Monday, July 24, 2006

Relaxation in Taijiquan

Relaxation in Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, and Notes. By Mike Garofalo. 

Song or Sung: Loose, Relaxed, Open, Yielding, Free, Responsive. A Defining Characteristic of Taijiquan.

"First, last, and always the student must relax. Various calisthenics aid him in
achieving this. All rigidity and strength must be emptied from the upper torso and must sink to the very soles of the feet, one of which is always firmly rooted to the ground. Without proper relaxation the student can never hope to achieve the trueness of the T'ai-chi postures. The student relaxes completely and breathes as a child - naturally through the nose, the diaphragm being aided by the abdominal rather than the intercostal muscles. Man's intrinsic energy, the ch'i, should be stored just below the navel. The mind directs this energy throughout the body according to need. But the ch'i cannot circulated in an unrelaxed body."
- Robert W. Smith, Chinese Boxing: Masters and Methods, 1974, p. 26.

"Human beings are
soft and supple when alive,
stiff and straight when dead.

The myriad creatures, the grasses and trees are
soft and fragile when alive
dry and withered when dead.

Therefore, it is said:
The rigid person is a disciple of death;
The soft, supple, and delicate are lovers of life.

An army that is inflexible will not conquer;
A tree that is inflexible will snap.

The unyielding and mighty shall be brought low;
The soft, supple, and delicate will be set above."
- Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Section 41 (76)
Translated by Victor H. Mair, 1990

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Chi Kung Resources

Qigong Resources: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes, Instructions. By Mike Garofalo. 80Kb.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Eight Section Brocade Qigong

Ba Duan Jin Qigong
Eight Section Brocade Qigong By Michael P. Garofalo. 320Kb, July, 2006.
Provides information about the history and purpose of this popular Chi Kung practice. Detailed descriptions are provided for each of the eight movements; including information on movement variations, health benefits, qigong meaning, and cautions. The document includes the most extensive bibliography, link guide, and comments on Ba Duan Jin Qigong resources available anywhere. Some animated graphics are provided in linked files. This document is updated as new information is discovered. This qigong set is the most popular set practiced around the world, and is also known as: Baduanjin, Pa Tuan Jin, Eight Silken Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Pal Dan Gum, Ba Duan Gin, Pa Tin Kam, Otto Pezzi di Tesoro, Acht Delen Brokaat, Les Huit Exercices del la Soie, Eight Silken Treasures, Brocade Qigong, Wudang Brocade Qigong, Brocade soft qigong (Rou Gong), Eight Treasures inner qigong (Nei Gong), Silk Treasures Qigong, and the first eight Buddha Lohan Hands. The document is about 83 pages long.

Friday, July 21, 2006

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Broadsword

Taijiquan Saber, Taiji Dao, Don-Dau, Broadsword, Falchion (Dao), Willow Leaf, Goose Quill and Oxtail Sabers.: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes. By Mike Garofalo. 112 Kb.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Standing Qigong Meditation

Standing Qigong Meditation: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, Notes, Instructions. By Mike Garofalo. 127Kb.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Qigong Workshop with Liping Julia Zhu

Qigong for Health with Liping Julia Zhu.
San Francisco, Muir Beach, Green Gulch Zen Farm.
August 12, 2006, Saturday, 9:30 - 5 p.m..

Qigong (Chi Kung) widely known for its healing effects and spiritual empowerment, combines movement, meditation and breathing to regulate and enhance the flow of the body!s vital energy, improve blood circulation, and strengthen the immune system. This full-day workshop will introduce you to three Qigong exercizes for healing, and some basic theory.

For more information:
Qidragon Yahoo group

Qigdragon - Liping Julia Zhu

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Sword - Tai Chi Chuan

T'ai Chi Ch'uan Sword (Taijiquan Jian): Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes, List of Movements. Researched by Michael Garofalo. 200Kb.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Standard 24 Form T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Standard 24 Form Taijiquan, Yang Style: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes, Quotes, and Movement List. by Michael Garofalo. 117Kb.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Sun Style of Tai Chi Chuan

Sun Style of Taijiquan: Bibliography, Links, Quotes, Resources, Notes. Researched by Mike Garofalo. 150KB.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan

Yang Style T'ai Chi Ch'uan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes, and Notes. Indexed by Mike Garofalo. 199Kb.

Note: My entries wiil be short the next few days. I severely jammed and sprained the fingers of my right hand. Typing is difficult with one hand.

Friday, July 14, 2006

Epicurean Values

"The wealth required by nature is limited and is easy to procure;
but the wealth required by vain ideals extends to infinity."

"The most well-known Epicurean verse, which epitomizes his philosophy, is "lathe biōsas λάθε βιώσας "(Plutarchus De latenter vivendo 1128c; Flavius Philostratus Vita Apollonii 8.28.12), meaning "live secretly", "get through life without drawing attention to yourself", i. e. live without pursuing glory or wealth or power, but anonymously, enjoying little things like food, the company of friends, etc."

Epicurus, 341-271 BCE

Epicurean Philosophy Online

Epicurean History

From a Letter to William Short by Thomas Jefferson, 1819

"I take the liberty of observing that you are not a true disciple of our master Epicurus, in indulging the indolence to which you say you are yielding. One of his canons, you know, was that "that indulgence which prevents a greater pleasure, or produces a greater pain, is to be avoided." Your love of repose will lead, in its progress, to a suspension of healthy exercise, a relaxation of mind, an indifference to everything around you, and finally to a debility of body, and hebetude of mind, the farthest of all things from the happiness which the well-regulated indulgences of Epicurus ensure; fortitude, you know is one of his four cardinal virtues. That teaches us to meet and surmount difficulties; not to fly from them, like cowards; and to fly, too, in vain, for they will meet and arrest us at every turn of our road. Weigh this matter well; brace yourself up ..."

Syllabus of the doctrines of Epicurus (By Thomas Jefferson)

"Physical.—The Universe eternal.

Its parts, great and small interchangeable.

Matter and Void alone.

Motion inherent in matter which is weighty and declining.

Eternal circulation of the elements of bodies.

Gods, an order of beings next superior to man, enjoying in their sphere, their own felicities;
but not meddling with the concerns of the scale of beings below them.

Moral.—Happiness the aim of life.

Virtue the foundation of happiness.

Utility the test of virtue.

Pleasure active and In-do-lent.

In-do-lence, is the absence of pain, the true felicity.

Active, consists in agreeable motion; it is not happiness, but the means to produce it.

Thus the absence of hunger is an article of felicity; eating the means to obtain it.

The summum bonum is to be not pained in body, nor troubled in mind.

i.e. In-do-lence of body, tranquillity of mind.

To procure tranquillity of mind we must avoid desire and fear, the two principal diseases of the mind.

Man is a free agent.

Virtue consists in 1) Prudence. 2) Temperance. 3) Fortitude. 4) Justice.*

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Chi Kung Benefits

Twelve Benefits of Qigong:

"1. Well-being and improved health. Qigong emphasizes the whole body, whole system health. While it is true that qigong will often cure specific ills, this is not the primary reason for practice. It is not only a matter of adding years to your life, but life to your years.

2. Clear and tranquil mind. When the mind is at peace, the whole universe seems at peace. World peace begins with you; it is your responsibility to find a peaceful heart and mind. Then you can heal and transform others just through your presence. If you have a tranquil mind, you will make better decisions and have the skill to know when act and when to be still.

3. Deeper, more restorative sleep. Qigong will help you find the deep relaxation and mental quiet necessary for sleep.

4. Increased energy, including sexual vitality and fertility. Qigong people have more energy; it can reverse energy and restore youthfulness.

5. Comfortable warmth. Qigong is great for cold hands and feet. Circulation improves, and the body generates more internal warmth when it is cold.

6. Clear skin. The skin, like the intestines, is an organ of elimination. According to Chinese medicine, as your qigong improves, your body eliminates toxins, and the skin becomes clear.

7. Happy attitude. There is an old Tibetan saying, “You can tell a Yogi by his or her laugh.” Correct and moderate qigong practice usually creates an optimistic and joyous disposition.

8. More efficient metabolism. Digestion improves, and hair and nails grow more quickly.

9. Greater physiological control. This means that aspects of the body that were imbalanced or out of control begin to normalize, for example, breathing rate, heart rate, blood pressure, hormone levels, and states of chronic inflammation or depletion.

10. Bright eyes. The qigong master’s eyes are said to glow in the dark, like a cat’s. The eyes also appear bright because the spirit and soul are luminous and the heart is open.

11. Intuition and creativity. Intuition and creativity generate each other and come from the same source, an awakened brain and being, an ability to think with the gut, to feel with the mind.

12. Spiritual effects. Advancement in qigong is often accompanied by a variety of spiritual experiences. For example, synchronicity, meaningful coincidences, become more common. When the qi is abundant, clear, and flowing, the senses perceive and are permeated by a sweetness. "

Adapted by Care 2 Health and Wellness

Adapted from:

The Way of Qigong: The Art and Science of Chinese Energy Healing. By Kenneth S. Cohen.
Foreword by Larry Dossey. New York Ballantine Books, 1997. Index, notes, appendices,
427 pages. ISBN: 0345421094. MGC. One of my favorite books: comprehensive,
informative, practical, and scientific.

The Way of Qigong. By Ken Cohen. 5 audiocassettes, 6 hours. Boulder, Colorado, Sounds True,
1993. ISBN: 1564552578. MGC.

Qigong: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes. By Mike Garofalo.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Doctors' Advice

"Like yoga, Qigong teaches you to balance energy in your body."
Deepak Chopra, M.D.

"Chunyi Lin explains that Spring Forest Qigong exercises help to normalize, balance, and support the energy systems that feed healthy organs and support overall health. I've found that a regularly practiced program is an effective shield against illness. Spring Forest Qigong not only produces significant health benefits afterwards, but actually feels healing and energizing while you're doing it."

Susan M. Lark, M.D.,
writing in The Lark Letter,
A Woman's Guide To Optimal Health & Balance
Spring Forest Qigong

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Unhurried When Hurried

"To be able to be unhurried when hurried;
To be able not to slack off when relaxed;
To be able not to be frightened
And at a loss loss for what to do,
When frightened at at a loss;
This is the learning that returns us
To our natural state and transforms our lives."
- Liu Wenmin

Monday, July 10, 2006

World of the Senses

"I you want to follow the doctrine of the One,
Do not rage against the World of the Senses.
Only by accepting the World of the Senses
Can you share in the True Perception."
- Seng-ts'an

"Train yourself in doing good that lasts and brings happiness.
Cultivate generosity, the life of peace, and a mind of boundless love."
- Buddha

I enjoyed browsing at the Spiritual University News.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Xuan Wu Dadi

Xuan Wu Dadi - Lord of Wudang Martial Arts

"Xuan Wu Dadi (Dark Lord of the North) Lord Xuan Wu (variously called The Dark Lord of the North, The Lord of True Martiality, the North Lord Xuan Wu, Lord Black, The Lord of Black Martiality, etc.) is one of the most widely revered Gods of traditional China, ranking in popularity behind only Guan Yin and Guan Gong. The God is usually depicted in black robes, holding a sword and sometimes wearing a jade belt. His long black hair flows freely down his back.

Lord Xuan Wu is always depicted with a tortoise and a snake, sometimes beneath one of his feet. He is revered as a powerful God, able to control the elements (worshipped by those wishing to avoid fires), and capable of great magic. He is particularly revered by martial artists, and is the 'patron saint' of Wudang Mountain in China's Hubei Province, where he allegedly attained immortality.

The name "wudang" roughly translates as "only Xuan Wu deserves it."
- Joss House: Taoist Temples of California

"South Cliff Palace is a cliff-embedded temple at Wudang shan 武當山(Mount Wudang), which is located in Junxian, Hubei. Mount Wudang, also known as Taihe shan 太和山 (Mount Taihe [Great Harmony]), is home of the Zhenwu 真武 (Perfected Warrior) cult. Zhenwu, also known as Xuanwu 玄武 (Mysterious Warrior) and represented as an entwined snake-turtle, is the guardian of the north. Mount Wudang is also believed to have been the place where Zhang Sanfeng 張三丰 (14th c.?) engaged in Daoist cultivation and created the internal martial arts, such as
Taiji quan 太極拳 (Yin-yang Boxing)."
- South Cliff Palace, Nanyan Gong 南巖宮

Note: The image posted above is not exactly true to Xuan Wu Dadi. The snake is near his right foot and the turtle near his left foot. His robe is not black. The raised left index finger is more typical of a Shaolin one-finger Zen (Chan) gesture. His beard is long rather than his hair. The warrior's sword is present.

Wudang Martial Arts: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotations, Notes

Friday, July 07, 2006

Qigong and Health

"According to modern medical research between 70 and 85% of all illness leading people to doctors is caused by stress (Kaiser Permenente twenty year study). The United States annual health care costs exceed one-trillion dollars each year. This means that effective stress management techniques, if provided to people en masse through education, business, healthcare, etc. in an aggressive national campaign to train our citizens in such techniques, could save our nation alone hundreds of billions in health care costs year after year.

Tai Chi and Qigong have been proven over many centuries, including in emerging modern medical research to be powerful stress reduction technologies. The results of this are found in studies like the one at UCLA indicating that Tai Chi practitioners doubled their immune resistance to viral infection. Many studies also show Tai Chi can provide cardiovascular benefit, lowering high blood pressure, and providing an effective gentle rehabilitation therapy for those with heart disease."

Global health & personal health are more closely related than one might think at first glance. Holistic solutions are simple and make a great deal of sense, once we look into the heart of possibility, unclouded by cynicism that tells us we are victims of “what is.” We are not victims. By allowing our minds to explore possibility we imagine, “image-in” a new more expansive reality that could make our lives not only healthier, but more exciting and profound. Einstein wrote, “imagination is more important than knowledge,” and those words were never more true than they are today. Dare to imagine what is possible, and the veil separating reality from that vision becomes thinner with every new person willing to step beyond the walls of limitation.

- Simple Solutions to Global Problems: Tai Chi and Qigong, By Bill Douglas

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Sensei Noguchi's Seitai

"The basics for this exercise [Katsugen Undo] are taken from Haruchika Noguchi Sensei and “Noguchi Seitai”. “Seitai” basically means “properly ordered body.”

In very simple terms, Noguchi sensei said that we all have a tendency to hold on to excess energy that inhibits us from rebalancing ourselves and thus we inhibit our ability to remain physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy.

In terms of what we are exploring together, the above means that we often tend to create limiting and habitual forms of somatic communication. We lose the ability to fully communicate with our body, and we lose the ability to be fully aware of the communication of the body. It is the communication patterns of the body that lead to our verbal communication patterns. When you limit your ability to communicate somatically and be aware of your somatic conversation, you also limit your ability to communicate verbally and be aware of your verbal conversation. Of course your overall state of well-being will be affected as well.

The greater your ability to be aware of and embody a full potential range of somatic communication, the greater your ability to communicate verbally and “understand” your feelings.

Prior to attempting to understand the verbal communication of others:
1) Enliven your own ability to communicate somatically to yourself.
2) Learn how to understand the somatic communication of others.

Haruchika Noguchi sensei has at least two books that have been translated into English.: “Order, Spontaneity and the Body” (This book is his most important I think, and well worth reading) and “Colds and Their Benefits”, Zensei Publishing. Noguchi sensei used to say that the purpose of Katsugen Undo is to create an orderly way to unconsciously move the body, while adjusting those parts of the body that we cannot move voluntarily."

A detailed description of the practice of Katsugen Undo can be found online.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Walking Meditation

"1) The slower the better. With each session, your movements will become more fluid, beautiful, and confident. "Yue man yue hao." This means "the slower the better" in Chinese!

2) Each time your foot touches the ground, or leaves the ground, you imagine it getting bigger and bigger until it rivals the size of the Universe itself. Your steps can become lower and larger as long as you remain in control of your balance. No wobbling!

3) Your hands should move in a circular fashion. The circle of perfection without cracks or grooves in your imagery. But don't beat yourself up over that, time will bring this perfect geometry.

4) The movements should resemble water and so assimilate that into your practice.

5) Probably the most important visualization that you can perform during this practice, is the idea of your body, hands, head, feet, all of the circumference of your body, gradually becoming as large as the Universe. It is the same idea as the "Diao Tian Qi" (Falling from Heaven Qi) healing practice, previously taught by Master Lao, where you imagine your hand becoming as large as the Universe and filling with energy. This imagery should be expanded to the whole body until you feel as if your are strolling through the Universe itself. Your foot is the Milky Way, and your head and other extremities expand even beyond what your mind can grasp. This helps to "break the connection" of the rational mind, allowing it to focus on the senses of your body and igniting the electrical impulses needed to perform physical movement. But the mind is no longer needed to put together the jigsaw puzzle containing the many pieces of these separate actions.

6) The more you relinquish control of the mind and let it settle downwards into the Dan Tian, and merge with the heart and its five "windows," the more capable you are of making the medicine of healing energy in the cauldron of your body."

Walking the Circle to Find the Path
By Master Lao

Universal Tao Articles. There are 176 articles related to Taoism at this website.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan Workshop

Sun Style In-Depth Tai Chi Workshop
Based on the Sun Style of Tai Chi as designed by
Grand Master Sun Lu Tang.
Presented by Master Trainer Troyce Thome.
Location: Bend, Oregon.
When: August 18th - August 21st, 2006.

For registration information please write to:
Jenny Sheldon,

Workshop Objectives

To Enhance tai chi practice through a deeper understanding of tai chi principles
To Encourage postural alignment through proper body mechanics and visualization techniques while in Wuji.
To Enhance postural alignment during movement by practicing exercises of moving correctly through the three planes of movement
To Gain a greater understanding of the form through practicing various applications of movements in the form with a partner
To Better Understand the direction of force and the lines of force by using partnered exercises
To Collaborate with other tai chi enthusiasts

Who Should Attend?
Anyone interested in deepening their practice of Sun Style Tai Chi through a clearer understanding of correct postural alignment, how to move correctly through the three planes of movement and finally how to chain those movements together into the form using applications of postures as the guide.

I've signed up to attend this workshop. I took a two day class from Ms. Thome back in April and really enjoyed myself and learned more about the Sun Style. The town of Bend, Oregon, is in very beautiful environment.

Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan, Bagua, and Xingyi Webpage

Monday, July 03, 2006

Rising Out of Emptiness

"We set out like ingenious machines declaring "yes this" and "no that." Or we hold fast like oath-bound warriors defending victory.

We can say that to fade away day by day is to die like autumn into winter. But we're drowning, and nothing we do can bring any of it back. We can say this drain is backed up in old age, full and content, but a mind near death cannot recover that autumn blaze.

Joy and anger, sorrow and delight, hope and regret, doubt and ardor, diffidence and abandon, candor and reserve: it's all music rising out of emptiness, mushrooms appearing out of mist. Day and night come and go, but who knows where it all begins? It is! It just is! If you understand this day in and day out, you inhabit the very source of it all."
Chuang Tzu, Chapter 19

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Taijiquan Movement Skills

"Thre are eight forms in Taijiquan. They are divided into four.

The first are the eight forms of the basic Zhuang Xing (stances), which refers to a fixed pose strived by the practitioner: Bow form, Taiji form, Empty form, Horse form, Half Bow and Horse form, One Leg Standing form, Sitting form, and Low Squatting form.

The second is the basic footwork, which refers to the actions between two forms when they are changing. The are: Interlinked Step, Mandarin Duck Step, Thrusting Step, Dragon Walking Step, Cat Stepping, Driving Out Backward Step and Toe-In Step.

The third refers to the eight kicking skills: Chi (separating the wings), Deng (stepping on), Qi (Jumping up), Bai (swinging), Jie (meetin), Tao (rounding), Chen (kicking back), and Cai (Obligue kick). Chi refers to separating the feet; Deng refers to kicks with the heel; Qi refers to jumping slap kicks; Bai refers to sweeping leg breadth-wise; Jie refers to meet the opponent leg with the front sole; Tao refers to round the kick from the opponent, kicking from the upper to the lower; Chen refers to kick back to the inside between the two legs of the opponent; and Cai refers to the kick breadth-wise and downward.

The fourth is Eight Jin in hand techniques, e.g., Peng (warding off), Lu (deflecting), Ji (pushing), An (pressing), Cai (pulling down), Lie (slipping), Zhou (elbowing), and Kao (shouldering)."

- "Jiang Yukun's Notes on Taijiquan," Tai Chi: The International Magazine of T'ai Chi Chuan: Vol. 30, No. 3, June 2006, p. 22. Jiang Yukun died in 1986.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Tai Chi Movement Essentials

This comment was posted by Tai Chi Xin a few days ago in this blog:

"I would like to add that a good Tai Chi movement should be developed through three stages:

1. From "hard" to "empty": relax the bones, upright postures, reducing the hardness of the body.

2. From "empty" to "having": after reducing the hardness of the body, one gets the softness, then relax the muscle and extend the bones, Qi is filled with the body, keep eight balances - Top and Down, Left and Right, Front and Back, and Inside and Outside.

3. From "having" to "empty" again: this is called "Hide"."

From Tai_Chi_Xin