Thursday, 24 May 2012

Yiquan Poem 1

Yiquan was developed by Wang Xiangzhai ( 1885 - 1963 ).

One of the main aspects is holding static postures. This is termed " Pile Standing ". I will be posting a series of " Poems " which have a Yiquan flavour over the next few months and which will be of interest to serious students.

These Poems were translated by Professor Chang Shao Quan and Heron Beecham who hold the copyright and are reproduced here with permission.

Poems use imagery and capture an essence with a unique flavour, to be returned to time and time again as our practise develops and deepens.

Poem 1.

The spirit takes on the manner of a panther gazing into the mist;
The energy so sensitive that dust can hardly land upon the body.

 The profound essentials can only be found in the places where skill resides;
The strength is created in the tendons and muscles, but the spirit is kept in the bones.

When the frame is quiet, it is like a hawk watching over the tops of the trees;
When in motion, it is like a dragon moving swiftly through the rolling waves in a flood

Through respiration the source of our internal energy can be joined with heaven;
The roaring of the breath is so powerful, it will move wind and rain a great distance.

Friday, 18 May 2012

Traditional Tai Chi ?

So I'm walking down the corridor with John Kells at the Tai Chi centre, past the toilet that served as a changing room and down the stairs that needed refurbishing. Actually, most of the house did but I think that was part of the attraction. Maybe not for everyone!

I had mentioned tradtional tai chi when  he said " of course, we're not practising traditional tai chi ". I was a bit taken aback but I had never actually thought about it. What is traditional? A system as handed down by yout teacher? A system that is inflexible and withought development or additions? Isn't what some perceive as traditional tai chi representative of a break from what had gone before? Otherwise we would all be practising whatever was taught to the Chen family. What is tradtional was radical in it's day.

What John taught was a blend of his input from the Ch'eng Man Ching and Yang style Tai Chi he had learned, plus other influences. So his approach and form changed as a result. The form was a vehicle for exploring principles of tai chi and energy.

And isn't this really the crux of the matter? Investigation, not Dogma.

No doubt opinions vary.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012


It's a good idea to free up the Pelvis and Sacral area.

This is important so you can connect to the legs and access the intrinsic, elastic energy that is present. The pelvis free floats like a Buoy in water.

Any pressure on the arms, like in ward off for example, is instantly taken down to the legs and feet through the pelvis and then discharged.

There are lots of books with good exercise. I'm currently working my way through "Meet your Body" by Noah Karrasch, published by Singing Dragon Press. Feldenkreis is also an interesting investigation.

Research and see how your Practise is informed.

Sunday, 6 May 2012


I'm thinking of running some workshops for people interested in learning the tradtional Sun style Tai Chi 97 form.

These would be held in Hertford, Hertfordshire on Saturdays.

If you are interested let me know. Below is a clip of the form.

Saturday, 5 May 2012

Body as One Unit

John Kells would often say that moving the Body as one unit was a key principle.

If nothing else, remember to move the body as one unit, he would say.

So what do you do? This is probably where it all gets complicated and it ends up like the old joke of how many tai chi instructors does it take to change a lightbulb. The answer, of course, is 9. 1 to actually change the lightbulb and the other 8 to comment " hmm, that's nice but my style does it correctly".

There are some simple things to focus on that might help.

You can visualise the nose and navel moving together.

You can think of your lower belly as a camera lens, pointing in the direction you want to go.

John at one point visualised a pole coming up from his belly  in front of his chest and used that to turn around.

There must be many other images that one could use. Try one of the above to see if it is useful.