Thursday, June 27, 2013

Playing Cloud Hands

T'ai Chi Ch'uan, Qigong, Hatha Yoga and Gardening are all me, among other things, a way of "playing."  Playing to lift my spirits, playing to meet a challenge, playing for delight, playing to show off, playing for exercise, playing to pass the time, playing for keeps, playing for no reason at all.

"We are never more fully alive, more completely ourselves, or more deeply engrossed in anything than when we are playing."
- Charles Schaefer

"The true object of all human life is play.
Earth is a task garden; heaven is a playground."
- G. K. Chesterton

"It is a happy talent to know how to play."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson 

"The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play."
- Arnold Toynbee

"In Hindu philosophy the whole creation is regarded as the Vishnu Lila, the play of Vishnu. Lila means dance or play. Also in Hindu philosophy, they call the world illusion; and in Latin the root of the word illusion is ludere, to play."
- Alan Watts, Work as Play

"We may play with and pass on a garden, possessing one is an illusion.
Gardeners must dance with feedback, play with results, turn as they learn.
Some gardeners don't grow old and stop playing; they stop playing and grow old.
Nature's playfulness is a gardener's delight.
A garden is a sporting field, an area for play."
- Michael P. Garofalo, Pulling Onions: The Maxims of Gardening

The Internal Structure of Cloud Hands: A Gateway to Advanced T'ai Chi Practice.  By Robert Tangora.  Foreword by Michael J. Gelb.  Berkeley, California, Blue Snake Books, 2012.  Bibliography, 141 pages.  ISBN: 9781583944486.  VSCL.  A thorough discussion of three components of internal power: 1) cross-body power, 2) left-right alignment or joint power, and 3) zhong ding power.  Six supplemental and complimentary exercises are precisely explained and illustrated.  "Cloud Hands is a paradigm for the internal symmetry in t'ai chi ch'uan through the hidden relationship between the stepping method, the changes of nei chin, and cross-body power. ... This book is beneficial for a a wide range of practitioners of movement, healing, and marital arts. ... The reader should be familiar with core concepts from t'ai chi ch'uan, e.g., song, nei chin, ch'i, and zhong ding."   




  1. Happy to be back at play, refreshing my Yang Style Tai Chi Form with you, Mike.

  2. Yes, a beautiful Tai Chi form to practice and share together. We will both make progress. Take a look at the handout on the Eight Aspects of Tai Chi from the Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: