Classes in Qigong (Qi Gong), Taiji (Tai Chi), Xingyi (Hsin i) and Bagua (Pa Kua) in Guelph, Ontario. Learn these
traditions in an open, non-competitive environment.
Information on the club, class schedules and resources for students can be found in the navigation bar above.
I hope the blog entries below provide interesting reading and food for thought for everyone interested in the internal arts.
Practice in the Park
Drop-in classes in Qigong, Bagua and Xingyi on Wednesday evenings throughout July and August.
Someone recently described running as a selfish form of exercise. I understood what he meant and understood the implications for Taiji practice.
I think people reach only a certain level in Taiji because they approach practice selfishly. Group practice can counter this and can even provide practical skills. You train an awareness of your surroundings and a matching of movement and timing with the people around you.
Whether with a group or solo, Taiji is a not navel gazing practice.
(photo by Kjell Tjensvoll. Click image to see his Flickr page)
Chen Taiji Seminar with Chen Zhenglei, May 5 and 6, 2012
The Laojia Yi Lu and Er Lu classes
started with a series of warm up movements to loosen the joints.
The Saturday morning included Silk Reeling / Spiral Rotation practice. Including the following:
Side single hand
Backwards double hand
Front and back double hand
These exercises are detailed in “Chen’s Taichi For Health And Wellness” the first in a five book series translated by Jack Yan and published by White Bench Press.
Grandmaster Chen explained how tai chi practice can build internal Qi, strengthen the internal organs and fill the Ren and Du vessels, promoting the flow of the micro-cosmic orbit.
Related to this Grandmaster Chen discussed the common misconception of tucking the tailbone in. He stressed the importance of a natural alignment of the body which includes a slight lumbar curve. Tucking the tailbone in prevents the natural movement of the dantian and hampers the microcosmic orbit.
The Laojia Yilu (old frame first routine) was reviewed.
This routine builds deep skill by using internal movement to guide the external movement. Grandmaster Chen contrasted this with the erlu (second routine), which uses external movements that are supported by internal strength.
Between the two the full range of Chen Taiji’s internal/external, slow/fast, hard/soft and heavy/light characteristics can be found.
The Saturday afternoon was an introduction to the Xinjia Yilu (new frame first routine). The new frame emphasizes small circles within the movements. These can be applied in deflecting, wrapping, grappling, neutralizing, etc. a section of the routine was taught (from the beginning to fist under elbow).
On the second day the Chen Taiji Dao (Sabre or Broadsword) routine was taught.
The structure, characteristics and core techniques of the Sabre were covered. Followed by step by step instruction of the routine.
The Sunday afternoon was devoted to Tuishou (push hands).
Single person drills for the eight methods were taught. The eight methods are Peng (wardoff), Lu (roll back), Ji (press), An (push), Cai (pluck), Lei (rend), Zhou (elbow) and Kao (shoulder). The first four the the principle techniques within the first routine. The last four are within the second routine.
The three principle push hand practices were taught.
Practice for listening and sensitivity skills:
Single hand horizontal circle, single hand vertical circle, single hand ‘figure of eight’, double hand vertical circles, double hand alternating circles.
Practice for training Peng Lu Ji An:
Double hand fixed step practice
Practice for training the eight methods:
Double hands single step practice This YouTube link shows these three practice methods and goes on to show falling stance and multiple step practices.
The Sunday evening banquet featured performances by members of Tai Chi And Tea, Jill Heath and, most impressive of all, Grandmaster Chen. The video clip can’t capture how with each stomp, Grandmaster Chen made the room shake.
In all of the internal arts there is a distinction made between the most valuable and the most important. The most valuable are the most refined of internal energies, the most subtle of techniques, the most challenging of routines, the hardest of skills to acquire. But these are not the most important.
The highest in importance are always the most fundamental.
(photo by Oleg Casini. Click image to view Flickr page)
When learning Taiji, once the sequence starts to become familiar, it is important to refine the Postures. From key postures to mid-way postures to postures between postures. And so on. Ultimately, there are no transitional movements, only finer and finer degrees of posture study.
Learning the internal arts is a process that moves from the mind to the Qi to the body and back. This applies to all internal arts and is the foundation of Xingyi.
Thinking about a posture or movement helps understand it’s intent. This guides the Qi and consolidates structure and alignment. This is what the Chinese would call ‘Spirit’.
The shape of a posture or movement guides the Qi. Only through this direct experience is a deeper understanding obtained. This is what the Chinese would call ‘Essence’.
(Photo by John & Fish. Click image to see their Flickr page.)