In order to relax we have to basically just ‘let go.’ Let go of our posturing, or our need to control, manipulate, or force our views, beliefs, or opinions. As we practice our forms are we practicing for showing off, exercise, or to develop a following? Due to your driving practice, which involved technique and awareness training, I bet you were able to swerve out of the way or brake before hitting the cat. I see dojo practice, whether it is form work or partner work, as practicing to relax within various situations.
In 1986, Gunter Weil and Rylin Malone two friends from the Healing Tao, to the Gin Soon Tai chi Club in Boston’s Chinatown district, took me. Tai chi chuan Chang Chuan is a beautiful and rare form characterized by alternately slow and sudden, dynamic and explosive movements.
My colleagues and I have worked hard to make our Tai Chi for Health programs the safest possible and we teach the precautions outlined below in our workshops.
In 2005, Accident and Compensation Corporation (ACC), a government body in New Zealand, paid for 10,000 older adults to attend tai chi classes to improve their health and prevent injury. There are significant differences in different tai chi styles and schools, therefore the safety requirements for them are different. When students enrol, consider asking them to complete and sign a medical waiver form for your protection. Have a written emergency procedure at hand that includes emergency phone numbers for students and the ambulance service’s phone number. Create an atmosphere in which your students feel comfortable talking to you about their problems. Many of the force-delivering movements in Chen-style tai chi have a higher risk of injury, so if you practise Chen-style, please take extra care and consult a health professional if you have any doubts. Do all movements slowly and gently, as consistent with tai chi principles, avoid using excessive force, be focused and aware of your body’s limits. There are several common precautions that should be taken by people with special medical problems such as arthritis or diabetes. People who have had a hip replacement operation should avoid crossing the foot on the affected side of their body over to the other side of their body. Doing standing qigong can have risk of injury because standing on one spot puts extra stress on the body, especially the knee and hip joints. Holding a position If you want to correct a student’s position do not hold them in the same position for long.
As a practising doctor, like Dr Pam Kircher, I seldom practice medicine in my teaching sessions, unless, of course, it is a medical emergency.
There is no age limit with Chi Kung – both young and old can practice and gain health benefits from it. The Chi Kung movements are not physically hard on the body or strenuous, and while there are a few movements that the beginning student may find challenging at first, on the whole Chi Kung is easy to learn and requires less from the student in independent practice time. Qigong is, definitively, more ancient in origin than Tai Chi and it is the over-arching, more original discipline incorporating widely diverse practices designed to cultivate functional integrity and the enhancement of the life essence that the Chinese call Qi. Despite variations among the myriad forms, we assert that health oriented Tai Chi and Qigong emphasize the same principles and practice elements. Qigong translates from Chinese to mean, roughly, to cultivate or enhance the inherent functional (energetic) essence of the human being. Also considered part of the overall domain of Qigong is “external Qigong” wherein a trained medical Qigong therapist diagnoses patients according to the principles of TCM and uses “emitted Qi” to foster healing. There are thousands of forms of Qigong practice that have developed in different regions of China during various historic periods and that have been created by many specific teachers and schools. The internal Qigong practices generally tested in health research (and that are addressed in this review), incorporate a range of simple movements (repeated and often flowing in nature), or postures (standing or sitting) and include a focused state of relaxed awareness and a variety of breathing techniques that accompany the movements or postures. For numerous, complex sociological and political reasons,2 Tai Chi has become one of the best known forms of exercise or practice for refining Qi and is purported to enhance physiological and psychological function. It is especially important to note that many of the RCTs investigating what is described as Tai Chi (for health enhancement), are actually not the traditional, lengthy, complex practices that match the formal definition of traditional Tai Chi. In 2003, a panel of Qigong and Tai Chi experts was convened by the University of Illinois and the Blueprint for Physical Activity to explore this very point.35 The expert panel agreed that it is appropriate to modify (simplify) Tai Chi to more efficiently disseminate the benefits to populations in need of cost effective, safe and gentle methods of physical activity and stress reduction. For this reason, it is not only reasonable, but a critical contribution to the emerging research dialogue to review the RCTs that explore the health benefits resulting from both of these practices together, as one comprehensive evidence base for the meditative movement practices originating from China.
As with Tai Chi, proper golf form requires specific moves done in a balanced, relaxed, and focused way. In recent years, on my tours in China and abroad, the question I was most asked by both Chinese and non-Chinese students is: How to practice taichi for substantial improvements? Like doing anything else, in order to understand how to practice taichi well, it is paramount to understand what taichi is.
Taichi was created by Chen Wangting, a ninth generation descendant of the Chen’s Family in Wen County Henan Province. Do Train for Theory Verification, Don’t Train for Raw Power: “Theory” consists of philosophical foundations and basic principles about taichi.
Do Train for Fundamental Roots, Don’t Train for External Presentations: “Fundamental Roots” refer to the original core (the original qi of the kidneys) and the base of the body. Patience – when all the above four mindsets are set, you’ll also need patience to achieve high level in taichi practice. The three essential factors are: a qualified teacher, innate talent and untiring diligence. Innate talent is the key factor for high level taichi achievements, especially for those who wish to be established. This gentle form of exercise can prevent or ease many ills of aging and could be the perfect activity for the rest of your life. Qi — an energy force thought to flow through the body; tai chi is said to unblock and encourage the proper flow of qi.
Yin and yang — opposing elements thought to make up the universe that need to be kept in harmony.
Designed and led by leading experts and master clinicians to advance your practice of medicine and optimize your patient outcomes.
Many Harvard Medical School CME courses enable you to choose from among dozens of workshops, forums and lectures that align with your specific practice needs and educational goals. Scientists are getting close to proving what yogis have held to be true for centuries — yoga and meditation can ward off stress and disease.
John Denninger, a psychiatrist at Harvard Medical School, is leading a five-year study on how the ancient practices affect genes and brain activity in the chronically stressed. While hundreds of studies have been conducted on the mental health benefits of yoga and meditation, they have tended to rely on blunt tools like participant questionnaires, as well as heart rate and blood pressure monitoring. The government-funded study may persuade more doctors to try an alternative route for tackling the source of a myriad of modern ailments. Together with its members across the world, the World Heart Federation is running the Go Red for Women campaign to improve women’s knowledge of heart disease and stroke so that they can take action and achieve longer, better heart-healthy lives.
Many studies have been done to diagnose the physiological changes in humans during meditation. This study took sixteen participants with no serious history of regimented or consistent meditative practice.
The participants all reported significant reductions in stress, which correlated well with a decrease in the density of the amygdala, which plays a large role in stress and anxiety. FREE subscription to Receive Quality Stories Straight in your Inbox by submitting your Email belowEmail privacy 100% protected. Please note: If you have a promotional code you'll be prompted to enter it prior to confirming your order.
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Various herbs and other supplements have been touted for their ability to improve cholesterol levels.
As you've gotten older, have you noticed that you often find yourself marching around the house in a huff, searching for misplaced car keys or eyeglasses, or you just cannot remember the name of that new neighbor you met when walking the dog? The way you live, what you eat and drink, and how you treat your body can affect your memory just as much as your physical health and well-being. If you decide to change something in your living will or health care power of attorney, the best thing to do is create a new one. What if men approached their health at midlife the same way that financial experts advise them to plan for retirement? If a growth or mole looks like a melanoma, the doctor will take a biopsy to confirm the diagnosis.
Alzheimer's disease is characterized by progressive damage to nerve cells and their connections. It might seem like retirement is a time to take it easy and devote yourself to gardening, golfing, and napping. Sleep shortfalls can lead to a range of health problems, from being more likely to catch a cold or gain weight to increased risk of developing heart disease or diabetes.
Next comes One Hand Push Hands, Fixed Position Push Hands, Push Hands with Active Steps, Ta Lu, and Free Sparring. The master who taught Tai Chi Chuan at the school where I studied, Hua Eng Athletic Club, in Manila, was Han Ching-Tang, the famous teacher from Taiwan. For the first time, I saw a more varied curriculum that included not only Push Hands, Solo form and Sword but also Staff-Spear and Chang-Chuan.
Was he being redundant here, since Tai Chi Chuan also refers to Long Boxing, or was he referring to another entirely different form? The movements are actually similar in name to the Solo Form but there are variations in the sequence and in the technique and execution. The ACC recognises the importance of safe tai chi teaching and invited me to help them design safety measures and set up training courses for class teachers, to be used throughout the country.
There is a well-known saying in China that if you keep stamping on a stone (performing the Chen-style movement Golden Guard Stamping on the Ground) until you’ve bored a hole in the stone, you are then good enough to graduate from the Chen-style. In that form there should be a statement to the effect that students acknowledge by signing the form that it is their own responsibility to tell you if there is any medical condition that may affect them doing tai chi.
For example, make sure that it has good lighting, is clear of obstacles, has a non-slippery surface with no loose mats and is a comfortable temperature.
When you are aware of your limitations and take care with your own movements, you are much less likely to incur injury than when you have an unpredictable outside force pushing you. In this day and age, teachers should be cautious about the possible legal consequences of their actions. Ballistic (sudden, vigorous or violent) movements can be dangerous, especially violent stretches of the lower back and hamstring muscles.
Doing a sit up with your hands behind your head can become dangerous when you use your hands and arms to pull yourself up. Do not practise when you are very hungry, immediately after a full meal, or when you are very upset.
If you follow the essential tai chi principles they will help you to minimise the risk of injury.
Gradually build up the length and number of practice sessions, aiming for about 20-40 minutes on most days (for older adults).
If you are teaching classical Yang-style tai chi, some of the forms may involve turning the foot while the knee is bent with the weight on that foot.
Tell your students that when they bend their knees, they should make sure their knees are directly above their toes, otherwise they may overstretch and injure the ligaments on either side of their knee.
When their knee is bent, looking from the side, their knee mustn’t be pushed any further forward than the tip of their toes.
Some movements involve a deep squatting position, with one knee touching the back of the other knee.
Advise your students to set up a regular time for practice, so their tai chi practice becomes a part of their daily routine.
Encourage students to talk to you about any movements they are finding difficult or uncomfortable. Advise your students to use the minimum effort necessary to do the movements and not to force any of them.
Tell your students to follow your movements as accurately as possible within their comfort zone.
Check with your student’s health professionals to confirm what precautions are appropriate for that student. During the replacement operation, the nerves responsible for feeling in the opposite side of their body may be cut, so people who’ve had this operation may not be able to balance well if their foot crosses the midline of their body. Holding a position can be especially stressful for older people or people with arthritis and they have an increased chance of injury from doing this.
If you are not a legally qualified health professional in your country, don’t do anything you are not qualified to do. Create a relaxed atmosphere in your classes so that your students feel comfortable about stopping and resting anytime they need to. Over 60 million people in China practice Chi Kung every day, making it the most popular health exercise in that country.
Because of the emphasis on these essentials, relaxation benefits are most often felt in the very first lesson. The beginning set of Chi Kung taught by the Institute (Taiji Chi Kung Shibashi) can even be performed while seated! This is reflected in our classes, where the emphasis is on relaxation and learning through practising the movements in sequence. Both Qigong and Tai Chi sessions incorporate a wide range of physical movements, including slow, meditative, flowing, dance-like motions. Given these similar foundations and the fashion in which Tai Chi has typically been modified for implementation in clinical research, we suggest that the research literature for these two forms of meditative movement should be considered as one body of evidence.
It is considered to be the contemporary offspring of some of the most ancient (before recorded history) healing and medical practices of Asia. Both internal Qigong (personal practice) and external Qigong (clinician emitted Qi) are seen as affecting the balance and flow of energy and enhancing functionality in the body and the mind.
Some of these forms were designed for general health enhancement purposes and some for specific TCM diagnostic categories.


Tai Chi, the exercise, is named after this concept and was originally developed both as a martial art (Tai Chi Chuan or taijiquan) and as a form of meditative movement. The one factor that appears to differentiate Tai Chi from Qigong is that traditional Tai Chi is typically performed as a highly choreographed, lengthy, and complex series of movements, while health enhancement Qigong is typically a simpler, easy to learn, more repetitive practice.
These simplified forms of Tai Chi are very similar to the forms of Qigong used in health research. Practicing Taichi is to work on the ultimate general Dao – that is the basic theory of how yin emerges from yang and how yang emerges from yin in the process of change.
Train the “techniques” means to work on special defensive and offensive techniques of an application. Based on the family style boxing systems and by absorbing essence from other boxing systems, combining techniques of ancient energy systems such as Daoyin (internal energy manipulation) and Tuna (breathing exercises) as well as adopting theories from Yijing (The Book of Change) and the meridian doctrine of Chinese medicine, he created a boxing system that focuses on both the internal and the external training. Practicing taichi is the process applying the ultimate Dao – the principles how Yang develops fully to generate Yin and Yin develops fully to generate Yang in the process of taichi yin and yang exchanges. On the one hand, taichi practice requires the practitioner to relax in postures, soften the body and slow down the moves. As our ancestors said: A teacher is someone who passes on principles, teaches skills and clears up confusions.
They must have the innate gift, great deductive reasoning and learning ability, quick mind as well as the ability to expand their understandings. To be successful, one must also work with untiring diligence besides the innate talent and teaching of a wise teacher.
Wayne, assistant professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and director of the Tai Chi and Mind-Body Research Program at Harvard Medical School’s Osher Research Center.
Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.
Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. His latest work follows a study he and others published earlier this year showing how so-called mind-body techniques can switch on and off some genes linked to stress and immune function. Only recently have neuro-imaging and genomics technology used in Denninger’s latest studies allowed scientists to measure physiological changes in greater detail.
Stress-induced conditions can include everything from hypertension and infertility to depression and even the aging process.
The fight-or-flight response releases stress hormones, increases blood pressure, cholesterol levels, and inflammation.
But now I know that if I treat heart disease with something like Transcendental Meditation, I can get as much as 48-66% improvement with treatment. TM is the most efficacious for us to treat one of the major risk factors of heart disease – stress. The participants answered questionnaires and submitted to have magnetic resonance images (MRI) taken of their brains two weeks before and after they took part in a meditation program. Participants attended a weekly guided group meditation session and were given audio recordings for independent guided sessions. When the final results were jotted down it became obvious meditation had a profound effect on the physiology of the brain and consciousness. The control group showed none of these improvements, showing that these changes were not from the passage of time. Last comes the weapons, such as Tai Chi Double-Edged Sword, Tai Chi Broadsword, Tai Chi Spear (Thirteen Spear). Master Han wasn’t around when I started studying, but Chan Bun Te, an impeccable stylist, who studied the form with him, was. It was quite a pleasant surprise not only to see a genuine master in Gin Soon Chu, the second disciple of Yang Sau-Chung, but also to come upon forms I had not seen before, and he was teaching them openly.
Which makes me wonder: What did the famous masters like Dong Ying Jie, Chen Weiming, Fu Xiaowen, Cheng Man-Ching learn from Yang Cheng-Fu?
I conjecture that he was referring to another form, specifically the Chang Chuan form, which is often considered the Long form in the Yang Family Chang chuan is also sometimes referred to, rightly or wrongly, as the Fast Tai chi chuan form (because of its fast movements) or the Fa-jing form (because of its explosive techniques). No matter what your students’ objectives are, any injury will set them back from achieving them. If you have any doubts about the forms you teach, I recommend you check with appropriate health professionals. I often wonder how many people have crushed their knee cartilages by ‘stamping on a stone’ like this! Dr Pam Kircher, a medical doctor from the USA, says that even though she is licensed to practise medicine, she never does so during a tai chi class. Be sure to check with your legal adviser to ensure this form complies with your own country’s legal requirements. In your emergency procedure, write down your venue’s full address and details of how to get there. What is more, a teacher who does this could be accused of causing injury or assaulting their student. This causes over flexing of the spine, with the risk that vertebral discs may cause injury to the nerves in the neck. Listen to your body and rest when you start feeling tired, are in pain, or lose concentration.
If you experience chest pain, shortness of breath or dizziness, or if additional pain in your joints persists, contact your doctor.
The first time you do a movement, stretch to only 70 percent of your normal range of motion and increase that range gradually. A simple indication of how long to practise initially is the length of time you can walk comfortably at a steady pace. This can cause excess stress on the knee ligaments and can cause a twist injury to the knee. This is a very stressful position for the knee joints, so you should modify this movement for your students to be well within their comfort zone. Regular practice keeps the muscles and ligaments well tuned, which helps to prevent injury. As students become more familiar with the movements, they will start to flow more easily and feel more graceful. As your students become more familiar with the movements, try to get them to coordinate their movements with their breathing, as instructed. If they find they can’t do something comfortably, they should just do what is well within their comfort zone and visualise the full range of movement. Students with arthritis should stand up between movements to avoid excessive stress to their knees, until they develop strong muscles and ligaments. Older people and people with arthritis can injure their knees by standing for a long time in a stationary position. Movements involving the shoulder should be done slowly, and moving the hands above the head should be done with care. If you tell your student that their pain is minor and that they can continue to exercise, it could be considered that you’ve made a diagnosis and instituted medical treatment. If someone tells you they are not in pain but they look like they are in pain, they probably are. The important features and aims of Chi Kung are relaxation, quietness, naturalness, unity of breath and mind, gradual development and practicing to the individual’s state of health.
Where gentle movement, attention to posture and the deepening of the breath leads, a calm mind follows. The Institute does do provide specially tailored classes to meet the needs of children in primary schools and older persons. In addition, they both can include sitting or standing meditation postures as well as either gentle or vigorous body shaking.
Earliest forms of Qigong make up one of the historic roots of contemporary Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory and practice.2 Many branches of Qigong have a health and medical focus and have been refined for well over 5000 years. For the purposes of our review, we are focused only on the individual, internal Qigong practice of exercises performed with the intent of cultivating enhanced function, inner Qi that is ample and unrestrained. Some were originally developed as rituals for spiritual practice, and others to empower greater skill in the martial arts. The practice of Tai Chi as meditative movement is expected to elicit functional balance internally for healing, stress neutralization, longevity, and personal tranquility. However, even the longer forms of Tai Chi incorporate many movements that are similar to Qigong exercises. The modifications generally simplify the practice, making the movements more like most health oriented Qigong exercises that are simple and repetitive, rather than a lengthy choreographed series of Tai Chi movements that take much longer to learn (and, for many participants, reportedly delay the experience of “settling” into the relaxation response). During practice, it requires to have softness imbedded in hardness and hardness implied in softness with softness and hardness inter dependent and supportive to each other.
At the beginning stage, most people are interested in understanding the applications of each move. Without a clear understanding, it is difficult to imagine that one can gain any substantial improvements. The postures and moves are designed and structured according to biological principles as well as to the laws of nature. Taichi practice requires the practitioner to imply hardness in softness and softness in hardness as well as to ensure inter-supportiveness between hardness and softness.
High level taichi training must include certain phases: gaining routine proficiency, correcting postures and moves and softening stiffness.
Renowned taichi master Chen Xin pointed out in his Illustrated Chen’s Taichi that: “Taichi cannot be learned without respect. Practicing by fits and starts or quitting with little achievements are bad habits to affect perseverance. Without the correct understanding and mental preparation, it is impossible to relax and be patiently at ease. Be it for academics or martial arts, especially for taichi practice, the function of a teacher is the predetermining condition. Besides the guidance of a wise teacher, the subtlety of taichi must also be experience and pondered firsthand.
As it was stated in the ancestors’ teaching: “Only understanding and knowing the right methods is still not enough. The movements are usually circular and never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Sara Lazar, senior author at the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Psychiatric Neuroimaging Research Program and instructor of psychology at Harvard Medical School, has done studies on meditation before. The University of Massachusetts Center for Mindfulness accepted the participants in an eight week long Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction Program. They were asked to keep track of the amount of time and frequency of their independent meditations.
There were various improvements to neurological structures associated with self awareness, compassion, and introspection.
Master Han apparently taught only these three Tai chi chuan forms – the Solo Form and Push Hands (both of which I studied) and the Sword Form (which I did not).
There are two possible reasons why only one or two Tai chi chuan forms of the Yang Family became widely disseminated.
From the curriculum that he taught, Chen Weiming learned the Solo form, Sword, Spear, Push Hands, and Chang-chuan.
It is a form that enables the practitioner to learn the deeper applications of the different movements in the Solo and Chang Chuan forms. It seems likely that if we don’t take on this responsibility ourselves, governments might soon force us to do so.
Many told us that they wanted to learn about safety but couldn’t find out where to learn it.
These are easy to learn and most of them are such common sense that you may be doing them already. All my Tai Chi for Health programs are designed in consultation with medical experts in their respective fields, with safety as the top priority. In fact I know of many Chen stylists who have suffered from serious problems with their knees.
You may have already been taking many of these precautions, but safety is so important that it is always worth revising your knowledge. The teacher is also a painter and the hall had some of his paintings (some of which were framed with glass) spread out on the floor in one corner. If you can practise for just 10 minutes in one session, you can do another 10 minutes after you have rested. If you move a student’s body or limbs, you may aggravate an existing injury (which may not be obvious to you or the student), or be accused of causing one. Consider amending the forms so that weight is shifted back before turning, to minimise the shearing force on the turns.
Make it clear to your students that while the goal of tai chi is to keep the knees bent, they should work up to that slowly. Be sure to warn any students who want to do the full range of the movement of the dangers involved.
For example, if the movement requires them to stretch out their elbow to 80 percent of the full range of motion, but they can only stretch to 50 percent, then they should do the 50 percent and visualise that they are stretching to 80 percent. In classical Yang-style tai chi, many people turn their foot while their knee is bent and their weight is on their foot. When a person’s blood glucose gets too low, loss of consciousness and even brain damage can result.
Advise that person to stop and consult their health professional; it is better to be safe than sorry. Chi Kung is ideal for practitioners of other modalities, to facilitate relaxation and energy in clinics.
As classes are conducted for the purpose of relaxation, it is not appropriate to have anyone in a public class who may cause distractions (such as young, noisy children). It emphasises the flow of Chi through the acupuncture meridians and is excellent for calming the mind and regulating the breath. Most importantly, both incorporate the purposeful regulation of both breath and mind coordinated with the regulation of the body.


Qigong purportedly allows individuals to cultivate the natural force or energy (“Qi”) in TCM that is associated with physiological and psychological functionality.
This is the aspect of Qigong that parallels what is typically investigated in Tai Chi research. Usually, the more complex Tai Chi routines include Qigong exercises as a warm-up, and emphasize the same basic principles for practice, that is, the three regulations of body focus, breath focus and mind focus. When hollowness reduces to its extreme, solidness forms; and when solidness grows to its extreme, hollowness appears. However, such training in focusing on explaining and understanding of the applications of Taichi defensive and offensive techniques will not lead one to the essence of Taichi. If the kidneys are fully sustained with qi, all other organs will have a better chance to be well sustained as well. As a result, the whole body is synchronized, the internal and external are coordinated, the internal qi is filled fully and substantiated abilities are gained on the body. Secondly, it is trust, believing in taichi and the teacher; so that one will settle down whole heartedly with determination. Grand Master Chen Fake, 17th Chen’s family descendent, practiced his routines thirty times a day for decades without slacking. When one becomes impatient in taichi practice, it’s like driving at high speed heading the opposite direction.
So far, there is no precedent of an achieved taichi practitioner who has done it without a teacher.
It can only be taught intuitively, not because the teacher is holding back, but it is truly indescribable.
Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery. Suzanne Steinbaum explains why the Transcendental Meditation practice can be a game changer.
There was also a control group of non meditators that had MRI’s over the same schedule.
Most of my teachers have talked about relaxation as a natural state, a state when we return to calmness, health, and the unity of mind and body. When I’m talking about spirit or spiritual I am referring to a state where we are calm, centered, clear, and at peace with ourselves.
From what I had seen at his school in New York City, the legendary Cheng Man-Ching taught his abbreviated 37-movement Solo form. One reason might be that the Yang family did not teach the other forms – or taught them to only a few people, mostly their close disciples or children. To safeguard the public, many countries are now bringing in regulations for the conduct of exercise classes. Gary, a tai chi instructor for 10 years, had been suffering from back pain for the same length of time.
For example, the Tai Chi for Arthritis program has had input from arthritis specialists (rheumatologists and physiotherapists). Can you imagine what might have happened if one of his students had stepped on a painting and slipped on the glass? For example, in the case of a student who collapses suddenly (which can happen anywhere), the teacher can tend to the student, assistant number one will call the ambulance and assistant number two will keep an eye on the other students and open the door for the ambulance service personnel. Joseph is a teacher who frequently twists and moves his students’ hands during his class.
Encourage your students to stand up between movements, to avoid excessive stress to their knees. Gradually, they will be able to improve their stretch (studies have shown visualisation can improve range of motion).
People with arthritis should transfer their weight or straighten up before turning to avoid injury.
Remember to respect students’ rights and just give the best advice possible as a tai chi teacher. On the other hand, Tai Chi emphasises the natural movement of the joints and muscles and increases circulation and is excellent for improving the focus of the mind.
Qi is the conceptual foundation of TCM in acupuncture, herbal medicine and Chinese physical therapy. Therefore Qigong and Tai Chi, in the health promotion and wellness context, are operationally equivalent. The correct process of learning Taichi must involve learning the forms and routines, correct postures and moves, reduce stiffness, achieve softness so as to reach the level when the whole body is coordinated, the internal and external are coordinated and the internal qi is full and solid. Taichi as a training system is supported by a set of mature and proven theories throughout the complete training processes. Emptiness when developed fully will generate solidness; and solidness when developed fully will generate emptiness.
Consequently, the liver, heart, spleen, lungs and kidneys all function the way they should. Taichi as a martial arts training system focuses mainly on training the self overall abilities.
Without trust, one will end up switching from system to system and teacher to teacher on a daily basis just like the old saying goes: “serving Qin at dawn and Chu by dusk”. On the other hand, taichi practicing is a long process for both the mind and the body and should not be rushed. It is only those who have the innate talent with great ability to comprehend who can truly understand the true essence of taichi and reach to higher level.
For example, with correct understanding of the nature of taichi, it helps one to establish the right mindset.
I learned a few movements but the man whose name I can’t remember now and was probably called Mr.
Push Hands in the Yang Family tradition as transmitted by Yang Sau-chung is a complicated discipline. It may not have happened with tai chi classes yet in your country, but it could eventually. He told me that after attending my workshop, he stopped doing the straight leg toe-touch exercise in his pre-tai chi warm up and his back pain has disappeared. As their muscles become stronger, students will be able to stay comfortably and longer in a bent position.
Exercise causes a high consumption of energy and there-fore blood glucose can be depleted rapidly. For the beginning student, Tai Chi forms and movements are more complicated than Chi Kung forms and movements, therefore requiring more effort to learn them.
It is considered to be a ubiquitous resource of nature that sustains human well-being and assists in healing disease as well as (according to TCM theory) having fundamental influence on all life and even the orderly function of celestial mechanics and the laws of physics. If mastered, we have the Tai Chi form of Master Yang Jun and the golf swing of Tiger Woods.
We can also look at taichi as a huge engineering system and the training to achieve substantial high level is definitely no easy task. Practicing with mental concentration using the mind to guide the qi and the qi to guide the body in total mind-qi-body unity, one should aim to achieve completeness in motion, wholeness in synchronization and high level internal and external coordination. The practitioner will then have high spirit, ample physical strength, swift reactivity and better overall coordination. It promotes skills to react to the opponent’s attacks and selflessly following the opponent’s moves according to ever changing situations instead of limiting to applications of individual moves.
In order to achieve high level in taichi, one must find a wise teacher who has a high moral and ethical standard, technically skillful, learned in theories and knows how to teach.
For others, despite of a wise teacher and self diligence, will still have a hard time understanding the true essence and will only reach limited achievements. That’s how one can reach the destination eventually.” Don’t expect miracles and there is no shortcut.
Chen Weiming himself listed the moves of Chang-Chuan m his book on the Tai chi Sword published in the 30s. The benefit for us, if we take on this responsibility, is that we can probably do a better job than the government. However, most people don’t like to say no in front of others and also they might not realise that an unexpected push could hurt them.
The body has an efficient system to regulate blood glucose so that it stays in the right range. A wise teacher can lead the students onto the right path so as to avoid detours and achieve twice the effect with half the work. It is just as in academic studies, people have the same teachers and all try with similar efforts, but the result can be quite different. One day a student reminded me that I am his doctor, so I asked him to make an appointment to see me at the clinic where I have access to his medical records and our medical equipment. However, as medication or injectable insulin aims to lower blood glucose, they may interfere with the body’s regulatory system and cause hypoglycaemia. From the perspective of Western thought and science, Qigong practices activate naturally occurring physiological and psychological mechanisms of self-repair and health recovery. When in motions, every part moves, the whole body follows and the internal and external coordinate. According to specific situations in application, Taichi principle is to lose the self to follow the opponent and adapt when situation changes.
Kungfu is acquired through practice and only untiring diligent practice will ensure substantiated kungfu on the body. I hope this article can provide some clarity in the minds of some taichi enthusiasts regarding taichi practice.
I understand that Master Han studied the Solo form from Yang Cheng-Fu in the Sports College in Nanjing in the early 30s. From the curriculum offered by Master Gin Soon Chu, I learned there are indeed these fist and weapons forms handed down in the Yang Family. This is why peo-ple with diabetes should let their doctor know what kind of exercise they are doing. Chi Kung students are guided through the exercises by the Instructor, while Tai Chi classes place a greater emphasis on the student, who first watches the Instructor, practices the movement and then tries out the movement on their own. Control the postures and mover according to the requirements and follow the natural motions of the body. Training for raw power can result in great increase of power in isolated parts of the body. In taichi practice, on the basis of overall relaxation, accumulate the qi into Dantian and descend the qi further into Yongquan, so that the top portion is nimble, the middle section is agile and the base is solid like roots in soil.
Nurture the grand and majestic qi in the process of routine practice to acquire graduate subtle change of the mind and body.
Under the guidance of a wise teacher and by following the rules and requirements, one must exercise persistent effort to accumulate and nurture the internal kungfu in order to realize qualitative change through graduate quantitative change.
In the Yang Family tradition, except for the times when Grandmaster Yang Cheng-fu taught in public, usually he taught only one, perhaps two students at a time. Most people with diabetes are well prepared by their health professionals to recognise signs and symptoms of hypogly-caemia. This type of power is often clumsy and stiff, lacking the necessary smoothness and flexibility. Moreover, one student can claim to have learned a form or everything from Yang Cheng-Fu himself and only Yang Cheng-Fu would know the truth, and he is dead.
Most people with diabetes who are likely to get hypoglycaemia bring with them some food, drink or candies (such as jelly beans) just in case.
It enables the Taichi practitioner to strike with the part wherever is being attacked, such as described in On Boxing: “When achieved, one can counterattack according to the attack without thinking. The main focus should be on nurturing the internal energy – nourishing the roots and sustaining the source. With Grandmaster Yang Sau-Chung (1909-1985), many of the lessons were taught in a small apartment in Hong Kong.
It Is possible he was referring to the halberd, advance spear form and others, which Master Gin Soon Chu knows, but I can only guess what these forms are.
En-courage them to feel comfortable with sitting down and eating whenever they feel the need. It is the ability to move in the Tai Chi form and in the golf swing with fluidity – a natural uninhibited movement done without trying to aggressively hit the ball. Boomer explains that to be rhythmic we must use our mind to control the urge to hit too soon at the ball (called hitting from the top) As in Tai Chi, this early urge to use excess force results in clumsy non-rhythmic form. However, in most cases, this type of training will lead to clumsy strength and stiff strength. At the time, like many people, I thought these three forms were what constituted the whole Tai chi chuan curriculum of the Yang Family.
As far as I know, there were no public announcements of workshops or classes, just private lessons.
In case your students forget to bring their own, you might find it useful to bring with you a small package of jelly beans or a special package of glucose from a pharmacy, designed for averting a hypoglycaemic attack. What Yang Cheng-Fu was talking about in the epigraph above is that there is indeed an extended curriculum of fist and weapons forms. It is not just one or two forms, there are several; apparently, some of them were secret forms taught only to a few disciples.
Occasionally though, a student can lose consciousness too quickly, before you can take these preventative measures.
Use your first aid training to position the student and call an ambulance (or if you’ve pre-arranged it with an assistant, get them to call while you attend to the student). The teacher has responsibilities similar to those of an exercise leader and you should use your first aid training to do what is appropriate.



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