Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Exercising with a Ball

Martial Arts, physical culture, and Qigong enthusiasts can benefit from using a medicine ball when doing exercises.  There are many routines developed by Taijiquan and Qigong masters using a medicine ball.   Qigong Ball exercisers can get into a calm mode, mellow their mood, and go with the Flow.  

Medicine Ball Training and Exercises: Bibliography, Links, Resources 
.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo.  A general introduction to the use of medicine balls in exercise programs. 

I developed my own medicine ball routine called: 
Magic Pearl Qigong. 

Magic Pearl Qigong, Part I, Movements 1-8 
.   Instructions, Bibliography, Links, Handouts, Resources, Mythological Associations, Lore.  Prepared by Mike Garofalo. 
The Magic Pearl Qigong can be a very vigorous physical culture routine if you increase the weight of the ball, lower the stances, and increase the number of repetitions of each movement.  Serious Qigong Ball enthusiasts use a very light wooden ball, move slowly, stay relaxed, sink, play.  

In addition, upper body strength and athletic fitness is also be improved by practicinlonger Taijiquan Forms using weapons like the saber, sword, cane, and staff. 

Monday, October 30, 2017

Cultivating Taste

The mind-Body arts and disciplines I practice and write about are useful for maintaining fitness and good health, helping with self-defense at a number of levels, encouraging oneself and others to be peaceful and calm, reducing anxieties and tension, balancing internal forces, opening one up to interesting cultural and philosophical Eastern traditions, and having a dignity and beauty associated with their practice.  I judge them to be "good," and exemplars of "good taste."  They seem right and noble to me, based on broader judgments as to value, and not just my personal preferences or habits.       

"Well, a vast number of our moral perceptions also are certainly of this secondary and brain‑born kind. They deal with directly felt fitnesses between things, and often fly in the teeth of all the prepossessions of habit and presumptions of utility. The moment you get beyond the coarser and more commonplace moral maxims, the Decalogues and Poor Richard's Almanacs, you fall into schemes and positions which to the eye of common‑sense are fantastic and overstrained. The sense for abstract justice which some persons have is as eccentric a variation, from the natural-history point of view, as is the passion for music or for the higher philosophical consistencies which consumes the soul of others. The feeling of the inward dignity of certain spiritual attitudes, as peace, serenity, simplicity, veracity; and of the essential vulgarity of others, as querulousness, anxiety, egoistic fussiness, etc‑-are quite inexplicable except by an innate preference of the more ideal attitude for its own pure sake. The nobler thing tastes better, and that is all that we can say. “Experience” of consequences  may truly teach us what things are wicked, but what have consequences to do with what is mean and vulgar?"  ....

"The word "taste" has perhaps got too completely associated with arbitrary liking to express the nature of judgments of value. But if the word be used in the sense of an appreciation at once cultivated and active, one may say that the  formation of taste is the chief matter wherever values enter in, whether intellectual, aesthetic or moral.  Relatively immediate judgments, which we call tact or to which we give the name of intuition, do not precede reflective inquiry, but are the funded products of much thoughtful experience. Expertness of taste is at once the result and the reward of constant exercise of thinking.  Instead of there being no disputing about tastes, they are the one thing worth disputing about, if by "dispute" is signified discussion involving reflective inquiry.  Taste, if we use the word in its best sense, is the outcome of experience brought cumulatively to bear on the intelligent appreciation of the real worth of likings and enjoyments.  There is nothing in which a person so completely reveals himself as in the things which he judges enjoyable and desirable, Such judgments are the sole alternative to the domination of belief by impulse, chance, blind habit and self-interest. The formation of a cultivated and effectively operative good judgment or taste with respect to what is aesthetically admirable, intellectually acceptable and morally approvable is the supreme task set to human beings by the incidents of experience."
-  John Dewey, The Construction of Good in the Quest for Certainty, 1929

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Eight Treasures Chi Kung

"All students should learn the Eight Treasures first, because many people have serious energy blocks and the Eight Treasures are more effective in quickly breaking through them that the more subtle Tai Chi."
- Hua-Ching Ni, "Workbook for Spiritual Development," Tao of Wellness Press, 1992, p. 138

An excellent book to read regarding a seated version of the Eight Treasures is by Stuart Alve Olson, "Qigong Teachings of a Taoist Immortal: The Eight Essential Exercises of Master Li Ching-Yun.  

Eight Section Brocade Qigong

Eight Silken Treasures Qigong

Ba Duan Jin Qigong
History, Instructions, Bibliography, Links, Resources, Quotes
Researched by Michael P. Garofalo
Last Updated on October 24, 2017

Eight Section Brocade Qigong By Michael P. Garofalo.

this webpage provides information about the history and purpose of this popular Chi Kung practice. Detailed descriptions are provided for each of the eight movements; including information on movement variations, health benefits, qigong meaning, and cautions. The document includes the most extensive bibliography, link guide, and comments on Ba Duan Jin Qigong resources available anywhere. Some animated graphics are provided in linked files. This document is updated as new information is discovered. 

This qigong set is the most popular set practiced around the world, and is also known as: Baduanjin, Pa Tuan Jin, Eight Silken Treasures, Ba Duan Jin, Pal Dan Gum, Ba Duan Gin, Pa Tin Kam, Otto Pezzi di Tesoro, Acht Delen Brokaat, Les Huit Exercices del la Soie, Eight Silken Treasures, Brocade Qigong, Wudang Brocade Qigong, Brocade soft qigong (Rou Gong), Eight Treasures inner qigong (Nei Gong), Silk Treasures Qigong, and the first eight Buddha Lohan Hands. 

This hypertext document is 164 pages in length, over 39,000 words, and with a filesize of 448Kb.  This document has been online since 2002.  

Web File Location: http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/esb.htm.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan of Professor Li Deyin

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.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1, by Lao Tzu

Dao De Jing, Laozi
Chapter 1

"Existence is beyond the power of words
To define:
Terms may be used
But are none of them absolute.
In the beginning of heaven and earth there were no words,
Words came out of the womb of matter;
And whether a man dispassionately
Sees to the core of life
Or passionately
Sees the surface,
The core and the surface
Are essentially the same,
Words making them seem different
Only to express appearance.
If name be needed, wonder names them both:
From wonder into wonder
Existence opens."
-  Translated by Witter Bynner, 1944, Chapter 1

"The way that can be spoken of
Is not the constant way;
The name that can be named
Is not the constant name.
The nameless was the beginning of heaven and earth;
The named was the mother of the myriad creatures.
Hence always rid yourself of desires in order to observe its secrets;
But always allow yourself to have desires in order to observe its manifestations.
These two are the same
But diverge in name as they issue forth.
Being the same they are called mysteries,
Mystery upon mystery -
The gateway of the manifold secrets."
- Translated by D. C. Lau, 1963, Chapter 1 

"The Tao that is the subject of discussion is not the true Tao.
The quality which can be named is not its true attribute.
That which was before Heaven and Earth is called the Non-Existent.
The Existent is the mother of all things.
Therefore doth the wise man seek after the first mystery of the Non-Existent, while seeing in that which exists the Ultimates thereof.
The Non-Existent and Existent are identical in all but name.
This identity of apparent opposites I call the profound, the great deep, the open door of bewilderment."
-  Translated by Walter Gorn Old, 1904, Chapter 1

"Nature can never be completely described, for such a description of Nature would have to duplicate Nature.
No name can fully express what it represents.
It is Nature itself, and not any part or name or description abstracted from Nature, which is the ultimate source of all that happens, all that comes and goes, begins and ends, is and is not.
But to describe Nature as "the ultimate source of all" is still only a description, and such a description is not Nature itself.
Yet since, in order to speak of it, we must use words, we shall have to describe it as "the ultimate source of all."
If Nature is inexpressible, he who desires to know Nature as it is in itself will not try to express it in words
Although the existence of Nature and a description of that existence are two different things, yet they are also the same.
For both are ways of existing.
That is, a description of existence must have its own existence, which is different from the existence of that which it describes.
And so again we have to recognize an existence which cannot be described."
-  Translated by Archie J. Bahm, 1958, Chapter 1   

道可道, 非常道.
名可名, 非常名.
故常無, 欲以觀其妙.
常有, 欲以觀其徼.
此兩者, 同出而異名.
 -  Chinese characters, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1

tao k’o tao, fei ch’ang tao.
ming k’o ming, fei ch’ang ming.
wu ming t’ien ti chih shih.
yu ming wan wu chih mu.
ku ch’ang wu, yü yi kuan ch’i miao.
ch’ang yu, yü yi kuan ch’i chiao.
tz’u liang chê, t’ung ch’u erh yi ming.
t’ung wei chih hsüan.
hsüan chih yu hsüan.
chung miao chih mên.
-  Wade Giles Romanization, Tao Te Ching, Chapter 1  

"The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
Conceived of as having no name, it is the Originator of heaven and earth;
Conceived of as having a name, it is the Mother of all things.
Always without desire we must be found,
If its deep mystery we would sound;
But if desire always within us be,
Its outer fringe is all that we shall see.
Under these two aspects, it is really the same;
But as development takes place, it receives the different names.
Together we call them the Mystery.
Where the Mystery is the deepest is the gate of all that is subtle and wonderful."
-  Translated by James Legge, 1891, Chapter 1 

"The Tao that can be spoken of is not the constant Tao.
The name that can be named is not the constant name.
The nameless is the beginning of life.
It is the mother of the ten thousand things.
Remove your desires and you will see the mystery.
Be filled with desire
And you will see only the manifestation.
These two are the same
yet, they diverge in nature
as they issue forth.
Being the same, they are the source
but the source remains a mystery.
Mystery upon mystery,
The gateway of Tao's manifold secrets."
-  Translated by Kari Hohne, 2009, Chapter 1

"Camino que se puede describir de manera articulada
     no es el Camino Invariable.
El nombre que se puede decir en voz alta
     no es el Nombre Invariable.
Con la boca cerrada y las cosas sin definir,
     estás al principio del universo.
Si haces definiciones, eres la medida de toda la creación.
Así, estando siempre sin deseo,
     miras en lo hondo de lo trascendente.
Albergando constantemente el deseo,
     todas las cosas que te rodean te estorban la vista.
Estos dos entran en el mundo semejantes,
     pero sus nombres son diferentes.
Semjantes, se llaman profundos y remotos.
Profundos y remotos y más aún:
Esta es la puerta de todos los misterios."
-  Translated by Alejandro Pareja, 2012, based upon the William Scott Wilson translation into English, Capítulo 1

"Tao called Tao is not Tao.
Names can name no lasting name.
Nameless: the origin of heaven and earth.
Naming: the mother of ten thousand things.
Empty of desire, perceive mystery.
Filled with desire, perceive manifestations.
These have the same source, but different names.
Call them both deep - Deep and again deep: the gateway to all mystery."
-  Translated by Stephen Addis and Stanley Lombardo, 1993, Chapter 1  

"The Way that can be told of is not an Unvarying Way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying names.
It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang;
The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures, each after its kind.
Truly, “Only he that rids himself forever of desire can see the Secret Essences”;
He that has never rid himself of desire can see only the Outcomes.
These two things issued from the same mould, but nevertheless are different in name.
This “same mould” we can but call the Mystery, Or rather the “Darker than any Mystery”,
The Doorway whence issued all Secret Essences."
-  Translated by Arthur Waley, 1934, Chapter 1 

  "Tao that can be expressed is not Everlasting Tao.
 The name that can be named is not the Everlasting Name.
 The Name, in its inner aspect, is Life-Spring of Heaven and Earth.
 The Name, in its outer aspect, is Mother of all created things.
 To perceive the mystery of Life, desire always to reach the innermost.
 To perceive the limitations of things, desire always to posses them.
 These two aspects of Life are One.
 In their out-come they become different in Name but in their depth they are One.
 In a depth, still deeper yet, is the Door of many mysteries."
 -  Translated by Isabella Mears, 1916, Chapter 1   

"The Tao that can be spoken of is not the Tao itself.
The name that can be given is not the name itself.
The unnameable is the source of the universe.
The nameable is the originator of all things.
Therefore, oftentimes without intention I see the wonder of Tao.
Oftentimes with intention I see its manifestations.
Its wonder and its manifestations are one and the same.
Since their emergence, they have been called by different names.
Their identity is called the mystery.
From mystery to further mystery:
The entry of all wonders!"
- Translated by Chang Chung-Yuan, Chapter 1

A typical webpage created by Mike Garofalo for each one of the 81 Chapters (Verses, Sections) of the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing) by Lao Tzu (Laozi) includes 25 different English language translations or interpolations for that Chapter, 5 Spanish language translations for that Chapter, the Chinese characters for that Chapter, the Wade-Giles and Hanyu Pinyin transliterations (Romanization) of the Mandarin Chinese words for that Chapter, and 2 German and 1 French translation of that Chapter.  Each webpage for each one of the 81 Chapters of the Tao Te Ching includes extensive indexing by key words, phrases, and terms for that Chapter in English, Spanish, and the Wade-Giles Romanization.  Each webpage on a Chapter of the Daodejing includes recommended reading in books and websites, a detailed bibliography, some commentary, research leads, translation sources, a Google Translate drop down menu, and other resources for that Chapter.  These are hypertext documents, and available online under Creative Commons 4.


Chapter 1, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu.  Compiled and indexed by Mike Garofalo.  

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

English Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Spanish Language Daodejing Translators' Source Index

Ripening Peaches: Taoist Studies and Practices

Taoism: A Selected Reading List

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Chen Taijiquan 19 Movement Routine

I began learning this Tai Chi form from Sifu David Fetyko in Vancouver, Washington, in October of 2017.

I am just beginning my hypertext notebook on the subject.  

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Tai Chi Health Benefits, Results, Effects

The Mayo Clinic States that Tai Chi Chuan can help with:
  • Reducing anxiety and depression
  • Improving balance, flexibility and muscle strength
  • Reducing falls in older adults
  • Improving sleep quality
  • Lowering blood pressure
  • Improving cardiovascular fitness in older adult
  • Relieving chronic pain
  • Increasing energy, endurance and agility
  • Improving overall feelings of well-being
Harvard University published that Tai Chi results in:
  • Increased Aerobic conditioning
  • Improved Balance
  • Greater Flexibility
  • More Muscle strength
And can aid in recovery from:
  • Stroke
  • Sleep problems
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Hypertension
  • Heart failure
  • Heart disease
  • Breast cancer
  • Low bone density
  • Arthritis
The NCCAM reports that Tai Chi and Qigong positively effects:
  • bone health
  • cardiopulmonary fitness
  • balance and factors associated with preventing falls, quality of life
  • and self-efficacy
From the website of the Portland Tai Chi Academy, Oregon

Tai Chi's Special Benefits for Practitioners Over Fifty

1.  Increase physical balance.
2.  Regulates and lowers blood pressure.
3.  Improves circulation.
4.  Promotes and good night's sleep.
5.  Re-establishes biomechanical alignments.
6.  Restores sexual vitality.

"Tai Chi Health for Life: How and Why it Works for Health, Stress Relief and
Longevity."  By Bruce Frantzis, Blue Snake Books, 2006.  

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Fetyko Family School of Taijquan

Today, I attended a class conducted by Sifu David Fetyko in Vancouver.  

The class location was at 318 99th Street in Vancouver, Washington.
The group class is located in a Taekwondo dojo. 
Phone:  360-695-6741
Email:  info@taichiwithme.com


The morning class is on Tuesday and Thursday morning.  Qigong is from 8:45 am to 9:15 am, Taijiquan from 9:15 am to 10:45 am.  Sifu is generous with his instructional time.  He also teaches elsewhere in Vancouver, and offers private lessons.  

The classroom is in a very nice, clean, not smelly, and spacious Taekwondo studio near Interstate 5 at 99th Street.

Cost is about $15.00 per lesson.  

I watched Sifu Fetyko teaching two students the short Chen 17 form of Grandmaster Chen Xiaowang.  

He was a patient, considerate, and kind teacher.  For a 77 year old man, he was steady, agile, skilled, and confident.  He corrected students postures in a gentle manner.  

He took the time after class to introduce himself to me, chat, and provide me with some insights.  He recommended two books on preventing and reversing heart disease.  

I have been exploring Taijiquan classes in Vancouver.  I have attended Taijiquan classes by Sifu Knack and Sifu Fetyko in Vancouver.  They teach in nice, clean, and fresh facilities.  I did not like the dojo of Sifu Moy in Salmon Creek.    

Monday, October 23, 2017

Weekend Grandparenting

Karen and I took care of our two granddaughters from last Thursday until Sunday evening.  We stayed at my daughter's home in Salmon Creek.  We talked, played, and entertained ourselves for many hours.  We attended two soccer games.  It was an enjoyable experience.  

Doing Yang style Tai Chi, qigong, and yoga indoors because of the steady rain.  Such Taiji activity requires some readjustment in the form work, but that also makes it more interesting in some ways.  I did not feel strong enough to go to the workshop on Wuji this past weekend. 

I read a fascinating book this weekend about the the history of the medical, pharmacological and technological improvements in the treatment of heart disease in the last 100 years.  "The Heart Healers: The Misfits, Mavericks, and Rebels Who Created the Greatest Medical Breakthrough of Our Lives."  This book was written by the renowned cardiologist, Dr. James S. Forrester.  (St. Martin's Press, 2015, 388 pages)  The individuals and teams of innovators, their dedication and creativity, their risk taking, and their hope to improve the lives of their patients are interwoven with the advances in medical science during this period.  Biographical insights into the personal lives of these creative physicians, bio-tech researchers, and scientists was very revealing.  

Personally, my advancing heart disease was likely slowed by the innovations and inventions of these great men and women: diagnostic methods, drugs, angioplasty, pacemaker, stents, etc.  

Yang Taijiquan 24 Movement Form

"At this period of wushu, the Nanking Central Kuoshu Institute in 1956 tasked the choreography of a Taijiquan routine what would be more suitable for popular dissemination among the masses, in keeping with the government's egalitarian agenda.  The traditional forms were just too long and time consuming to practice, and the traditional methods too arcane and demanding for mass propagation.  The challenge was to reduce the one hundred-odd movements of the traditional Yang Style Taijiquan, prevalent then, to its core, by removing the many repetitive movements as well as the less essential ones.  Thus, the 24-Form Taijiquan set was created.  Instrumental in this simplification effort was Li Tianji (1913-1996) who had been appointed a wushu research fellow at the Institute.  Under official auspices, the 24-Form Taijiquan quickly became the standard form, taught throughout China as part of physical education curriculum in schools and colleges.  It is perhaps the best know Taijiquan form in the world today.  As widespread as it is, the 24-Form is at best an abridged version of the traditional Yang form, a synopsis of the art."
-  C. P. Ong, Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength, 2013, p. 7.  

I practice this Taijiquan form twice every day.  It takes from 5 to 7 minutes to perform.

You can do this indoors by adjusting to the space available, or outdoors.  When done slowly and gently you don't need to do any warmup exercises unless your knees are problematic.  A lovely Taijiquan form!  Good for persons of all ages.  This form is a cornerstone of my personal T'ai Chi Ch'uan practices. 

The first Taijiquan form I learned in 1986 was the Standard 24 Movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan Form in the Yang Style of T'ai Chi Ch'uan.  At that time there were no books or instructional videotapes on this popular form.  Since that time, nearly 31 years have past.  Now there are dozens of books and instructional DVDs and webpages on the subject of the 24 Form. 

My webpage on the Standard 24 Taijiquan Form has been the most popular webpage on the Cloud Hands Website for many years. In the sidebar of this blog, you will find a quick index to this webpage.

Standard Simplified Taijiquan 24 Form.  Research by Michael P. Garofalo, M.S. This webpage includes a detailed bibliography of books, media, links, online videos, articles, and resources.  It provides a list of the 24 movement names in English, Chinese, French, German and Spanish, with citations for sources of the movement names.  It provides detailed descriptions of each movement with black and white line illustrations and  photographs.  It includes relevant quotations, notes, performance times, section breakdowns, basic Tai Chi principles, and strategies for learning the form.  The Peking (Bejing) Chinese National orthodox standard simplified 24 movement T'ai Chi Ch'uan form, created in 1956, is the most popular form practiced all around the world.  This form uses the Yang Style of Taijiquan.  Published by Green Way Research, Valley Spirit Taijiquan, Red Bluff, California:  Webpage URL:  http://www.egreenway.com/taichichuan/short.htm.  

This webpage provides many good suggestions for a person learning this form on their own if there is no Tai Chi class in their area. 

The best book that I have seen on the subject is:

The Yang Taiji 24 Step Short Form: A Step by Step Guide for All Levels
By James Drewe
London, Singing Dragon Press, 2011.
382 pages, black and white photographs, charts, detailed descriptions, training tips.
I give information on many other fine books by other good authors on the 24 Form in my webpage: Cheng Zhao,
Foen Tjoeng Lie, Eric Chaline, Le Deyin, etc.. 

My students tell me that their favorite instructional DVD on the 24 Form is:

Tai Chi - The 24 Forms
By Dr. Paul Lam

I have taught this lovely Tai Chi form to hundreds of people since 2000.  Everyone tells me how much they enjoy learning and practicing this gentle form.

I also teach and enjoy playing the
Chen Style Taijiquan 18 Movement Form created by Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei. 

Friday, October 20, 2017

The Heart of the Matter

On Wednesday of this week, Dr. Gungor, my cardiologist, did the angiogram test.  He decided to have a stent inserted one of my heart arteries.   The coronary angioplasty was performed by another expert surgeon.  

I'm feeling pretty good now, and seem to have recovered properly from the procedure.  Taking it easy and resting for a few days.  No shortness of breath, lightheartedness, or chest discomfort.  

I will need to take a blood thinner medicine twice a day for a year. 

Hopefully, the quality of my life with improve in the coming months.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

My Health Problems

I continue to have some heart problems.  Today, Dr. Gungor will perform an angiogram test at 11 am.  He will give me the good or bad news afterwards.  Yes, I am a bit nervous.  After 71 years of good health, circumstances have changed. 

The challenges of aging!  Deal with them!!

Aging Well

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Autumn in Southwest Washington

The autumn colors in Southwest Washington are much more dramatic than in Red Bluff, California.  We are greatly enjoying the colorful display in Vancouver.
Today, we are taking a drive in the country.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Just Rest

"You've probably experienced something similar after finishing a long and difficult job, whether it involved physical labor or the type of mental effort involved in writing a report or completing some sort of financial analysis.  When you finish the job, your mind and body naturally come to rest in a state of happy exhaustion.  This perfectly effortless state of relaxation is what is meant by natural peace." ...

"First, assume a position in which your spine is straight, and you body is relaxed.  Once your body is positioned comfortably, allow your mind to simply rest for three minutes or so. Just let your mind go, as though you just have finished ad long and difficult task.
Whatever happens, whether thoughts or emotions occur, whether you notice some physical discomfort, whether you are aware of sounds or smells around you, or you mind is a total blank, don't worry.  Anything that happens or ─doesn't happen─ is simply part of the experience of allowing you mind to rest.
So now, just ret inn the awareness of whatever is passing through you mind ...
Just rest ...
Just rest ..."

"Let me confide in you a big secret.  Whatever you experience when you simply rest your attention on whatever's going on in your mind at any moment is meditation.  Simply resting in this way is the experience of natural mind." ...

"In fact, experiencing natural peace is easier than drinking water.  In order to drink, you have to expend effort.  You have to reach for the glass, tip the glass so that the water pours into your mouth, swallow the water, and then put the glass down.  No such effort is required to experience natural peace.  All you have to do is rest your mind in its natural openness.  No special focus, no special effort is required."
-  Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche, "The Joy of Living," 2007, pp. 55-58

So, I relax, breathe gently and easily, stand up straight, unloosen myself from thinking and judging, settle down into ease, rest the mind, and begin a slow and easy Taiji form ... one path to "natural peace."

Relaxation, Sung, Fang Song, Rest, Ease

Tai Chi Chuan


Sunday, October 15, 2017

October Morning Mild

“The Wheel rolls more, and Autumn returns.
Cooler the rain; the Sun lower burns.
The coloring leaves presage the Year:
All things move into harvest’s sphere.
I vow to savor fruits first picked;
nor into grief shall I be tricked.
I vow to offer what once I spurned,
and face the Turning reassured.
- Asleen O’Gaea, Celebrating the Seasons of Life: Beltane to Mabon, p. 116.

Samhain, Halloween Celebrations

"O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away."
-   Robert Frost, October

The entrance to our front driveway in Red Bluff featured a seasonal display that Karen prepared.  Karen is petting our cat, King Tut, in the early morning hours. 
We now live in Vancouver, Washington.  

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Centering in Taijiquan

"1.  Develop your ability to maintain your vertical centerline as an axis from the Bai Hui downwards through the perineum.
2.  Develop your ability to always move fluidly from your center.
3.  Maintain your root so that you do not bounce up.
4.  Allow  your spirit and intention to manifest within each movement.
5.  Develop your Ting Jing skill in order to listen and perceive what needs to be perceived.
6.  Always strive to integrate the different parts of your body, as well as the different parts of your self.
7.  Always attend to stregthening the weakest part.
8.  Breath naturally.
9.  Like water, seek the most natural path.  Employ the least amount of force necessary for any given action.
10.  When issuing force forward, root down to the back and draw in the front.  When receiving for from the front, root to the front and ground down to the back.
11.  Remember that both life and T'ai Chi are temporary gifts.  Celebrate them accordingly."
-   John Loupos, Inside Tai Chi, p. 181

Here are three very good Taijiquan books by Sifu John Loupos that I have studied for a many years.  Sifu Loupos has been studying and teaching external and internal martial arts since 1966.  He has a B.S. degree in psychology.  His writing is clear, informative, insightful, and very useful for Taijiquan practitioners at all levels. 

Inside Tai Chi: Hints, Tips, Training, and Process for Students and Teachers.  By John Loupos.  Boston, Massachusetts, YMAA Publications, 2002.  Glossary, resources, index, 209 pages.  ISBN: 1886969108.  
Exploring Tai Chi: Contemporary Views on an Ancient Art.  By John Loupos.  Boston, Massachusetts,  YMAA Publications, 2003.  135 illustrations.  Glossary, index, 206 pages.  ISBN: 0940871424. 

Tai Chi Connections: Advancing Your Tai Chi Experience.  By John Loupos.  Boston, MA, YMAA Publication Center, 2005.  Index, 194 pages.  ISBN: 1594390320.       

太 極 拳

Friday, October 13, 2017

Taijiquan Cane Exercises

I enjoy practicing the following cane exercise form:

Taiji Yangsheng Zhang: Taiji Stick Qigong (Chinese Health Qigong)  By the Chinese Health Qigong Association.  Singing Dragon, 2014.  96 pages.  1 instructional DVD.  ISBN: 978-1848191945.  Brief history, warmup and cane handling, ten movement form.  VSCL.  

"A set of exciting and unusual Taiji Stick qigong exercises is presented in this accessible introduction. Embodying the concepts of taiji, the movements emphasize the harmony of yin and yang, man and nature. Appropriate for all levels of experience and for all age groups, this new set of easy-to-learn exercises distils the essence of traditional stick practice, guides body movements and the movement of the stick, and coordinates directed breathing and imagination. The book provides step-by-step, fully-illustrated instruction, and includes an account of the origins of the movements and guidance for practice. An accompanying DVD features a video demonstrating the form and additional information on its history and origins, and a CD provides options for verbal instructions to lead the practitioner through the exercises, or music to accompany them. The book is an authoritative resource that will help students and practitioners of taiji, qigong, martial arts and Chinese medicine perfect and deepen their practice. It is also an excellent practical introduction for anyone with an interest in the ancient health and martial practices of China. 

The Chinese Health Qigong Association is dedicated to the popularization of and research into Health Qigong, and is a group member of the All-China Sports Federation. Its aim is to promote and carry forward the Chinese traditional culture of health promotion and facilitate the communication between Western and Eastern Cultures."

The movements of the Taiji Yangsheng Zhang form are as follows:
Initial Stance and Opening
1.  Boatman Rows with an Oar  (Shao Gong Yao Lu)  
2.  Boat Rows Slowly  (Qing Zhou Huan Xing
3.  Wind Kisses the Lotus Leaves  (Feng Bai He Ye
4.  Boatman Tows a Boat  (Chuan Fu Bei Qian
5.  Iron Stick Calms the Sea  (Shen Zhen Ding Hai
6.  Golden Dragon Wags Its Tai  (Jin Long Jiao Wei
7.  Search for Treasure in the Sea  (Tan Hai Xun Bao
8.  Qi Returns to the Dantian  (Qi Gui Dan Tian
Closing and Ending Stance

"The Taiji Stick Health Preservation exercises embodies the concept of harmony between yin and yang, man and nature.  All the movements involved are soft and slow, and easy to practice.  This is not a "martial art," per se, and the stick is not wielded like a weapon. 
In practicing with the Taiji Stick, we should twist, turn, bend, and stretch around the waist as a center, and move our spine accordingly.
In practicing with the Taiji Stick, we need to relax our waist and hips, and keep the body upright and comfortable, adjusting the movement of the waist in harmony with the use of the stick.  If we lift the stick, we need to sink the waist and lower the qi down to the Dantian (lower belly); and if we lower the stick, we need to straighten the waist and pull up the qi to the Baihui acupoint [top of the head].  If we rotate the stick in a circle, our waist becomes the anchor, moving our body and arms.  All this illustrates the pivotal role of the waist." p. 6.  

Tai Chi Chuan Cane

Way of the Short Staff

Staff Weapons

Taijiquan Practices

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Hobbies and Enjoyment

“Mike, an old proverb says idle hands are the devil’s work. While I don’t necessarily agree with that sentiment, I do believe that hobbies are crucial for everyone. Not only do hobbies give you a chance to focus on something besides work or school, but they also give you a way to decompress.

A lifelong lover of hobbies, I’m a quilter before anything else, but I have an appreciation for hobbies in all forms. Quilting has given me the outlet I need when it’s time to recharge, and I love that I can create works of art and useful gifts for friends and family.

Because I think hobbies are great for everyone, I’ve included some excellent resources that might interest your readers. I hope you’ll find them useful. Maybe you can share them on one of your webpages.

Why Kids Need Hobbies

The Benefits Of Having A Hobby When You're In Recovery

Find Your Passion: Making Room for Hobbies

How to Start Your Own Urban Garden

11 Healthy Hobbies for Seniors

10 Hobbies That Can Pay Off

If you already enjoy a hobby in your spare time, then you know where I’m coming from. If you don’t have a hobby, I’m hopeful these ideas can spark an interest! Of course, if this information isn’t helpful to you at all, please let me know, and I won’t contact you again.”

Thank you in advance,

Martha Geoffries

My own hobbies include: reading, gardening, writing, walking, Taijiquan, Yoga/Qigong, weightlifting, and sightseeing in the Pacific Northwest.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Walking and Thinking

"What is it about walking, in particular, that makes it so amenable to thinking and writing? The answer begins with changes to our chemistry. When we go for a walk, the heart pumps faster, circulating more blood and oxygen not just to the muscles but to all the organs—including the brain. Many experiments have shown that after or during exercise, even very mild exertion, people perform better on tests of memory and attention. Walking on a regular basis also promotes new connections between brain cells, staves off the usual withering of brain tissue that comes with age, increases the volume of the hippocampus (a brain region crucial for memory), and elevates levels of molecules that both stimulate the growth of new neurons and transmit messages between them.

The way we move our bodies further changes the nature of our thoughts, and vice versa. Psychologists who specialize in exercise music have quantified what many of us already know: listening to songs with high tempos motivates us to run faster, and the swifter we move, the quicker we prefer our music. Likewise, when drivers hear loud, fast music, they unconsciously step a bit harder on the gas pedal. Walking at our own pace creates an unadulterated feedback loop between the rhythm of our bodies and our mental state that we cannot experience as easily when we’re jogging at the gym, steering a car, biking, or during any other kind of locomotion. When we stroll, the pace of our feet naturally vacillates with our moods and the cadence of our inner speech; at the same time, we can actively change the pace of our thoughts by deliberately walking more briskly or by slowing down."
-  Ferris Jabr, Why Walking Helps Us Think

Walking - Quotations, Sayings, Comments