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New lessons are posted to this blog on a regular basis.

Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 19 - "Wave Hands Like Clouds"





"Wave Hands like Clouds" is also known simply as "Cloud Hands" (Yun Shou 雲手)
Taking the time to consider the deeper implications of the name can be very instructive to students wishing to perfect the movement and to understand the true potential of tai chi.

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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 18 - "Cast Fist" and "Five Punches"





Fists are seldom formed in tai chi routines. But just because the hand is not closed, doesn't mean that the movement cannot be used for punching. Likewise, the presence of a fist in a movement does not necessarily mean that the movement has to be a punch.
Open hands can easily be changed to fists if necessary, and fists can be used for much more than punching.

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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 17 - "Needle to the Bottom of the Sea" and "Fan Through the Back" with Martial Applications





"Needle to the Bottom of the Sea" involves a more challenging version of the empty stance. It also introduces vertical vectors and asymmetry in a new way.
"Fan Through the Back" is a vertical and lateral follow-up to the preceding downward thrust, and presents a different kind of asymmetry.

Level 1 - Lesson 17 - Trailer


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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 16 - "Repulse Monkey" and "Diagonal Flying" with Martial Applications





"Step Back to Repulse the Monkey" implies the image of a monkey grabbing your extended arm and attempting to use it as a vehicle for reaching your centre. The movement is also sometimes called "Step Back to Repulse LIKE a Monkey", suggesting that we, like a monkey are retreating while simultaneously threatening the opponent.
(A monkey puts on a brave face and uses distraction and trickery to conceal its true cowardice.)
"Diagonal Flying" traditionally follows "Repulse Monkey" for strategic reasons. Both movements are useful for manipulating the vector of an opponent's attack, causing him or her to engage away from our centre. "Repulse Monkey" creates chaos in the opponent's footwork, and "Diagonal Flying" exploits this chaos to send the opponent on a conveniently (for us) oblique tangent.

Trailer (9 minutes)


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(60 minutes)

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(60 minutes)
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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 15 - "Double Whip" and "Beware the Fist Under the Elbow" with Martial Applications





In this lessons we learn two new movements and their applications.
Double whip is similar to single whip in that it uses sideways or rending power.
Fist under elbow is a complex movement. We explore some of the applications and principles in this video. But we do not have the time to explore them all.

Trailer (6 minutes 24 seconds)


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(59 minutes)

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(59 minutes)
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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 14 - "Martial Applications of Twist, Deflect, Step, Parry, Punch, Close, Push"





Believe it or not, that is the short version of the title. The long name of this very descriptive title is:
Twist Step, Deflect Down, Twist Step Deflect Down with a Fist, Step Forward, Parry, Punch, Apparent Close, and Counter with Push.
Do we really need to say more?
It must be a very important sequence to have such a long name.
Throws, joint control, pressure point manipulation, striking, interception.
These are some of the techniques that can inform your practice of the solo routine.

Trailer (7 minutes 22 seconds)


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(64 Minutes)

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(64 Minutes)
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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 13 - Martial Applications of "Brush Knee, Push" and " "Strum the Lute" (Trailer)





Power is found in stillness.
It is the same as with other arts. Great painters and sculptors can make powerful use empty space. Great musicians shape emotional responses by manipulating silence. Great actors can combine stillness and silence to powerful effect.
Large movements are inferior to small movements. But no movement, no matter how small, can contend against a single expression of stillness.

Trailer (8 minutes 47 seconds)


The full video has Front and Rear view of the first 7 Sections and Martial applications of "Brush Knee Push" and "Play Guitar".

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(67 minutes)

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(67 minutes)
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Tai Chi Level 1 - Yang Style Foundation Routine - Lesson 12 - "Twist Step, Deflect Down, Step, Parry Punch", "Apparent Close and Counter with Push"





Believe it or not, that is the short version of the title. The long name of this very descriptive title is:
Twist Step, Deflect Down, Twist Step Deflect Down with a Fist, Step Forward, Parry, Punch, Apparent Close, and Counter with Push.
Do we really need to say more?
It must be a very important sequence to have such a long name.

Trailer (7 minutes, 53 seconds)



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(47 minutes)

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(47 minutes)

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Level 1 - Lesson 11 ~ "Brush Knee and Push" and "Play Guitar"





Lesson 9 and 10 finished with "White Crane Spreads its Wings" and completed the "8 Trigrams theme"
Now that you have been introduced to the essential elements of tai chi, it is time to add variations that include the skill of advancing. "Brush Knee Push" and "Strum the Lute" are forward moving postures.
Keep in mind the relaxed alignment of the arms, and the proper positioning of the legs.
"Brush Knee Push" is often misunderstood. The real power in this posture is usually on the opposite side from the one that most people will expect. The pushing hand has the power only for the first part of the movement. When the hand is pushing, the real power is in the lead leg.
"Play Guitar" aka "Strum the Lute" is not the same as the "Raise Hands" movement that we learned in Lesson 9.

Trailer (6 minutes 19 seconds)


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(47 minutes)
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Level 1 - Lesson 10 ~ Martial Applications of "Step up and Raise Hands" and "White Crane Spreads its Wings"





The movement "Single whip" is followed by "Step up to Raise Hands", "Pull Down", "Elbow", "Shoulder", and "White Crane Spreads its Wings". These complete the "8 trigrams" that are essential to tai chi.
In this lesson we look at some subtleties of these shapes and their martial applications.
Cai is associated with Wind, and is often mistakenly translated as "pull down". A better translation would be "extract".
Zhou is assoicated with "Lake". Like a lake, it is more stable and deep than it first appears.
Kao is associate with "Mountain". It is often referred to, in English, as "shoulder strike", but it is really a technique that can use any part of the torso, head, hips, shoulders, or thighs.

Trailer (4 minutes 57 seconds)


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(50 minutes)
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Level 1 - Lesson 9 ~ "Step up and Raise Hands" and "White Crane Spreads its Wings"





In lessons 7 and 8, we introduced single whip and the sideways rending energy called "Lieh".
In this lesson we find the remaining 3 of the 8 trigrams.
"Step up an Raise Hands" represents "Cai", also known as "pluck", "pull down" or "extract"
"White Crane Spreads its Wings" gives us "Elbow" and "Shoulder Strike"
None of these are exactly what the names describe, but feel free to think of them that way if it helps you to relax.
This section completes the introduction of the "8 trigrams" or "8 essential powers" of tai chi. After introducing "Lieh" with the movement called Single Whip, we now introduce "Cai", "Zhou", and "Kao".
"Step up an raise hands" demonstrates "Cai" which is often called "Pluck" or "Pull Down".
"White Crane Spreads its Wings" contains "Zhou" (elbow), and "Kao" (Shoulder Strike).

Trailer (6 minutes 51 seconds)


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(48 minutes )
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Level 1 - Lesson 8 ~ Martial Applications of "Single Whip"





One of the challenges of single whip, is the management of power vectors. Although the power is applied sideways it must still come from the earth, throught the legs and the core. The application of the power should not compromise your own balance, even though it uproots the opponent. Making it work is even more challenging when the opponent has some skill.

Trailer (3 minutes 58 seconds)


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(26 minutes)
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Level 1 - Lesson 7 ~ Single Whip





Single whip represents sideways power. It is the first of the "4 corners" or secondary powers in tai chi.
The primary powers are Peng (boing), Lu (roll), Ji(cram), and An (press) and are known as the 4 directions. These direct power in a clear line from the feet through the core, to the hands and into the opponent.
The secondary powers are "Zai (pluck), Lieh (rend), Zhou (elbow), and Kao (shoulder) and are known as the 4 corners. These apply power that changes direction after passing the feet and the core.
Lieh (rending) is represented by single whip.

"Single Whip" represents "rending." It is the 5th of the 8 trigrams and the the first of the "4 corners".


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(19 minutes)
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Level 1 - Lesson 6 ~ Ji and An Applications





"Ji" is translated as "squeeze", or "press", or "cramming". It is a horizontal focused quality that is compared with water flowing downhill.
"An" is translated as "press", or "push". It is a downward and forward quality that is compared with fire.
Ji goes up the the middle, while An contains from both sides.

Trailer (9 minutes 43 seconds)


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(32 minutes)
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Level 1 - Lesson 5 ~ Peng and Lu Applications





The first 2 parts of "Grasp the Bird's Tail" are "Peng" and "Lu" or "Ward off" and "Roll Back" These are the "heaven and earth" of tai chi. Every other technique and movement contains these two qualities.

Peng corresponds to "heaven" and Lu corresponds to "earth". In structure, application and method, they are two sides of the same coin.
Peng is an upward and expansive energy that cannot exist without Lu.
Lu is the rolling and neutralizing quality that enables peng to expand.
Peng is like an ocean supporting a boat. Lu is like a log floating in the water.

Trailer (9 minutes 59 seconds)


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(51 minutes)

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Leve 1 - Lesson 4 ~ Grasping the Bird’s Tail. (Bird not included)





(Bird not included.)
The name of this movement, “grasping the bird’s tail,” is from a Chinese expression which refers to paying attention to important details. In this case, we are paying attention to core energetic, structural and strategic elements of tai chi. This movement contains archetypal representations of the four primary shapes called “Peng, Lu, Ji, and An.” or “Boing, Roll, Cram, and Press.”

Grasp the Bird's Tail represents the core elements of tai chi. Consisting of 4 perfect structures, Peng, Lu, Ji, and An, this sequence is the archetype for the ideal strategy, technique, method, and energy. All else that happens in the tai chi form will reference these 4 energies.

This lesson teaches the external shapes. Later lessons will discuss the more subtle internal energy, applications, and feeling.

Trailer (9 minutes 56 seconds)


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(42 minutes)


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Level 1 - Lesson 3 ~ "Peng, Pivot, and Pelvis Power"





Lessons 1 and 2 taught us to relax and align the body so that the thighs do the work and the rest of the body is balanced like a scale. In lesson 3 we learn to adjust the fulcrum of the lever for superior balance, agility, and power. We also learn one of the least understood components of tai chi power generation.

Ward Off Left and Ward Off Right Peng, Pivot, and Pelvis Power.
This lesson introduces a method, of effortless power, which is often overlooked or misunderstood.
We take the structure and alignment taught in lesson one, and the principles of engagement learned in lesson two, and apply them to rotating movements which involve the left hip, right hip, and waist, individually and together.

Trailer (22 minutes)


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(59 minutes)

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Level 1 - Lesson 2: “Wuji becomes Taiji”





“Wuji becomes Taiji” Calm, relaxed, FLINCH!, aligned, powerful, peaceful...

In Lesson 1 we learned to use the preparatory posture (“Wuji”) to relax and align the body vertically, improving the efficiency of the posture, facilitating proper breathing, and calming the mind.
Lesson 2 introduces “Wuji becomes Taiji”. Here we learn to maintain this alignment while activating the arms and legs. Keeping the core aligned while the extremities are moving can be a challenge. But the rewards are great.
The health rewards are deep and profound.
The martial benefits are crucial to surviving a conflict.

How to start by winning. Commencement teaches us to maintain proper alignment while engaging the opponent effortlessly.

Trailer (36 minutes)


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Level 1 - Lesson 1: "Wuji" ~ Don't just do something! Stand there!





Teaching the tai chi secrets can be like juggling cats.

The most powerful and important exercise in tai chi is traditionally the first thing you will learn. It is usually underestimated and misunderstood, however.

It is not uncommon for students to suspect, particularly during the first few months or years, that there are great secrets being withheld from them. Such students may see that others are progressing more quickly, but will not be able to see what the others are doing differently.

In fact, there are seldom any real secrets. The truth is out there. The problem is that most students fail to recognize the truth when they see it.
For instance, convincing ambitious students, particularly the younger ones, that relaxation is the key to martial success, is very difficult.

Likewise, convincing students that the first thing they learn is usually the most important thing they will learn, is so difficult that most teachers give up trying to do so. Even if students are convinced that the practice of “preparatory posture” or “wuji” is the key to mastery, trying to get the students to practise it regularly is like juggling rabid cats in a tornado.

This video is a 40-minute lesson on the correct practice of preparatory posture, its importance, and the tactical advantages that can be achieved through mastery of it.


Trailer (21 minutes)


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Level 1 - 0verview ~ The 26 Section Yang style Extraordinary Foundation Routine





Mariposa Method

The 26 Section Yang style Extraordinary Foundation Routine



26-Section Yang Style Extraordinary Foundation Routine is one of the core routines of the Mariposa Tai Chi Method developed by Ian Sinclair.
  • This routine contains all the important elements, both basic and advanced, of the tradition Yang Style tai chi.
  • It is symmetrical, making it physically balanced and also easy to follow.
  • It is designed to be performed in minimal space.
  • It is oriented so that the student will be able to see the instructor easily. Very seldom will the student need to look over a shoulder to see the screen or front of the class.
  • It is presented so that it can be taught in a phased curriculum with each section teaching certain core principles. Students can join in the beginning, the middle, or the end. With persistence, all students will be exposed to all elements.
This video presents the complete routine with narration.
Front and rear views are shown simultaneously in split-screen.

The routine is performed by William McHugh, as taught and directed by Ian Sinclair.



Download the video



Have you ever wonder how it is that tai chi can be called a healing exercise, a fitness system, and one of the world's most powerful martial arts, when the image of the art is often one of old people sneaking up on trees, and tai chi gatherings often look like a Gerry Garcia convention?




Download the video





Well keep in mind, that tai chi is also an incredibly accessible exercise / sport / martial art. It can be modified to suit almost any age or fitness level. It also has so much therapeutic value that it is often prescribed for people with health conditions that preclude other types of exercise.
But the very attributes that make tai chi accessible and beneficial to the elderly and infirm, also make it extremely appealing to knowledgeable athletes and martial artists of any age.

Tai Chi is the art of relaxed efficiency. It harmonizes the body, mind and spirit. It conditions the body to use only the most practical and efficient alignments and movements. It refines balance and power generation to a subtle and sublime degree. It teaches the use of softness and the mind to overcome powerful resistance. It increases strength and flexibility, strengthens bones. It reduces inflammation. It improves the function of the back and joints. It improves concentration and awareness. And much more.

As a martial art, tai chi is known for its subtle technique, profound method, and superior internal power.

Most of the people who practise tai chi do so for the sake of health, relaxation, and general well-being. In fact, many teachers these days are unconcerned and unknowledgeable about the martial components of tai chi. This is unfortunate, since the martial context of tai chi is responsible of the development of the health benefits.

In this video series, I intend to do several things:

  • Present easy to follow instruction in tai chi for students of all levels. This will include a comprehensive curriculum designed specifically for online video instruction. You can choose to learn the entire curriculum step by step, or simply follow along with each episode.
  • The emphasis will be the essential core principles and proper method, and not simply a choreography lesson.
  • The basic lessons will use simple, compact, and symmetrical routines which will allow you to practice more efficiently and follow more easily.
  • In later lessons, I will teach the longer traditional routines.
  • Demonstrate the scientific principles behind the health benefits of tai chi.
  • Prove the value of tai chi as a fitness system by turning my 240 lbs of excessively well marbled muscle into a lean, serene tai chi-ing machine.
  • I will also be explaining what we mean when we talk about internal power and I will teach you how you can cultivate it yourself.
  • I will attempt to clarify the concepts central to tai chi training and philosophy, such as yin and yang, qi, 8-trigram theory, and the theory of the five elements.
  • I will also demonstrate the martial techniques, methods, and conditioning of tai chi.

I will also be posting instructional videos and articles on youtube and at TaiChiCentral.com, where you can find the World Tai Chi School Directory, Tai chi Event listing, and more information about tai chi.

About the 26-Section Yang Style Extraordinary Foundation Routine:

26-Section Yang Style Extraordinary Foundation Routine is one of the core routines of the Mariposa Tai Chi Method developed by Ian Sinclair.

  • This routine contains all the important elements, both basic and advanced, of the tradition Yang Style tai chi.
  • It is symmetrical, making it physically balanced and also easy to follow.
  • It is designed to be performed in minimal space.
  • It is oriented so that the student will be able to see the instructor easily. Very seldom will the student need to look over a shoulder to see the screen or front of the class.
  • It is presented so that it can be taught in a phased curriculum with each section teaching certain core principles. Students can join in the beginning, the middle, or the end. With persistence, all students will be exposed to all elements.

This video presents the complete routine with narration.  Front and rear views are shown simultaneously in split-screen. The routine is performed by William McHugh, as taught and directed by Ian Sinclair.


The 26-Section Yang Style Extraordinary Foundation Routine.
Part of the Mariposa Tai Chi Method created by Ian Sinclair

Section 1
Wuji

Section 2
Wuji Becomes Taiji

Section 3
Peng right
Peng left
Grasp the bird’s tail right
Peng left
Peng right
Grasp the bird’s tail left

Section 4
Single Whip

Section 5
Step up raise hands right
pull down
elbow
shoulder
white crane spreads wings right
Step up raise hands left
pull down
elbow
shoulder
white crane spreads wings left

Section 6
Brush right knee and push left
Half step and strum the lute right
Brush left knee and push right
Half step and strum lute left

Section 7
twist step right, deflect down with open hands
twist step left, deflect down with left fist
step up right, parry, and punch left
apparent close and counter with push
twist step left, deflect down with open hands
twist step right, deflect down with right fist
step up left, parry, and punch right
apparent close and counter with push

Section 8
double whip right
step left
right fist under left elbow
double whip left
step right
left fist under right elbow

Section 9
step back left to repulse monkey with right palm
diagonal flying right
step back right to repulse monkey with left palm
diagonal flying left

Section 10
Left hand throws the harpoon
right fan through the back
right hand throws the harpoon
left fan through the back

Section 11
turn with right elbow
cast right fist
right five punches (down, up, out, hammer, hook)
turn with left elbow
cast left fist
left five punches (down, up, out, hammer, hook)

Section 12
Cloud hands right
cloud hands left

Section 13
right single whip
left hand pats the horse
left single whip
right hand pats the horse

Section 14
parting kick right
parting kick left

Section 15
brush right knee and punch down with left fist
snake attacks with tongue left
brush left knee and punch down with right fist
snake attacks with tongue right

Section 16
right rising kick
hit tiger left
left rising kick
hit tiger right

Section 17
kick with right heel
double wind to ears right
kick with left heel
double wind to ears left

`
Section 18
part the horse’s mane right
part the horse’s mane left

Section 19
weave the shuttles right
weave the shuttles left

Section 20
snake creeps right
rooster stands on right leg
right bamboo hand
snake creeps left
rooster stands on left leg
left bamboo hand

Section 21
cross leg slap right kick with left hand
twist step brush left knee and punch low with right fist
grasp the bird’s tail right
cross leg slap left kick with right hand
twist step brush right knee and punch low with left fist
grasp the bird’s tail left

Section 22
grasp the wandering bird’s tail right
grasp the wandering bird’s tail left

Section 23
snake creeps right with right fist
step up to ride the whale
sit back to ride the tiger
turn to sweep the lotus
snake creeps left with left fist
step up to ride the whale
sit back to ride the tiger
turn to sweep the lotus

Section 24
right leg sweeps the lotus
bend the bow right
left leg sweeps the lotus
bend the bow left

Section 25
cross hands right
connecting the gates
cross hands left
connecting the gates

Section 26
Taiji returns to Wuji...
Wuji becomes Taiji...


  1. Wuji
  2. Wuji Becomes Taiji
  3. Peng right
  4. Peng left
  5. Grasp the bird’s tail right
  6. Peng left
  7. Peng right
  8. Grasp the bird’s tail left
  9. Single Whip
  10. Step up raise hands right
  11. pull down
  12. elbow
  13. shoulder
  14. white crane spreads wings right
  15. Step up raise hands left
  16. pull down
  17. elbow
  18. shoulder
  19. white crane spreads wings left
  20. Brush right knee and push left
  21. Half step and strum the lute right
  22. Brush left knee and push right
  23. Half step and strum lute left
  24. twist step right, deflect down with open hands
  25. twist step left, deflect down with left fist
  26. step up right, parry, and punch left
  27. apparent close and counter with push
  28. twist step left, deflect down with open hands
  29. twist step right, deflect down with right fist
  30. step up left, parry, and punch right
  31. apparent close and counter with push
  32. double whip right
  33. step left
  34. right fist under left elbow
  35. double whip left
  36. step right
  37. left fist under right elbow
  38. step back left to repulse monkey with right palm
  39. diagonal flying right
  40. step back right to repulse monkey with left palm
  41. diagonal flying left
  42. Left hand throws the harpoon
  43. right fan through the back
  44. right hand throws the harpoon
  45. left fan through the back
  46. turn with right elbow
  47. cast right fist
  48. right five punches (down, up, out, hammer, hook)
  49. turn with left elbow
  50. cast left fist
  51. left five punches (down, up, out, hammer, hook)
  52. Cloud hands right
  53. cloud hands left
  54. right single whip
  55. left hand pats the horse
  56. left single whip
  57. right hand pats the horse
  58. parting kick right
  59. parting kick left
  60. brush right knee and punch down with left fist
  61. snake attacks with tongue left
  62. brush left knee and punch down with right fist
  63. snake attacks with tongue right
  64. right rising kick
  65. hit tiger left
  66. left rising kick
  67. hit tiger right
  68. kick with right heel
  69. double wind to ears right
  70. kick with left heel
  71. double wind to ears left
  72. part the horse’s mane right
  73. part the horse’s mane left
  74. weave the shuttles right
  75. weave the shuttles left
  76. snake creeps right
  77. rooster stands on right leg
  78. right bamboo hand
  79. snake creeps left
  80. rooster stands on left leg
  81. left bamboo hand
  82. cross leg slap right kick with left hand
  83. twist step brush left knee and punch low with right fist
  84. grasp the bird’s tail right
  85. cross leg slap left kick with right hand
  86. twist step brush right knee and punch low with left fist
  87. grasp the bird’s tail left
  88. grasp the wandering bird’s tail right
  89. grasp the wandering bird’s tail left
  90. snake creeps right with right fist
  91. step up to ride the whale
  92. sit back to ride the tiger
  93. turn to sweep the lotus
  94. snake creeps left with left fist
  95. step up to ride the whale
  96. sit back to ride the tiger
  97. turn to sweep the lotus
  98. right leg sweeps the lotus
  99. bend the bow right
  100. left leg sweeps the lotus
  101. bend the bow left
  102. cross hands right
  103. connecting the gates
  104. cross hands left
  105. connecting the gates
  106. Taiji returns to Wuji...
  107. Wuji becomes Taiji...
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The advantages of learning tai chi with the Mariposa Tai chi Method.






The Mariposa Method curriculum is the result of years of work, and continues to be built and refined.
The Mariposa Method is specially designed for online and video instruction.
You can learn tai chi at your own pace. In other classes, if you miss a lesson, you risk missing out on some bit of crucial information that might not get mentioned again for months or even years.
The instructor is an internationally respected expert with more than three decades experience learning from many of the world's top masters.
Learning "real tai chi" with all of the elements intact. This course is comprehensive and ongoing. It is not simplified or watered down. In fact, there is material here that you will find in only a few schools around the world. Even traditional schools sometimes need to dilute their material to accommodate their circumstances.

Get maximum health benefit.
Tai chi, when correctly taught and practised, offers deep and profound benefits for health, relaxation, peace of mind, fitness, concentration, and vitality.

Learn the real martial art. The practice of tai chi as a martial art is based on the same principles that make it an effective healing exercise. Learning tai chi for self defence is no different from learning it for health. The process is the same. In both cases you learn to
harmonize the mind with the body,
relax the body and calm the mind,
refine awareness of the subtle relationship between thought, emotion, posture, and action.
eliminate internal conflict (stop fighting yourself)
strengthen the will
refine the personality
refine balance and the efficient function of the body.

As you improve, your awareness and ability to harmonize with yourself expands to the world around you. You learn to apply the same internal skills to your environment and your whole life. You can extend your own balance and harmony to other people, including your friends, family, and even opponents.

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