Shi Mei Lin is an adopted daughter of Ma Yueh-Liang and Wu Ying-Hua and has studied Wushu since she was seven years old.
When I was in China in 1983, the late Dr. Wen Zee took me to Ma’s home in Shanghai. Unfortunately, Ma was not there, but there were some elders and a young woman, who I later learned was Shi Mei Lin.
She demonstrated the Wu style fast form.
In the interview late last year, she emphasized cultivating a quiet mind and heart as part of one’s overall development, whether one is emphasizing health, self-defense or inner awareness.
One of the stories she told about Ma was that once he was standing in line at a train station. A young man inserted himself into the line ahead of Ma, thinking that he was a helpless old man.
His back was pressing against Ma, who made a little movement with his chest and the man was pushed out of the line and he left. He didn’t look back.
Shi Mei Lin now lives in Wellington, New Zealand, where she teaches Wu style and the Shaolin forms that she learned while a member of the Shanghai Wushu troupe. She taught a seminar last year in Tucson, AZ.
Wolfe Lowenthal’s interview by Thomas B. Aaron is interesting in his emphasis on studying the principle not contained in any person nor in a set of movements.
Sometimes practitioners tend to focus on external movements, techniques or teachers, forgetting the principle. T’ai Chi is a principle but we have to ask ourselves what it actually is. How does it work? How does it work in different situations?
To say it is the principle of Yin and Yang is a simplification.
To get beyond routine practice, it is necessary to ask this kind of question. For instance, when we read that we should loosen the waist, what is really meant by the waist?
If we find a simplified answer, then this can be an obstacle to good practice. For example, one foot is Yin and one foot is Yang. This answer can be an obstacle to good practice because it is more complex than that. As one’s practice evolves, the insights will deepen.
Robert Santee similarly writes about great principles, those of Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism. He asks: What is happening to you as you practice? What do you observe? What is the relationship between your movements and how you feel? How do you think?
While it is appropriate to have a more narrow focus in terms of learning techniques of self-defense, it enriches ones practice to also have the broader view and integrate it with the narrow focus.
He is an associate professor of Psychology in Hawaii and has two Ph.D.’s.
Thomas Bailor writes an interesting article about his trip to Hong Kong and Shanghai, and his experiences there in the parks with other T’ai Chi players. It became a cultural adventure and an exercise in sharing T’ai Chi space.
Zhang Yun, who has written other articles for T’AI CHI Magazine, discusses the importance of weapons practice in T’ai Chi in general, and the T’ai Chi Zhan Gan, in particular.
The Zhan Gan is a sticking staff that has become popular in the West, as a greater variety of weapons practices are made available in the West. He describes eight techniques of the staff, which are intended to develop different kinds of internal force.
Douglas Woolidge, who teaches Chinese in Canada, continues with his translation of Xu Zhiyi’s book on the Wu style.
This article discusses the mechanical basis for T’ai Chi combat. Xu is approaching self-defense from the standpoint of physics and what our options are.
Peter DeBlasio, M.D., offers an excerpt from the 88-posture Yang style two-man form. He uses the piano as a metaphor for explaining how all the key applications of the traditional solo form develop self-defense skills. He studied the two-man set in the 1980s with Gin Soon Chu and T. T. Liang.
Dr. DeBlasio’s last article for T’AI CHI Magazine was about his experience studying with the late T. T. Liang.
Franchie Choi and Dr. George Ho of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, write about how to unlock the potential of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
Choi is a Wu stylist from Hong Kong who immigrated to Canada in 1996, and Dr. Ho is a T’ai Chi practitioner and chiropractor.
Over the past two years they have been working together to apply T’ai Chi to alternative medical practice. They have found that the jin generated in T’ai Chi is very useful in healing.
Robert Teachout has been practicing T’ai Chi for about 20 years and recently began teaching. His article focuses on learning to pay attention, which can be one of the most difficult aspects of study and practice.
Alex Yeo continues his interesting reports on the Yang style. In this issue, he reports on the 22-posture Yang Jianhou system and other subsets that may be unfamiliar to many Yang style practitioners.
Dr. Steve L. Sun writes about the value of weapons systems in T’ai Chi. He discusses the straight sword and its techniques and also the Wind-Fire Wheels that he revived.
He views the sword as a valuable way to develop intent, or Yi, more so than during the empty hand set. He also discusses it in the context of the Tao.
Thomas J. Nardi writes about the death of his teacher, Shou Ren Chen, last October.
Nardi describes Chen as a traditional teacher who studied with Yue Huanzhi, a student of Yang Cheng-fu. Chen had taught privately in New York City since about 1985.
Rich Marantz writes about how he uses development of central equilibrium to improve his ease of movement. He offers some specific methods to develop a better sense of central equilibrium.•