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June 1998 - Editor's Notebook

Jason Tsou has studied internal and external martial arts for decade, starting as a child growing up in Taiwan. The length and breadth of his studies give him a unique insight into what makes the martial arts work, from both “external and internal” viewpoints.
In the cover article, he also discusses some important factors--qigong and chan ssu jin training. He explains the concept and practicality of the circle in T’ai Chi Ch’uan. He clarified the internal vs. external dialog and comments that the differences are often more scholarly than real.

It is certainly sad to report on the death of Zhang Luping. He accomplished a lot in his relatively short life, more than many achieve in very long lives. A brilliant math and Tai Chi Chuan researcher, he specialized in push hands and applications.
His son, Huan, and several of his students write in this issue about their relationship with Luping, as almost everyone referred to him. The articles indicate the high regard they had for him as a teacher and a friend.
Luping felt that his stomach cancer was probably the result of his very poor diet during the Cultural Revolution in China when food was very scarce. He tried a number of different resources to try to get rid of the cancer, including a trip to China, qigong treatments and treatments with Western healers as well as Western medicine. At one point, it appeared that the cancer was in remission, but it returned stronger than before.
I first met Luping in 1989 at a tournament and interviewed him for an article that appeared the following year. He conveyed his intense interest in the martial arts, which he attributed in part to his being very young when his father died. Because of this, he was frequently pushed around by older youths. So, he learned martial arts and learned them very well, even though he was hampered by the turmoil of the Cultural Revolution.
A year and a half ago, I interviewed him for a cover article in Irvine, where hi was teaching math at the University of California. He made sure that I met a Chinese herbologist in Irvine in case I would ever have need of one. In fact, I needed one very soon, when after the interview, I was stung on the back of the neck by a bee.
I made several trips to Irvine to see him and once to the Zhang’s hospital, where he had an operation to have the tumor removed. He was always very positive and trying different method to deal with the condition. Even earlier this year, he called to ask if I would be interested in an idea for an article, even though his condition had worsened again. It did not seem to occur to him that he should not continue trying to get better and nor try to help people make progress in their T’ai Chi Ch’uan studies.

Dr. Wen Zee, a contributor to T’AI CHI Magazine for many years, writes in this issue about his long relationship as a student of Ma Yueh-Liang. Included are photos of Ma pushing hands last fall at age 98, just before his illness forced his hospitalization.

The sword in Chinese martial arts is an elegant art form and training tool. Ted Mancuso writes about some interesting concepts for using the sword as an elegant art form and training tool. Ted Mancuso writes about some interesting concepts for using the sword.

Eo Omwake advocates in his article for the use of more feeling and animal quality in Tai Chi Chuan practice. This makes a lot of sense as long as people do not become too tense in expressing this quality. Too often, perhaps because of the emphasis on relaxation, there is a self-neutering or blandness in practice. The problem seems to be in finding the right balance.

It is not unusual for students to change teachers. Students’ changing needs require different solutions. Teachers should also be changing, not only in skills, but in what they are and what they teach. Bernie Murphy writes in his commentary about how he handled the difficult transition.

Can a full time homemaker in Middle America successfully learn T’ai Chi Ch’uan and then successfully teach and fulfill her household responsibilities? The answer is yes, according to Sue Cook, who writes humorously of some of the pitfalls and joys of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

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