As I have already mentioned in the previous blog Song Jin (Fang Song)is the most fundamental of all the energetic expressions (Jin) that are cultivated in Tai Ji Quan. Without Song there can be no Tai Ji in the Quan. Put simply you will not be able to sense clearly your internal condition or the energetic flow between dynamic states; you will not be able to establish the source or still centre from which the Tai Ji (Yin and Yang) emerges; you will not be able to achieve the therapeutic benefits of practicing Tai Ji as a Qi Gong and neither will you be able to develop Tai Ji style Tui Shou or martial skills to a good level since it is from Song that Peng Jin emerges. Peng being the primary martial Jin and the root expression of the … Read More »
As I have already mentioned in Part-1 the three main boxing systems that are associated most commonly with Nei Jia Quan are Hsing Yi, Ba Gua and Taiji quan. These three systems are bound together by a common conceptual framework, hence their grouping. Internal Boxing systems are an ’embodied’ principle/concept and this separates them from most other systems that have developed primarily around the mechanics of attack and defence, speed, strength and of course stamina. Internal systems are developed out of traditional Chinese cultural concepts and ideas. These same concepts/ideas also can be found manifest in other aspects of Chinese culture like Daoist religion, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Qi Gong, Chinese Art and Feng Shui etc. They are culturally defining and express a cosmology, theories of origination, explanations of natural process and phenomena, illness and disease, seasons, growth and decay, … Read More »
Sorry to say it has been too long since I wrote something but I’m prompted by a reader’s comment regarding the difficulty in using the ‘mind’ or ‘intention’ in practicing Qi Gong.
In writing this I will try to keep the discussion simple since you will quickly see or already know how complex this subject is. So for this blog just assume by the word ‘mind intention’ I mean your ability to focus mental energy in the form of concentration according to a plan or goal and maintain that condition over a period of time to the exclusion of any interference. In Qi Gong ‘intention’ or ‘mind intention’ since ‘mind has characteristics other than intention alone, is a word that is often used too loosely. In qi gong circles it often means anything that requires temporary attention making it all … Read More »
I am always a little bit annoyed but sadly not surprised when martial artists of the more Kick and Punch persuasion laugh at Taiji as a martial art. This prejudice is based upon the common presentation of Taiji as a therapeutic practice only. Whilst it is true that it is an excellent health practice, to practice Taiji without an understanding of its martial content would be to miss its real meaning and to ignore its heritage. Rest assured that it would not have been taught to the Imperial Guard of the Ching Dynasty if it was not considered as a high level Martial art. Indeed the modern founder Yang Lu Chan ( Yang Fu Kui. Died 1872) was known as ‘Yang the Invincible’ which is no mean feet in a period of history where losing a challenge could mean death … Read More »
Finally we have opened new Association training rooms in Finsbury Park, North London. Just a short walk from Finsbury Park station at 20 Blackstock Rd. It’s got our name above the door and occupies the ground floor space below the Seven Heavens Acupuncture clinic all of which is run and managed by two of my senior students.
Already we a have top International teachers offering classes there. We have Master Jerry Tan well known for Mantis Boxing and Indonesian Kun Tao… one of, if not the original master on the block in the UK and Europe. We have Fpd Le Hoang, Master of Muay Thai, Silat and Phillippinno knife and stick arts.Coach for competition fighting and much more. We have Stan Diamond Prescott, Western boxing and Traditional Muay Thai….and as you would expect we have plenty of Tai ji classes. We … Read More »
Several of my senior students recently undertook the traditional Bai Shi ceremony to become ‘Indoor Students’. This means they are now ‘Men Ren’ or ‘ Gatekeepers’ of the Wu Style of Taiji Quan that I was inducted into by my Master, Li Li Qun. This makes them 6th Generation successors. This is counted from Quan You, the originator of the style, to Wu Jian Quan to Ma Yueh Liang, to Li Li Qun and then to me. In the absence of my Master I hope I’ve done the right thing. The greater Wu style family grows each time a successor is appointed, but as we all know that does not always mean that there is harmony in the bigger family.
Bai Shi is a traditional Chinese martial arts initiation which means to make obeisance to the knowledge that has … Read More »
Occasionally, I receive a call or an e mail from someone interested in studying Qi Gong with me. I always ask if they have done any Qi Gong before and what was their experience of it. Often I am told that they learned some movements or perhaps even one of the Traditional methods/forms and most likely add that they like the experience of Qi Gong but do not practice much anymore. If we meet and I see their practice, I will look carefully for the subtle yet distinctive signs of Qi Gong achievement and more often than not I will be disappointed, not for me, but for them. Often what they are doing is only the outward expression of a Qi Gong practice.
Over the years I have come to see that the problem for many learning Qi Gong, certainly in … Read More »
One of the most important achievements in the study of Taiji quan is ‘use mind not force’. This is such an important ingredient that it could be said that if you do not achieve this you are not doing Taiji quan at all. Outwardly this achievement shows itself in the calm demeanour and ease with which the highest level practitioners can divert, move or throw an opponent and exhibit extraordinary levels of control and hence a ‘martial understatement’ that seems as if Taiji quan is a martial art that is not a martial art!
This of course sounds ridiculous but most people who train to a high level, in the ‘Internal Arts” under high level teachers will have seen extraordinary (not mysterious) skills exercised against opponents with no apparent effort but with remarkable effects. Indeed the level of mastery can seem … Read More »
The popular understanding of Taiji quan is mostly based upon film footage of old people in China doing early morning practice in the parks. It is generally referred to as a health practice.
To the uneducated western eye it looks both inscrutable, whimsically mysterious, quite easy and undemanding. It therefore seems hard to understand how it could be considered as either a health exercise or, which was its original purpose, a martial art. In the West and even to some extent in China now, Taiji suffers from this dual personality.
Up until the 1920’s in China, it was a highly regarded martial art that had been taught to the imperial bodyguards of the Ching dynasty and had a formidable reputation and ancient provenance. From the early 20 century onwards many traditional martial arts, owing to a changing social, military and cultural context … Read More »