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Tai Chi Basics
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The Use of Meditation Tones

          This article is intended to clarify how tones are used in meditative sets.  There is an immense world history of chanting, singing, and using tones in meditation.  No religion or spiritual pursuit is devoid of them.  Equally so, taichi and qigong have sets that incorporate tones into the practice. I love debate and on this topic as it is sorely needed.  Let’s present two scenerios. Scenario 1:  A person learns the wrong use of tones, this leads to poor development, they miss ... Read More
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Why Study Tai Chi Weapons

        Weapons forms are an incredibly beautiful, fun, and are a way to practice some of the core principles of tai chi.  They are usually introduced after progress has been made in the open-hand form.  While you do not have to know an open-hand form to begin a weapon form, knowledge from the open-hand form speaks directly to the movements of all the weapons.  Your open-hand form and weapon form will benefit jointly as you progress. Why study tai chi weapons forms? They ... Read More
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Six Harmonies – The Cheat Sheet for Perfect Posture

              Here is a statement that needs to be intrinsically understood to progress in Tai Chi: Internal energy building and circulation, balance, and martial abilities are dependent on posture.  For those of you that are one step ahead of me, you are seeing the potential bang-for-your-buck by focusing on posture over other more trivial matters. Posture is the tai chi version of the Pareto Principle which states that 20% of your activities realize 80% of the results and vise-versa.  Small postural improvements ... Read More
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Health and Tai Chi

                How is tai chi good for health?  It’s the flexibility right?  No, it’s the meditative aspects isn’t it?  Can’t I get the same benefit from walking? Here is the overall picture.  The average form can take 6-12 minutes.  How can 1) we receive such huge payback in benefits in this short of time?  And 2) why is this 6-12 minutes so different from any other 6-12 walking, swimming, or the like? Firstly, yes the tai chi form does not take that long ... Read More
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The Art of Relaxation in Tai Chi (Song)

            It is my DUTY to try to explain “Song” in a way that is understandable to a tai chi novice.  Readers with experience in tai chi are probably feeling the low vibrations of the beginning of a good belly laugh.  It is something that we practitioners are told one hundred times over the  first few years and it seems as though you can never be relaxed enough.  Secondly, how do you do something that you already thought you were doing?  ... Read More
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The Origin of Tai Chi (in 68 seconds)

              The goal of this article is to: 1) introduce you to some names and places that will eventually become critical. At some point in everyone’s development an understanding of the origin of tai chi becomes essential.  Typically you begin to be in a conversation about yoga/work/religion/running and you say; “that sounds like tai chi.”  A need arises to understand how tai chi can be related to so much simultaneously and your historical pursuit begins. 2) give you confidence in the great tradition that ... Read More
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Why Practice Tai Chi?

              Think of your favorite hobby.  Does it speak to health, exercise, fun, history, and culture?  If so, good for you.  You are going to embrace tai chi.  If not, think of tai chi as a great hobby that you can run with in any direction. Think about your favorite physical activity.  Does it cause injury?  (or) Do you get excited about tweaks or sore muscles because they are messages that you’re improving?  Is there an age when you won’t be able ... Read More
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How to Choose a Tai Chi Class

            We are going to take a different slant from most of what we have recently read on how to choose a tai chi class because we would like to bring the reality of our financial, physical, and geographical situation into the picture.  Suggestions surrounding how to choose a class usually prioritize “finding a good teacher.”  We see a lot of holes in this argument.  Here is why. If you are beginning at tai chi, how do you know what good is? Of ... Read More
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A Practical Explanation of Qi Gong Development

        Let’s start with a great definition of Qigong and then discuss what role qigong plays in your tai chi development. Dr. Gayl Hubatch, in Fabric of the Soul, sums up the process of qi gong development nicely.  “Coordinating breath, intention, and movement increases energy flow.  Increased energy flow is healing and restorative.”   Eloquent and simple.  We engage in tangible, understandable activities (moving, breathing, intention) and reap health benefits. Here is what makes qi gong development difficult: It is normally a far cry from ... Read More
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The Experts Weigh In: 6 Ways to Avoid the Greatest Tai Chi Roadblocks

            On a break during a recent workshop with practitioners and teachers of many years expressed their envy to a newbie for being “so new” and for having the foresight to attend a workshop early on in his development.  The new student was confused by this and said “What do you mean, I don’t know anything!  I am new!”  The teachers responded nearly in unison “exactly.” This led to a spirited conversation of “I wish I would have known…” or “This sounds ... Read More