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Tai Chi Basics
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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
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Five Elements Theory 101

          There is an esoteric side of tai chi that dips in and out of the Tao, the I-Ching, yin-yang theory, and Buddhist philosophy.  Are these terms new to you or confusing?  Join the club.  This is an amazingly large body of knowledge and very few practitioners have completely wrapped their mind around all of these topics.  Unless coming from a philosophical background or having acupuncture knowledge, nearly no new practitioners have this stuff figured out.  Gaining philosophical understanding is a ... Read More
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Acupuncture’s Relationship to Tai Chi – The Extraordinary Vessels

      Acupuncture Smackyoupuncture!  I barely got my head wrapped around the Chinese words and foreign concepts and now you are telling me that there are a series of routes that run through my body that I didn’t know about AND I need to know this for tai chi?? Daunting isn’t it?  Still drives me nuts.  But not because I am overwhelmed (anymore) but because the more I progress and have novel feelings inside, I want to know what is going on. We ... Read More
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Progress in Tai Chi: Reducing Attrition in Tai Chi Classes

            If you are a teacher or a student of tai chi then this article is for you.  Actually, this article conveys one of the main goals of this website; expanded practice of taichi.  So many benefits have been ascribed to tai chi that it captivates the interest of nearly everyone.  However, we lose a lot of students who start off highly dedicated and then stop practicing.   So what happens?  Let’s start with some reasons that attendance is important and then ... Read More
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The Three Dantians

          This is a quick article introducing the novice to the dantian and the more experienced practitioner to the idea that there are three of them.  These three energy centers have been identified in the body.  They control and store energy and energy potential. The three dantians are each associated with one energy, collectively known as the three treasures.  They are: The Lower Dantian: (Jing) located two inches below the navel, it is the source of energy which builds the physical body ... Read More