Sunday, December 14, 2008

Tai Chi Chuan Cane, Zhang, Short Staff Weapon

Way of the Short Staff. By Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. A comprehensive guide to the practice of the short staff, cane, jo, walking stick, gun, zhang, whip staff, 13 Hands Staff, and related wood short staff weapons. A detailed and annotated guide, bibliographies, lists of links, resources, instructional media, online videos, and lessons. Includes use of the short staff and cane in martial arts, self-defense, walking and hiking. Separate sections on Aikido Jo, Cane, Taijiquan cane and staff, Jodo, exercises with a short staff, selected quotations, techniques, selecting and purchasing a short staff, tips and suggestions, and a long section on the lore, legends, and magick of the short staff. Includes "Shifu Miao Zhang Points the Way." Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California. Updated on a regular basis since October, 2008. Filesize: 265Kb. Related to Mike's popular webpage on the Staff.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

December Greetings

Karen and I went to Portland, Oregon, the Thanksgiving week to enjoy the holiday with our children and grandchildren.

We both have been fighting off the effects of colds and coughs.

I've let some of the newly trained yoga instructors take my classes in December. They need some practical experience.

We have both been busy with working at our regular jobs, and keeping up the house and yard.

A cold late autumn, but, unfortunately, no rain. We are in a drought.

Thanks very much to the kind "friend" that sent me a book and 6 DVDs of the Sun Style Tai Chi Chuan. I appreciate your generosity and positive support.

My Tai Chi Chuan focus has been on learning the Eight Immortals Cane Form, Routine One, and cane exercises and martial arts drills.

We both look forward to our unpaid Winter vacation from school.

I hope to begin a very active walking and Taijiquan exercise program starting tomorrow.

Happy Holidays!!

Learning from DVDs or Videos

"Whereas a form-instruction video is no substitute for a qualified teacher, those who live far from any teacher are still better off learning from a video than if they had no instruction at all. For those who have a teacher, a video can augment and accelerate the learning process. Finally, those who have had prior instruction in internal arts should be able to attain a substantial benefit from a video.

One method of learning a form from a video is to repeatedly do the entire form or blocks of the form along with the video. However, this method is not efficient because there is insufficient opportunity to reinforce each movement. A better way is to refrain from doing movement while watching the video. Rather, it is good to choose a small block of material, watch it a few times. Then, without any major physical action, visualize the sequence of movements as clearly as possible. Next, go back to the beginning of that block of material, and view and visualize it again a few times. Only after clear and complete visualization is achieved should the movements be attempted physically.

At first it will seem extremely difficult to work this way. With persistence, however, it is possible to achieve a level of visualization so intense that the imagined movements are almost as vivid as those seen on a TV screen. The dividends of the process of visualization are twofold: (1) By subduing the physical aspects of movement (e.g., balance, coordination, kinetic sense, timing), you can completely focus the mind on the details of the movement. (2) By cultivating the ability to visualize and mentally encompass complex details, you become increasingly able to observe and learn new movements quickly, especially in situations where it is not feasible to move while observing (e.g., dreams, teacher showing movements while the class watches). Referring to the dimension of self-defense, the more you can observe and mentally encompass the movements of the opponent, the greater the advantage achieved."
- Robert Chuckrow, The Tai Chi Book, YMAA Publication Center, Boston, MA, 1998, pp. 119–120

Refer to my suggestions and remarks about learning the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form using DVDs, videos, and books.