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T'AI CHI MAGAZINE - August 2005

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August 2005 - Editor's Notebook

Prof. Cao Yimin of Beijing, who is author of the cover article, has had a distinguished career as a scientist, researcher, teacher and T'ai Chi Ch'uan practitioner.

In addition to his research, Prof. Cao has won first prize in a Chen style Taijiquan Contest of Beijing, second prize in the Wu style Taijiquan Contest of Beijing and second prize for 24-form Taijiquan in an International Taijiquan Contest.

He has received a 7th Duan (martial grade) title from the National Sports Committee. He participated in 1993 in the composition of “The Forms of Pushing Hand Practice of Taijiquan,” which is supervised by the Chinese Martial Arts Association and Asian Martial Arts United Association.

He was introduced in “A Dictionary of Famous People in Chinese Martial Arts,” compiled by the Journal of Chinese Martial Arts in 1994. In 1998 he was introduced in “The Circle of Martial Arts in Capital Peking,” compiled by the Martial Arts Institute of Beijing.

In 2003, an article about him was published in “The Spirit of Martial Arts,” with a photo of him on the cover of the magazine.

His editorial work, “Taiji Blossoms in the City of Sciences,” is forthcoming in 2005, an anniversary edition for the 30 years of Taijiquan activity in Zhong Guan Cun, Beijing.

His research work is obviously important in helping to establish the benefits of T’ai Chi Ch’uan for health and well-being. This type of work is essential to help people sustain the effort required to learn T’ai Chi and get the benefits they want and need.

Cheng Jincai of Houston continues his article on Chen style ethics. In this issue, Cheng writes about integrity of speech, self-control, cultivation of heart and mind, humility, peaceful patience and social responsibility. 

He tells interesting stories that amplify his thoughts. The martial arts can be a wonderful experience, whether it is for health, building up one’s self-esteem or for becoming selfless. An underlying principle is the golden mean: nothing in excess and no insufficiencies.

The idea of balance is also expressed in Donald Cheung’s article based on interviews with his teacher, Li Lairen, a Chen practitioner in Toronto, Canada. He discusses the integration of fundamentals, form and function and how they work together.

Li emphases the importance of zhan zhuang, gong and silk reeling exercises and gives examples of some of these methods. Li, who studied with Zhu Tiancai and is a disciple of Feng Zhiqiang, gives some useful tips on key points of practice.

Feng emphasizes gong practice. In an article the June 2000 issue of T’ai Chi Magazine, written by Yang Yang and Scott A. Grubisich, Feng sas that gong practice strengthens internal qi. “It is the process of collecting the qi from nature to replenish our human energy.”

Feng also said that, “If you want to do Taiji well, it is not enough to only practice form. You have to practice gong . . . .”

In other words, you do not want to do the form mechanically or as a clerical exercise. Nor should the process of collecting the qi be done mechanically.

All the aspects of T’ai Chi training are essentially the practice of gong complemented by the cultivation of the mind.

The practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan is a practice of continual self-adjustments and self-corrections as we become more aware of what we are doing.

The Five Animal Frolics are a famous and ancient exercise in China. The Five Animal Frolics  exemplify the principle that in order to stay healthy and fit, one must exercise regularly and in the right way.

There are many variations on the Frolics and this set is a re-interpretation of previous versions by experts in China.

In 1981, a book entitled, “Wushu, The Chinese Way to Family Health and Fitness,”presented material selected and translated by Timothy Tung. It included exercises based on the five animals as well as many other exercises. The book is currently out-of-print.

With the Five Animal Frolics, as with T’ai Chi, the body should be relaxed, use abdominal breathing and focus should be on the lower abdomen, the dantian.

As it is noted in the first installment in this issue, the movements are intended to stimulate qi pathways in the body so as to unblock and balance energy.

David Gaffney of Manchester, UK, interviews Wang Haijun on training the eight basic energies of T’ai Chi Ch’uan.

Wang discusses the main characteristics of the eight jin and their importance to push hands and self-defense applications.

The methods seem simple but can be very complex.

As has been mentioned in past issues, peng is the basic energy of T’ai Chi Ch’uan. Yet you cannot use it to attack someone.

In terms of an opponent, it only works in response to an action of the opponent. It is developed by zhan zhuang, standing meditation, and through form practice as a result of cultivating song.

Wang Haijun is a disciple of Chen Zhenglei and teaches in Manchester, UK. . David Gaffney also teaches in Manchester and has led study trips to China.

Li Ziming was a famous Bagua Zhang teacher in Beijing. Zhou Lishang writes about his being honored for his contributions to the martial arts on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

A commemorative stamp was issued honoring him. It was the first stamp issued specially for a martial art master in the history of the People’s Republic of China.

Li Ziming had been the president of Baguazhang Association of Beijing, the first president of a civilian single boxing group.•

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