Tuesday, 27 December 2016

My Favourite Books (2)

I bought two copies of " Master Cheng's Thirteen Chapters on T'ai Chi Ch'uan".

This version pictured below is the second one that came out with notes and an index. The material in the book can found in other books, but this is nice to have and on re-reading it you can always find something to reflect upon in your own practise.

My Favourite Books (1)

One for my German readers....

Kraft ohne Anstrengung ( Effortless Power in English)

I bought this in 1999 in Basel, Schweiz. It's a great book dealing with posture and structural alignment for effortless strength/power. The author, Dieter Allgaier, is a martial artist practising Taiji, Qigong, Escrima and Wing Chun.

The are some great exercises and a nice "teacups" Bagua one to help the reader understand the concepts.

I  don't know if it is still in print but I think it is a lot better than many of the later structural type books I've seen since.

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Twenty Years

The Path of development

Twenty Years Physical

Twenty Years Mental

Twenty Years Spiritual

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The weapons forms of the Sun family

I've been studying traditional Sun style Taiji for the last 11years privately under David Martin, indoor student of the late Sun Jian Yun.

It is a fascinating style and the article by Ivan Ang in Singapore about Sun family weapons sheds light on the relationship between weapons and the empty hand forms.

The article can be read here

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number eighteen


Many parts of our body connect with the outside world and are the root of what has come to be called senses. The five main senses are all influenced strongly by touch. Everything touches, but the aum stretching from nipple to nipple and a hand width wide, each half curving to the centre to make a rough figure of eight. To bring power to such a famous and unknown structure is beyond the capacity to make small. Peripheral vision is the eyes touching everything without a mean or selfish concentration. It is a largely unused talent, without it the person has a tunnel vision which is unable to pick out the truth, which is cushioned by environment. What is inside you works all the time. All the time is without time. Obsessed by such a commotion we have clocks and whole systems of training devoted to the 60 minutes—the number 60 from ancient times. Peripheral vision is the start of transmission because both teacher and pupil are active in this transmission. The hard quality of structures work from the inside of a ruby or a sapphire, change their colour and influence what they mean. This must be approached softly or the meaning shrinks and disappears.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Interesting Push Hands Drill

This is a push hands drill based on the figure 8, which is about joining and merging with the other person in a different range of movement than we might usually think of. It can lead to a wide variety of locks and strikes.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

My Favourite Books

The Essential Movements of Tai Chi by John Kotsias is an old book I bought in 1989.

It is not about form. Instead it provides a number of interesting exercises to develop tai chi qualities, such as rooting, springy spine, springy step etc.

There is a good presentation of tai chi principles, such as keeping the weight of the boy continuously going downward, even if the arms or legs are going outward. I like the translation of the Nine Secret Messages by Ng Man Hap at the end of the book such as " the art of confused circles is most difficult to comprehend. However, its changes and variations are mysteriously unlimited".

You can still get second hand copies on  Amazon, I believe.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Thymus- Seat of the Human Soul

Interesting article on the Thymus, especially for those students of John Kells who are interested in this area of study.

Read here.

Friday, 11 November 2016

No flourishes

John Kells always stressed we shouldn't be making flourishes in our Tai Chi.

There is a beauty to the natural, soft, relaxed  and powerful movements that are in accordance with the principles.

Here is a good post from Martin Boedicker's  Tai Chi Chuan and Philosophy Blog to illustrate this point.


Sunday, 6 November 2016

Brisbane Chen Taiji

I don't practise Chen style but the drawings on the Brisbane Chen Taiji website are just fantastic.

You can find them here: Brisbane Chen Taiji

They speak for themselves.

Saturday, 5 November 2016


This is an interesting exercise from Mark Cohen - Inside Zhan Zhuang. I  practise a method using the hands as if throwing sand at another person but I'll give this one a try.

Friday, 4 November 2016

Jphn Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number nineteen

The root starts to develop at the moment of birth, but it is important to realise where the root originates. The root originates from before birth in the kidney energy and after birth in the heart energy, but heart energy is uncomfortable without the strength of the thymus gland. It boils down to the essence of love. Love from this point of view is the giving, sharing, and caring that you can muster without counting the cost. Nurture is there, your hope is there. When peace tries to escape it is captured by your need for solitude. This solitude carries the grace of courage which enables you to find the enemy of love in the selfish greed which is the first instinct of the lost generation, which we undo by our daily prayer of root.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Fa Jin

This is a good post about Fa Jin on the Cold Mountain Blog by Steve Higgins,

I especially liked the point made about the psychological buy in to the merest touch or non touch by a teacher, something I will write about in another post.

The post by Steve Higgins can be read here: Fa-jin-pulling-everything-together

Monday, 17 October 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality twenty-seven

Each structure has an essence, each essence is hardly there, but all the essences add up to the truth, held in the Pineal amygdala where the stalks of the eyes meet in the brain. This juxtaposition has a power recognised for centuries, but beyond structure we have the essence of structure itself, which is existence. You can play with existence but not very much. This attitude to existence echoes with peace, which is a quality we trust exists. This trust we call hope. Hope is what gets you up in the morning, and peace is what puts you to bed at night. Pineal amygdala asks for the truth. Truth asks for the thoughtless mind. The thoughtless mind knows that caring love has its own reasons. This statement cannot be crushed by ignorance or greed. What is absolutely demanded is belief, surrounding the thoughtless mind with care and a strong sense of humour. No humour, no truth, no peace, no use for sensitivity. In one sense sensitivity is your suit of armour—you are protected, but not by armour but naked truth. The pain is the taste you can look for. Blood in your own mouth. You have been in a fight and have not backed off or away. You are at the edge of beyond and beyond is your best friend in this situation. Trust is the blow of belief. The blow you strike now is the total magnificent “no thing”.

Sunday, 9 October 2016

My Favourite Books

In the Garden of my Teachers - Essays and Writings 1987 - 2007 on Taijiquan

This is a great book by Arieh Lev Breslow that will be of interest to Tai Chi practitioners, especially those doing Cheng Man Ching style and variations thereof.

The author studied with Ben Lo in the USA before eventually opening a Tai Chi school in Jerusalem. The book covers many aspects of Tai chi, from posture to rooting to fa jing to pushing hands.

There is some sage advice about a straight coccyx and how many misinterpret this to mean they tuck the pelvis, thereby creating an unnatural straightening of the spine. Instead the lower spine should be allowed to relax and hang freely without tension.

The only website I've found that offer this is: http://www.abebooks.com/book-search/author/breslow-arieh-lev/

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

ward off sharon

Note the softness of the hands and body when making contact, then taking in to spit out.

By opposing at any point the incoming energy goes into you, causing loss of balance or worse. A nice method to work this principle.

Monday, 3 October 2016

8 Yin Yang

An excerpt of a larger painting - 8 Yin Yang

By Adele. More from this fabulous artist in the future, but for now, enjoy.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

Sun style Xingyi - Za Shi Chui

This a fantastic form to practice!

As I've mentioned before, I've learned Sun style Xingyi - the five fists, twelve animals and three linking forms but only to practice, not to teach as I'm nowhere near good enough.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

My favourite books

Tai Chi: The Story of a Chinese Master in America is a novel by Marc Meyer, a fellow Tai Chi instructor and musician from Naples, Florida.

The book has a number of strands running though it. There is the story of the Master, coming to America and teaching Tai Chi, the concept of Family, Tradition, Tai Chi concepts and history, Drug and Alcohol abuse, Tragedy and Children becoming Adults bridging the culture between East and West.

Marc Meyer touches on all of these in a gentle and skilful manner. He weaves a compelling story pulling these themes together in a way that made me want to read the book and find out what happens to all the characters. I was not disappointed.

You can find it on Amazon.

Sunday, 11 September 2016

Hand or Waist - Branch or Root?

I've always been stumbling and bumbling along on the path to understanding Tai Chi and how it works.

There are different approaches and interpretations of principles. One that interests me is whether the waist or the hand leads the movement.

When I was learning the form with John Kells, it was the waist. However, once we started learning the 2 person fighting set John told us that the hand could lead. Is it the root of the tree or the branch?

So it is interesting to read Ma Jiangbao, son of Ma Yuehliang, talking about the hand leading in Wu style. The article is here.

There is also an older article by Gerald Sharp in response to an article by George Xu in Tai Chi magazine which is here.

I'm interested in other viewpoints, informed not dogmatic or ranting. Any thoughts?

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Mysteries of Reality Number 17

Mysteries of reality number seventeen

Truth is a word like love. A unique meaning to each person and the mystery that cannot be described. Truth has a work to do. All the structures of the human body, the animal world, and nature in general, have truth attached working for recognition. To recognise truth requires humility, positioning yourself less than the other, so that respect takes away self and supplies direction of something we call freedom. Free is another one of these, selfless words. True requires soft, because forgetting self is identifying with nature so strongly you become natural. There is an art to natural. In China with Tai Chi Chuan and the Tao Te Ching, in Europe with St Columba's Iona, reaching with the indirect heart from what is now presented to you. The indirect heart is that direct truth of the care that softens what one tries, and comes to what one is. The loss of which again is truth.

Friday, 2 September 2016

Increasing Skillfulness in Movement, 4 basic exercises, Systema

Not Tai Chi but 4 exercises to be combined with breathing. For more on this read "Let every Breath" by Scott Meredith which you can find on Amazon.

Sunday, 21 August 2016

What if....

You didn't have any arms but still had to practise you tai chi form.

Be more aware of the turning, sinking and rising of the spine with the arms following.


Yield vertically, not just going backwards.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Dao De Jing, #60: Occupying the Throne

Read this and there is also a link to a free online version of the Tao Te Ching.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Dao De Jing, #60: Occupying the Throne: The Dao De Jing is not only one of the world's great classics, it is one of the foundations of Philosophical Daoism. A free online ve...

Saturday, 13 August 2016

My Favourite Books

Taijiquan - Body of Knowledge

This is a great little book that I picked up in a Oxfam Bookshop.

It covers the Cheng Man Ching form but it has a great set of preparation exercises (23in all) and sections at the end on breathing, pushing hands, tai chi in daily life and frequently asked questions.

The publisher is Pepper Publications PTE Ltd, ISBN 981-4097-09-8.  Published in 2004

Saturday, 6 August 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number twenty six

Loss is usually not convenient. To lose the most precious thing penetrates your soul. For a family man that preciousness is expressed through his children, and perhaps his wife, but the children are half him and the wife can be let go of, often without regret. The children have always bled when you bled and have always been there, whether they, or you, like it or not. When there is action without words it can be the most powerful rejection beyond imagination. This reality demands a new life, but the first family took all your available energy. This new life will find you, probably in a new location and with a new way of supporting them. This is quite literally fight or die. Your main enemy is your Self and it is your Self that your family rejects. They have no control over your selfless love, only over their own actions, but you reap what you sow and you have been told to harvest elsewhere. How could anything hurt more than this? The attitude of courage is thrusting the chin forwards. In previous centuries you pointed to your own chin and invited the other to strike a blow, if he dared. One thing from Tai Chi Chuan, “stick” to the opponent and all will be sorted, most especially, to your advantage. This often needs to be uncovered. This is the beginning of wonder, relaxing in a posture Taoist fashion, but lively and active.

Friday, 5 August 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Cooking Up Something

Read this interview with Rick Matz who writes the Blog Cook Ding's Kitchen, from which I share posts on this blog from time to time.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Cooking Up Something: Angelika Fritz at Qialance posted a list of what she considered to be the 15 best Tai Chi related blogs a couple of months ago, and Cook ..........

Wednesday, 3 August 2016

Personal Experience

This is a good read. I always enjoy reading about personal experiences in studying Martial Arts as you can get inspiration and motivation from them.

An example would be Robert Twigger's book "Angry White Pyjamas" which relates his experience in Japan undertaking the Yoshinkan Aikido 1 year course with the Tokyo Riot Police.

But back to Tai chi......


Monday, 1 August 2016

My Secret

You can find all kinds of "Secret" stuff about Tai Chi on the Internet.

It's truly amazing what you can find.

So I thought I would share one of my secrets.

I always make sure I have a cup of Yorkshire Tea as part of my morning ritual. It sets me up for my Tai Chi just perfectly!

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Don't Try

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Don't Try: An excerpt from an article at the NY Times on Edward Slingerland's "Trying Not to Try" is below. The full article may be r...

Monday, 18 July 2016

Weekend Sun Style Course

I have just taught a weekend Sun style tai chi course on behalf of Re-vitalise at the Abbey,Sutton Courtney in Oxfordshire.

It's a great place - see The Abbey with a fantastic Hall and the vegetarian food was superb!

I will be teaching another one in September at Marsh Farm inWiltshire- see Marsh Farm

It was a great group and here are a few photos.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

In Between

It's the space between you and your partner that is alive and meaningful.

Work with that.

Sunday, 3 July 2016

My Favourite Books

Xing Yi Nei Gong is a terrific book translated by Tim Cartmell and Dan Miller.

Although this deals with XingYi the exercises are great even if you don't study it. The book has a lot of information and the section on Standing Practice is just as applicable to Tai Chi.

You can get a DVD of the exercises but I didn't think it was very good.

I don't know if this book is still in print. It was published by High View Publications - ISBN 1-883175-04-6

Saturday, 2 July 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number thirty-four

The heart is very important. It is so large and strong it is like the offspring of the guts and brains together. It has to be approached indirectly for this to properly exist. The thymus is a single weighted separation that grabs onto the heart and melds with it. This melding is a version of merging, which the back of the heart does with the sacrum as it pulls down with the sacred cord. The front of the heart seeps into the guts, and horizons become melted in the sacred cord leading to the back brain. The back brain circles down inside the body to curl about the shadow body. The time this is a single weighted separation, it is a moving quality that seeks its own level. It is not a block, it has a root in the world and then another beyond infinity, which are horizons accessed by the back brain. There is softness that delineates the ordinary body as it prepares to leave the mother at birth. The father pulls on this by instinct, and acts as a bridge between the mother and soft shadow energy that seeps upwards into the dark energy and pre-life structures of the thoughtless mind.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Martial Arts as a Way of Life

This is a great article from the Inspire Daily website.

Some interesting thoughts and reflection at the end.

Martial Arts as a Way of Life

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Lunchtime Dance etc

Had the great pleasure of meeting up with Caroline Ross from Great River Tai Chi today.

We had a go at pushing hands, ta lu, the dance, pressing, firing, uprooting etc. It's always interesting to explore similarities and differences in how we do the same things from the same lineage, but that were changed over time by the original teacher, in this case, John Kells.

I had a great time and learned a thing two!

Thanks Caroline.

Friday, 10 June 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Training Less in Martial Arts

This is a really good post and one to take to heart as regards your tai chi.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Training Less in Martial Arts: Below is an excerpt from a post at Green Leaves Forest . It's a blog about kyudo I never really thought about it before, but in prac...

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Get out of your Head

This is a really useful article from Devon Boorman's blog. Whilst he writes about sword fighting this is just as pertinent to Tai Chi.

Remember the saying "First in the Mind, then in the Body?

Get out of your Head

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Another excerpt, this time about Dark Energy

Mysteries of reality thirty-five

Dark energy

What is interesting about this mystery is that we come from somewhere solid on the way to a liquid power. Pre-life energy is real, other energies must learn to acknowledge this. The rest of the world does not understand and thereby loses the point of existence. You have to find the route of the guts. The guts have a character and the character grips the horizon so strongly that the dark energy comes out the other side of the shadow body to mingle with the father and mother as a completely new birth, and the larynx relaxes so the communication improves. Dark energy comes out the other side. Shadow body is connected to normal body so strongly that this makes the normal body. This comes from another dimension that is sensitive to power of guts, reaches into guts—a new dimension makes up a new mystery that does not have words to describe but has the origin of power sitting like a jewel, like a heart beating in the middle of the guts, connecting and pulsing with the brain. You have become a new creature not just a human being but a true being. Liking is beside the point, caring is the point. Caring has the power of giving and giving discovers the beginning of love. The route of the guts is the pelvis pulling down the upper and middle tan tiens, which form a cup for the guts. The cup is sacred and it is a shadow cup to the sacred bowl and the meaning is a new and perpetual life.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

橄榄树 (Olive Tree) - Sara Niemietz

Lovely song and performance. Wish it was longer as a backdrop to performing tai chi to.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Here is another excerpt from John's book.

Mysteries of reality number sixteen

What reason do you have for getting up in the morning and preparing for that by a good night sleep. Our job as human beings is to embrace the essence which vitalises the energy surrounding us. Embracing the other crushes selfishness naturally. The other is what it's all about. The easiest way to forget self is to remember that other. It is best to start this process as a child, to discipline yourself to remember your mother works, as we have proven. My good student practiced meditation one and a half hours every day, breathing in his mother's suffering and breathing out love. He did this for 10 years. Close to the end he saved her life from drowning and joined her spiritually completely as she died in his arms. This is truly forgetting self and remembering the other, in fact the other that brought you to life. What could there be that is more important or more fortunate for you to hear the truth and great beauty of this tale. That lesson is for life and that understanding is your gift to all the others you come across. You cannot count the cost because the cost is totality. Lose yourself in this and you find the reality that impels you forwards and the love that develops from care.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Two Person Tai Chi

All styles of Tai Chi have various two person exercises/forms which train a number of attributes.

Here is a clip from a Re-vitalise weekend some time ago which shows a number of two person exercises including the Dance or San Shou.

You have to make your way through the form demonstration before you get to it.

About Sun style Tai Chi

Here is a short blog post by Ivan Ang about Sun style Tai Chi and the common misconception that it is a mixture of Xingyi, Ba Gua and Tai Chi.

Click on the link to read


Thursday, 5 May 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

Here is another chapter from John Kells' unpublished book on the Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number fifteen

The heart is a spiritual centre of most people's lives. It is a huge organ in the body and is continuously talked about. There is a natural meaning to what it means. We catch ourselves using the word love in conjunction with the heart. Each person has their own special meaning for the word love, so much so there is no accuracy attached to it. The words “I love you" are popular and powerful but the loss of selfishness concentrates all meanings on the other person. Whoever they are, they are your Tai Chi partner; supreme, ultimate, and complete.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Constant Bear

This is a great little exercise

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Constant Bear: A fundamental auxillary exercise found among the practioners of Cheng Man Ching Style Taijiquan is the Constant Bear. It is said that Pr...

Saturday, 30 April 2016

John Kells - Mysteries of Reality

This is an excerpt from John Kells' unpublished book - Mysteries of Reality

Mysteries of reality number thirty-three

There are two structures which are so powerful they require to be closely connected. They are the guts and the brain. The guts are busy with food and other processes moment by moment. The brain devours moments just as strongly. The brain is so large and for some strange reason it is largely neglected The Chinese connect with a few points connected with health through acupuncture. The brain I work with has 37 main structures +40 minor structures and another 42 structures. This is a huge machine whose structures need massage through visualisation connected with touch. ‘Bum in’ posture settles the guts nicely, as ordinary Tai chi Chuan will attest. The guts spread down the inside of the thighs to the inside of the ankles and bounce up the outside of the legs to the sacrum and have their own conversation with the sacred cord, fifth eye, tonsure, and hui yin. There is an element of completeness when the guts and brain acknowledge each other as they do in a fight. Fight or die forwards together the devil takes the hindmost, and truth is the victor.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Back to Basics

Lovely pushing hands clip of John Kells and Charles, his most senior student who has the best understanding of the work John is doing.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: More Than Just Practice for Martial Arts Excellenc...

This is an interesting article. I don't think it's just the hours of practice although that is important. I think it is also a mixture of luck in finding a good instructor and practising correctly/intelligently to progress. An interesting book on this topic is  Bounce by Matthew Syed, which is well worth a read.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: More Than Just Practice for Martial Arts Excellenc...: Is 10,000 hours of deliberate practice enough to achieve excellence? That's not the half of it, or even a third of it. Below is an e...

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

My Favourite Books

T'ai Chi Ch'uan by Jeaneane Fowler and Shifu Keith Ewers is a gem of a book.

It is an exploration of Taoism and T'ai Chi, with chapters on Taoist philosophy, principles, the I-Ching, energy circulation, the 13 "postures" and the simplified 24 step form. There is really a lot of information in this book that you might normally find by having to combine other books.

It is a blend of academic writing and the practice of T'ai Chi Ch'uan and the academic side really shines through for me.

It is published by Sussex Academic Press - ISBN 1-903900-20-4 

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Free Erle Montague Books

Click here to go to a page on the Taiji World website where you can download a number of free books by the late Erle Montague.

These date back as far as 1983 and there is quite a selection to choose from.

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Hard, Easy,Hard, Easy................

I don't know if it is the same for you, but my experience when learning tai chi is that postures alternate between being hard, then easy, then hard again etc.

I would learn a posture in the form and grapple with the particular requirements and repeat it over and over. After a while that posture seemed much easier to do and I would work on newer postures which were harder.

As I progressed, the postures that had become easier would then suddenly become harder to do. At first this was incredibly frustrating. I couldn't understand why a posture that had been easy to do was suddenly harder.

Of course what happens over time is that your body/mind/energy changes with a deeper understanding and you are creating new neural pathways which affect the way you do the postures of the form. I find that this is an ongoing process so I approach my form each time as if it is the first time - ok, not always :))

This requires you to investigate principles and there is always something to work on. Otherwise there is a risk that your tai chi becomes a hollow performance.


Arrogance in an instructor is extremely unpleasant and these people are best avoided.

Especially when they start dividing students into good, mediocre or poor etc.

This is my personal opinion of course and may be perceived as arrogant in itself.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Caveat Emptor

A while ago I had some email correspondence with someone who said they taught a particular martial art.

When I enquired where they had learned it the reply was ....from a DVD.

Now I don't have a problem with people learning from a DVD if there is no teacher available, or then practising the material with some friends.

But to make a public statement you are teaching that martial art is ,in my personal opinion, dishonest and misleading.

The teaching, correction and feedback from an instructor in person is essential.

Always check where and with whom your instructor studied.

At the end of the day, it is up to you, of course. But let the Buyer Beware!

Saturday, 2 April 2016

Sun Lutang's Taiji

Here is a link to a translation on Paul Brennan's site of Sun Lutang's Taiji manual.



Friday, 25 March 2016

Interview on Qialance

I've been named one of the Top 15 Tai Chi blogs by Angelika Fritz at the Qialance blog. She (obviously) blogs about Taijiquan and Qi Gong and presents each Top 15 blogs with an interview. You can now read mine here:


If you'd like to know more about Angelika (like which style she's into, what's her weapon of choice or even which colours she prefers), continue reading her "about me page". http://qialance.com/about-me/

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Yiquan Push Hands Video

There are many approaches to Pushing Hands. It is useful to have hands on experience because not everyone plays your game

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Yiquan Push Hands Video

Saturday, 12 March 2016

My Favourite Books

Gravity Never Stops - The Life and Training of a Martial Artist is the follow up by Ron Sieh to Tai Chi Chuan - the Internal Tradition.

It expands on the previous book and gives more detail about his training with Peter Ralston and other teachers. The book gives a number of exercises and meditations, working with chakras,running your energy orbit etc.

This is a great read, useful instruction and you should definitely have it in your collection.

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Christian Birch San Sau & Push Hands

This is a clip from a demonstration at a friend's Chinese New Year ceremony from a few years ago.

I don't particularly like demonstrating as it all feels a bit forced. My student and I weren't really sure what to show so we made this up. The Da Lu might of interest to compare to the previous post with Nitsan Michaeli.

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Nitsan Michaeli Da Lu

Love the music. I've had the pleasure of meeting Nitsan Michaeli on a couple of occasions when he was in the UK to study with John Kells. He is very relaxed.

Union of Movement and Stillness

This is from Cain Carroll's blog. Enjoy the article.


His book The Four Dignities is well worth a read.

Saturday, 27 February 2016

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Which Tai Chi Blogs You Should Read

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Which Tai Chi Blogs You Should Read: Recently on the Facebook page for Kung Fu Tea , there was a post about a list the author had found naming what the list maker considered t...

Sunday, 21 February 2016

My Favourite Books

Cheng Man Ch'ings's Advanced T'ai Chi Form Instructions - compiled and translated by Douglas Wile (ISBN 0-912059-03-6)

I found this to be a really interesting book which covers T'ai Chi principles, form ,application, meditation, I Ching and medicine.  There weren't any photos but there are line drawings of the postures.( You can find the photos in the translation Cheng Tzu's thirteen treatises on Tai Chi by Ben Lo and Martin Inn).

There are lots of interesting snippets in this book but it requires careful reading.

One such snippet is on pp 62-63 about movement and swing;swing and movement. The movement at the centre is smaller than at the periphery, so after the waist has finished moving there is still momentum in the limbs. Before they come to a rest the waist moves again so you have an endless cycle.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

The Sacrum

Here is a post about "straightening the sacrum" with regard to Tai Chi from Scott Meredith's Tabbycat blog.

My teacher John Kells  always summed it up as "bum in", which to be honest was not a particularly helpful instruction. Many people resort to a forceful tucking under of the pelvis in a desperate and tense attempt to have a straight back.

If you are not careful this can lead to other problems in joints such as the knees. Don't believe me, investigate it. I like the "ideokinetic" approach in the article.

Tucking the Sacrum

Monday, 1 February 2016

The Third Hand

The third hand is the torso combined with the legs. This is the primary mover, with hands and feet following.

Cheng Man Ching wrote that the whole body is a hand. Famously, he is reported to have said that a dream about broken arms led him to a new understanding. I recently read that it was not about having broken arms, but actually that the arms had broken off.

Therefore the body is the hand.

John Kells used to talk about another third hand, reaching out from the solar plexus area. He described it initially as a fist but later went on to see it as tendrils connecting with the other person.

His later evolution to the figure eight sinuosity in the torso with shoulder and hip blades rising and falling, generating accompanying spirals in the limbs served to make the third hand even clearer.

Play with this.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Have some Vision

I loved watching Northern Exposure because it was so quirky.

The Piano Fling scene speaks to me on different levels but I leave it to you to make your own interpretation.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

In Search of the GreatSong

Let your body sing the song of Tai Chi- don't be a stiff

My Favourite Books

I bought a copy of "Primordial Pugilism ( T'ai Chi Ch'uan ) in the early 1980s. It was published in 1976 and written by Tseng Ju-Pai ( Chiu Yien ).

The reason I bought it was because of the fold out charts with pictures of Yang Chengfu, Chen Wei Ming and the author in postures form the Yang long form. It also has a chapter detailing applications to the form. It's interesting to contrast the earlier pictures of Yang Chengfu in the white top with his later, more well known photos.

I love looking at old photographs of tai chi practitioners.