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T'AI CHI MAGAZINE - October 2000
 

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK > October 2000
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October 2000 - Editor's Notebook

 

Wang Xian is one of the so-called four tigers of Buddha Warriors of the Chen village. The others are Chen Xiaowang, Chen Zhenglei, and Zhu Tian Cai. The four studied together as youths in the Chen village with Chen Zhaopei, who is credited with the revitalization of the Chen style practice in the Chen village during the 1960s. All four have created outstanding names for themselves as practitioners and teachers in China and around the world.
Wang is the last of the four to appear on the cover. Chen Xiaowang and Chen Zhenglei have appeared on the cover multiple times.
I first met Wang Xian on a trip to the Chen village in 1983. I was staying in what was something like a hostel. I was doing a form that involved some jumping and stamping in the small space I had, and when I came out he was passing by and gave me a thumbs up.
The next day he was one of the officials and village elders assembled in the training hall for my interview with Chen Xiaowang. It was a time when the village wanted to promote Chen T’ai Chi Ch’uan and even my modest publication then was treated with courtesy and respect.

Little is known outside of China about the traditions of the Yang family, which has made such a large contribution to the growth of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.
Bob Feldman’s interview with Yang Fukui sheds some light on some of those traditions and answers some questions about how the Yang family did and did not train within the family.

T’ai Chi Ch’uan is full of contradictions that are hard for people to understand. One of them is how softness can overcome strength.
Gerald A. Sharp writes about this based on his studies in China with the late Ma Yueh-Liang and his conversations with Zhou Zhan Fang in Shanghai,. Zhou was a long-time student of Ma.
Ma had a reputation of being very soft and emphasized being soft in practice, yet he had very concentrated strength that he could use when needed.
Even though T’ai Chi Ch’uan has a reputation for emphasizing relaxation and flexibility, it is a mistake to think that is all there is to it. Besides strength of spirit, T’ai Chi Ch’uan should cultivate physical strength, too.
It is the kind of strength that any man or woman can develop if they persist in practicing the right way. Of course, the problem is knowing how to practice in the right way.

Xiao J. Li, who has taught T’ai Chi Ch’uan and T’ai Chi sword in China and the U.S. for some 20 years, writes about the cultural tradition of the sword and the relation of the sword postures to the T’ai Chi symbol and the Bagua symbols.
The sword, or jian, is the premier weapon in T’ai Chi Ch’uan culture. He discusses the cultural symbolism of the sword in China. He is professor in the Department of Health and Physical Education at Adirondack Community College (SUNY), Queensbury, NY.

Zhang Yun translates an important manuscript from Chen Xin, who is famous for an important book about Chen style T’ai Chi Ch’uan. He gives some historical background on the manuscript, which describes bad habits people have in push hands. Read it; you may recognize yourself.

The practice of qigong has had a very big impact on the life of Cedric Power. He writes about what he feels are some of the qualities of qi.

Brice Wilkinson, Professor Emeritus at Winona State University, Winona, MN, reports on a program to use Tai Chi Chuan to improve the performance of the university basketball team. He has statistics that show there has been an increase in their performance.
Brice Wilkinson is also a 5th degree Black belt in Judo and is the instructor of the WSU T’ai Chi Club.

Ting Kuo-Piao analyzes the concept of flowing and fullness and explains their importance in Tai Chi practice. This is another of the many contradictions in Tai Chi that are hard to understand and put into practice.

Dr. Paul Lam writes about what makes Tai Chi an internal martial art. He gives some methods to develop internal practice. While Tai Chi is recognized as an internal martial art, not everyone has the same definition of what internal is because there are so many factors involved in internal practice.

Mario Napoli’s win at the Chen sponsored competition in China in August was against some of the best push hands people in China and for that matter, the world. At 5’6”, he was shorter than his opponents and in at least one case 50 to 70 pounds lighter than one of his opponents.

Mario has been winning at push hands tournaments since at least 1994 so this should not have been a surprise, although some people in China were undoubtedly surprised. Fortunately, Mario is a humble guy, although proud of his Cheng Man-Ch’ing lineage through Stan Israel.

I once met Da Liu in the 1970s, during a trip to New York City. I had walked into the meeting hall where the class was to be held on a Saturday morning and there was a diminutive Chinese man sitting all by himself.
I asked about the class, which I had wanted to observe, but he said no one had showed up. He said in New York, people like to party on Friday nights.
So instead, we just talked. He was a pleasant man and said something about my having spiritual eyes.
It is sad to note Da Liu’s death but Ron Caruso, a former student, reports that he remained true to his central interests in T’ai Chi, I Ching, and Taoism.

 
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