It is always important to re-examine the intrinsic qualities of Tai Chi Chuan and the factors that contribute to good practice. But it is not that easy to do.
George Xu of San Francisco helps us with the information he provides in the cover article of this issue. He looks at Tai Chi Chuan practice and what it should be in terms of the classical literature. George Xu is a perennial student, always learning, even though he already possesses considerable skill and knowledge. He teaches in San Francisco and throughout the U.S., as well as in many places in Europe.
Looking at the jungle tiger as embodying important features of Tai Chi Chuan is a different but valuable way to give insight. Tai Chi is like the tiger. It is not like a sheep. And as he points out, it is not like other sports, which emphasize external strength.
Xu discusses many of the internal aspects of practice in this article. For those who want to imbue their practice with these internal aspects, his insights are valuable.
Xu has been featured in TAI CHI Magazine of masters to the U.S. from China to teach.
The Tai Chi sword is one of the premier weapons forms, but there is little formal literature in English about its techniques and applications. The article by Shelagh Grandpierre of England, based on a seminar and an interview with Christopher Pei of the U.S. Wushu Academy of Falls Church, VA, gives interesting information about techniques and applications. Practice of Tai Chi sword provides a special kind of excitement to Tai Chi practice.
Tu-Ky lam of Wellington, New Zealand, is a regular contributor, and in this issue writes about torso methods of the Chen style. Development of torso methods is important to advance practice and comes only after a practitioner has learned well how to coordinate the movements. These torso methods are easy to get wrong. It is important to continually rework how one implements them. The classic Tai Chi literature provides guidelines, but it can be hard to understand. Lam’s article provides useful insights.
Dr. Wen Zee, also a regular contributor, writes about the development of qigong in China since the Communist Revolution. Many people misunderstand its basic concepts and fall prey to unscrupulous entrepreneurs. Dr. Zee came to the U.S. from Shanghai a few years ago and is co-founder of the Tai Chi Institute of Tucson. He studied with Ma Yueh-Liang for decades.
Terri Skolaski-Pellitteri of Madison, WI, writes about her experience using TaiChi Chuan to deal with feelings of depression. There was an article in the last issue on the subject, but this article approaches it differently and provides new information. She approaches it from her personal experience and describes how Tai Chi helps her emotionally, as well as physically and mentally.
Arthur Scholbe and Tuey Staples of St Louis, MO, write about establishing a moving center during form practice by putting the center of equilibrium not at the end of a movement bit at the midpoint. This is an interesting concept developed out of the recognition that too often practitioners focus only on reaching the end point of a movement, which can result in stagnation. They point out this can be non-functional from a self-defense standpoint.
Michael P. Milburn, Ph.D., of Waterloo, ON, Canada, who contributes regularly, writes about the historic development of herbs as medicines and their importance for maintaining health, as well as for alleviating certain ailments.
David Dolbear of Syracuse, NY, writes about collecting and restoring antique Chinese swords. When you begin Tai Chi Chuan study, you never really know what doors will open to you. In addition to his Tai Chi practice, he finds it rewarding to work with antique swords. He believes practicing with a genuine sword adds immeasurably to one’s practice.