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  Sharing Tai Chi & Qigong with the wonderful      KARDASHIANS 

Above the Clouds
 
 
Harrie Ng
TAI CHI AND QIGONG

“易有太極,始生兩儀,

兩儀生四象,四象生八卦”

 

 

In the system of Change

there is the Great Ultimate.

It generates the Two Modes

(yin an yang).

The Two Modes generate the Four Forms (major and minor yin and yang).

The Four Forms generate

the Eight Trigrams.

Ba Duan Jin Qigong exercise,

Eight Pieces of Brocade

 

             

 

 

 

 

 

 

24 Form Tai Chi Demonstration Back View Master Amin Wu

      吳阿敏背向示範楊式24式太極拳

 


 

 

 

 

                        

FIVE ANIMALS QIGONG / WU QIN XI

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT IS TAI CHI?

 

The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the 'Supreme Ultimate Force'. The notion of 'supreme ultimate' is often associated with the Chinese concept of yin-yang, the notion that one can see a dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.) in all things. 'Force' (or, more literally, 'fist') can be thought of here as the means or way of achieving this ying-yang, or 'supreme-ultimate' discipline.

 

Tai Chi, as it is practiced in the west today, can perhaps best be thought of as a moving form of yoga and meditation combined. There are a number of so- called forms (sometimes also called 'sets') which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the martial arts (and perhaps even more ancestrally than that, from the natural movements of animals and birds) although the way they are performed in Tai Chi is slowly, softly and gracefully with smooth and even transitions between them.

 

For many practicioners the focus in doing them is not, first and foremost, martial, but as a meditative exercise for the body. For others the combat aspects of Tai Chi are of considerable interest. In Chinese philosophy and medicine there exists the concept of 'chi', a vital force that animates the body. One of the avowed aims of Tai Chi is to foster the circulation of this 'chi' within the body, the belief being that by doing so the health and vitality of the person are enhanced. This 'chi' circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.

 

Another aim of Tai Chi is to foster a calm and tranquil mind, focused on the precise execution of these exercises. Learning to do them correctly provides a practical avenue for learning about such things as balance, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body's vital center, and so on. Thus the practice of Tai Chi can in some measure contribute to being able to better stand, walk, move, run, etc. in other spheres of life as well. Many practitioners notice benefits in terms of correcting poor postural, alignment or movement patterns which can contribute to tension or injury. Furthermore the meditative nature of the exercises is calming and relaxing in and of itself.

 

Because the Tai Chi movements have their origins in the martial arts, practicing them does have some martial applications. In a two-person exercise called 'push-hands' Tai Chi principles are developed in terms of being sensitive to and responsive of another person's 'chi' or vital energy. It is also an opportunity to employ some of the martial aspects of Tai Chi in a kind of slow-tempo combat. Long-time practitioners of Tai Chi who are so-inclined can become very adept at martial arts. The emphasis in Tai Chi is on being able to channel potentially destructive energy (in the form of a kick or a punch) away from one in a manner that will dissipate the energy or send it in a direction where it is no longer a danger. 

 

The practical exercises of Tai Chi are also situated in a wider philosophical context of Taoism. This is a reflective, mystical Chinese tradition first associated with the scholar and mystic Lao Tsu, an older contemporary of Confucius. He wrote and taught in the province of Honan in the 6th century B.C. and authored the seminal work of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching. As a philosophy, Taoism has many elements but fundamentally it espouses a calm, reflective and mystic view of the world steeped in the beauty and tranquillity of nature.

 

Tai Chi also has, particularly amongst eastern practitioners, a long connection with the I Ching a Chinese system of divination. There are associations between the 8 basic I Ching trigrams plus the five elements of Chinese alchemy (metal, wood, fire, water and earth) with the thirteen basic postures of Tai Chi created by Chang San-feng. There are also other associations with the full 64 trigrams of the I Ching and other movements in the Tai Chi form.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

形勢勁意氣神空

形 :The form
勢 :The Stances 
勁 :The Strength 
意 :The Mind
氣 :The Qi
神 :The State of mind 
空 :The Empty mind

EIGHT GATES OF
        TAI CHI

 
 
 
 
In the work of tai chi chuan there are certain key aspects or qualities that should be trained to allow a fuller understanding of how the art works, both as a health exercise and more essentially, as an effective martial art.
The key aspects are:

Peng, Lui, Ji, An, Tsai, Lieh, Chou, and Kao.

Each of these aspects relate to particular Hand Form postures:
 
掤  Peng   –    Ward Off
捋  Lui      –    Roll Back
擠  Ji        –     Press
按  An      –     Push
採  Tsai    –    Pluck or Grasp
挒  Lieh    –    Split
肘  Chou  –    Elbow Stroke
靠  Kao    –    Shoulder Stroke
Peng -
Is an expanding opening quality, likened to a filling balloon. Rather than exercising raw physical strength Peng trains a connection from the ground, through the body with the mental intend of opening and expanding through the arms ultimately uprooting the opponent.
 
Lui -
Is a yielding absorbing quality where one is connecting to the opponent’s oncoming force, and moving in the direction of the force whilst ‘sticking’ or ‘adhering’ and ultimately leading that force into the ‘void’ or emptiness.
 
Ji -
Is a pressing quality somewhat like that of squeezing into the centre of a sponge. The palm of one hand is connected to the inside of the wrist of the other hand whilst being connected to the opponent, ultimately connecting to their ‘centre’ and disturbing their equilibrium.
 
An -
Is a pushing quality which is executed by placing the palms on the body of the opponent and connecting to the ground, through the feet, pushing from the feet, into the palms and uprooting the opponent.
 
Tsai -
Is a plucking quality similar to pulling a plant from the ground. When pressing or pushing the opponent towards the ground there comes a point where they will respond to the downward force by trying to rise upwards, this is the point when one would connect to that upcoming force and ‘pluck’ the opponent upwards and off their feet.
 
Lieh -
Is an opening, splitting movement which separates the parts of the opponent’s body in two directions such as can be seen in movements like ‘Diagonal Flying’ where one would place their leg behind the opponent’s whilst connecting their arm across their chest and turning from the centre causing the opponent to fall backwards with the opposing forces being applied to the upper and lower parts of their body.
 
Chou -
Is ‘Elbow Stroke’ where the opponent is struck with the elbow, which is light and free, with the impulse of the force coming from the centre or waist and propelled by ground force from the feet.
 
Kao -
Is ‘Shoulder Stroke’  when one’s shoulder is connected to the opponent’s body and the impulse of the force again comes from the ground, through the feet, through the body, propelling the connection through the shoulder forward, into the opponent’s centre.

    How that whole subconscious works

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Tai Chi Chuan : a way of life 

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi draws upon the simplest of principles, but mastery does not come as easily

 

Anyone who has visited China and found themselves on the streets in the early morning will be familiar with the sight of people practicing the slow and graceful movements of Tai Chi in unison. Tai Chi Chuan or Taijiquan is an internal Chinese martial art, and literally translates as "supreme ultimate fist". 

 

All styles that have emerged over the past 100 years can trace their roots back to a family boxing, or fighting, style developed in a small village in the Henan province of China during the 17th century, although where the exercises came from before then, is somewhat open to conjecture. 

 

More recently, Tai Chi has found global fame due to its health-enhancing benefits. However, while many people today may practise Tai Chi solely for its physical benefits, it has at its core the ancient philosophy of Taoism, a philosophy that goes back around 6,000 years. 

 

Tai Chi works on the principles of Yin and Yang – which in Taoist philosophy represent the two opposite forces in action in the Universe, from which all things stem. The Taoists believe that the human body is a reflection of the Universe, and it can be used as a gateway to understanding and achieving the Tao— which means the ‘path’ or the ‘way’. 

 

This interplay of opposites within the Universe is reflected in every movement within traditional Tai Chi Chuan, as you change constantly from Yin to Yang — from closed to open, passive to active, empty to full, soft to hard, slow to quick, each part, each side of the body is engaged in this dance that mirrors the nature of our internal ‘selves’ as well as the Universe outside. 

 

The more you practice, the more these opposite forces of Yin and Yang become balanced and a part of yourself, leading to a greater sense of harmony and fulfillment. 

 

Seems simple? In a sense, it couldn’t be easier — you are following the natural laws of the Universe, forging balance and harmony out of performing seemingly simple physical movements. But it may seem contradictory that this supposedly easy ‘path of least resistance’, as many people think of Tai Chi training, actually requires considerable effort and dedication to follow.  

 

 

To become proficient at Tai Chi, the training requires the student to practice daily, and the skills don’t come easily. Despite the primary principle being to just relax and move comfortably, it takes considerable work to achieve this! 

 

Just as a proper foundation has to be laid for a house to stand firm, so must a proper foundation be laid within the body for a solid practice to take shape. And just as it is physically hard for us to re-learn how to relax and follow our natural way of moving, so it can be just as difficult to find the ‘way’, and find balance and harmony within life.

                   

                      六字訣    The Six Healing Sounds

                                                                         

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grand Master Niú

 

       Ba Duan Jin

        Eight Pieces of Brocade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Two Hands Hold up the Heavens 

This move is said to stimulate the "Triple Warmer" meridian (Sanjiao). It consists of an upward movement of the hands, which are loosely joined and travel up the center of the body.

 

Drawing the Bow to Shoot the Hawk (or Vulture)

While in a lower horse stance, the practitioner imitates the action of drawing a bow to either side. It is said to exercise the waist area, focusing on the kidneys and spleen.

 

Separate Heaven and Earth

This resembles a version of the first piece with the hands pressing in opposite directions, one up and one down. A smooth motion in which the hands switch positions is the main action, and it is said to especially stimulate the stomach.

 

Wise Owl Gazes Backwards or Look Back

This is a stretch of the neck to the left and the right in an alternating fashion.

 

Sway the Head and Shake the Tail

This is said to regulate the function of the heart and lungs. Its primary aim is to remove excess heat (or fire) (xin huo) from the heart. Xin huo is also associated with heart fire in traditional Chinese medicine. In performing this piece, the practitioner squats in a low horse stance, places the hands on thighs with the elbows facing out and twists to glance backwards on each side.

 

Two Hands Hold the Feet to Strengthen the Kidneys and Waist

This involves a stretch upwards followed by a forward bend and a holding of the toes.

 

Clench the Fists and Glare Fiercely (or Angrily)

This resembles the second piece, and is largely a punching movement either to the sides or forward while in horse stance. This, which is the most external of the pieces, is aimed at increasing general vitality and muscular strength.

 

Bouncing on the Toes

This is a push upward from the toes with a small rocking motion on landing. The gentle shaking vibrations of this piece is said to "smooth out" the qi after practice of the preceding seven pieces.

Creating Joyous Practice

with the Five Animal Frolics

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Qigong is a unique & ancient Chinese exercise and healing system that allows you to enhance health & prevent illness by aligning the mind & body with Qi (“Chi”/Vital Energy).  Qi is the vital energy that we are born with, the energy that we receive into our body by the food we consume and through nature (e.g. the air we breathe). 

 

THE FIVE ANIMAL FROLICS

The 5 Animal Frolics (五禽戲, Wu Qin Xi) is a complete qigong system, and the most ancient qigong system still practiced today.  According to Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of Qigong,”As story has it (Daoist Legend) Hua Tuo [110-207 AD/CE] received this text as well as instruction in Five Animals from two recluses living in a cave on Mount Gong Yi.”  The “more recent” teachers whom are credited with spreading qigong (and Five Animal Qigong, in particular) are Madame Guo Lin (1906-1984) and Feng Zhiqiang (who learned this from his teacher, Hu Yao-zhen)*.  The series of exercises that comprise the Five Animal Frolics not only help to keep the body sprightly and strong, but it engages both the mind and spirit as well.  The Five Animal Frolics helps to create depth to your practice by allowing your body to communicate in different ways.

 

“When you practice the animals, do not imitate the animals, become them!”

(Kenneth Cohen)

 

“Feeling is a language.  This language allows your body and mind to communicate.  But if you don’t pick up this feeling, the effectiveness of exercise becomes shallow.”

(Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming)

 

24式簡化太極拳分解動作口訣

Simplified 24 form --Tai Chi Chuan

based on traditional Yang style since 1955 Beijing.

 

 

1.   起 勢

      Beginning of Tai Chi

2.   左右野馬分鬃

      Parting the wild horse’s mane (3 walks: Left, Right, Left)

3.   白 鶴 亮 翅

      White crane spreads wing

4.   左右摟膝拗步

      Brush knee, push and twist (3 walks: Left, Right, Left)

5.   手揮琵琶

      Play lute or guitar

6.   左右倒卷肱

      Step back to repulse monkey “forearm” (4: Left, Right, Left, Right)

7.   左攬雀尾

      Grasp the bird’s tail (Left)

8.   右攬雀尾

      Grasp the bird’s tail (Right)

9.   單 鞭

      Single whip

10. 雲 手

      Wave hands like clouds (3)—Travel to Left

11. 單 鞭

      Single whip

12. 高 探 馬

      High pat on horse’s head

13. 右 蹬 腳

      Kick with right heel

14. 雙峰貫耳

      Box opponent’s ears with both fists

15. 轉身左蹬腳

      Turn and kick with left heel

16. 左下勢獨立

      Sweep through grass into-. Golden rooster stands on one leg (Left)

17. 右下勢獨立

      Sweep through grass into-. Golden rooster stands on one leg (Right)

18. 左右穿梭

      Fair lady works with shuttles (2): Right then Left)

19. 海 底 針

      Needle at the bottom of the sea

20. 閃 通 臂

      Fan through the back ( Flash through the arm )

21. 轉身搬攔捶

      Turn, deflect downwards, Block and punch

22. 如封似閉

     Open palms, withdraw and push

23. 十 字 手

      “Close door,” Cross hands

24. 收 勢

      End of Tai Chi

 

We honor both the physical strength (“fist”) and the mind (“ledger”)

Group Sessions

Teaches two QiGong forms: the Ba Duan Jin form “8 Pieces of Brocade” and Wu Qin Xi form “5 Animal Frolic.” Reinforces Yang-style Tai Chi 24 form. Must know 24 form basics to sign up.

 

Location: Hillcrest Center for the Arts

Due to the Pandemic, We are temporary practicing outdoor at Conejo Community Park.
Class Date: Friday
Time: 8:55-9:55am

Tel: 805-381-2747

Private Session

Please Email to:

harriewood@aol.com

 
Class News
Please register and sign up online @https://secure.crpd.org/register/
Thank you!

 
NEW Semester begin from
June-25 to Aug-27

 
We will have class on JULY - 30 

from Jun-25
We are moving back indoor at Hillcrest Center for the Arts

 
 

Get In Touch

Location           : Hillcrest Center for the Arts
Class Date        : Friday
Time                 : 8:55-9:55am

Tel                     : 805-381-2747