Chinatown Tai Chi Center

Past News Posts

Newsletter for May, 2010
Posted By: Sifu
On May 01, 2010 at 12:00

A Splendid Seminar

On April 17th and 18th, Chinatown Tai Chi Chuan was proud to host the 2-Person Push Hands seminars taught by Dai Sihing Richard Wong. The two days of seminars flew by leaving many students grateful for Dai Sihing Wong's tutelage and with a desire to continue developing the form. While the seminars were exhausting they were also greatly enriching and beneficial to the students who attended. Dai Sihing’s patience and willingness to repeat directions, answer questions, and demonstrate his knowledge were admirable and appreciated.

Comments from a couple of students:

  • "What a skilled and patient teacher Richard is!For a minute there, it all made sense! Now, we can practice to get it right." – Advance Student
  • Richard's energy was exhausting, his patience encouraging." – Intermediate Student

Body Wellness and Acupuncture

by Sifu

Early in my practice of tai chi, I became aware of other forms of "body work." It was as if this "tai chi door" opened, and it made me aware of how my body works. And then all of the connections started happening.

An example is my first introduction to acupuncture. On one trip to San Francisco to learn from Grandmaster, I had some "not-so-fresh seafood." I became deathly ill. But nothing was going to keep me from my intended purpose of training. Grandmaster asked what was wrong with me, and physically I was so sick I could hardly talk. But I told him.

He told me to come into the treatment room. I’d never been a pincushion before and was nervous. After my acupuncture treatment, he told me to go back to my hotel and sleep. All I could think of was the wasted day. But when I woke up five hours later I was totally refreshed, without pain or nausea. My doubt about this form of body work slipped away.

A few years later I was again in San Francisco, and Grandmaster noticed that I was in pain. My shoulder hurt, and I couldn’t turn my neck easily. For the second time, I found myself in his treatment room. After this acupuncture treatment, I rested for an hour and returned to the floor to practice. The pain I’d been experiencing in my upper back and shoulder was gone.

What did I learn from all this? I learned that physical exercise alone will not always be enough to keep you healthy. There are times when we need the help available through arts like acupuncture when our "self-healing" mechanism doesn't work well.

Stand Your Ground

In an effort to learn the proper Chinese names for the stances we use in our tai chi chuan forms, I am giving you the name of some stances and their definitions. I will include different stances in each newsletter. You should become familiar with them. Here are the first two.

  • Diu-ma - Cat stance. Twenty percent of your body weight should be on your front leg and eighty percent on your back leg. If your left foot is forward, it is a left diu-ma.
  • Sei-ping-ma - Square horse position. Both legs are equidistant from the body and the toes always point forward and the knees are pressed out. Looking to the left is a left sei-ping-ma, looking forward is a front sei-ping-ma.

How's Your Tai Chi Knowledge?

Challenge: Most of you know that "double-weighted" in tai chi refers to having your weight equally distributed between both legs, rather than having the majority of the weight on one leg rather than the other. The challenge for you to answer is: "What is another example of being double-weighted in tai chi?"

Answer: If a person attacks you with "hard" and you respond with "hard," that is also "double-weighted." Tai chi says: use soft to overcome hard. So, if you are both "hard," then that would also be "double-weighted."

Member’s Tai Chi Vignettes

by Satish

I joined the Chinatown Tai Chi Center about two years ago. I had researched the school and contacted Sifu. After I attended the first few classes, I knew it that I had landed in a very helpful group and that they understood the Tai Chi concepts pretty well. I resolved at that time to stick with the group as long as I could. For some reason, I did not give importance to Fringes but rather to the practice itself which helped in my morning/evening meditations immensely.

There are three important points that I learned and was able to implement in my day-to-day activities and I want to describe them here.

Bend your Knees:

The first point is specifically about breathing. When the body is healthy and the mind is free and both are truly relaxed, we take a nice, light and almost cool breath. I learned that when I bend my knees in a tai chi stance, I can create this breath easily and, more importantly, direct it into the dan tien region of my body. This helped me immensely in my meetings at work. When talking to a group, if I get nervous, while standing I simply bend my knees a little. This makes me take a deep breath into the tummy and relaxes me a lot. The good thing is that nobody knows I am doing it, they just see me standing in front of them while I speak.

Look Beyond:

I like the part when Sifu says to "Look beyond" while practicing Tai Chi. I learned that looking far and beyond (not absent minded) relaxes the mind and somehow makes me energetic. I use this in my day-to-day activities. If I get challenged with a problem, I simply write it on a piece of paper. Then, while in Tai Chi or regular meditation, I practice looking beyond the paper and the problem. Believe me, this helps me a lot.

Bent But Not Bent:

april, one of my teachers, always repeats that Grandmaster says "bent but not bent." She specifically corrects me when I am doing Repulse Monkey. In essence, when the hand strikes it should look bent and at the same time straight. While striking, I think the opponent should see the strike has been done with all the power. So he might see a straight hand after the strike. But in reality, from my side, I am not giving all the power when striking; I hold a little back. This automatically makes the hand a little bent. This is helping me a lot at my day-to-day work. For example: when giving out any pertinent directions/information at work I tell myself "bent but not bent" and I know how much information to hold back and how much to give out.

I sincerely thank Sifu and the group for guiding me during Tai Chi class and I hope to attend classes as regularly as I can.

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