T’ai Chi in the Park 2019

T’ai Chi in Wish Park will start just after Easter this year on 23rd APRIL.  I’ve changed to TUESDAYs to avoid the disruption caused by the Bank Holidays in May.  Hope this is not a problem. Time remains at 6.45-7.45pm so no free parking nearby except down by the lagoon or north of the railway.

It will be aimed at all levels including complete beginners. We will focus on Dao-chuan – the slow flowing patterns of movement known as T’ai Chi Hand Form and Tui-shou the more aerobic one or two person exercises often misnamed Pushing Hands. The Hand Form is what most people think of when they think of T’ai Chi. Pushing Hands may come as a bit of a surprise to the uninitiated but you must remember that the art is based on the theory of Yin & Yang so is both soft and slow –  yin,  but also, at times, fast and hard – yang. You can’t have one without the other, well you can, but it is unbalanced and relatively ineffective.

If you have any questions beforehand just email, text or phone. You don’t need any special clothing but dress for the weather and if it rains wear a hat, we WILL still be there!

Tai Chi donated to The Museum of Curiosity by Benjamin Zephaniah

I love Radio4! Just been listening to The Museum of Curiosity (Series 13 Episode 1) in which Benjamin Zephaniah gave an impassioned case for donating Tai Chi. It was great even though some of what he said was disputable!

Yang based styles, for example, are not always slow. Yes, the hand form is mostly done in a slow and controlled manner but some moves, such as Double Hand Sweep Lotus Leg, are quick and besides I do the whole form much quicker on a chilly winter morning than a warm summer’s evening!

As for it not being an effective martial art and “you would be better off doing Kick Boxing or Karate”, that may be true of his Chen style but my Sifu Dan Docherty, his Sifu Chen Tin-hung and several elder brothers in Tai Chi have demonstrated that a full system of Wudang, Practical Tai Chi Chuan is. (N.B. WPTCC is in the Yang/Wu family lineage NOT Chen family despite the name – see ‘The Complete Tai Chi Tutor’ by Dan Docherty for detailed lineages etc.)

Also listened to Start the Week with Andrew Marr interviewing Yuval Noah Harari, the author of Sapiens and Homo Deus. Well worth a listen though  they don’t mention Tai Chi!

Tai Chi in the Park is Blooming

Great to see so many new faces at Tai Chi in the Park this evening. Hope you all enjoyed it.

We covered: Stances, Seven Stars & Four directions Pushing Hands, the first twelve moves of the Short Square Form, Wave Hands in Clouds. I also explained that there are 5 elements in the Wudang System: Hand Forms, Weapon Forms, Pushing Hands, Self Defence Applications and Nei Gong.

If you go to my teacher Peter Ballam’s site through the Links page above you will find video’s of all the Forms and Pushing Hands. If you want to find out more about Tai Chi and the Wudang Style in particular then visit my Sifu Dan Docherty’s site.

I should have mentioned that we shall be at WISHFEST with an information desk in the Health & Wellbeing Area again this year. There will also be a demo at 4pm (England will hopefully be in the World Cup final not the third place play-off!) which you are welcome to join in. If not, I hope to see you all again next Monday.

Chinese Characters on Radio 4

I’m really enjoying Chinese Characters (1.45pm Mon-Fri Radio 4) although it has made no mention of taiji or any other martial art so far (Episode 4/20).  It is a series of essays exploring Chinese history through the life stories of key personalities.

Even most of us sinophiles can find getting to grips with Chinese history overwhelming but these bite sized stories give a real feeling for the culture, its length and scope.

There are 20 episodes, so a month of lunchtime radio to look forward to or you can download the podcast :-

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09zgd6y/episodes/downloads

Enjoyable discussion about Kong jin, Empty Force

There has been a fun discussion on Facebook after someone posted video of a charlatan in a Chinese park bouncing some poor acolyte around using empty force. Dan then posted on his blog http://www.taichichuan.co.uk/blog.html  an account of the famous Water Incident when a certain renowned purveyor of kong jin,  Dr Shen Hongxun, was made to look rather foolish.

I first heard about mt force in a book on karate I read as a young teenager (what is now, bizarrely,  called a ‘young adult’). In it an old master was said to be able to project his Qi by shouting “KAI!!!” and could use this to knock birds out of trees. I was both fascinated by the idea of being able to cultivate such a power yet disappointed at its weakness. Now if it could lift a spaceship out of a swamp…  but this was a long, long time ago before Star Wars was a twinkle in George’s eye and I guess most kids dream of having super powers.

That, of course, is what brought me to martial arts. I quickly found that at Judo a good little’un could beat a big’un but a good big’un was more of a problem and I was a little’un! The answer, of course, is to train harder and longer than the big b******s and so to have gongfu – skill acquired through hard training. By the way the term can apply to any skill not just the martial arts.

Introduction to Tai Chi Course starting 11th February 2018

Just had first booking for the Beginners Tai Chi Course and it was first proper message to my new email at this new site.  Woohoo! This is often the most popular course of the year as people make New Year Resolutions and look for ways to get fit and work off those extra pounds put on over Christmas.

Many people don’t think of Tai Chi as aerobic enough to burn off the calories but the Tui-shou or pushing hands exercises and weapons forms certainly can. It depends how fast you do them! Continue reading “Introduction to Tai Chi Course starting 11th February 2018”