Tai Chi Lessons Online - BlogNew lessons are posted to this blog on a regular basis.
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)
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)
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)
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)
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)
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".
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)
Do or do not do. There is no "Try"
Wed, Oct 16 2013 12:52 PM | Tips and Advice
"To be or not to be. That is the question" - William Shakespeare;
"The way to do is to be." Laozi;
"To do is to be." Jean Paul Satre;
"To be is to do do" - Dale Carnegie;
"Doo-bee-doo-bee-doo." - Frank Sinatra;
"Dabba dabba doo" - Kate Bush;
"Yabba dabba doo." - Fred Flinstone;
"Do be a do be." - Miss Louise, Romper Room;
"Scooby-doobee-doo" - Scooby Doo….
But I digress.
"Do or do not do. There is no try." - Yoda
Regarding the type of "free hands" used here. Realism is in the structure. Intent is in the core. Safety is in the feet. This means that everything is realistic except that the legs do not follow through. The legs control the intensity of the exercise. There are advantages and disadvantages to this method. But it is often preferred because it can be very safe. If you increase the intensity and explosiveness of the legs, it can become quite scary.
Tai Chi Tuishou - Rend, Pluck, and training well together.
Tue, Oct 15 2013 12:48 PM | Tips and Advice
In this video we see two students with very different attributes. Age, size, weight, reach, and experience are very different. Yet the two students benefit equally from practising together. Each works on different skill sets, refining strategy, technique, and method. Victory is irrelevant, and therefore becomes assured.
"Martial Tai Chi" or "Healing Tai chi?"
People often try to make a distinction between tai chi for health and tai chi as a martial art. But the two goals are far from being mutually exclusive.
Students who practise tai chi for health and fitness might be able to study for year without realizing that they are learning a martial art. But students who learn tai chi as a practical martial art cannot help but realize the health benefits.
This video was made during a tai chi class in October, 2013.