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Tai Chi Basics
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The benefits of the tai chi long form over the short form

                  Most tai chi styles offer at least 2 forms:  long and short.  Some styles like Yang have categorized them into a multitude of sizes 18 - 24 - 48 - 83 - Tall - Grande - Venti... Let’s talk about the values of the different sizes of the forms.  In this article I am going to commend you for learning a short version of the form but also supply some physiological research as to why eventually pursuing the long form is ... Read More
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There has never been a better time to learn tai chi

Prominent scientist and lecturer Alan Leshner stated that “we have probably learned more about the brain in the past twenty years than in all of recorded history.”  I find this to an apt metaphor for tai chi too. More has been learned about tai chi (by Westerners) in the last 20 years than in the previous 2000 years combined. We are on the crest of an informational wave that is not only increasing the numbers of people who want to  learn tai chi ... Read More
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Can you learn tai chi from a book or video?

Let me start by saying that this is one of the most charged topics within the tai chi community.  Practitioners endlessly debate the benefits of teachers, styles and methods.     You have groups that are incensed by the mere idea of learning tai chi from a book.  On the other hand you have people who credit pursuing forms or information that they found in a book or video as their initial catalyst for progress. Let’s unravel each argument.  Hopefully by the end you ... Read More
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The Benefits of Brainwave Entrainment

              We introduced brain entrainment in the first of these two articles : Quickly Reap the Rewards of Meditation: Introducing Brainwave Entrainment What is brain entrainment? Brain entrainment uses an external stimulus such as sound or light to cause brainwave frequencies to correspond with an intended brain-state for the purpose of inducing sleep or a deep meditative state. It is based on research showing that the human brain has a tendency to move towards a dominant frequency. The argument for brain entrainment The benefits of meditation ... Read More
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Meditation: Quickly Reap the Rewards using Brainwave Entrainment

              When people ask me why I do qi gong, tai chi or meditate, I always start by explaining the benefits you receive after practicing for awhile.  People are genuinely interested in beginning but there is often a hesitation because of the commitment of time and learning that is needed before you really start to reap the rewards. I always wish that I could jump the skeptic ahead so that they could immediately feel the difference that internal work causes: better health, ... Read More
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Tai Chi Clothing

Do I need special clothing? One huge monetary benefit and reason for the proliferation of tai chi is that you don’t necessarily need facilities or materials in order to train.  That being said, once you have been practicing for a while, certain purchases make a lot of sense. Uncomfortable pants limit stance work and typical athletic shoes can impinge on the ankles and stick to the floor when pivoting (more on tai chi shoes here).  When you join a class or eventually ... Read More
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Tai Chi Shoes

              Choosing the best footwear for tai chi is actually very important because the wrong shoes can lead to injury. Why can’t I wear my athletic shoes for tai chi? Wearing athletic shoes is okay to begin with but understand that the soles of these shoes have been designed not to slide.  Your foot is rotating frequently throughout taichi which can put strain on the knee if there is any drag.  When you step in tai chi, eventually you don’t have weight on ... Read More
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Chinese Symbolism and Tai Chi

              Let’s start with why Chinese Symbolism is WONDERFUL For many, it offers a connection to something more complex or greater than ourselves and is probably a big part of why people are drawn to internal arts as opposed to training in something like Crossfit, boxing, or MMA. Additionally, concepts like internal strength and movement of chi are incredibly complex and humans lack the vocabulary to describe the internal process or effects.  Symbolism in this context means “metaphor.” And more obvious, why is chinese ... Read More
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Benefits of Standing Meditation – Improve Your Health and Fitness with Zhan Zhuang

During a seminar in the United States, Chen Qingzhou (Ching Joe) was asked: what was the most important thing that someone could do to improve. He responded:     “I will tell you exactly what to do and it will improve your health, tai chi, your martial and mental abilities, and will only take you three minutes a day.  But you won’t do it.” Are you on the edge of your seat?  We were. “Why won’t I do it?” he was further probed. “Because I have ... Read More
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What is Zhan Zhuang (pole standing) and how is it different than Qi Gong Meditation?

Most styles of internal martial arts incorporate standing meditation as a core component, if not the most important part of their training.  While the practices are elegantly simple and instruction on correct posture abounds.  Most students do not maintain a standing practice and never achieve the benefits of Zhan Zhuang.  Why is this?  Lack of commitment is normally due to lack of understanding and therefore lack of buy-in. This essay is a two part series where I will first better define WHAT pole-standing ... Read More