Master Chen Zhonghua always amazes me, whether it is at the next workshop (there is always something new and amazing) or looking back — such as in this video captured during a workshop in Ottawa ten years ago… an easy, seemingly simple, and clean bounce:

What do you see in the video?

John Upshaw:  Everything is on a line. He added the right leg to the line…left arm to right leg…

Lou Sacharske: Watch his right shoulder, as he adds the right leg, there is zero deviation to telegraph the execution.

James Tam: I believe the rotation axis is the one joining Shifu’s left shoulder and front foot. And, the stick (effective energy pathway) is from his back foot to Steve’s upper back.


Basically, once again I will combine the 4-day seminar into a summary by grouping what I call related items. It was a great environment to get corrections from others or better understanding of push hand drills. Great bunch of people.


We did foundation work every day along with the Yilu form lots of either 13 moves or 81.

Twisting towel – This is like two versions of you working toward a common goal. The first version Locks the physical body. The Second you push from back kua to                   move arm when it stops pushing you go back. Zero percent of move came from the first you.

             This concept is also in fetch water – first you stretch from floor up through opposite shoulder. The Second you push the kua to the line from the back. The above              examples were shown in order to show the exactness required. When there is movement elsewhere in the body the intent and power evaporate.

Terms understanding

Throughout the seminar Mater Chen would make the following statements and show examples.  He would have us do a few items to engrain it in us.

                            The lock is Yin The move is yang

                          Definition of not moving the pieces of the arm. Master Chen encouraged us to take this learning and put them in our form  

To move the hand, you must move the elbow

To move the elbow, you must move the shoulder

To move the shoulder, you must move the kua

To move the elbow, extend to armpit,

He also said that in order not to be trapped bypass a Joint. So my elbow is moved by my shoulder then use the kua or foot to move the elbow. This leaves                                       nothing for the opponent to catch, it also makes the line longer


Stretch into legs through hip – I realized I moved my knees or stretched from one foot to another. Now I am trying to stretch through the hip like turning over a an hour glass to stretch or fill to the knees and then feet

Getting rid of slack example Positive circle Practise first aligning elbow (a little) without moving hand.  This gets rid of the slack because when you only rotate elbow it removes slack


Finding the center of the line - Real or otherwise all things go through the middle / centre. So you should beat the opponent to the center. Let your opponent create the two ends and beat them by recognizing and beating them to the center and creating the line

Example of structure and not moving –   The chair does not move. Someone stands between legs of chair. Someone holds one leg and someone else holds the other. When they pull at the same time the person in the middle moves


Rules You can work toward understanding and accomplishing

To move the elbow, try Bypassing joints

-        Open shoulder to move elbow

-        Open kua to move elbow

-        Open heel to move elbow

You always break energy through joints When opponent pushes elbow move turn shoulder / bicep to bring around elbow then there is no fight

Understanding the energy of in and out -Elbow In energy is on the bottom of the arm, hand out the energy is on the top of arm

You can go back and forward but cannot go sideways this would be considered retreat

Power comes from locking first then moving Looseness is like a cotton ball, energy is absorbed by the cotton. A thrown rock you feel it goes through you

Stretch from the back to connect and go through the opponents back


Example of not moving Positive circle hand out without moving or shifting energy will find the back foot

You must have a bite in your grip, do not grab the muscle penetrate to the bone or ligaments. you can penetrate with two fingers or a forearm or a single finger

When you step in if your arm is in front you only have access to the arm if your arm is behind the person you have access to the whole body

You must develop a rod from your front shoulder to front hip first to help remove space. Then you learn to move hand and elbow to create a byte.

All drills

  1. Get to the other side
  2. Stretch in order to cause rotation and bypassing joints
  3. Cause separation by not allowing anything in your body to follow the stretch


How to

Mater Chen talked about Bidirectional elbow rotation where the energy from the elbow went forward to the hand and back toward shoulder.

Mater Chen showed how you can sense this initially. He had me take my arm and place my palm on his elbow joint and the other hand on his wrist. And then he opened his elbow sending first some energy to his hand and then back to his shoulder.

I found I could do the same thing by applying pressure on my elbow and then slowly opening the elbow I could feel the bidirectional stretch. I then took my palm away and tried to do the same

Master Chen said then try to take the backward energy all the way to the back shoulder



Exercise to live longer

Align yourself by Depressing chest and Ming man point (coccyx  ) in order to connect the points into one line in the body



Exchanging of energy Drills between you and your opponent

  1. The S curse in the arm to create a line (bent arm creates a line from shoulder to hand
  •   You have your hands on the biceps of the opponent. If your wrist turns out on the biceps then the shoulder turns inward. If your wrist turns in on the biceps then the shoulder turns outward

2. Bend arm release through hand

  • The opponent holds your wrist with both hands. You bent arm back toward yourself. When they have been up rooted split your energy by stretching your finger from left to right or right to left. You can feel the energy split if you did not unlock

3. Expansion and contraction

  • Master Chen had me push his chest with my two hands arms extended, his expanded his chest and arm. His chest then collapsed as he brought his elbow around and down through my two arms.

4. Changing the angle

  •  Match opponent then leaving your arms in place stretch sitting back stop do not move waist again just stretch with arms. You were able to move them because by moving back you changed the angle and force

5 . General Distance

distance is measured by eyes by shoulders. Boxers rely on elbow movement moving sideways hides elbows and shoulders


6 Ways to connect to your back Do not roll arms


  1. Depress chest and connect to lower back to put arms in front of body
  2. Now expand chest sideways and then Depress chest and connect to lower back to put arms in front of body

7. don’t see an arm see a line with your hands-on opposite side.


Pieces of the form


Fist protecting body

- Use the opposite chest stretch to first engage bent arm and get to fist without moving bent arm structure this arm is like a boomerang then use stretch in kua to move elbow while keeping same boomerang structure

Brush knee with opponent ( proper brush knee)  application

As you step out with heel push your arm down with a byte  in order to stretch opponents’ arm, Lock your forearm and elbow to your front kua. As you land your foot your arm moves down at the same rate as your kua

Tai chi expression for the above is called this is that = examples are your arm is tied to your kua your hand is tied to your foot before elbow in. If there is slack it does not allow this or that to happen


With the above information master Chen had us do drills or feel the experience by him performing the drills on us.

Exchanging of energy Drills between you and your opponent drills example 6

  1. This was a drill to show how to connect to both your back and your opponents back # 6 Ways to connect to your back = Do not roll arms Now expand chest sideways and then Depress chest and connect to lower back to put arms in front of body.

In this drill the opponent grabbed your arms above elbow. Now expand your chest as you raise your arms, your hand and forearm are attached below their arm, once out beyond their body Depress chest and connect to lower back to put arms in front of body. Now stretch from your back to fingers and beyond


  1. This was a drill to show how Expansion and contraction like #5

The opponent pushed my chest with two hands arms extended, I expanded his chest and arms. Depress chest and connect to lower back to put arms in front of body, then collapsed my chest as I brought my elbow around and down through the opponent’s two arms.


Alignment drills

Go backward have your chest become your feet

Someone pushes your chest and walks slow toward you with extended arm. Your chest leans back to where your chest becomes your feet walk back with each push

General Drills

  1. Opponent Steps in right leg you also have right leg forward they  are holding your elbows. They step in and stretch you out. To get rid of the feeling of locked upper body sink opening legs.


  1. Do the same step in as above three 3 times. On third time you do a front right elbow rotation. They have a feeling of hitting a wall


  1. Scissors – step with heel in back of opponent making sure your thigh touches theirs. Your arm stretched across them in front. As you land your foot the thigh effect’s them. At the same time, you stretch to your fingers stretching fingers behind them. You must open your shoulder to make energy goes to fingers.




  1. Your right foot steps in behind the opponent with your arm in front of them at level of elbow. Grab their elbow and squeeze it toward you to have them move energy from right to lower left side. Then rotate thigh and circle your right arm up and back, variation simply move thigh and elbow against one another


  1. Your right hand grabs theirs you step behind their left leg and rotate your left arm around their right bicep. Your left arm rotates up and around while your left leg sweeps them


  1. Opponent pushes on your elbow you wrap your hand and arm around their grab towards ground open or stretch from kua your kua


  1. Do not move – Hold opponent allow them to push you back now connect to floor stretching through to hands and stretch to  hands only back to move opponent



Stand in normal horse stance your right arm is bent in front of you with elbow out right side. Lock your front by pressing front right kua up and front shoulder down.                Now stretch down center of the body to lock the rest of the body. Connect/stretch back left ball of foot to left kua. Feel the connection between the ball of the foot and the elbow. twist back left heel forward and rotate around center. Your elbow moves out not back

Try other side

Now have someone stand between your elbow and front foot. Perform the exercise


At the end of day one we each perfumed the first 13 moves individually

On the last day there was 12 of us. Everyone took turns where we stood in the middle of the floor and each person rushed us one at a time tapping center, one side and the other we had to perform the drill up until the flip. We each performed 3 different drills. It gave us a sense of dynamic execution


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Instructor: Master Chen Zhonghua
Date: Sep 12-15, 2020

John Saw at Sydney Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy - 8 March 2020

John Saw at Sydney Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy – 8 March 2020

John Saw – My journey from a hotelier, gambler and Qigong Master to a faithful and loyal disciple of Master Chen Zhonghua.
I was born in Burma in 1935. I lived there till I was 29, had to leave everything behind as the country was taken over by the military. I swam across the Mekong river to Thailand in 1964. Started work at the Bangkok Hilton and after 6 years, decided to migrate to Australia.
In June 1970, I arrived Sydney with my wife and infant son and started work in a motel. In no time I got involved in gambling. Life was easy and had so much fun that by the time I was 60, I suffered a stroke due to smoking, bad diet and not enough sleep.  My left side of the body was affected, my speech was slurred and I lost my balance.  Through Qigong, I gained back my health, and I recovered fully after years of hard work.
After 20 years traveling around the world spreading our Qigong system, I felt restless, something missing. Even though I was an International Master of Lohan Qigong, I just couldn’t figure out what’s missing in my life.
Throughout my travels, I’ve met many great Masters and practitioners in Qigong and Taiji, and became friends but nothing really impressed me.
Then in December 2014, I was invited to attend a lecture by Taiji Master Chen Zhonghua at the UTS. I went along as I was free at that time and also curious as to what’s there for me to see. The first time I saw Master Chen, I was impressed by his demeanor, he was a humble man with twinkling eyes.  When he started talking about his style called Chen Style Taiji Practical Method, I was a bit hesitant. I thought another Master promoting their style. The minute he explained the technique and showed us why it’s called Practical Method, I was blown away.
Mind you, I’ve travelled a fair bit and met many skillful Masters, but what Master Chen did with one slight movement of his body was incredible, seeing is believing I should say. He let people touch him and let them feel that he didn’t move his muscle. I was very impressed and decided to join his workshop that weekend. There again, I was amazed with his skill but most importantly, it’s his willingness to share his knowledge without withholding anything, thats got me hooked.
Since then, I’ve been to Daqingshan many times and attended his seminars yearly without fail.
I was accepted as a disciple in 2017 and my number is 257.
I went to Bali last Nov 2019 to join his workshop and again in February 2020 in Sydney. Master Chen never stop to amaze me with his willingness to share and spread this wonderful system.
The last day of the workshop in Sydney was my 85th birthday. Master Chen was kind enough to join my family and friends with some disciples to celebrate this special occasion with me.
Thank you Shifu.
Your disciple,
John Saw #257
John Saw - Burma Days

John Saw – Burma Days

John Saw - Burma Days

John Saw – Burma Days

John Saw - Gambling Days

John Saw – Gambling Days

John Saw - Qigong Days

John Saw – Qigong Days

John Saw with Master Chen Zhonghua at Daqingshan

John Saw with Master Chen Zhonghua at Daqingshan

John Saw with Master Chen Zhonghua at Zhenbudong Rizhao Taiji Acacdemy

John Saw with Master Chen Zhonghua at Zhenbudong Rizhao Taiji Acacdemy

John Saw Discipleship Photo in Sydney with Master Chen Zhonghua

John Saw Discipleship Photo in Sydney with Master Chen Zhonghua

Daqingshan Competition Torch Bearer

Daqingshan Taiji Flame Torch Bearer 2018

Chen Zhonghua Practical Method Workshop Sydney 2020 February

Chen Zhonghua Practical Method Workshop Sydney 2020 February

2020.02.12 悉尼笔记锺百豪 (英文) Sydney Notes by Brian Chung (English)

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Tai Chi Gdynia

Detailed information and registration here.

Welcome to Gdynia!

See also impressions of 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016 and 2015 workshops in Poland.

Energy Alignment 2

by Kelvin Ho on 2020/01/13

Energy path is the pathway that energy travels on. There are both a physical path and a virtual path for a given setup. For any three points in the body, they can form a triangle (unless they all fall into one straight line). For this discussion, let’s use right hand, left kua and left foot as the three points. As similarly discussed in this previous article, while the right hand and left kua form one physical (solid) line, and the left kua and left foot form another physical (solid) line, the right hand and left foot form a virtual (invisible) line. While the actual energy travels along the two physical lines, it can be viewed as if it travels on the virtual line.
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A number of Traditional Chinese Medicine practitioners and patients attended Practical Method experience class on Dec. 20, 2019, and some of them tried taiji for the very first time. Among the participants, there was Rachel Yi, who started studying Practical Method in 2016 in China. She is now attending university in Canada, and is continuing to study PM under my taiji brother Si Chan in Winnipeg. We covered some foundation exercises, the first 13 moves of yilu, and some demonstration of applications.

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Instructor: Kelvin Ho Length: 23 min Language: English Year: 2019 Difficulty: 1/5 At: Toronto

This video covers:
Twisting the Towel
Fetch Water
Positive Circle
Negative Circle

Angelo Gee's Foundation Correction
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Practical Method Phoenix, Ping Wei

Regular classes on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings, from 7:30 to 8:30am at Roadrunner Park.

Foundations, Yilu, Erlu, and sword.

Call (602-373-3457) or email ( for details.




Do you have a New Year resolution to become healthier in 2020? Taiji may be your answer. On Dec. 29, 2019 at 10 am, you will have a chance to experience what taiji is like and what health benefits it may bring you at the Chen Style Taiji Experience Class to be held at Channels of Wellness Centre. Come try it out for free!

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Push Hands Only Version

Full Version

On Dec. 8, 2019, a Practical Method Taiji Push Hands Workshop was held in Toronto. We had 10 participants, and 4 of them were new to Practical Method. Bert Desjardins drove 4.5 hours from Windsor to Toronto to attended this workshop. We also had the pleasure of having Master Liu Xuwei, who teaches Chen Style Taijiquan Small Frame, in attendance. We covered foundations:

  1. Twisting the TowelDon’t move the hand, and only use the foot the squeeze out the hand.
  2. Fetch Water – Don’t move anything, only focus on opening the kua
  3. Six Sealing Four Closing – Lock the front hand and rear shoulder, push the front shoulder into the line formed by the front hand and rear shoulder.
  4. Positive CircleIn with elbow, turn with waist, out with hand. No other body part should be moving except the specific leader.
  5. Negative CircleIn with elbow, drop the hand on the outside, out with hand.

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Sydney Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Sydney Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy 澳洲悉尼陈中华太极馆

Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method 陈式太极拳实用拳法

Master Chen Zhonghua has been coming to Sydney, Australia to conduct annual workshops since 2012. First established by disciples Paul Janssens and James Strider, the Sydney group has now grown to over ten disciples.

Brian Chung & Paul Janssens, Master Chen Zhonghua’s disciples, are the instructors for the Sydney Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy.

Classes and Practice Sessions:
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Instructors: Master Chen Zhonghua
Date: Feb 15-16, 2020
Time: 8:30am to 11:30am2:00pm to 5:00pm
Location: DJKJ Kung Fu Academy
34 Rosebery Avenue, Rosebery NSW 2018
Topics: Theory, Foundations, form (Yilu), applications and push hands
Fee: $380 for 2 days, $220 for 1 day.
Suggested preparation for first-timers, get yourself familiar with the following:
  1. Positive and Negative Circles: Two Circles of Taiji
  2. Yilu First 13 Moves: Chen Style Yilu 13 Moves
For further information, contact:
Brian Chung
+61 423 035 857

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I was invited along with a number of taiji teachers in Toronto to perform at the 2019 Fountain of Youth Qi Event on Nov. 23, 2019. Each teacher first performed a routine of his choice on stage. In the 2nd part of the event, each teacher demonstrated Cloud Hands, Single Whip and White Crane (Goose) Spread Its Wings of his style. Over generations of transmission, there are many variants of these moves. Many thanks to Sharon Liu, Founder of Fountain of Youth Qi for the invitation and organization of such event.

Official Page:
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Push hands is an exercise that examines your understanding of the Taiji principle: Separation of Yin and Yang. While form training transforms your body, push hands provides an opportunity for you to apply your Taiji knowledge and skill. It has also become a popular sporting event both in China and abroad. This workshop is suitable for beginners as well as people at different levels of their training. If you have never tried it before, this is a great opportunity for you to do it in a friendly and safe environment.

推手是一种让人检查对太极原理(分阴阳)理解的练习。 套路训练可以改变人的身体结构,而推手则提供了运用太极拳知识和技能的机会。 它已成为国内外流行的体育赛事。 这训练班适合推手初学者及不同程度培训的太极爱好者。 如果您以前从未尝试过推手,那么这是个让你在友好与安全的环境中初次尝试的绝佳机会。

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North American Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method Training Camp 2020

November 24, 2019

We are pleased to have Master Chen Zhonghua back for the 4th annual training camp.  Once again, the taijiquan training, lodging and dining will be at one location with one cost at the same location as last 3 years.  This will be an intensive workshop focused Theory, Foundations, Yilu, Push Hands and Broadsword.  Disciples will [...]

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November 20, 2019

Today, there was a discussion among some of the North American disciples on intent. What is it? What does it mean? The discussion allowed me to solidfy a couple of things. In 2019 Iowa Camp, shifu mentioned: Spencer’s notes: The camp’s lessons this time were pervaded by the idea of “intention”. Intention in PM is [...]

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Guitar String

October 12, 2019

Recently at a 2019 Toronto CA workshop hosted by Kevin Ho, Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated and taught the participants a training drill that requires the starting position to have the rear heel off the floor and both hands in a double push position, chest high. While going over this drill and teaching to the finer [...]

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Practical Method Popsockets

October 1, 2019

Practical Method Popsockets for your smartphones are $12 plus shipping. As many of you are aware I teach a group of kids, which several have attended Iowa workshops taught by Master Chen. I was able to work out a fundraising deal with the company so 50% of all the sales will be applied towards tuition [...]

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Notes for Toronto Workshop Sep 7-10, 2019 – By Mark Hanley

September 30, 2019

Gears on either side of spine move in opposite direction The gears twist on either side of the spine and your intention along with where you are looking can send power in any direction you want. You can also add better control by also changing the percentage of each lever. with straight spine hold with front left [...]

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Notes for Toronto Workshop Sep 7-10, 2019 by Kelvin Ho

September 20, 2019

When practicing yilu: Put myself inside a fixed sized box. Pull against the sides of the box coming into dantian. Push against the sides of the box going out of dantian.

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My kua opened up at the Vienna Workshop 2019

September 16, 2019

So we were doing lots and lots of six sealings four closings exercises at the end of the Vienna Workshop. I was leading the group and counting. Then, at #476 something in my hip cracked open. A rush of pure energy run through my body and I felt like a conductor between heaven and earth, [...]

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Toronto Workshop Mar 7-10, 2020

September 12, 2019

Instructor: Master Chen Zhonghua Date: Mar 7-10, 2020

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Initial General Thoughts of PM

September 8, 2019

I was asked to write a post about my overall experience with Practical Method up to this point, so I’ll try my best to put those experiences into words. My first live experience with Practical Method was during the Toronto seminar with Master Chen Zhonghua in March of 2019. Since then I’ve had the opportunity [...]

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What I learned at the 2019 Iowa Camp

August 6, 2019

Probably the biggest thing had to do with the learning process: The questions that arise in my mind are usually off topic and I think their purpose is to distract me from paying full attention to what Master Chen is teaching at the moment.  By asking them out loud I’m distracting everyone else too.  My [...]

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Comments on the North American Practical Method Training Camp 2019

August 6, 2019

Comments on 2019 North American Practical Method training camp From my perspective, this year’s training camp was outstanding! I came with the thought that I had progressed a lot but after a short time I realized (as usual) I have so much to learn. I am basically a very beginner but I can see that [...]

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DQS Review by Wendy Liang from Inner Mongolia

August 5, 2019

I am an interpreter from Inner Mongolia, I continued to learn practical method for third time during the month of July .I felt honored to learn with Shabar from New York and Mike from France.

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2019 Day 1 Phoenix workshop

August 5, 2019

Notes from Day 1, Phoenix Practical Method Workshop These are pretty rough, just short statements. Every movement needs to have intent and some reference. When we do taiji we need intent. Taiji is governed by yin yang. We need to see what is really there. Usually we think we see but that is not what [...]

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Practical Method Toronto Open House on Sep 7, 2019

July 31, 2019
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Regular Practical Method Class in Lower Austria 2019-2020

July 19, 2019

I moved out of Vienna and I‘ve been thinking how I could offer Practical Method classes here in Lower Austria. In Vienna I started a group from scratch, together with Fabian. But with three kids now and a full time job I simply have no resources to start a group this way. “There must be [...]

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Healed by basic foundations exercises

July 6, 2019

For more than a year now, Sven Gusowski from Practical Method-Berlin visits us each monday at our office at Freie Universität Berlin (FU Berlin) to do fifteen minutes of basic foundations exercises. We basically do variations of the positive circle and learn movements that can be easily repeated at home or anywhere.

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Paul Carlson Yilu (First 13 Moves) on Jun 24, 2019

June 25, 2019
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Push Hands Demo on June 8, 2019

June 22, 2019

Push Hands was demonstrated at 2019 Canadian Cultural and Martial Arts Festival

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How Practical Method has helped my arthritis

June 18, 2019

I am 64 years old and have been on long-term disability for over 10 years due to a form of arthritis called Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS). I previously studied and practiced several external martial arts and they all eventually made my AS symptoms worse. I have had the disease my whole life but only diagnosed in [...]

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