Saturday, May 31, 2014

Make a Deep Mental Path

"I can only meditate when I am walking.  When I stop, I cease to think; my mind works only with my legs." 
-  Jean Jacques Rousseau, Confessions

“As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives.” 
-   Henry David Thoreau

"The silence of landscape conceals vast presence. Place is not simply location. A place is a profound individuality. With complete attention, landscape celebrates the liturgy of the seasons, giving itself unreservedly to the passion of the goddess. The shape of a landscape is an ancient and silent form of consciousness. Mountains are huge contemplatives. Rivers and streams offer voice; they are the tears of the earth's joy and despair. The earth is full of soul ….. Civilization has tamed place. Left to itself, the curvature of the landscape invites presence and the loyalty of stillness."  4
-   John O'Donohue, Anam Cara

"To find new things, take the path you took yesterday." 
-   John Burroughs

"Hiroshi Nose, M.D., Ph.D, a professor of sports medical sciences at Sinshu University Graduate School of Medicine in Japan, who has enrolled thousands of older Japanese citizens in an innovative, five-month-long program of brisk, interval-style walking (three minutes of fast walking followed by three minutes of slower walking, repeated 10 times).  The results have been striking.  Dr. Nose reported that "Physical fitness ― maximal aerobic power and thigh muscle strength ― increased by about 20 percent, which is sure to make you feel about 10 years younger than before training.  The walker's symptoms of lifestyle related diseases (hypertension, hyperglycemia and obesity) decreased by about 20 percent, while their depression scores dropped by half." 
-  Reported by Gretchen Reynolds, New York Times Magazine, "What's the Single Best Exercise?", 2011


Friday, May 30, 2014

Dao De Jing, Laozi, Chapter 59

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu
Chapter 59

"To govern men and to serve heaven nothing is better than to have a reserve.
The Master indeed has a reserve; it is called brilliant foresight.
Brilliant foresight is called the increasing abundance of Teh.
If you have an ever-increasing abundance of Teh , then your Inner Life is unconquerable.
If you Inner Life in unconquerable, then its limits cannot be known.
If you cannot gauge the limits of your Inner Life, then you shall surely possess the kingdom.
If you possess the Mother of the kingdom,
You shall endure forever.
This is to be deep rooted and to have a firm foundation.
The possessor of Tao shall have enduring life and infinite vision."
-  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 59  

"To rule men and serve heaven, there is nothing like thrift.
Only through thrift can one be prepared;
Being prepared means having a heavy store of integrity;
With a heavy store of integrity, he can overcome everything.
Able to overcome everything, no one knows his limits;
If no one knows his limits, he can have the kingdom;
Having the mother of the kingdom, he can long endure.
This is called "sinking roots firm and deep, the Way of long life and lasting vision.""
-  Translated by Victor Mair, Chapter 59  

"To lead men and serve heaven, weigh the worth
Of the one source:
Use the single force
Which doubles the strength of the strong
By enabling man to go right, disabling him to go wrong,
Be so charged with the nature of life that you give your people birth,
That you mother your land, are the fit
And ever-iving root of it:
The seeing root, whose eye is infinite."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 59

治人事天, 莫若嗇. 
夫唯嗇, 是謂早服.
重積德, 則無不克.
無不克, 則莫知其極.
莫知其極, 可以有國.
有國之母, 可以長久.
是謂深根固柢, 長生久視之道. 
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 59   

zhi ren shi tian, mo ruo se.
fu wei se, shi wei zao fu.
zao fu wei zhi zhong ji de. 
zhong ji de, ze wu bu ke. 
wu bu ke, ze mo zhi qi ji.
mo zhi qi ji, ke yi you guo.
you guo zhi mu, ke yi chang jiu.
shi wei shen gen gu di, chang sheng jiu shi zhi dao.
-  Hanyu Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 59  


 "There is nothing better than moderation
 for teaching people or serving Heaven.
 Those who use moderation
 are already on the path to the Tao.
  Those who follow the Tao early
 will have an abundance of virtue.
 When there is an abundance of virtue,
 there is nothing that can not be done.
 Where there is limitless ability,
 then the kingdom is withing your grasp.
 When you know the Mother of the kingdom,
 then you will be long enduring.
  This is spoken of as the deep root and the firm trunk,
 the Way to a long life and great spiritual vision."
 -  Translated by J. H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 59 

"Para gobernar al pueblo en armonía con el Universo,
lo mejor es la moderación.
La moderación implica renunciar a intereses personales.
Quien consigue pronto la moderación,
acumula mucha virtud.
Con la virtud acumulada,
vencerá en todo.
Venciendo en todo,
llegará a límites insospechados.
Al no guiarse por límites se puede ser un gran guía.
Un gran guía puede poseer la Madre del reino, y
puede ser perdurable en ello.
El Tao implica adquirir raíces profundas y bases firmes.
Esto conlleva a una larga vida con la visión de la Mutación Perpetua."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 59

"In governing the country and serving Heaven
There is nothing like frugality.
Only by being frugal can you recover quickly.
When you recover quickly you accumulate virtue.
Having accumulated virtue,
There is nothing you can't overcome.
When there is nothing you can't overcome
Who knows the limits of your capabilities?
These limits being unfathomable
You can possess the country.
The Mother who possesses the country can be long-living.
This is called "planting the roots deeply and firmly.""
-  Translated by Charles Muller, Chapter 59 


Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

The Edge of Our Conceptions

Seeing and Hearing

4:10 am:  Waiting for daybreak, sunshine, morning to come.  

The following [below] long recording of 64 minutes features the ACME String Quartet playing Steve Reich's composition Different Trains. I favor listening to this for ten minutes only in one day, and keeping the volume low. Those of you who desire larger doses of Different Trains, are probably those Taiji jocks doing 4 repetitions of the Yang 108 form just this morning.  We rock on different trains, rolling by, adios, goodbye; 2012, 2013, 2014 and more {maybe} and many more.  Click, moving on, ain't no drain, moving by, flying by, electron speeding by, high, No and Yes, on different trains.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Muscle and Tendon Exercises from China

The Yi Jin Jing Qigong is a popular qigong exercise set from China. "Yi Jin Jing Qigong" means "Muscle and Tendon Transforming Exercises."

In most cases, this qigong regimen consists of 12 movement sequences. There are some versions of the Yi Jin Jing with many more movements (22, 49, 108, 216). Some of the longer versions of the Yi Jin Jing include movements from the Eight Section Brocade Routine, the Animal Frolics Routines, the Louhan (Eighteen Buddha Hands Qigong) Routine, or the Bone Marrow and Brain Washing Routine.

Most people practice a 12 movement version of the Yi Jin Jing that was described in a book published by Pan Weiru in 1858 called "Essential Techniques for Guarding Life." Also, Wang Zuyuan published a book in the 1880's titled "Illustrated Exposition of Internal Techniques" that described the same qigong routine as did Pan Weiru.

Names of the Yi Jin Jing Qigong Movements
Opening Form
1. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 1
2. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 2
3. Wei Tuo Presenting the Pestle 3
4. Plucking Stars on Each Side
5. Pulling Nine Cows by Their Tails
6. Showing Talons and Spreading Wings
7. Nine Ghosts Drawing Sabers
8. Sinking the Three Bodily Zones
Three Plates Falling on the Floor
9. Black Dragon Displaying Its Claws
10. Tiger Springing On Its Prey
11. Bowing Down in Salutation
12. Swinging the Tail
Closing Form

Some claim that the Yi Jin Jing was created by the famous Zen Patriarch Bodhidharma (Da Mo) around 520 CE, and refined over centuries by Shaolin monks, while others argue for an even more ancient Daoist lineage.

There are numerous instructional DVDs available now for the 12 movement verion of the Yi Jin Jing. I like the instructional book and DVD by the Chinese Health Qigong Association:

Yi Jin Jing: Chinese Health Qigong. Compiled by the Chinese Health Qigong Association. Beijing, China, Foreign Languages Press, 2007. 95 pages, charts, includes an instructional DVD. ISBN: 9787119047782. VSCL. "Qigong is an aspect of traditional Chinese medicine that involves coordinating breathing patterns with physical postures to maintain health and well-being. Yi Jin Jing/ Tendon-Muscle Strengthening Exercises is an accessible, fully-illustrated guide to a particular qigong exercise that focuses on turning and flexing the spine. Based on the twelve traditional routines of Yi Jin Jing, the exercises covered in the book feature soft, extended, even movements that invigorate the limbs and internal organs. In particular, practice of the Yi Jin Jing exercises improves flexibility, balance and muscular strength, and has a beneficial effect on the respiratory system. Each routine is described step-by-step and is illustrated with photographs and key points. The authors also point out common mistakes and offer advice on how to correct these. Complemented by an appendix of acupuncture points and accompanied by a DVD, this book will be of interest to Qigong and Tai Chi practitioners at all levels, students of martial arts and anyone interested in Chinese culture." - Singing Dragon.

For a good book on the theory of the Yi Jin Jing, read Qigong: The Secret of Youth: Da Mo's Muscle/Tendon Changing and Marrow Brain Washing Classics. By Yang, Jwing-Ming, Ph.D., 1946-. An Advanced Qigong Regimen for the Serious Practitioner. Boston, Massachusetts, YMAA Publication Center, 2000. Second Edition 2000, First Edition 1989. Index, appendices, charts, 312 pages. ISBN: 1886969841. VSCL.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Tai Chi Short Form Names of Movements

Dear Michael:

"A friend of mine asked me to help translate Tai Chi 24 Forms into Cantonese dialect. Your web page of 24 Forms was introduced to me for reference. I am amazed at the number of translations for each movement.

I have come to realize the difficult task of getting to the real essence of translation. Inappropriate or incompetent translation makes the concepts ambiguous or misleading (with all the funny Chinese phrases of naming things.) Though in all honesty, each source tries to fit the bill, rarely do they come across the original design/intent of the moves in a comprehensive way.

Usually most Western sources just cannot read the Chinese words, lesser still the Chinese way of thinking. The Chinese side usually don’t know English well enough to get the essence across with poor diction.

But I must say that I am no expert. Only that I have observed some errors, and thought I should mention it to contribute to common understanding. I only do so as you welcome suggestions from others. (I am a native Chinese speaker.)

Here are the examples:

#3   亮翅 Word to word: White| Goose| Flash| Wing

Most Tai Chi schools use White Crane Spreads Its Wings. If this is the case, then the Chinese phrase should be亮翅. = Crane.

亮翅  Bai He Liang Chi  [Mandarin]


# 8   雀尾右 : Lan Que Wei You : Grasp the Bird's Tail Right

means ‘To block’, not ‘grasp’. This I believe is a typo, as it has the same sound as .

So is should be揽雀尾[Lan Que Wei (You) [Mandarin] (Notice I put a bracket around the word,RIGHT; for better illustration.)


#16   下势 : Xia Shi : Snake (?) Creeps Down

下势  Word to word:  Low| Inertia, dynamic force, or tendency, etc.

There is no mentioning of any animal’s name. I would be interested to know how this translation came about. Or, it is taken as an English slang?

Ok, that is all. I am struggling with my own thinking on this tough translation project. I admire your zest of life reflected in your web pages.
All the best."



I have often been perplexed about the translations or interpolations of the "names" of the movements in various Taijiquan forms.  The reference sources I have studied vary somewhat. 

I'm sure that a Cantonese vs a Mandarin starting point would reveal different results.  Then, again, an English, Spanish, or French version would provide additional interesting interpolations. 

As for my qualifications, I am fluent in only in the English language.  The only other language I use in my daily life is Spanish. 

Considering the worldwide popularity of the Standard Simplified 24 T'ai Chi Ch'uan 1956 form, I thought that some effort should be made to show the range of given names for each of the movement forms in the 24 Form, and I tried to do so on my Taijiquan 24 Form webpage. 

I welcome your comments and suggestions.  I would be willing to integrate them into my webpage if you send them to me, link to your webpage on the subject, or publish your final document as a separate webpage.   

Best Wishes,

Mike Garofalo 


Monday, May 26, 2014

On Parting with Spring

"O day after day we can't help growing older.
Year after year spring can't help seeming younger.
Come let's enjoy our wine cup today,
Nor pity the flowers fallen."
-  Wang Wei, On Parting with Spring  

"What is so sweet and dear
As a prosperous morn in May,
The confident prime of the day,
And the dauntless youth of the year,
When nothing that asks for bliss,
Asking aright, is denied,
And half of the world a bridegroom is,
And half of the world a bride?"
-  William Watson, Ode in May, 1880

The Spirit of Gardening

May: Quotes, Poems, Sayings 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Breathe Naturally - Don't Overstrain

Breathing techniques and practices are a vital part of both yoga and qigong practices.  The breath is identified or associated in these popular mind-body practices with "energy" or "life force" or "Force" or "Élan vital" as elaborated in descriptions of the concepts of "Chi (Qi)" in Chinese and "Prana" in Sanskrit.  Air and Breath have since ancient times been essential features of both naturalistic and metaphysical explanations of living processes on earth.  Unquestionably, breathing and physiological respiration and moving oxygen through our blood are all essential to maintaining life.  Yoga and Qigong (Neigong) claim that their special breathing practices improve vitality, strengthen the body, improve immune response, calm a troubled mind, and possibly increase longevity. 

Yoga has many unusual breathing practices.  Breath of Fire - rapid short exhales.  Alternate nostril breathing - long slow breaths in through one nostril only.  Reverse abdominal breathing - tighten the abdominals on the inhale, relax the abdominals on the exhale.  Exhaling through the mouth with the throat constricted.  Breath retention for long periods.  Humming like a bee while exhaling.  All of these practices are called "Pranayama" and are taught in many yoga classes.  

Qigong uses breath control and coordination with movements to increase power, circulate and store energy in channels and reservoirs the mind-body realms, quiet the mind, and improve and expand the spirit-mind.  The main breathing technique encouraged is natural abdominal breathing: relax the abdomen on the inhale, slightly tighten the abdomen on the exhale, and don't hold or exaggerate the breathing cycle.  The more unusual and extreme techniques for breath control found in the Raja, Kundalini and Hatha Yogas from India are not found in Chinese Qigong.  More emphasis is placed in Qigong and Tai Chi on gently coordinating breathing with specific movements, and using one's mind to coordinate and direct the use of the inner life force energy (Qi) for health, well being and enlightenment.  Some contemporary Qigong teachers, of course, have borrowed techniques from modern Iyengar Hatha Yoga and use these in their Qigong (Chi Kung) classes.  

Overall, for the purposes of maintaining good health, I recommend breathing through the nose and out through the nose.  Do not smoke tobacco or other drugs, and avoid polluted air.  I wear a mask when working in dusty, smoky, or otherwise polluted air.  I also cover my mouth and nose when breathing in very cold weather.  Get prompt medical advice and support for serious respiratory problems.  Maintain appropriate cardio-vascular conditioning with aerobic activities like brisk long walks.  Just breathe naturally as needed depending on one's exertion levels.  

As for using breathing techniques or mantras or chants to meditate and attain "insight" or "enlightenment" I would recommend instead the daily reading of challenging and wise books and good conversations with intelligent and decent people.  Certainly, if you need to calm the body and quiet the mind because you are upset then then please sit quietly, close your eyes, breathe slowly and listen to some soothing music.  I find little benefit, for my mind or body, in using the unusual esoteric breathing practices of Hatha Yoga.  Likewise, I benefit more in many ways from walking for four miles rather than by staying still in seated meditation for 1.5 hours.  These are just personal preferences - just one fellow's opinions.  

The Taoist classic, the Tao Te Ching, by Lao Tzu, circa 500 BCE, has some verses that indicate that excessive emphasis upon breathing techniques and methods is not recommended.  The Taoist emphasis is more often placed on being natural, softening, being more pliable and flowing like water, not straining, and not interfering.  In particular, let's look a Chapter 55:

"To increase life means inviting evil.
To control the vital breath with the mind means rigidity.
When things have matured they age.
Such control is contrary to the Way.
What is contrary to the Way will soon end."
-  Translated by Jan J. L. Duyvendak, 1954, Chapter 55 

"It is inauspicious to try to improve on life,
And harmful to regulate breathing by conscious control.
To strive for too much results in exhaustion.
These actions are contrary to Tao.
And what is contrary to Tao soon comes to an early end."
-  Translated by Keith Seddon, Chapter 55 

"All devices for inflaming life, and increasing the vital Breath, by mental effort are evil and factitious.
Things become strong, then age.
This is in discord with the Tao, and what is not at one with the Tao soon cometh to an end."
-  Translated by Aleister Crowley, 1918, Chapter 55 

"To help life along is to bring ill portend;
To use mind (hsin) to direct the life breath (ch'i) is called the strong (ch'iang).
When things are full-grown they become old,
It is called not following the Way (Tao).
Not following the Way one dies early."
-  Translated by Ellen Marie Chen, 2000, Chapter 55 

"Increase of life is blessedness, they say,
They call the heart-directed spirit strength,
But these things reach their fullest growth, at length,
And plunge to swift decay;
We call all this contrary to the Tao,
Whatever is contrary to the Tao
Soon will pass away."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 55 

"Trying to extend one's life-span is dangerous and unnatural.
To manipulate one's energy with the mind is a powerful thing
But whoever possesses such strength invariably grows old and withers.
This is not the way of the Tao.
All those who do not follow the Tao will come to an early end."
-  Translated by John R. Mabry, Chapter 55   

"To speed the growth of life is an omen of disaster;
to control the breath by will-power is to overstrain it;
to grow too much is to decay.
All this is against the Dao
and whatever is against the Dao soon dies."
-  Translated by Tom Chilcott, 2005, Chapter 55   

"Fuelling the vital spirits is called disastrous.
Mind impelling the breath is called violence.
The creature that ignores what exists from of old
Is described as going against the Way.
What goes against the Way
Will come to a swift end."
-  Translated by A. S. Kline, Chapter 55 

The Chinese characters for this passage are:

yi shêng yüeh hsiang. 
hsin shih ch'i yüeh ch'iang.
wu chuang tsê lao.
wei chih pu tao.
pu tao tsao yi.

心            使                   氣                 
hsin             shih                        ch'i                        
heart/mind   directing/controlling   vital energy/breath  

曰              強
yüeh               ch'iang
called/means   overstrain/violent/strong/stark/assertive/aggressive

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Marvels Along a Long Walk

"Putting facts by the thousands,
into the world, the toes take off
with an appealing squeak which the thumping heel
follows confidentially, the way men greet men.
Sometimes walking is just such elated
-   Lyn Hejinian, Determination

"Every day, in the morning or evening, or both, take a walk in a safe and peaceful environment for less than an hour.  The can be a great fountain of youth.  Choose a place to walk that has no kind of disturbance.   Walking done in a work environment and when your mind is busy is different; it is not as nutritious as the walking you do for yourself in the morning or evening in a quiet, peaceful, and safe place."
-  Master Hua-Ching Ni, Entering the Tao, 1997, p. 135

"Walking is the natural recreation for a man who desires not absolutely to suppress his intellect but to turn it out to play for a season." 
-  Leslie Stephen  

"The interior solitude, along with the steady rhythm of walking mile after mile, served as a catalyst for deeper awareness.  The solitude I found and savored on the Camino had an amazing effect on me.  The busyness of my life slowly settled down as the miles went on.  For a good portion of my life I had longed for a fuller experience of contemplation, that peaceful prayer of the heart in which one is able to look intently and see each piece of life as sacred.  Ten days into the journey, totally unforeseen, the grace of seeing the world with startling lucidity came to me.  My eyes took in everything with wonder.  The experience was like looking through the lens of an inner camera – my heart was the photographer.  Colors and shapes took on nuances and depths never before noticed.  Each piece of beauty appeared to be framed: weeds along roadsides, hillsides of harvested fields with yellow and green stripes, layers of mountains with lines of thick mist stretching along their middle section, clumps of ripe grapes on healthy green vines, red berries on bushes, roses and vegetable gardens.  Everything revealed itself as something marvelous to behold.  Each was a work of art.  I noticed more and more details of light and shadow, lines and edges, shapes, softness, and texture.  I easily observed missed details on the path before me – skinny worms, worn pebbles, tiny flowers of various colors and shapes, black beetles, snails, and fat, grey slugs.  I became aware of the texture of everything under my feet – stones, slate, gravel, cement, dirt, sand, grass.  I responded with wonder and amazement.  Like the poet Tagore, I felt that everything “harsh and dissonant in my life” was melting into “one sweet harmony”."
-  Joyce Rupp  

Study Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung with Mike Garofalo

Friday, May 23, 2014

Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Chapter 60

Daodejing, Laozi
Chapter 60 

"Governing a large state is like boiling a small fish.
When the empire is ruled in accordance with the way,
The spirits lose their potencies.
Or rather, it is not that they lose their potencies,
But that, though they have their potencies, they do not harm the people.
It is not only they who, having their potencies, do not harm the people,
The sage, also, does not harm the people.
As neither does any harm, each attributes the merit to the other."
-  Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 60  

"The state should be governed as we cook small fish, without much business.
Bringing the Tao to the governing of the Kingdom will give rest to the shades of the dead.
Not that the Spirits will be inactive, but they will cease to trouble the people.
But what is of more importance, the wise ruler of the people will not hurt them.
And in so far as they do not interfere with one another, their influences conspire to the general good!"
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 60 

"Rule a great state in the way one would fry little fish,
Without gutting or scraping, consider the good of the whole,
Let the empire be ruled in accord with the rule of the Tao
And the spirits of those who are gone will not seek to control.
Not only not seek, but spirits will harm not the people,
Not only not harm, but, because of the rule of the sage,
Who harms not, these twain, not seeking to injure each other,
Will therefore in virtue together unite and engage."
-  Translated by Isaac Winter Heysinger, 1903, Chapter 60

以道蒞天下, 其鬼不神.
-  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 60  

zhi da guo ruo peng xiao xian.
yi dao li tian xia, qi gui bu shen.
fei qi gui bu shen.
qi shen bu shang ren.
fei qi shen bu shang ren.
sheng ren yi bu shang ren.
fu liang bu xiang shang.
gu de jiao gui yan.
-  Pinyin Romanization, Daodejing, Chapter 60 

"Governing a large country
is like frying small fish.
Too much poking spoils the meat.
When the Tao is used to govern the world
then evil will lose its power to harm the people.
Not that evil will no longer exist,
but only because it has lost its power.
Just as evil can lose its ability to harm,
the Master shuns the use of violence.
If you give evil nothing to oppose,
then virtue will return by itself."
-  Translated by J. H. McDonald, 1996, Chapter 60  

"Governing a great state,
Is like cooking small fish.
If you rule the world by Tao,
The ghosts (kuei) will lose their spiritual (shen) power.
Not that the ghosts lose their spiritual power,
But their spiritual power will not harm the people.
Not that their spiritual power will not harm the people,
But neither does the sage harm the people.
Since both are harmless,
Te flows back and forth [without impediment]."
-  Translated by Ellen M. Chen, Chapter 60  

"Se debe gobernar un gran Estado
tal como se fríen los pececillos, con cuidado
para que no se desentrañen.
Si se gobernara el mundo con el Tao,
el mal no tendría poder.
No porque el mal careciera de poder,
sino porque éste no dañaría a los hombres.
El mal no dañaría a los hombres,
y tampoco el sabio los dañaría.
Si no se atacaran mutuamente, unirían sus Energías
y así ambos aumentarían su Poder."
-  Translation from Wikisource, 2013, Tao Te Ching, Capítulo 60

"Ruling a large kingdom is indeed like cooking small fish.
They who by Tao all that is under heaven
Did not let an evil spirit within them display its powers.
Nay, it was not only that the evil spirit did not display its powers;
Neither was the Sage's good spirit used to the hurt of other men.
Nor was it only that his good spirit was not used to harm other men,
The Sage himself was thus saved from harm.
And so, each being saved from harm,
Their “powers” could converge towards a common end."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 60  

Chapter and Thematic Index (Concordance) to the Tao Te Ching

Taoism: A Selected Reading List 

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Standing Meditation: Zhan Zhuang

Standing Training Postures

"Zhan Zhuang: What Really Happens When We Stand?"
By Mark Cohen
Qi: Journal of Traditional Eastern Health and Fitness, Volume 23, No. 4, Winter, 2013-2014, pp.36-44.

Inside Zhan Zhuang: First Edition  By Mark Cohen.  MSC Creative Enterprises, 2013.  258 pages.  ISBN: 978-0988317888.

Standing Meditation
By Mike Garofalo.  Resources, Bibliography, Links, Methods, Quotations, Comments.  

Qigong (Chi Kung) by Mike Garofalo

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Taijiquan Fan

There are many T'ai Chi Ch'uan exercise forms which make use of a fan.   Most are shorter forms, under 25 movements, but some, like the famous Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Form have over 50 movements.  Most are done slowly and softly, but some include vigorous and fast movements.  The majority favor the Yang Style of Tai Chi Chuan.  

Tai Chi Fan: Bibliography, Links, Resources, Notes, Lore, Quotations. Research by Mike Garofalo.  I welcome any comments, suggestions, additions, or ideas regarding this webpage.

One of the most popular Tai Chi Fan forms was created by Professor Li Deyin (1938-).  It has 52 movements.  I includes slow and gentle movements in the first half of the form, then the second half is much more vigorous.  This Tai Chi Fan form is for athletic and intermediate Tai Chi students. 

Here are some instructional resources for learning the Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Form.  
Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan. Routine 1, created by Grandmaster Li Deyin (1938-). Instructional DVD, 65 minutes, by Master Jesse Tsao. Tai Chi Healthways, San Diego, California. "The most popular Tai Chi Fan form ever practiced in China. The routine was created by Grandmaster Li Deyin, Jesse Tsao's teacher since 1978. There are 52 movements in the whole routine based on the characteristic Tai Chi posture with the fan's artistic and martial functions. Master Tsao presents demonstrations at the beginning and end. He teaches step-by-step in slow motion, in English. There are plenty of repetitions of movements in both front and back view. It is a good reference for home study, or a resource for instructor's teaching preparation." Cost: 35.00 US. Demonstration.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Instructional DVD by Professor Li Deyin. Narration in English. "A fan routine, created by Professor Li, which combines the gracefulness, centrality and continuity of Taiji with the power, speed and fierceness of Wushu. It is designed as an addition to the exercises for health, and has received massive interest and support throughout the world. In this DVD, Professor Li provides in-depth teaching with Mrs. Fang Mishou performing detail demonstration." Vendor 1. Cost: $35.00 US.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. List of 52 movement names, directions, instructions, and notes by Mike Garofalo.

I compiled the following list of UTube demonstrations of this Tai Chi fan form a couple of years ago.  Some of the videos may no longer exist.  

Tai Chi Kung Fun Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 4:02 min. Lady in white on a stage in Japan. My favorite! "First Form of the Xiyangmei Taiji Kungfu Shan (Taiji Shan). Recorded in Tokyo, Japan when the group headed by Li Deyin went to give an exhibition in 2006." 

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 3:59 min. Three performers in white outfits.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 3:59 min. Demonstrated by Patty Lee. Lady in a yellow outfit in a field with a backdrop of mountains.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 4:02 min. Lady in black practicing in a dance studio. What is the song used in many of these videos (by Jackie Chan)??

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 3:42. A group of Master Fay Li Yip's students performing outdoors.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 3:53 min. A group in black outfits performs outdoors in Madrid, Spain. Some members need more group practice.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video, 5:57 min. Two ladies in red outfits perform outdoors in Rotterdam, The Netherlands.

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. 中國太極功夫扇

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan, Form 1. UTube Video Subject Search.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Kronos String Quartet

Listening to string quartet music has been a passion of mine for four decades.  One particular string quartet group that I have really enjoyed is the Kronos Quartet based in San Francisco.   They have been performing for over 40 years, with three members remaining from the original group. 
I have purchased nine of their albums and have seen them twice in concerts in Los Angeles.  Recently, I purchased two more albums by this creative, versatile, and prolific string quartet.  

Alban Berg's Lyric Suite performed by the Kronos Quartet, 2003.   The Lyric Suite is a six-movement work for string quartet written by Alban Berg between 1925 and 1926 using methods derived from Schoenberg's twelve-tone technique.  This pensive quartet is less than 30 minutes in length.  

Philip Glass's String Quartets 2-5, performed by the Kronos Quartet, 2005.    Philip Glass (1937-) is a noted and prolific American composer of music with repetitive structures.  The harmonies in this album are very appealing.  


Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Crack in the Tea Cup Opens

"But all the clocks in the city
     Began to whirr and chime:
"O let not Time deceive you,
     You cannot conquer time.

"In the burrows of the Nightmare
     Where Justice naked is,
Time watches from the shadow
     And coughs when you would kiss.

"In headaches and in worry
     Vaguely life leaks away,
And Time will have his fancy
     To-morrow or to-day.

"Into many a green valley
     Drifts the appalling snow;
Time breaks the threaded dances
     And the diver's brilliant bow.

"The glacier knocks in the cupboard,
     The desert sighs in the bed,
And the crack in the tea-cup opens
     A lane to the land of the dead."

-  W. H. Auden, As I Walked Out One Evening, 1937  

Time - Quotes and Poems

Ways of Walking