Friday, February 13, 2009

Tai Chi for Arthritis Workshop, Sun Taijiquan

Tai Chi for Arthritis: An Arthritis Foundation Tai Chi Program
Instructor: Robin Malby
February 28 and March 1, 2009
Folsom, California

For more information please contact Robin Malby.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cane, Zhang, Short Staff, Taijiquan

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: 300Kb. Related to Mike's popular webpage on the Staff.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

You Cannot Call It Lofty

"The Way has its reality and its signs
but is without action or form.
You can hand it down but you cannot receive it,
you can ignore it but you cannot see it.
It is its own source, its own root.
Before heaven and earth existed it was there,
from the ancient times.
It gave spirituality to the spirits and to God,
it gave birth to heaven and to earth.
It exists beyond the highest point,
and yet you cannot call it lofty;
it exists beneath the limit of the six directions,
and yet you cannot call it deep.
It was born before heaven and earth,
and yet you cannot say it has been there for long,
it is earlier than the earliest time,
and yet you cannot call it old."
- The Crookbacked Woman and the Sage
Chuang Tzu, Translated by Burton Watson, 1964
Crone Taoism

Monday, February 09, 2009

Standing Meditation Postures

"Dear Mike,
I was visiting your web page and I liked it a lot. I saw you know a lot about qigong, I am really interested in Static qigong, I saw you have very good information, probably the best I could find on internet, I wanted ask you about Static qigong, specifically about the mechanisms involved in the generation of energy when you practice standing qigong, I have experienced that I have a lot of energy after do it, and I would like to know the theoretic bases of such effect. I was thinking may be is because the continuous isometric contraction of legs muscles. I heard also from Chinese medicine that sexual energy is kept at the legs, then may be such energy is released during the static qigong meditation from legs and you feel more energized.

I would like hear your opinion.
Many thanks,


If your standing stance is low, then the effect of the isometric exercise for the legs is significant. Also, the deltoids get a lot of work holding the arms up. There is also internal work that is supposed to be going on: microcosmic orbit circulation.

The effect of self-discipline in making yourself stand for long periods is also significant. When you can demonstrate to yourself, on a daily basis, that you can endure and concentrate then this produces energy from the application of willpower. The key to energy, for many, is the Will.

Sexual energy, in my opinion, assuming no physiological problems or the diminishment of libidinal drive due to age, is largely a matter of fantasies and skilled masturbation and/or a creative sexual partner. I see sexual vitality as more of a head issue than a leg issue. Qigong theories about sex seem off the mark to me.

I'm not the best person to speak to about Qigong theories and traditional Chinese medicine theories because 1) I am not an expert on these topics, and 2) I am a skeptic. I do find that the exercises are fun, creative, and valuable; and include lots of Qigong exercise sets in my yoga classes. (Many Yoga theories are likewise quaint, esoteric, and suspect to me.)

I guess, in the end, I think you can keep the baby (exercises) and throw out the dirty bathwater (fanciful theories).

Best wishes,

Mike Garofalo

"Thank for your answer Mike, but my question really was: why I feel so much energy when I practice static qigong, if I compare for example reading or watching TV stand.....something different take place in your body, mind (empty mind, concentration?),,which facilitates the release or movement of energy.... For me this is very interesting but difficult to explain I think...
Regards, Emilio


Few of us stand for 30 to 60 minutes and read or watch TV on a daily basis.

Qigong is normally done in a quiet, peaceful, beautiful area (e.g., in a garden or park or meditation room). You must hold specific postures for long periods of time, breathe in specific ways, clear the mind, use specific imagery (e.g., microcosmic orbit circulation). You must really do it every day, not just talk or wonder or theorize about doing it.

All this concentrating, visualizing, exercising the Will to do so, and holding classic "ecstatic body postures" are energetic enablers, uplifters, endorphic/odiopiod releasers, builders of mind-body power. These practices often cause us to realize that we have great stores of energy within, that we underestimate our natural potentials, that we can exceed our expectations with gusto. Again, the exercise of willpower is Power, and it creates and expands energy. Taiji people speak of Yi leading Qi - Yi is mind and will. Once you decide, focus the will, and act you will find more energy, more energy than you imagined you have.