LOOKING THROUGH THE LENS OF SCIENCE AT THE TEN ESSENTIALS OF TAl CHI CHUAN

Written by Holly Sweeney

Yang Chengfu’s Ten Essentials insured that the practice of Tai Chi Chuan would improve people’s health. It is impossible to overstate the importance of these Ten Essentials in identifying the elements that make Tai Chi Chuan a healthful practice. Without the Ten Essentials, it is doubtful that Tai Chi Chuan would be recognized allover the world as a unique exercise system that offers special benefits to those who practice it.

Ten Essentials of Tai Chi Chuan

Part I

Looking at: “Practice continuously and without interruption”

Smooth continuous movement is probably the most recognizable characteristic of traditional Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan. Anyone who has ever witnessed Yang style Tai Chi players remembers this distinctive quality of their practice.

What is the benefit of “practice continuously and without interruption” from a scientific viewpoint? There are unique results that occur as a result of applying this principle from the Ten Essentials. Slow, smooth, continuous movement produces at least two special conditioning effects for nerves, muscles, and tendons. To understand the conditioning that occurs, we first have to learn about the functional properties of nerves, muscles, and tendons. Continue reading

Looking Ahead: Tai Chi Chuan In 2002 And Beyond

An Interview with Masters Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun
Conducted, and translated, by Jeremy Blodgett

 

Yang Zhenduo and Yang Jun dalu

JB: At the Taiyuan competition this summer we got to see many Yang style practitioners, but some practiced quite differently than we do. Why are there so many different types of Yang style Taijiquan now? Continue reading

A Brief Biography of the Yang Family (II)

Yang Shao Hou

Yang Zhao Xiong was born in 1862 and died in 1930. Also named Meng Xiang, and later called Shao Hou, most just called him “Mr. Big”. From very young he studied with his father and his uncle. He learned the greater part of his skill from Ban Hou. His nature was forceful and he would stand up for injustices suffered by others. Shao Hou enjoyed sending people flying, rather like his uncle’s style. When he was young he taught the middle frame established by his father, but later changed direction. He developed a form that was high with small movements done in a sometimes slow and sometimes sudden manner. His releasing of energy (fajin) was hard and crisp, accompanied with sudden sounds. The spirit from his eyes would shoot out in all directions, flashing like lightning. Combined with a sneer, a sinister laugh, and the sounds of “Heng!” and “Ha!”, his imposing manner was quite threatening. Shao Hou taught students to strike quickly after coming into contact with the opponent, wearing expressions from the full spectrum of emotions when he taught them.

Yang Shao Hou

Students with fewer skills passed difficult times with him, therefore he didn’t have many of them. Shao Hou had a son called Zheng Sheng that later studied with Yang Cheng Fu. Continue reading

The Sword Form: Flying through Myth and Legend

Each of the Yang Family forms embodies the core principles of Taijiquan, yet each has a different flavor. In practicing the Sword Form, or Taijijian, we are told to show light and flowing movement.
The need for such lightness can be seen in the distinct nature of the names of the postures. Of the 67 named postures, more than 40 of them refer to flying creatures, wind, or sky. While the hand form calls for measured steps and sharp distinctions between empty and full, the Sword Form invites us to fly and flow more with our outward movements. Judging by the names of the sword form postures, we must wield our sword as if following the movements of wasps, swallows, geese, and falling leaves. At other times, we must “Embrace the Moon” or chase it like a shooting star or comet.
In order to enrich our practice, we must engage body, mind and spirit. Giving thought to the images the posture names can help guide our movements in the proper way. Many of the names are easy to understand, but others are not so familiar to those with limited familiarity with Chinese culture. The purpose of this article is to explore some of these images and their possible relevance to our practice. Continue reading

DISCUSSIONS WITH CHEN XIAOWANG

Q: How do you use the dantian in applying force?
CXW: The dantian is the energy center of the body and requires coordination of the entire body. The force generated originates from the dantian and coordinates with the rest of the body, gaining force.

Q: What are the mechanics of applying dantian force?
CXW: Spiral force coordinated through the movement of the body. When the dantian turns, the body turns and pushes the hands. The dantian area is like the center of a circle. Continue reading

Tai Chi Chuan in Menopause

“A Doctor that Takes care of a disease after it has manifested is a mediocre doctor; a doctor that takes care of a disease before it is manifest is an excellent doctor”

The Yellow Emperor

By Dr. Vera Lazzeri

The menopause is not a disease, otherwise all the women from a certain age on would be sick! On the other hand, however, we do feel it, like all the hormonal changes, with various types of symptoms. Continue reading