Thursday, January 12, 2017

Spring of Life in Old Age

"The enduring legacy of Taijiquan is that qi grows by the practice methodology, as a plant by tending and watering.  Along the way, the qi nutured in daily practice alleviates stress related illnesses.  In the longer term, the qi buildup invigorates and strengthens the body's constitution, and serves as a natural preventive medicine that shields against chronic ailments.  The alluring promise is that the store of qi preserves the "spring of life" in old age, as espoused in the verse of the Song of Thirteen Postues.

Yi shou yan nian bu alo chun
One gains longevity and prolongs the spring of life in old age."


-  C.P. Ong, Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength, p. 156




Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength  By C. P. Ong.  Bagua Press, 2013.  366 pages.  ISBN: 978-0615874074.  VSCL.  "This book diverges from traditional exposition on Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) as it engages rather than shuns the role of muscles in elucidating the cryptic practice dictum of “using yi (mind) and not li (muscle force).” It centers on the core principle of Taiji balance—the balance of yin and yang, but presents the metaphysics of balance the way the body comprehends it, developmentally, through practice in the musculo-skeletal framework. In the process, the fog of mystique lifts, and the many abstruse concepts of Taijiquan become clear. Taijiquan training is physical at the initial phase, but the slow-motion exercise nurtures a meditative discipline of the mind. As it progresses, the soft methodology grows into one of building qi-energy, and then the practice becomes more internalized. The process fortifies the body with qi and cultivates a holistic balance of the organ systems. The book explains how the training methodology, in pursuing Taiji balance, leads to the development of a highly refined strength called neijin (inner strength). By incorporating the training of “silk-reeling energy” in Taiji balance, the practitioner develops the coiling power (chanrao jin) that underlies the magic of Taijiquan kungfu."  Dr. Ong has a Ph.D. in mathematics from U.C. Berkeley.  C.P. Ong is a 20th generation Chen Family Taijiquan disciple of both Chen Xiaowang and Chen Zhenglei. He has traveled with them, as well as with Zhu Tiancai, for a few years in their U.S. workshop tours.

"Think over carefully what the final purpose is: to lengthen life and maintain youth."
-  Song of 13 Postures, translated by Benjamin Lo



Thirteen Postures of Taijiquan

Cloud Hands Taijiquan



The Harvard Medical School Guide to Tai Chi: 12 Weeks to a Healthy Body, Strong Heart, and Sharp Mind.  By Peter M. Wayne, Ph.D., and Mark L. Fuerst.  Shambhala Press, 2013.  240 pages.  A Harvard Health Publication. 




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