Sunday, June 20, 2010

Is and Becoming

"Modern Western culture has absorbed the threefold Greco-Roman concept of time as "past" (that which has gone before), "present" (that which is), and "future" (that which will be).  It is easy to associate these concepts with the three Norns Urdhr, Verdhandi, and Skuld.  It is also incorrect.  The Germanic time-sense is not threefold, but twofold: time is divided into "that-which-is," a concept encompassing everything that has ever happened - not as a linear progression, but as a unity of interwoven layers; and, "that-which-is-becoming," the active changing of the present as it grows from the patterns set in that-which-is.  That-which-is is the Germanic "world," a word literally cognate to the Norse ver-öld, "age of a man."  One will notice that even in modern English, there is no true future tense; the future can only be formed through the use of modal auxiliaries.  For the Teutonic mind, all that has been is still immediate and alive; the present only exists as it has been shaped by the great mass of what is, and the future only as the patterns of that which is becoming now should shape in turn."
-  By Kveldulf Gundarsson, Tuetonic Magic, p. 24.  

Time: Quotes, Poems, Sayings, Lore

One Old Druid's Final Journey: The Notebooks of the Librarian of Gushen Grove

"Time is something everyone runs short on and finally runs out of.
When gardening, half and hour is fifty minutes. 
Everywhere, what is, becoming past, present, and future. 
Time may wait for no man, but seems to muddle and poke along quite slowly for gardeners.    
Things always go downhill, fall apart, wear out  ... the arrow of Time pierces everything.     
Gardeners learn to live in worm time, bee time, and seed time. 
Gardeners turn into the soil their lifetime. 
Time will tell, but we often fail to listen.
The time you have wasted in your garden is what makes it priceless. 
All metaphors aside - only living beings rise up in the Springtime; dead beings stay quite lie down dead. 
Time prevents too much from happening at once. 
Gardening requires no commuting time. 
Each time we water can be like the first time if we are fully present in the moment.
One purpose of a garden is to stop time. 
Time will not pass you, but it will follow very close behind you. 
Time is rooted in Place. 
Annuals disappear, shrubs perish, trees die, and gardeners are buried; death is the flower of time.
Springtime for birth, Summertime for growth; and, all Seasons for dying. 
By the time you peel off five layers of reality, it's hard to recall the first. 
Winter does not turn into Summer; ash does not turn into firewood - on the chopping block of time.
The "eternal truths" are sometimes clearly false.
In the right place at the right time: tomato worms on tomato vines. 
Take the time to melt into the Details.  
In an instant there is nothing - Nature needs time.
Gardening teaches us to take our time, slow down, and wait in peace.
A garden flourishes in the mind's time of last season, next season, and now."
-   Mike Garofalo, Pulling Onions

      The Three Norns: Urdhr (Wyrd), Verhandi, and Skuld before the World Tree of Yggdrasil.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Yang Lu Chan's Training Methods?

Does anyone know the answer to this question from John?

"I am trying to get insight into the development of Yang Tai Chi Chuan at the Yang Lu Chan period.

There may be an article that addresses this but I haven't discovered it yet.

He is brought to the attention of the Palace, is asked to come and teach the Royal Family as well as the guards. I would think he was 50 by this time; [he left Chen village at age 40]. Sons would be 13 and 11; it is mentioned that they also teach so it must be a few years later maybe 5-10 more years making it around 1855-1860.

That would give credence to the story that Yang Lu Chan taught his sons so hard that they ran away and tried to kill themselves; teenagers are like that. By 1860 they would be in their 20’s with great skills. Some mention he did let up on them a bit.

A question I have is how did the guards train? I assume they were similar to bodyguards [Swiss Guards of the Pope]. They had to do internal security in the Forbidden City; but since they were a military unit maybe they went out in the city also. These would be elite troops known for their martial abilities.

Of course, they would know various weapons, and police techniques to disarm and subdue. I am sure they wrestled for sport and fitness. They had to be ready NOW to fight. So what was their training schedule and how did Yang Lu Chan fit into it. Did he only add more expertise to what they knew or was he teaching all the skills needed to fullfil their mission? We know he took three into the stables to teach more detailed and advanced information; the sons were also given advance lessons.

What did the Taijiquan techniques look like and were they more into getting in close with striking and chin-na than qi flow and energy releasing? Health came because they worked hard. Did they even think of Taiji being for health in the military environment? If I get these answered I will feel that I know Taijiquan better than I did before. Thank you if you have answers?"

Yang Lu-Chan, 1799-1872
Founder of Yang Style Taijiquan
Grandfather of Yang Cheng-Fu

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer Projects

I am busy with numerous projects this summer:  reading and research into Northern Neopaganism, nature spirits, and trees and spirituality; building a fence and storage area, and improving our sacred circle garden; learning the Chen 23 broadsword form and reviewing the last section of Sun 73 Taijiquan form; and learning how to use the Drupal Content Management Platform software.

The books I am reading are:

Dictionary of Northern Mythology.  By Rubolf Simek.  Translated by Angela Hall.  Suffolk, England, D. S. Brewer, 1984, 1993.  Extensive bibliography, 424 pages.  ISBN:  9780859915137.  VSCL.

Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds; A Collection of Ancient Texts.  Translated, annotated, and Introduced by Georg Luck.  Baltimore, Maryland, Johns Hopkins University Press, Second Edition, 1985, 2006.  Index, bibliography, glossary, appendices, notes, 544 pages.  ISBN: 0801883466.  VSCL.

Teutonic Magic:  The Magical and Spiritual Practices of the Germanic People.  By Kveldulf Gundarsson.   Loughborough, Thoth Publications, 2nd Revised Edition, 2007.  Appendices, 341 pages.  ISBN: 1870450221.  VSCL.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Beneficial Cultivation

"The natural course of things is always followed. This prevents one from harming their post-heaven strength. Focus is on beneficial cultivation of one's natural life force as the core of training.
All people - men, women, the old, and the young - may practice in order to replace temerity with bravery; and stiffness with pliability. Those of you who are weak, who suffer from fatigue and injury or illness, or who have weakened your qi from the practice of other martial arts to the point that you no longer have the strength to train, all of you may practice Tai Ji Quan. With practice, the qi will quickly return to a balanced state and will become strong, while the spirit naturally returns to a state of wholeness. Disease will be eliminated and the length of life increased."
- Sun Lu-Tang, A Study of Taijiquan, 1924. Translated by Tim Cartmell, p. 60. 

Sun Lu Tang's (1861-1933) Style of Internal Martial Arts

Monday, June 14, 2010

Chen Style Taijiquan Broadsword Dao 23 Form

Starting today, I am working on learning the Chen Broadsword Form, 23 Movements.  This popular Chen broadsword form was created in the 1930's by Chen Zhaopei (1893-1972). 

List of Movements of Chen Dao Broadsword 23 Form.  1 page. 

List of Movements in Five Languages 

Bibliography, Resources, Links

Here are two instructional resources that I am using to learn this form:

Chen Style Taijiquan: Sword and Broadsword.   By Chen Zhenglei.  Translated by Zhang XinHu, Chen Bin, Xu Hailiang, and Gregory Bissell.  Tai Chi Centre, 2003.  367 pages.  ISBN: 7534823218.   This book is in English.  Detailed descriptions, with photographs, of the first form, sword form and broadsword form.  An excellent companion to Chen Zenglei's instructional DVDs, with English narration.  Review by Herbert O. Rich: "This is the first translated volume of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei's three-volume set entitled "A Compendium of Taiji Boxing and Weapons".  Chen Zhenglei is famed as a 19th generation Grandmaster of traditional Chen Style Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan). He is known to Taijiquan enthusiasts the world over for his skill and ability in teaching.  This book is a detailed instruction manual for the basic set (or form) of the Laojia ("old frame") Chen style, as well as the single broadsword and straight sword forms.  Profusely illustrated, it describes basic theory, physical requirements, postural movements, Qi circulation, and self defense applications for each of the postures of the form."  The 23 movement broadsword form is described in detail, with many black and white photographs, on pages 322-360.  VSCL. 

Traditional Chen Family Tai Chi Broadsword.  Instructional videotape or DVD by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  70 minutes.  Detailed instructions, repetitions, and demonstrations.   Jiang's Tai Chi Videos.  He teaches the 23 movement form developed by Chen Zhaopei in 1933.  "By Jiang Jian-ye. This classic weapon routine enhances fajin, relaxed explosive release of force, and silk reeling energy. Jiang, who studied intensively in China, demonstrates the 23-movement form from the back at the beginning of the tape and multiple times, back and front, at the conclusion. Teaching of the movements uses multiple repetitions and camera angles an reviews of segments.  70 Min.  $39.95."  - Wayfarer Catalog.  Traditional Chen Family Tai Chi Broadsword.  Instruction and demonstration by Shifu Jiang Jian-ye.  Available in VHS and DVD media formats.  70 minutes.  Shifu Jiang demonstrates and carefully and slowly teaches the 23 movement form.  He teaches the form in a step-by-step and movement by movement manner.  Each movement is repeated from 3-5 times, slowly and at normal speed.  Each movement is show from front, back and side views.  Jiang's Tai Chi Videos.  VSCL.  

Friday, June 11, 2010

Opening the Gates to the Four Quarters

I finished my normal school part-time job yesterday.  I'm now on summer vacation.  Yes!!!

I have mostly been involved with research on Casting the Circle or Opening the Four Gates. 

Taoist readers of this blog will want to look at Divine Incantations to the Protective Gods of the Five Directions from 574 CE, translated by Livia Kohn.  Directional lore, Feng shui, is definitely part of the ideology of Taijiquan and Qigong. 

This past week, I have enjoyed reading about the "Northern" pagan paths. I read two books by Galina Drasskova: 

"Exploring the Northern Tradition: A Guide to the Gods, Lore, Rites and Celebrations from the Norse, German and Anglo-Saxon Traditions."

"Northern Tradition for the Solitary Practitioner: A Book of Prayer, Devotional Practice, and the Nine Worlds of the Spirit." 

The mythology about the Cosmic Tree, Yggdrasil, was particularly interesting. 

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Taijiquan 32 Sword Form

32 Sword Form, Simplified, Yang Style, Taijiquan Jian. By Michael P. Garofalo. This popular webpage includes a comprehensive bibliography, scores of links to webpages; an extensive listing of the names and name variations for each movement in English, Chinese, French, German, and Spanish; a detailed analysis of each posture and movement sequence with explanations, and numbered illustrations and detailed instructions; selected quotations; comments on 20 Taijiquan sword techniques; a comprehensive media bibliography; a chart of performance times; and, a comparison of the 32 and 55 sword forms in the Yang style. This is the standard, simplified, orthodox, 1957, 32 Taiji Sword Form, in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.

32 Taijiquan Simplified Sword Form

20 T'ai Chi Ch'uan Sword Techniques

55 Classical Yang Taiji Sword

The Wild Horse Jumps Over the Mountain Stream

Zhong Kui
Vanquisher of Demons
Protector of the Home

Friday, June 04, 2010

Three Things

"When you die, only three things will remain of you, since you will abandon all material things on the threshold of the Otherworld: what you have taught to others, what you have created with your hands, and how much love you have spread. So learn more and more in order to teach wise, long-lasting values. Work more and more to leave the world things of great beauty. And love people around you for the Light of Love heals everything."
- François Bourillon

Triads: Wisdom Sayings of the Celts, Druids, and Neopagans

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Taijiquan Dao, Tai Chi Saber

The Complete Taiji Dao"The Art of the Chinese Saber. By Zhang, Yun.  Blue Snake Books, 2009.  464 pages.  ISBN:1583942270.  "This is a very complete book about the Chinese saber, or Dao. It presents the history, mechanics, skills and philosophy of Taiji Dao. There is a detailed description of the traditional Taiji Dao form, including applications for combat with many photos. There are descriptions and photos of two-handed Dao skills and fighting skills training. There are over 1,000 photos. Paperback. 427 pp. 8 X 10."   "The Complete Taiji Dao introduces the principles and practice of Taiji Dao and provides illustrated discussions of the history of Chinese swords. The book covers the history and features of the dao; the Taiji principles from which Taiji Dao practice derives; the basic skills and techniques of the art; detailed descriptions and photographs of the traditional Taiji Dao form; and Taiji Dao fighting principles and training methods. Broad in scope and detailed in its presentation of the principles and practice of Taiji Dao, The Complete Taiji Dao represents a significant contribution to the field of traditional Chinese weapons practice."  VSCL.

Chen Taijiquan Broadsword: Bibliography, Links, Resources, List of Movements