A conversation between teacher and learner

Here is a brief exchange over email between a DTC member and myself that reveals our thinking about a subject central to learning tai chi. I welcome questions and comments because it stimulates concrete conversation which serves as a knowledge-building activity. Background: I returned after 10 days training retreat and exposed practice partners to using different muscles to feel more connectivity. I had usually been focusing on using mind to move, but Read More …

10 tips for beginning tai chi practice

Whether you’re sure you want to do tai chi or not, here are things you can consider to help find out if it’s the right thing for you. But DO NOT take someone else’s word for it one way or the other. Which means, technically speaking, don’t take my word for whatever you’re about to read. 1 Find out what tai chi is. How? Be curious, and ultimately, just do tai chi. Read More …

What I like about single basic moves in tai chi practice

Tai chi basics, including “single basic moves” are employed to train for specific objectives, such as loosening, relaxing and strengthening joints, ligaments and tendons, all of which are exclusive offerings of the tai chi exercise system. What I like about single basic moves is they give you something to do on your own. A good solo practice can be developed with single basics. I wrote before about the two kinds of memory Read More …

Dementia research findings and my pitch for tai chi

Researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s current estimate of 47 million cases of dementia (expected to triple by 2050), including Alzheimer’s. Tai chi is a physical activity and mentally stimulating exercise, two factors that recent research suggests can prevent dementia in millions. In a recently published article (http://www.cbsnews.com/news/one-third-of-dementia-cases-could-be-prevented-alzheimers-report/), researchers list nine activities that can help prevent as much as 33% of the world’s Read More …

Easy things you can do to fit tai chi into a busy life

You’re so busy to take in the wonder, not even enough time to take a moment to mourn the loss of the precious time burning away. What do you do? Here are a few ideas. Tip #1—Where you do tai chi. Get away from where you do your business in order to do tai chi without interruptions. Tip #2—When to begin tai chi When you wake, even before you get out of Read More …

Refining Your Tai Chi Practice: Bringing Life into Your Body

You’re not just moving the body, you’re bringing life into it. By circling the eyes, for example, you’re freeing them up from stagnation and decay (atrophy), and allowing them to serve as “gates” (men) through which energy may enter the body. Think of tai chi this way.

Refining and Single-Basic Exercises

Although single basics are repetitive, they are not repetitious, so to speak. You repeat a pattern, intent on refining, not on repeating it exactly the same way as before. Change is the key. “Changeability” as Master Xu puts it. How do you refine? Pick out a particular locus and focus your attention on how you move there. Focus on the move itself and how you might alter it—make it smoother, rounder, less Read More …