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T'AI CHI MAGAZINE - February 1999
 

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK > February 1999
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February 1999 - Editor's Notebook

Chen Youze is one of the premiere push hands experts in China, winner of numerous local, provincial, and national tournaments. He is one of a new generation of practitioners in China, who were able to emerge after the Cultural Revolution.
In his recent trip to the U.S., he was praised by people attending his seminar for his willingness to teach. He is the son of Chen Qingzhou, who is also expected to visit the U.S. later this year.
Chen Youze has interesting insights into push hands and form practice and what it means to practice hard. He was brought over by Dan Gere of the National Neigong Rresearch Society.

Shi Mei Lin, adopted daughter of the late Ma Yueh-Liang and Wu Ying Hua, was very close to them. Ma and Wu recognized an affinity for her after seeing her perform. She blossomed under their influence.
While visiting China in 1983, Dr Zee Wen took me to the Wu and Ma home in Shanghai. Although Ma was away teaching in the South, other members of the family were there, as well as young woman, who I later learned was Shi Mei Lin. In Ma’s living room, she demonstrated part of the Wu style fast form, and the next day she demonstrated in a stadium as part of a martial exposition. Needless to say, her performances were of a very high caliber.

In the interview, she talks about the need to develop an inner calm. This has always been a part of Tai Chi tradition, whether it is used for martial arts or health purposes.

As the son of Yang Chengfu, Yang Zhenji is a significant figure. He suffered considerably while trying to carry on his family’s tradition because of the early death of his father, World War II, the Communist Revolution, and the Cultural Revolution. Yet, he still carries on the tradition conscientiously.
Some of his insights described in this article give an interesting perspective to the practice of the Yang style. It is always useful to learn about the different techniques and insights that people have.

Wu Chi (Wuji) practice is extremely valuable, either on its own or as part of T’ai Chi Ch’uan practice. There are many different ways to do this physically and mentally. The concept presented by Guo-An feng, in his article about opening the body, is very important. Sometimes the emphasis on practice is on becoming strong and acquiring techniques, which often precludes opening up physically, emotionally, and mentally.
The hardest part of this kind of practice is understanding and dealing with the mind and its contradictions. You can’t use force or cleverness.

Chen Pan-ling was an important figure in Chinese martial arts. He is noted for his skill and his efforts to bring a scientific approach to the unification of the arts. I was introduced to the name of Chen Pan-ling in the late 1980s by Huang Chien-Liang of Towson, MD, who sponsors the Kuoshu tournaments. He discussed the style in a cover story.

 

Steve Higgins writes in this issue about the meditative aspect of practicing T’ai Chi Ch’uan. He has some useful insights into using mindfulness in practice and how traditional forms help to reinforce mindfulness. In a world where people are over-stressed, knowing how to cope with the mind and developing mindfulness, thus taming our distress, is extremely useful.

In a commentary, Camille C. Connolly writes about how she was told she was doing “American T’ai Chi.” This was probably a poor choice of words or something said half in jest. Of course, there is no American T’ai Chi, which presumably, is bad. Everywhere there is good and bad T’ai Chi, and beginning and advanced.

I have interviewed many experts from China and they never spoke this way. They don’t have to say that there is a higher level in China. We know that. Some noted that the level in Japan is higher than the U.S., presumably because Japan is so close geographically and culturally to China, and has greater access to Chinese teachers. Our concern should be that we constantly try to do better T’ai Chi.

Steve Higgins writes in this issue about the meditative aspect of practicing Tai Chi Chuan. He has some useful insights into using mindfulness in practice and how traditional forms help to reinforce mindfulness. In a world where people are over-stressed, knowing how to cope with the mind and developing mindfulness, thus taming our distress, is extremely useful.

In a commentary, Camille C. Connolly writes about how she was told she was doing “American Tai Chi.” This was probably a poor choice of words or something said half in jest. Of course, there is no American Tai Chi, which presumably, is bad. Everywhere there is good and bad T’ai Chi, and beginning and advanced.

I have interviewed many experts from China and they never spoke this way. They don’t have to say that there is a higher level in China. We know that. Some noted that the level in Japan is higher than the U.S., presumably because Japan is so close geographically and culturally to China, and has greater access to Chinese teachers. Our concern should be that we constantly try to do better Tai Chi..

 

 
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