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Tai Chi Basics
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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
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Tai chi and Buddhism – Limitations of Having a Teacher

“Not for one moment did I doubt that you were the Buddha, that you have reached the highest goal…  You have done so by your own seeking, in your own way, through thought, through meditation, through knowledge, through enlightenment.  You have learned nothing through teachings, and so I think, O Illustrious One, that nobody finds salvation through teachings.  To nobody, O Illustrious One, can you communicate in words and teaching what happened to you in the hour of your enlightenment…” Siddhartha’s ... Read More
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Tai Chi and Healing – the other 80% of the story

Every time that I begin to talk about tai chi and healing I feel like I should be on a TV sales program.  “It slices, it dices…” as though I am promising the world and asking you for a small commitment (of just 3 installments of $19.99). But there is some truth to this.  In this essay let’s talk about the 80% of us who are not suffering from severe ailments (thankfully) and can keep it that way. The  Status Quo  Problem #1: Most ... Read More
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Why Study Tai Chi?  Adaptation

          It is the perennial question:  “Why study tai chi?  There are a host of obvious answers such as fitness, health, community, interest, or culture.  But the truth is that any number of sports or hobbies can deliver on these promises.  Some are even better.  Here is one idea where tai chi truly stands out: Adaptation Tai chi is a systematic rewiring of your movements and breathing.  You breathe and move just fine last time you checked right?  Movements are based on habit ... Read More
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How the Buddha’s Teachings Relate to Tai Chi

                        Is Tai Chi Intended to be Spiritual or Religious? Tai chi can be as spiritual or non-spiritual as a practitioner makes it.  It has a heavy sense of good will and absolutely has a sacred feel.   Quotes and references abound about the similarities between tai chi and Buddhism/Daoism/Confucianism.   Some go as far as to say that Tai Chi is based on Daoism or that it runs parallel to the teachings of the I Ching (Book of Changes). On the other hand, ... Read More
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4 Easy Steps and 1 Great Reason to make Tai Chi Practice a part of your Life

I recently received this feedback below from a long time practitioner about the content of this website. "…knowing everything about T'ai Chi is a lot different than making Tai Chi practice a part of our life… This is something I rarely see in any of the educational media.  It is just assumed that the student will develop a practice but the reality is most students do most of their T'ai Chi in class. The most important thing is to do it, to ... Read More
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How Tai Chi Influences our Life – Jumping Outside of the Form

There is this general idea that tai chi influences our lives positively after a while.  You practice the form diligently and somehow the tranquility and understanding that ensues flows like water out of your backyard and pervades all aspects of your life.  Aaaahhh. Malarkey you scream!   Way too touchy feely. Like every good tai chi concept, the answer is yes and no.  My non-tai chi life has benefited immensely from my practice.  Let’s use this essay to describe how the benefits of ... Read More
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Tie-dyed Tai Chi – Why tai chi suffers under the weight of its own reputation

You have seen him.  The tie-dyed-shirt wearing gentleman with the fanny pouch at the last conference.  Or the woman ordained with endlessly flowing scarves on a 100 degree day.  At a conference I attended in Austin, Texas an attendee relaxed between sessions by playing a didgeridoo.   At a summer camp I participated in in Oregon, an attendee entertained Chen Zhenglei and his wife with juggling and hacky sacks. These are our peeps.  As eccentric as they are, they make up a ... Read More