music. There is as much opportunity for creativity in martial arts as there is in any other art form.  The martial stresses creativity under fire.
  • Accept the unexpected.  The martial teaches one to expect and accept the unexpected.  Life is constant change.  Tai Chi is an art of changes.  One learns to detect the energy, blend and redirect it.  The unexpected can cover a universe of encounters, much more than just physical.  The martial teaches us to better handle the unexpected moments of life. 
  • Being in the moment. I have judged a number of Tai Chi tournaments and I’m always dismayed by the lack of focus during form and push hands. Life is what is happening while one is thinking about the past or the future.  We are so caught up in getting to the destination, that we lose the present. The martial teaches one to stay focused, centered, and definitely in the present.  The martial is true reality therapy and woe to those who can’t stay in the now.

Fear of the martial has everything to do with our own perceptions.  I am enormously grateful to my teachers who showed me the true value of the martial. I have learned that kindness, good, and mercy come from the strong, never the weak.  The strong can be elderly, small in statue, any gender, and even disabled. It is not a physical attribute, but a mental one. I see myself as a warrior. Not for evil, but as a warrior for our better values.  Martial arts have made me a better father, grandfather, husband, employer, and human being.

(Edited by Sifu William Phillips. Note: The Editorial Board of www.VioletLiTaiChi.com is not responsible for the content of the article.)

Sifu Alan (left) with Tuey

About the Author: Sifu Alan Ludmer is a St. Louis, Missouri Tai Chi Chuan and Ba Gua Chuan teacher, author, and long-term student of Tuey Staples. He has over 50 years of experience in the internal and external martial arts and can be reached at alanludmer@gmail.com.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

Last June I went to the Chen Village, the birth place of Tai Chi (Taiji) Chuan, to attend the Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s Annual Meeting and Training. As a part of the tradition, the first event of the weeklong program was visiting the Chen Family Ancestry Shrine.  Grandmaster Chen lost his father before 2 and never met his grandparents. However, he is extremely customary and always remembers his ancestors and holds them at the highest pedestal. He led his disciples and bowed in the courtyard. The 70-year-old Grandmaster knelt down on a small cushion set up in a wood platform and kowtowed.  He had an issue when getting up from the cushion and required support. He also had to be assisted when going up and down the stairs. I was shocked to witness these because he was always strong and agile and he could jump straight up on both feet without any prep work and the sound from his foot stumping could vibrate the entire stadium.

Later during the opening ceremony, Grandmaster Chen shared the story of his car accident with over 2,000 participants. It was early in April, he and Simu (or teacher’s wife in Chinese) Lily Lu were in a car on a highway in Shangdong Province during a business trip. The driver seemed dozed off for a second and the car swirled a little; he woke up suddenly and made a rapid corrective turn that sent the car down a ditch. Both Grandmaster and his wife were seriously injured and sent to the hospital. They were hospitalized for weeks and had surgeries. They were just discharged from the hospital not too long ago right before the annual meeting.  They were resting most of the time in a hotel suite during the event. Still, Grandmaster Chen made rounds and visited all training classes. He gave a seminar on Tai Chi Fundamentals and hosted a discipleship induction ceremony. Nevertheless, he was in a bad shape. He showed me his right calf where the white bone was still visible. He told me that luckily no bone was broken but his left arm was pulled out of the shoulder. He was wearing a back brace. His soft tissue throughout the body was severely damaged. I could tell he was enduring pain. There are four 11th generation Chen Style standard-bearers: Grandmasters Zhu Tian-Cai, Wang Xi-an, Chen Xiao-wang, and Chen Zhenglei. Grandmaster Zhenglei is the youngest and the only one who had not retired nor planned to retire yet. But I was afraid with Chen’s accident that we would see all four Warriors faded into the background. 

Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei taught Tai Chi Chuan at the Chinese Central Government in Beijing, China.

About a month ago, I saw a video of him performing at an event hosted by Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine in Fremont, California (see below). It seemed that he got his old strength back. I felt relieved and happy. I called him up and interviewed him at his home in Los Angeles first time after his accident.

Violet:

What was your thought when the accident first happened?

GM Chen:

I was knocked out for a while. Once I came to my senses, first I thought about how fragile our body can be. Then, I said to myself “My mission of promoting Tai Chi is not done yet. So Lao-Tian-Ye (or Old Heaven or God in a Chinese expression) sent me back”.

Violet:

What do you mean by your mission is not done yet? You have taught directly and indirectly millions of people around the world. You have trained more than a thousand disciples. You have authored the most complete set of books on Chen Tai Chi Chuan and various weapons. You have made videos of all the Chen style forms and watched by millions. You have a few hundreds of schools and affiliations not only in China but also in the continents of North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Africa. Your annual meeting in China has more than 2,000 people attending. You taught Tai Chi Chuan at the United Nations as well as the Central Government in China. What else do you need to accomplish to fulfill that mission?

GM Chen:

According to the scientific studies, Tai Chi Chuan has been proven to be the most beneficial exercise system to human beings. However, its awareness and practice is still low among the general population globally. My mission is to make it better known and more accessible to all.

Violet:

How do you plan to accomplish that goal?

GM Chen:

There are three major pillars that I am working on. First is to have Tai Chi Chuan recognized as a non-material heritage by the United Nations. Second is to have a Tai Chi university established in China and help to train qualified instructors. As the world is aging, we need Tai Chi Chuan more than ever.  Currently, there are people who practice Tai Chi but don’t really understand its profundity and the principles. It is essential that instructors have a good training so they don’t misguide others. I can report to you that Zhengzhou University, which is a large reputable institute, is moving toward that goal in a methodical way. The third one is to establish a homeland that truly belongs to all Tai Chi practitioners. It would be a place that not only people practice Tai Chi but also immerse in a culture that enrich modern people’s life.

Violet:

It is rather a miracle how fast you recovered. Can you talk about what you did to expedite the process?

GM Chen:

Due to the impact on the spine and rib cage, I was ordered to lie in bed for two months. I knew it would cause the shrinkage of muscles and reduce the functionalities of joints; therefore, I did Tai Chi exercise in bed, some of them are similar to the Tai Chi warm-ups we do in the class for 30 minutes daily. I also use my arms to move a Tai Chi staff up and down for 30 times. I did much of the meditation* as well.

Violet:

When did you first resume Tai Chi practice?

GM Chen:

I could not move my body until end of last year. The China Central TV Station invited me to participate in a major program to promote Tai Chi. I did not want to pass on the opportunity so I started practice Tai Chi. First I could not Fa Jin (or quick release the energy). Gradually, I am improving. Now I practice Chen 18 form [this form was created by Grandmaster Chen for health and wellness] 10 to 15 times and Lao Jia Yi Lu (or Old Frame Routine One) twice daily.

Violet:

I heard that you are having a busy schedule this year.

GM Chen:

According to my current calendar, so far I am going back to China in a couple of weeks to host a workshop to train the 13th Generation of Chen Tai Chi Inheritors. I will teach at the 2019 International Tai Chi Symposium in Selvino, Italy in May. In early July, I will host the Light of Tai Chi training in Las Vegas. Of course, I constantly work with people in the community to pursue the three pillars that I aforementioned.

* According to scientific studies, meditation has a huge positive impact on people’s health in the area of anxiety, hypertension, irregular heartbeats, chronic pain, insomnia, irritable bowel syndrome, physical ailment and more. Dr. Shin Lin of the University of California at Irvine tested Grandmaster Chen’s brain wave while he was doing Zhang Zhuan (or Standing Post, a Tai Chi meditation form. See a photo in the left above.) in the lab. His Theta, Alpha, and Beta brain waves shot up greatly from the resting positions once he got into the zone and meditated (see a photo in the right above), which means that Grandmaster Chen was able to meditate well.

[一帶一路 The Belt and Road] 陳正雷 - 陳氏太極拳 Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei - Chen-style taijiquan - YouTube
Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei first performance in the U.S. after the car accident

Disclaimer: I am a 12th Generation Chen Style Inheritor under Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei.

Related Articles:

How to take a group picture of 2000 Tai Chi practitioners?

New Phenomena at 2016 Light of Tai Chi

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 
Violet Li Tai Chi by Violet.li@tadi.com - 3M ago

There we were, staring at the horizon from the top of Cadillac Mountain, located in Acadia National Park in Maine. It was 4:40AM. We had made the trek to the top of this eastern most peak of the United States to get a unique view of the morning sunrise. We waited with anticipation.

The crowd cheered when the first sliver of light appeared, then stood silent for an ascent that was unhurried and majestic. There was a feeling of connectivity to this daily event as we witnessed it anew. I suddenly felt the need to play the T’ai Chi form. Was I indulging myself?

Sifu Bill Donnelly

I did not care who noticed. I did not concern myself with what they might think. Instead, I surrendered to an overwhelming feeling of connectivity and power. It was the grand ultimate, the power of nature – and it was sublime.

Look at a potted flower and you see beauty. But what is beauty?  Beauty is defined by the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as: The aggregate qualities of a person or thing that gives pleasure to the senses. So, beauty is satisfying on some level, but it is relative. It is based on an opinion, because each of us sense and interpret the world differently.

Contrast viewing that potted flower with standing in the presence of nature: a sunrise, the ocean, or the giant redwoods, for example.  Nature grants you the sublime.  “To convert into something of higher worth” is the Merriam-Webster definition.  Something that is sublime then, goes beyond itself.

This was touched on by Joseph Campbell in an excerpt from his book, “Reflections on the Art of Living”.  In it he wrote: “The less there is of you, the more you experience the sublime.” The power and grace of nature subdues us. It reduces our ego.  Connecting with natural surroundings provides an opportunity to experience the sublime. 

We also have an opportunity to go beyond our self by learning to experience our inner nature.  This is one of the most valuable results achieved with dedicated T’ai Chi instruction and practice.   The quality of training and practice will determine if you will realize beauty, or the sublime.  The key is to immerse yourself into the experience. 

There are many books written about T’ai chi. One can learn the movements by reading along and following the pictures. But the books were intended to document, not entirely instruct. Books are valuable tools to assist, but one must not get caught up in words and images.  Words are our best attempt to intellectualize, but they are not completely accurate. The word box is not a box, for example.

Words form a basis of perception through memory and association. Past experiences or the intense flow of mediated messages influence a perception that is not aligned with self-nature. It creates a false or inaccurate view of the world.  Words reflect an opinion or perception, but not reality.  The same can be said for images, too.

Sifu Bill Donnelly

Watching someone do T’ai Chi or Qigong in exotic location can have a certain level of benefit.  It is a good doorway to learn or be inspired to learn T’ai Chi.  It might be beautiful too, but it is not enough to bring you to the transcendent. This can only be obtained through your own experience, as guided by master teachers. 

T’ai Chi reveals the truth of action. The subtle and complex structure of each form requires relaxation, concentration, coordination and attention to detail.  The conscious mind is engaged in the smooth execution of the sequence within a strict criterion, which reduces or eliminates the ego.  The mind and its perceptions are subjugated to the physical form in motion, which unlocks the potential of the subconscious, spirit, or soul.

In Yang Jwing Ming’s interpretations of the Dao De Jing, he explains how by keeping “…your mind humble and empty, your heart will be opened and allow for more manifestations.”  He goes on to write:

“…while physical life originates from the spiritual world, its function is to express the potential for spiritual manifestation in the material world.”

The T’ai Chi form connects our physical and spiritual selves as a complete realization.  Through that relationship, the Dao – the great mystery of life, becomes an experienced moment. We connect to the heightened power of the natural world. Truth. The sublime.  The Grand Ultimate. 

BillDonnelly

About the Author: Bill Donnelly is a rare combination of entrepreneur/artisan, adept at building on strength and bringing a creative approach to modern real world life and business challenges. He is a 7th generation lineage holder of Choi Li Fut Kung Fu and has over 20 years of experience practicing and teaching Yang T’ai Chi. Bill has presented lectures, demonstrations, workshops and lessons at world T’ai Chi events, associations, not for profits, networking and education events.  Bill is also an accomplished New York musician, drummer for artists in the world of Rock, Jazz, Funk, World and Fusion music.  Visit him at www.privatetaichi.net.    

Please visit www.VioletLiTaiChi.com for more articles on Tai Chi, Qigong, and healing arts. Share the article on your social media to raise the awareness of the art. Thanks!

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It is challenging to run an annual training program for more than 5 years without repeating itself. How about more than ten years? It takes a special talent and hardworking discipline to pull it together year after year. Sifu Loretta Wollering of Internal Gardens (Boonton, NJ) is exact that type of person with a strong passion to promote the Chinese Internal Art relentlessly and she is now presenting the 2019 Tai Chi Gala with a new exciting program.

Funded in 1977 by late Grandmaster Jou, Tsung-Hwa as “Zhang San Feng Festival”, it was once the largest Chinese internal martial art event in the U.S. It accommodated all internal arts of Wudang, Tai Chi (Taiji), Qigong, Xingyi, Bagua, Xin Yi, and some rare internal martial art styles to honor the Daoist Monk Zhang San Feng. Sifu Loretta Wollering, Jou’s only disciple, took over the stewardship of hosting the event after Jou’s untimely fatal car accident in 1998 and renamed the event the Tai Chi Gala to carry on the tradition. In 2017 Sifu Wollering reverted the Tai Chi Gala to its original concept and selected the rustic yet beautiful Camp Lindenmere (see the slideshow above) in Poconos Mountains, PA to host the event and to be with nature. The Tai Chi Gala has enjoyed its success since. Last year, the Tai Chi Gala grew bigger and attracted young practitioners in their 20’s and 30’s. This year the Tai Chi Gala will be held again at Camp Lindenmere on May 31 – June 2.  

Fifteen Seasoned Internal Art Instructors and a Sifu will share their art with you at the 2019 Tai Chi Gala at Camp Lindenmere on May 31- June 2.

Unlike other type of workshops only focuses on one topic, the Tai Chi Gala offers 30 workshops during the weekend to practitioners of all skill and knowledge level. These courses are suitable for people of all ages. In general, there are four or five workshops taking place simultaneously. This year 16 seasoned instructors and Sigongs from all over the U.S. and Costa Rica are invited to teach a diversity of courses. You can review the credentials of all instructors here.

With its creative design, each workshop session dedicates to a specific topic but many of the lessons can be pertinent to all regardless which styles or forms a practitioner has been studying, for example this year Sifu Ken Lo’s “3 Energy Points of the Head”, Sigong Dr. Painter’s “Yi Chen Gong about Intention Rooting”, Sifu Harry Legg’s “The whole body Breathing”, and Sigong Richard Clear’s “Listening (Ting Jin)”.

Many Tai Chi Gala attendees are long-time practitioners and they participated the events frequently. They appreciate the richness and profundity of the art and are eager to explore more. The Tai Chi Gals satisfies their needs well. There are workshops that teach specific forms, like Sifu ZhongHua Lu’s “Yin Yang Medical Qigong”, Sifu Alan Marshall’s “Introduction to Li Family Tibetan Blue Heron Boxing”, Sifu Violet Li’s “Chen Style Broad Sword”, and Sifu David Ritchie’s “Yang Tai Chi Saber”. Sifu Erik Oliva will teach “Gui Zhen Nei Gong for Strength of Qi and Body”. New to the Tai Chi Gala, Sifu Dr. Bob Bacher will teach the multiple applications of Chen Style Tai Chi’s “Buddha’s Warrior Attendant Pounds Mortar Post” used in self-defense. Sifu Paul Ramos will teach an interesting subject of “Push Sword” based on the same principles of Push Hands. Fascinatingly many of the classes are suitable for both the advanced practitioners as well as the beginners. Many instructors come to the Tai Chi Gala to enrich their knowledge and skills so they can share with the students back home.

  • Show original
  • .
  • Share
  • .
  • Favorite
  • .
  • Email
  • .
  • Add Tags 

It was a lifetime experience to perform Tai Chi Chuan with great musicians of our time, not to mention in the magnificently beautiful Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York City, New York.

Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine

Recognized as one of the most artistic musicians with multi-disciplinary performance, Laurie Anderson won her first Grammy for her collaboration Landfall with string quartet Kronos early this year.  Laurie and Lou met in 1992 and married in 2009. Lou died in 2013 due to a liver disease. After the passing of Lou, Laurie has been bringing his guitars on the road and installed them at various venues, mostly in cathedrals. To honor Lou’s idea of creating drones, Laurie named it the Lou Reed Drones. So far, it has been performing 15 times in cities across Europe and the U.S. Laurie would invite top-notch musicians from the area to partake. They all play music in an improvising fashion.

Legendary Lou Reed was known for his global influence on rock music for the past four decades.  He was a visionary and had the talent to experiment different genres of rock music. Starting when he was with the Velvet Underground, Lou would place guitars against amplifiers, which would create a droning or humming effect before a concert started.  This technique was adopted in some of his songs. It can be “ear-bleedingly loud” according to his wife Laurie Anderson.

Laurie Anderson played viola during the Lou Reed Drones

Designed in 1888 and located in Manhattan, New York, Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine is the world’s largest church. The church is a magnificent artwork itself due to its incredible architecture and has a large collection of artistic creations of the Great Bronze Doors, Altar for Peace, Banner of Humankind, Compass Rose, Menorahs, etc. The Cathedral has a unique mission, which allows people from different faiths and communities worship together in services held more than 30 times a week.

  • A Sign of the Value of the Sanctuary outside of the Cathedral
  • Artwork in the Cathedral
  • The short description of the exhibit of the Value of the Sanctuary
  • The Nave in the Cathedral
  • The Exhibition of the Value of the Sanctuar
  • The Exhibition of the Value of the Sanctuary
  • Artwork inside the church
  • The Collective Heart by Eva Petric hung at the Altar

Based upon the founding principles of the Cathedral, the Value of Sancturay also intends to call the attention of the pressing issues of the 21st century. There are more than 40 artworks from around the world installed in the church and begging for the questions of “what does it mean to be a house of welcome and of refuge, to offer sanctuary to those in needs? What are the threads connecting us? And where do we draw the line?” — quoted from the Exhibition web page. The Lou Reed Drones at the Cathedral was part of the Value of Sanctuary.

  • Lou Reed’s guitars in front of the Altar
  • Lou Reed’s guitars

At 6:15 pm on Wednesday March 13, the Cathedral first played the traditional choir music. It was ushering the Lou Reed Drones. At 6:30 pm, seven in front of the altar Lou Reed’s guitars were on display. Lou’s former guitar technician Stewart Hurwood tuned the guitar. With the large amplifiers cranked to the top, the guitars vibrated and their vibrations were transmitted to the amplifiers and created a humming effect. Depending on where people stood, the sound levels varied. While the drones were blasting, Tai Chi Chuan Grandmaster Guang-yi Ren and award-winning record producer Tony Visconti demonstrated a routine called “Tai Chi 21” as a tribute to Lou.

Grandmaster Guang-Yi Ren and Tony Visconti performed “Tai Chi 21” in front of Lou Reed’s guitars in the choir section.

Grandmaster Ren created “Tai Chi 21” years ago when he was teaching Lou Reed. It is compact in time and does not require a large space to practice and is suitable for small apartments in cities like New York. It was Lou’s favorite. Lou helped to name it. During his memorial at the Apollo Theater in New York, Laurie told friends that Lou was playing “Tai Chi 21” with his arms right up to his death.

  • Sarth Calhoun on Continuum Fingerboard
  • Lou Reed’s guitars in front of the Altar

There was a platform set up in the church Crossing for Tai Chi Chuan performance.  Around 7:30 pm, Grandmaster Ren and his students started to take turns to perform various kinds of Tai Chi while Laurie on viola, Sarth Calhoun on Continuum Fingerboard, and other musicians on saxophone, drums, and guitar playing music notes in a spontaneous fashion along with the humming sound. I was grateful to be invited to do three solo pieces of Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong forms. Grandmaster Ren led the group played “Tai Chi 21” at the end of the Tai Chi performance. (see video below)

    A scene at the Lou Reed Drones

    The concert lasted five hours.  People entered the church at different times. Some stayed for the entire time while others left after strolling around, stopping to look at the art pieces, and listening to the music. Some sat on the chairs while others lay on the floor. Matt, a local painter, came with his wife. He followed Laurie’s career for years.  He plays music on the side and appreciates Laurie’s advent-garde approach to music.  One attendee told me that she felt the stillness. I asked her how about the Tai Chi performance, which was moving constantly. She replied that there was stillness in every move. Another person told me that she had an out-of-body experience. Crazy may it sound, with the deafening humming, people in general commented that they felt relaxed and serene.

    • Show original
    • .
    • Share
    • .
    • Favorite
    • .
    • Email
    • .
    • Add Tags 

    I vividly remember some of the new students’ jaws dropped when I mentioned that Tai Chi (Taiji) Chuan is the grand ultimate martial art that is extremely powerful and effective. To non-practitioners, Tai Chi Chuan and other internal Chinese martial arts are intriguing and somewhat ‘mysterious’ because they are not just martial arts, but also healing arts. Even long-term practitioners have a hard time explaining how these two arts are fused together.

    Loretta Wollering (Sarah Schwartz Photography)

    Loretta Wollering (Sarah Schwartz Photography)

    Sifu Loretta Wollering (New Jersey), gave a brilliant presentation to explain the relationship between the healing art and martial art during the second Annual Symposium for Integrative Health, Tai Chi & Qigong (Sept 7-9, 2018). The goal of martial arts is to protect and defend oneself or someone else, to deflect the attack from an opponent or to remove an obstacle, to defeat the rival, or even to destroy and kill the enemy. Loretta stated that the same goal holds true for health; that our body is to protect our health and overcome viruses, germs, and diseases. In martial arts, we learn when to fight and when to flee; the same can be said regarding our immune system. She emphasized that good Tai Chi comes from the adherence to the principles, i.e. relaxation, rooting, proper body alignment, deep breathing; indisputably, the same principles are also essential for a healthy body. Not only one can apply the same principles to improve his or her own health, the same principles can also be employed to provide therapy to others. She instructed workshop attendees to pair up with each other and taught them a couple of medical massage techniques. Students felt effortless when they utilized the Tai Chi principles to render the massage and the people massaged also felt greater comfort when it was done correctly. Sifu Wollering underlined that the difference between martial art and healing art is the intent (or Yi in Chinese), which can direct the energy toward the target for respective purpose.

    Silk Reeling Workshop photoed by Bill Li

    The second Annual Symposium for Integrative Health, Tai Chi & Qigong was held at Maris Stella Conference & Retreat Center in Long Beach Island, New Jersey. Long Beach Island, or LBI fondly nicknamed by the locals, is east of the New Jersey seaboard in the Atlantic Ocean and connected to the mainland via New Jersey State Route 72. It is 18-mile long with the widest part only a half mile from beach to beach. It is considered a barrier island for New Jersey as well as a beach lover’s paradise and summer colony for well-to-do people residing in cities like Manhattan (NY) and Philadelphia (PA), and states of Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. There is no chain store, i.e. The Capital Grille, T.G.I. Friday’s, McDonald, or even Starbucks on the island. Most buildings are one to three-story Victorian houses with wood sidings painted in light muted colors. There is no Hilton or Howard Johnson; hotels are small and likely owned by locals. LBI is family-friendly and has no exuberant nightlife. It offers a majestic feel of nature, tranquility, and energy. No wonder Sifu and Dr. CJ Rhoads spent two years diligently pursuing the Maris Stella Center to host the symposium and was finally granted her wish.

    Bill Douglas (Sarah Schwartz Photography)

    The mission of the symposium is to help people connect, network, present, and share information about all aspects of integrative health and leadership. Even though it was a small symposium with 39 attendees, it consisted of six tracks: Health, Form, Push Hands, Weapon, Academics, and Meditative/Spiritual with 18 different workshops, presentations, and discussions. Sixteen Tai Chi and Qigong Laoshi’s (or teachers) from 7 states attended the event. Unlike large conferences, this symposium’s presentations were 50-minute-long and progressed one after another like a string of small pearls.

    “Nei Gong (or internal power)” may sound esoteric, which can cause some individuals to stay away from it; on the contrary, some people are yearning for it, but afraid that they have to go through arduous training for decades to obtain it. Bill Douglas (Kansas), the co-founder of The World Tai Chi & Qigong Day, unveiled the secret of Nei Gong in his presentation. First he asked attendees to sit in a relaxing manner and let go of the left-brain thinking. He guided everyone through meditation to reach a state of total relaxation. He then instructed participants to conduct two simple maneuverings. It was amazing that people became much stronger when they were totally relaxed and that was Nei Gong at work.

    A moment at the symposium (Sarah Schwartz Photography)

    Aside from Wollering and Douglas’ presentations, there were workshops with profundity. Steve Arbitman (PA) taught “Two-person set of Yang Style Tai Chi”; Sandra Balint (NJ) instructed “Mu Lan Fushion Fan”, Lucy Bartimole (OH) talked about “Tai Chi and Essential Self”, Luke Jih (NJ) spoke on “Taoist’ Cultivation of Body/Mind/Spirit”, Violet Li (MO) taught “Chan Si Jin (or Silk Reeling)”, Ken Lo (NY) hosted “Cha Dao: The Way Of Tea”, William Phillips (NY) shared “Neutralization Exercises for Push Hands”, CJ Rhoads (PA) spoke on “Vision of a Unified Integrative Health Network”, Kevin Siddons (PA) taught “The Bear Frolic from the Five Animal Frolics”, Tom Tague (NJ) shared “Eight Pieces of Brocade Qigong”, Jingshan Tang (PA) instructed “Six Healing Sound Qi Gong”, Stephen Watson (CT) spoke on “The Body as Philosopher” , Ramsey Yunan (NJ) instructed “Temple Style Training Methods for Tai Chi and Qigon”, and Chet Zeiger (NJ) presented “A Chinese Medical Approach to Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome”.

    A scene at the Symposium (Sarah Schwartz Photography)

    The attendees appreciated the opportunity to learn different styles of Tai Chi and Qigong and to understand the abundance of the internal art. Most participants are instructors themselves so they were able to provide valuable feedbacks to the presenters. It was a good occasion to exchange knowledge and trade skills and techniques among instructors. Many commented that the symposium contributed an arena to reconnect practitioners from different places with old friends and make new friends in a non-competitive and caring environment.

    (Edited by Doc Luecke.)

    Related Articles:

    Please visit www.VioletLiTaiChi.com for more articles on Tai Chi, Qigong, and healing arts. Share the article on your social media to raise the awareness of the art. Thanks!

    • Show original
    • .
    • Share
    • .
    • Favorite
    • .
    • Email
    • .
    • Add Tags 
    Violet Li Tai Chi by Violet.li@tadi.com - 11M ago

    I was looking for photos to use in the article “Master Richard Clear on Internal Push Hands” in my Apple TimeMachine and realized that I first attended the Tai Chi Gala in 2010 as an on-site journalist assigned by Kung Fu Tai Chi Magazine to report the event. In recent years, I have felt honored to be invited by the Gala to teach workshops. My involvement with the Gala is relatively short in comparison with many others who have attended the event for more than 30 years.

    Sifu Loretta Wollering (front, center) led a Tai Chi practice.

    Grandmaster Jou Tsung Hwa founded the Zhang San Feng Festival in 1977. Beginning in 1984, the event was held outdoors at his Tai Chi Farm for years until his accidental death in 1998. The Zhang San Feng Festival was a major event in the U.S. and attracted practitioners from all over the country and abroad. Jou’s only disciple Sifu Loretta Wollering took upon the stewardship to run the event after his passing and rechristened the event the Tai Chi Gala to honor him and the tradition. This year, the event was held again at Camp Lindenmere on June 1-3 with Jiulong Baguazhang Circle with Dr. John Painter the following week.

    The Bai Bu practice

    The grounds at Camp Lindenmere were pristine with lush grass, lavish bushes, and gorgeous trees. There was a large lilac tree outside my window blessed with blossoming flowers and permeated the area with its sweet fragrance. The weather was pleasant in the high 60’s and low 70’s. A few attendees pitched a tent to enjoy the wonderful setting presented by nature. Wooden benches, Adirondack chairs, and wrought iron lawn furniture were scattered around on the terrace, underneath the trees, in screened porches, or out in the sun and were perfect for attendees to gather and share stories, engage in heated yet friendly debates on the internal arts, and laugh with each other during workshop breaks.

    Push Hands practice

    A student practiced Mu Lan Fan

    Like all families, the Tai Chi Gala has gone through changes within and grown organically. Many of previous students have long becoming instructors themselves. They are invited to share their knowledge and skills by teaching workshops. This year altogether 15 instructors presented. Sifus Sandra Balint, Robert Castaldo, Richard Clear, Lester Holmes, Violet Li, Ken Lo, Joseph Ng, Erik Oliva, Yancy Orchard, John Painter, CJ Rhoades, David Ritchie, Stephan Watson, Wang Ren-Gang, and Loretta Wollerning offered 30 different workshops, which covered a wide spectrum of the subjects in the internal martial arts of Tai Chi, Bagua, Qigong, XingYi, Wu Mei Pai, Da Chen Quan, etc. The workshops included form learning, practice of martial art applications, and Push Hands. In the past, I tried to cover as many classes as possible. However, with 5 or 6 workshops taking place simultaneously, it was impossible to report on all of them. I changed my strategy. I decided to be a student myself when I wasn’t teaching.

    During a Dao Yin class

    I didn’t have any specific agenda to pick the classes to take. However, I truly enjoyed Dr. Orchard’s class of Daoyin 導引to develop Yi 意(Intention), Song 鬆(Relaxing), and Nei Jin 內勁 (Inner Force) especially since I had a few headaches days leading up to the Gala and didn’t have much rest. With his Daoyin technique, I was fully rejuvenated afterwards. I admire Dr. Painter’s talent to make every learning opportunity fun. His Bai Bu 擺步 class was no exception. In a light-hearted atmosphere, he showed the power of Bai Bu for longevity and self-protection. I have a monkey-mind and can’t concentrate to meditate for long unless it is a guided meditation. Sifu Ren-Gang Wang certainly made me experience something unique when I was quietly standing with other attendees for an hour. Sifu Richard Clear can focus on one small topic and drill it down to let participants to realize its profundity and his workshop of “Internal Skill of Coiling” did just that.

    A Chicago family at the 2018 Tai Chi

    Felt the other person’s center of gravity.

    The 2018 Gala was also an intuitive arts retreat and enriched with special workshops of “Kung Fu tea tasting”, “Tai Chi applications in Life”, “Taoist Hand Mudras Work for Health, Wealth, Protection & Inner Peace”, “the Spirit of Chinese Calligraphy”, and “Conversation and Meditation with a former Buddhist nun”. During the long weekend, people could go to a “quiet room” that was furnished with Tibetan singing bowls, essential oils, and mala beads to meditate on their own. But the majority of attendees chose to be active and pushed hands with their fellow Tai Chi enthusiasts on the deck, in the lawn, under a tree, or in the cafeteria whenever they found time.

    The 2018 Tai Chi Gala Merit Awardees (from Left to right) Sifus Richard Clear, Lester Holmes, CJ Rodes, and Rich Hamel with Host Sifu Loretta Wollering (center)

    Merriam-Webster defines family in eight different ways; one of them is “a group of people united by certain convictions or a common affiliation”. No doubt that the Gala participants all possess the love for the internal arts. But I will not call Facebook groups families even though most of them having the same conviction for something. I think a family needs to have warmth, trust, and comfort within it organically. Members don’t need to be pretentious or superficial toward each other. I remember that I was playing a drum and jumping around the campfire like a child during the big bonfire on Saturday night. I was silly and carefree so were others. The 2018 Gala was a fun and inspirational family reunion. I can’t wait for the next year!

    (Edited by Doc Luecke.)

    Related Articles:

    Please visit www.VioletLiTaiChi.com for more articles on Tai Chi, Qigong, and healing arts. Share the article on your social media to raise the awareness of the art. Thanks!

    • Show original
    • .
    • Share
    • .
    • Favorite
    • .
    • Email
    • .
    • Add Tags 

    Push Hands is a two-person Tai Chi exercise. It is done in a civil and friendly condition. The goal is to overpower the other person without throwing the opponent off in a harmful manner. It is the most appreciated activity at the annual Tai Chi Gala. Each year there are multiple courses offered by a few instructors teaching the various techniques of the art.

    Master Richard Clear has studied Tai Chi and Qigong in the U.S. and China. He began his study of the art at a very young age after being diagnosed with degenerative arthritis. Later, he experienced no pain from the arthritis and became very agile physically. According to his website, he is a 3rd generation lineage holder in Tai Chi from Lee Ying Arng, a senior student under Yang Style Tai Chi Grandmaster Yang Chen Fu. Master Clear’s earliest Sifu Tyrone Jackson was Richard’s early Tai Chi teacher. Master Clear began teaching Tai Chi in 1985, but he continues his study in Tai Chi, martial arts, psychology, philosophy, alternative medicine, and physiology for over 40 years. He was an inductee of USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2007 and 2011. Richard was a recipient of the 2018 Tai Chi Gala Merit Award for his long-term dedication to the art and his innovative way of teaching.

    Richard Clear (right) felt his opponent’s energy.

    Richard’s Push Hands classes were well attended at the Tai Chi Gala year after year. During this year’s Gala, he taught “Make Your Tai Chi Come Alive with the Internal Skill of Coiling” on Sat. June 2. Actually, this is part of Clear’s Internal Push Hands training. So what does his training method comprise?

    The basic method includes the following steps:

    1. Both people place both hands below the neck and above the waist. – This is different from the authentic Chen Style Tai Chi or Yang Style Tai Chi Push Hands method. But in tournaments, people would start pushing the opponent once the three circling is done.
    2. Relax and sink your root and energy.
    3. Try to feel the opponent’s energy.
    4. Slowly push the opponent to sense the opponent’s root. If you find their root, they will have to adjust their position to change their root.
    5. Keep your own root down and hidden.
    6. Adjust your own root if found by the opponent.
    7. Continue the process to find their root and hide your own.

    The training progression is very important, Master Clear offers the below key points:

    1. Listen for the opponent’s hear beat.
    2. Feel their energy move inside their body.
    3. Sink your own energy by dissolving it.
    4. Sink and dissolve while you push.
    5. Feel the depth, blockages, and stiffness of the opponent’s root/energy.
    6. Help find and troubleshoot the opponent’s lack of depth, blockage, and stiffness.
    7. Play the Root Deeper Game to make sure that your root is deeper or lower than their’s.
    8. Quickly drop your root lower than their root with ease so they cannot detect your change.
    9. Try different hand positions
      • Plan both of your hands under the opponent’s armpits or hands on his waist. This is the strongest position.
      • One hand on waist and the other under armpit or one hand on waist and the other on shoulder.
      • Other options: hands on shoulders, hands on elbows, hands on forearms, or hands on back.
      • If you are a less skilled player during a Push Hands maneuvering, try to employ the strongest hand position if you can.
    10. Richard Clear (right) overpowered his opponent.

      Use the principle of 4 ounces to move 1000 pounds if an opportunity presents itself.

    11. The key to win the Push Hands maneuvering is the sensibility. Richard says that we can do sensitivity training everyday for example when you shake a person’s hand or just simple touch another person.
    12. Start to push the opponent slowly if you sense they are about to push you so you can negate their intention and energy.
    13. Feel the direction of the opponent’s energy through the contact with their arm.
    14. Sometimes we can just tell where the stiffness or root imbalance is by sight.
    15. Tell the difference between an opponent’s physical energy and mind intent.
    16. Manipulate an opponent’s internal energy with your own mind.
    17. Block the opponent’s mind intent.

    As people’s skill level increased, Richard can also teach people how to move a novice without physical touching him.

    Embedded in this article are two lessons taught by Richard. If you have any question, you can visit his website for more info.

    Internal Push Hands Lesson 1

    Internal Push Hands Lesson 1 - YouTube

    How to Feel Errors Inside the Opponent – Push Hands Lesson 2

    How to Feel Errors Inside the Opponent - Push Hands Lesson 2 - YouTube

    (Edited by Doc Luecke.)

    Related Articles:

    Please visit www.VioletLiTaiChi.com for more articles on Tai Chi, Qigong, and healing arts. Share the article on your social media to raise the awareness of the art. Thanks!

    Read for later

    Articles marked as Favorite are saved for later viewing.
    close
    • Show original
    • .
    • Share
    • .
    • Favorite
    • .
    • Email
    • .
    • Add Tags 

    Separate tags by commas
    To access this feature, please upgrade your account.
    Start your free month
    Free Preview