Knowledge : Articles

This section contains serious articles on all aspects of taijiquan.

Be Mr. Tombstone i

by Hugo Ramiro on 2016/01/16

 

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I had the good fortune of being able to attend the Autumn 2015 Ottawa Seminar with Master Chen.

I was kindly offered the opportunity to bunk up with my Taiji brothers John and Brennan while I was there – one of the several things that made my trip possible at all.

On the second night, I believe, hanging around in their living room, beginning to chat about Taiji, I was actually lucky to be present for an impromptu lesson by my Taiji brother John Dahms.

He began by mentioning that we need to have a solid, undeformed torso. And he demonstrated, and he talked, and he demonstrated. Because he is a good instructor, his spoken lecture was only a minor dressing on his physical demonstration, serving to subtly direct attention to the physical movement. And as he delivered the instruction, and I watched with screwy eyes, I began to see, a little at a time, something of what he was demonstrating.

By the end of his lesson I had acquired a new angle on a topic that I have struggled with for several years.Such are the benefits of good instructors, training partners and quality material!

The post and two videos below deliver a valuable and enlightened discourse on the topic that John helped me with:

Don’t Move!

“Torso Arm Alignment” Online Video

Shoulder Torso Separation Online Video

photo from flickr

NegativeCircle_KelvinHo
Negative circle is likely the second thing one learns in Practical Method.  The following are some starter instructions for a right-side negative circle:

  1. The right side is considered the front side, and the left side is consider the rear side.
  2. Find a line that is parallel to your chest on the ground.
  3. Put your right foot at 45 degrees to the line with the heel touch the line.
  4. Put your left foot at 90 degrees to the line with the toes touch the line.
  5. Read more

PositiveCircle_KelvinHo
Positive circle is likely the first thing one learns in Practical Method.  The following are some starter instructions for a right-side positive circle:

  1. The right side is considered the front side, and the left side is consider the rear side.
  2. Find a line that is parallel to your chest on the ground.
  3. Put your right foot at 45 degrees to the line with the heel touch the line.
  4. Put your left foot at 90 degrees to the line with the toes touch the line.
  5. Read more

Kelvin Ho Fist Drape Over Body

When I first studied practical method in Nov. 2009, there were a few things that made a long lasting impression. They were:

  1. In with elbow no hand, out with hand no elbow.
  2. Don’t move
  3. Yilu, which is made up of only positive and negative circles.

Many beginners including myself usually ask the following questions:

  1. How did you (Master Chen) know to do that?
  2. How can I not move?
  3. What can I do that myself?
  4. How do I train that?

Read more

Already some time ago now I had an interesting discussion with another person from Germany. There was one aspect showing up, which in principle could be very interessting for all of us who want to learn Taiji.

Here and there Master Chen did point out that in Taijiquan (or at least our style of Taijiquan ..) there is nothing which is related to anything we know from normal life, to the contrary, in general things are totally opposite. Right? Read more

Richard JohnsonShifu Chen Zhonghua often emphasizes how to learn Taijiquan. This web site has a great article called 6 Methods of Learning Tai Chi. It expands and elaborates on Grandmaster Hong’s Look, Listen, Ask, Practice Method.

I am finishing a PhD in Exercise Science – Biomechanics at Auburn University. A related interest has been motor control, so I took as many of these courses as I could. From these courses, I learned there is a neurological basis for this method of learning.

In neurology there is a mechanism called a mirror neuron. When we see a person do something, mirror neuron fire off in our brain duplicating the pattern in the brain required to copy the movement. It is not a perfect copy at first, but with repeated viewing of the action, our brains do a really good job of copying the movement. Read more