The cover article in this issue presents some valuable information, not only for those who practice Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art, but those who practice it as an art or for health or fitness.
Qin Zhong Bao, who is in the U.S. for a few months to hold seminars with George Xu, conveys some important information about the dynamics of self-defense that are not usually discussed when talking about Tai Chi martial theory.
The story is also important for those persons who want to practice correctly and know how to use their body in an integrated way. Following some of Qin’s suggestions will, in the same way, be useful for anyone practicing for health reasons.
Tai Chi Chuan has always appeared to have a dual personality in that it is a martial art and also a healthful, regenerating exercise. Sometimes the gap between these two uses has led to a breach between the people who see it primarily as a martial art and the people who just want a beneficial and interesting exercise for their health.
This is primarily an identity and attitude problem that can be resolved with a little flexibility by each group.
Another important article is the one by Fu Zhongwen, who at 86 is a highly respected Yang stylist. He has made extraordinary efforts to preserve and promote the Yang style and even at his advanced stage continues his efforts.
When I met him 11 years ago, he was friendly and willing to talk about the Yang style and the true story of how it originated.
Weibin Yang’s translation of an article by Wang Xianggen presents an interesting study of the opening movement of the Yang style. By extension, some of the principles can be applied to the entire Yang style.
J. Justin Meehan, who has been promoting Tai Chi for years with his own classes and more recently with Midwestern internal arts tournaments, has written a significant article.
The idea of pumping the kua may at first seem like a strange concept, but Meehan points out it is important to the dynamics of any style and to anyone who practices Tai Chi, whether for self-defense or for health purposes.
The article also has significance, as does the Qin article, for people with knee problems.
Tai Chi has a short history in the Western world, and for many years its practice has emphasized form and coordinating the arms and legs in graceful and efficient ways. Now, more and more, the underlying dynamics are leading to new insights that will enable practice to be much more comprehensive and beneficial. This makes it an exciting time for both beginners and those who have been practicing for many years.
This issue also includes the second half of the excerpt from Ch’en Kung’s book, provided by Sophia Delza. It offers for the first time information on Ch’en Kung’s attitude about some of the practices, which is almost as interesting as what he explains about them. For people who are not able to read various commentaries in Chinese, this has particular interest.
Rachel Porter follows up her article last issue with a similar article from an interview with Dong Zeng Chen. This issue she writes about a method to do Da Lu solo.
Ted W. Knecht has translated an article y his teacher, Dr. Mei Ying Sheng, about the health benefits of the Tai Chi cat walk. It is an example of how a simple, basic exercise can have very productive health benefits.
With the approach of summer, there are plans for various tournaments. Many people are unhappy with the way the push hands competitions work and the tournament promoters are trying to deal with this.
But often, the competitors themselves don’t seem to be consulted to find out what they think would work better. Perhaps the competitors who are in the midst of the rough and tumble can make good suggestions to improve the ground rules. Consulting with competitors before and even during the tournament to get their suggestions might help to modify unproductive behavior.