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Tai Chi Basics
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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
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Martial Progress in Tai Chi: Using Yin Yang Theory to Gauge our Development

              When we're starting out practicing tai chi we often think we are soft and relaxed when we're actually pretty far from it.  This can be frustrating on a number of levels.  First of all, who am I (or your teacher) to tell you that you are not relaxed when your body is giving you every indication that you are?  Secondly, what is the value of a teacher pointing out this error continually which seems to undermine progress?  Fact 1:   Your body ... Read More
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The Five Levels of Development in Tai Chi

              In a conversation with a friend who is a long time practitioner of Japanese martial arts I was envious at the structure that was imbued into the different levels of progress.  They have very defined levels which are defined by specific curriculum, vocabulary, knowledge, performance expectations, and even visible uniform upgrades.  What do the Chinese systems have? (crickets).  There are some schools that have tried to implement belt-systems or sashes or name walls but none of this has gotten any ... Read More
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Why People Practice Tai Chi

Understanding why people practice tai chi is extremely important to our own development and to the development of classmates and students. We posted a survey here for two months and collected information about why people practice tai chi.  There were many responses that were expected but there were tons more that were not.  The combined results create a unique picture of the many reasons why people practice tai chi.  For instructors, it is valuable information in what to include in curriculum to keep ... Read More
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Ming-Men: An acupressure point with power-full implications

            The Ming-men refers to an energy center located in the lower torso that is so power-full that it is associated with three acupuncture points Governing Vessel 4 (Gv4), Conception Vessel 4 (Cv4) and Conception Vessel 5 (Cv5).  The Chinese admiration for the Ming-men is captured in the disagreement on how to describe it.  It has been called the Gate of Power, Proclamation Gate, Gate of Destiny, and Gate of Life. No matter how you define it, the healing ability and ... Read More
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A Solid Look at the Stances of Tai Chi

            I decided to write this article as a point of differentiation between the stances of many external arts and the internal art of tai chi chu’an.  A student recently asked for corrections on a stance and I gave them.  He came back the following week hella deep in the stance ready to show me his progress.  I took the wind out of his sails by making more corrections and realized that he studied under Master YouTube for the weekend and ... Read More
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What is Tai Chi Push Hands (Tui Shou)?

        Push hands is one of the most misunderstood concepts of tai chi.  Some think of it as slightly controlled sparring and some think it is very dance like.  For that reason, it scares off practitioners who may not see the relationship between push hands and their goals.  So before tuning out, if you are not martially focused, please read on.  And if you are martially focused please read on.  Push hands is hugely important for the development of internal skills, ... Read More