Vol. 21, No. 1
I first met Zhang Luping in 1989 at a tournament, and subsequently he was featured on the cover of the April 1990 issue. He had an interesting story to tell about his travels in China and finding various skillful masters.
He also exhibited a penetrating, original mind that he applied to his study of T'ai Chi Chuan then, and no less today. A lot depends on who you learn from, but a lot depends on what you bring to your studies. He continues to bring a lot and to share a lot, as evidenced by this issue's cover article.
While Zhang Luping is revisited in this issue, there are a number of newcomers as well.
Hean K. Low of Australia is a newcomer to T'AI CHI Magazine and has an interesting article about the Wu style. The details Liu Jixun gives about the Wu style of Wu Yuxiang are helpful to any style. They are not easy to comprehend but are basic to all styles, even though the Wu style has certain unique features. Hean K. Low practices the Chen, Yang and Wu styles.
Liu Jixun is president of the Research Association of Wu style Taijiquan, as well as an instructor in Shanghai. He serves as technical consultant and adviser of Wu style associations in Singapore and the U.S.
Tu-Ky Lam of New Zealand has written for T'AI CHI before and has another useful article, this one about push hands. Everyone knows that following is essential in push hands, but accomplishing it is not that easy, even after years of practice, because there are so many unpredictable unknowns to deal with. Lam gives some hints on how to deal with the unknowns.
Steve Higgins' article on T'ai Chi as a spiritual practice gives an interesting perspective on how we can use T'ai Chi in deeper ways than just accumulating skill or being able to assert ourselves over someone else. Exploring these deeper ways is the best way to protect ourselves from becomin gself-centered and arrogant.
Higgins is a student of Dr. Shen Zaiwen and Jou Tsung Hwa. Higgins said the form shown in the accompanying photos is the “Nei Gong Medium Frame” of Yang Chian Hou, “thus it is the direct ancestor of Yang Cheng-fu's 'Yang 108,' with which we are all familiar.
While preserving many combative movements which are hidden in the later style, this older (Old Yang) form involves an intense use of 'silk reeling' movements of the sort seen in the traditional Chen family Taiji.”
I sometimes tell students that Tai Chi Chuan is like food. You have to do it daily to nourish your self. Maren Ielbermann and Michael P. Milburn of Canada give some good advice about food and the Chinese approach to preventative maintenance and as remedies for certain conditions. They are both experts in this field.
Robin Johnson has a lot of experience working with Tai Chi Chuan and swords and he gives some good advice about reworking a sword to get better balance and edge for solo practice or for sparring.
Some of the late Sophia Delza's students wrote in with tributes to their teacher. Her dedication created a loyal following of students over the years.
William Henderson's story, Lo Wang's Gift, is an interesting story with a Tai Chi background and an ironic ending. It is a long story but worth reading.
Many kinds of people come to practice Tai Chi Chuan. Many find its greatest reward in the enthusiasm and the joy they experience. Jo Leach did not start learning Tai Chi Chuan until middle age, but she approached it with a genuine enthusiasm that took her through many years of practice.
Although she was always realistic about her own skills, she was still able to learn a number of advanced forms and techniques. At times she helped me to teach my classes.
She continued to enthusiastically practice T'ai Chi until the symptoms of Parkinson's disease increasingly limited her movement. Her husband, Sterling, called recently to tell me she passed away at the age of 82. I was saddened, but appreciated her fine spirit. There is something in that spirit that we can all learn from and appreciate.·