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Tai Chi Basics
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Reverse Breathing

Surprising to most of us, we don’t have just one breath.  There are several types of breathing that our body employs and it changes throughout the year, throughout our lives, and depending on our emotional state.  Reverse breathing is a natural body process that we can consciously manipulate to improve health.  Let's discuss the importance of reverse breathing to the internal arts, dispel some negative ideas, and offer some simple instructions to improve our practice. What is reverse breathing? Reverse breathing is the ... 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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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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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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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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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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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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Understanding Jing Energy in Tai Chi Chu’an and Life

            Two major definitions are acceptable for Jing energy depending on how you look at it.  There is a spiritual connotation that describes an energy that is created from your essence.  On the medical side,  Jing takes on a biochemical characteristic that is found in all fluids and continues to originate from our center due to DNA.  Both definitions allude to Jing being a substance or amount.  Decisions we make such as drinking alcohol or too much sex deplete Jing.  Exercise, ... Read More
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Tai chi 101 : Is it Tai Chi, Taiji, taichi, or T’ai Chi Chuan? Yes.

              Here is a little history and an explanation. Chinese is made up of characters and ideograms to represent the concept of what they are writing about.  Whereas the writing you are currently reading  is a string of sounds that your brain puts together to get the concept.  Up until recently, most writings on Chinese topics in English used the Wade-Giles system.  This is a system that was developed by a British ambassador to China (Wade) in the mid 1800s and refined ... Read More