Professor Cao Yimin, who wrote an article for the August issue, reappears with an in depth article with insights in the philosophical roots of Chinese Culture and T’ai Chi Ch’uan. He also connects T’ai Chi Ch’uan to the process of globalization.
Prof. Cao is a distinguished martial artist and writer and offers valuable insights throughout the article. There is something of interest for almost everybody who practices T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
There is an extensive discussion of the thoughts of Lao Tzu and Confucius, whose ideas strongly influenced the development of Chinese culture and still do today.
He explains the way the influence of the five elements and Yin and Yang.
It is also interesting to see how he compares Eastern and Western cultures.
There is even a discussion of some of the subtler aspects of physics and a look at the workings of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems.
Interestingly, he notes the effect of the abdominal brain, what some often call the dantian, and its affect on the parasympathetic nervous system.
Prof. Cao, who is 76, has good credentials and an active mind and body. This in itself is testimony to the benefits of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
Chun Man Sit probes the importance of qi theory and the Yin and Yang theory in qigong.
Although the article is mainly about qigong, it is also useful for T’ai Chi practitioners because it shares many aspects with qigong.
Some T’ai Chi experts say T’ai Chi is a qigong yet others do not equate it with qigong. Some say that qigong used to be known as neigong, inner energy work, and that this is an intrinsic part of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
Incidentally, neigong is more than just inner energy work and includes many aspects of self-cultivation.
In Sit’s interview with a neurobiologist, Mike Ferrari, there is a discussion of how the human nervous system works and how it is affected by qigong and yin and yang aspects of qigong.
Yang Zhenduo has been working very hard for decades to advance T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Yang style in particular.
In this issue, Bill Walsh of New York, a student of Yang Zhenduo for many years, writes about the celebration of Yang’s 80th birthday in Taiyuan, Shanxi Province, central China.
Yang Zhenduo started coming to the U.S. in the late 1980s and continued until early in this new century. His grandson, Yang Jun, is based in Seattle, and now teaches in the U.S. and around the world.
It has not been easy to do what Yang Zhenduo has done. People have a natural resistance to change and to doing something like T’ai Chi that can change so much of their lives for the better. But he has persisted and continues to teach.
Ping Zhen Cheng, who writes about Sun Jianyun, daughter of Sun Lutang, has a BA and MA from Wuhan Physical Education College in China as well as a degree from China Qigong Science Institute of Beijing.
He is founder of Martial Enlightenment Study, which provides curriculum for more than 30 full time martial arts school and meditations centers in both China and the U.S.
He is co-author of the “Inner Structure of Sun Style Martial Arts,” a book and video series.
His description of the hard life that Sun experienced is not unusual for that time.
Many T’ai Chi masters as well as other people who were important to the culture of China suffered and sometimes were killed during the Cultural Revolution.
The legacy of Madam Sun includes her ability to maintain her personal integrity and goodwill toward others.
Rose Oliver is a writer from England who went to China to improve her martial arts training.
Based in Shanghai, she writes about cotton fist, or Mian Quan. She has interviewed Yang Tian Gui, who is the successor of his family’s style of this system.
Mian Quan shares aspects with other internal martial arts systems.
The way that Yang describes it, there is no form per se, but a series of basic movements and applications. He says it is a no nonsense fighting method that is very effective.
Once in a fight, there are no holds barred.
Mary M. Foster has been teaching in the Denver, CO, area for a number of years and writes in this issue about the attitude adjustments beginning and even advanced students have to make.
She says that students and teachers and even masters should refrain from having a “superior” attitude because they know this or have done whatever. That, she says, is an obstacle to understanding and learning. Part of a person’s martial art training, meditative experience or self-cultivation should include the self-awareness that enables them to remove attitudes that reflect anger, arrogance and contempt. The higher level martial artists and human beings always have as part of their makeup a sense of genuine humility.
Doug Woolidge of Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, translates a portion of a book about the Wu style. Woolidge has contributed translations on numerous occasions in the past.
This one gives insight into what important martial artists in China see as the benefits of certain characteristics of movement, such as slowness, evenness and interconnection.
Victoria Windholtz, author of the zhan zhuang article, began practicing martial arts at the age of 10 and for many years has been a member of the French National T’ai Chi team.
She has been a French National champion for five years and was classified third in the category Tai-Chi Sword at the Wushu World Cup held in Beijing in 2000.
She is a student of Chen Xiaowang. She has her own Chen style school in Paris and teaches in France and internationally.•