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T'AI CHI MAGAZINE - December 2009
 

EDITOR'S NOTEBOOK > December 2009
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December 2009 - Editor's Notebook

Li Deyin, who has numerous credentials as a coach, is interviewed in Beijing for this issue by Zhou Lishang. Li discusses the origin and development of the 24-Form Simplified Taiji. But he also discusses at length important principles for practice, giving insight into how to implement them. He describes these principles as the key for entering the gate of Taijiquan.
How to implement the principles is the core of practice. Each person is dealing with different residual tensions and different emotional and mental habits. So it takes a lot of time and effort to work through those tensions and habits. They are common problems but require great individual efforts. He also touches on the classic philosophy of China as it applies to Tai Chi.
It is always good to review the basic principles because as you practice your understanding grows. Also, each person who discussed the principles can put them in a different light that creates a different perspective.
He disagrees with the idea that Tai Chi Chuan is a form of Qiqong and explains his reasons.

Also in this issue in Li Deyin's interview Chinese characters are used to supplement the English text. This was not possible previously because of the limitations of the layout software. But the latest version of QuarkExpress offers a Chinese language option.
Wu Wenhan has had a long and distinguished career as an instructor of the Wu/Hao style of Tai Chi Chuan. He is also a leading researcher into the history and development of Tai Chi Chuan traditions. He has published over 200 articles on the various facets of Tai Chi Chuan history, philosophy and theory. He is on the editorial boards of China's most prominent martial arts publications.
Wu qualified his comments about Tai Chi Chuan history by saying that his findings are tentative and subject to further study. He acknowledges that with further study or discoveries, he could change his findings.
Among his interesting reports was that Tai Chi Chuan was not call by that name until Wu Yuxiang found Wong Zhongyue's book about 1852. It was about that time, he said, that Yang Luchan began referring to what he was teaching in Beijing as Tai Chi Chuan.
He also discusses the origin of Tai Chi Chuan and whether it originated with Chen Wangting or Zhang Sanfeng. It is a very partisan subject.
While he states his idea on the subject, he qualifies it by saying that like his other ideas, he is still researching them and open to new information.

The article by Zhao Xiaobin provides interesting insights into the turmoil in China during the last century and how major figures in Tai Chi history lived in that turmoil. Zhao describes how his father, Zhao Bin was connected to the Yang family at an early age and how both families lived during those difficult times.
The article does not give much information about Tai Chi Chuan but refers to numerous Yang family members, including Yang Chengfu and his sons and their life experiences. And indirectly gives information about Chinese culture and relationships.

Frank Wolek submitted the article by Dr. Steve L Sun, who died recently, about Dr. Sun's Siu Lim system. Wolek was co-author with Dr. Sun of an article in the June issue of T'AI Magazine about integrating people with disabilities in Tai Chi practice.
Dr. Sun was at almost all the Tai Chi events in the U.S. that I attended. And he was always a pleasant, smiling person without any attitudes or agendas, except possibly to promote his Wind and Fire Wheels system.
In the interview Dr. Sun described the changes he had to make in teaching the Yang style. Initially, when his mother-in-law was teaching the traditional form many students dropped
about integrating people with disabilities in Tai Chi practice.
Dr. Sun was at almost all the Tai Chi events in the U.S. that I attended. And he was always a pleasant, smiling person without any attitudes or agendas, except possibly to promote his Wind and Fire Wheels system.
In the interview Dr. Sun described the changes he had to make in teaching the Yang style. Initially, when his mother-in-law was teaching the traditional form many students dropped out. Without changing the form he altered the teaching method and found that this helped retain students.

The talk that Ed Jones of the Center for Disease Control in Atlanta, GA, gave at the International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium in Nashville, TN, was interesting in multiple ways. He told how such a work site program could be set and become successful.
But for teachers who put a lot of effort into learning from experienced teachers and who themselves work hard at teaching it is hard to imagine people teaching Tai Chi Chuan without getting firsthand instruction over a period of time.
There invaluable specifics and intangibles that students get from studying with an experienced teacher over a period of years which they can then pass on to their own students. Jones does say teacher training did involve videos, a book and consulting by a teacher. But how does that match up against years of practice and training with a teacher?

Yang Yang, Ph.D., who gave an opening keynote lecture at the International Tai Chi Chuan Symposium in Nashville, TN., was instrumental in securing the researchers who participated in the Symposium. Dr. Yang has lectured Tai Chi and Qiqong at several leading institutions, including the American Public Health Association, the Mayo Clinic, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, the Hospital for Special Surgery and the National Institutes of Health.
The participation of the researchers was a highlight of the Symposium, sponsored by the Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Association. Their participation gave them an opportunity to learn something about Tai Chi Chuan and the attendees learned about the needs of the researchers.

 
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