The article by Joe Wai Man Lok of Hong Kong emphasizes the factor of relaxation in Tai Chi. It is also mentioned by other authors in this issue. Of course, no two people are in the same place when it comes to relaxation. In fact, many begin Tai Chi studies because they want to become stronger and are unaware of the dynamics of relaxation.
Joe Lok practices Wudang San Feng Natural Style Tai Chi. His teacher is Wang Ping. He said that Wudang San Feng Natural specializes in Tai Chi, Xingyi, Bagua and Qigong. He learned qigong from Taoist Feng of Long Men Pai in Beijing over 10 years ago. He also learned Chen style from the elder son of Zhu Tian Cai of the Chen village.
He practices Tai Chi, Xingyi and Bagua and teaches full time in Hong Kong.
In Benjamin Lo's article about Robert W. Smith in this issue, he writes about Cheng Man-ch'ing emphazing “Stay Song” (stay relaxed.) He quotes Cheng as saying, “your whole body must stay relaxed.”
Many people have different degrees of tension in their legs, hips, waist, spine, shoulders and arms. One of the purposes of practice is to become aware of these tensions and to release them. This occurs over time and requires a sense of purpose to achieve some success. Unfortunately, many people limit their practice because they are not sure they will be secure if they do relax.But learning Tai Chi is learning to achieve different degrees of relaxation.
Robert W. Smith played an important role spreading knowledge of Tai Chi in the West through his teachings and books. When began studying with Cheng in 1959 he soon encountered Benjamin Lo who had already been studying with Cheng for many years. When Benjamin Lo came to the U.S. In 1974 they reconnected and this led to Lo being a co-translator of three English language publications, The essence of Tai Chi Chuan: The Literary Tradition; Cheng Tzu's Thirteen Treatises on T'ai Chi Ch'uan, and T'ai Chi Ch'uan Ta Wen: Questions and Answers on T'ai Chi Ch'uan.
Steve Doob writes about his experiences with the development of his dantian and his disappointment with the ensuing change in his waistline. Development of the dantian (field of energy) is an important physical center as well as cultural phenomenon.
The dantian consciousness helps to balance excess emotional and mental energy and create a more grounded sense of self. Not a bad exchange for a little bigger waistline.
The third installment of the article on Yang style forms is published in this issue. Liu Xi Wen gives some interesting insights into the evolution of the Yang style.
Jim Wickmann was a student of Choy Kam Man and was given permission to teach with a certificate in May 1976. His teacher's family introduced Tai Chi to the U.S., first in San Francisco in 1941 and branches were set up in Los Angeles and New York, according to Wen Shan Huang in his book “Fundamentals of Tai Chi Chuan.”Huang, while visiting in San Francisco, helped write at the request of Choy Hok-Peng, a “Declaration for the Institute.
In the 1970s, on a trip to San Francisco, I visited a class taught by Choy Kam Man in a “Y”. He was teaching a 54-form version of the Yang style on a summer night in a hot room filled with students. He had towels on his shoulder to absorb his sweat.
Wickmann tells of his own experiences learning Tai Chi—what worked and what didn't work. It is always interesting to compare different people's experiences. Wickmann gives some good advice for learning Tai Chi.
Dax Howard of Phoenix, AZ, give an interesting account of his experiences learning Tai Chi in China and the U.S.
There are a multitude of reasons why one might want to study Tai Chi and he gives interesting insights based on his experiences.