Past News Posts
Posted By: Sifu Calph
On October 22, 2010 at 07:29
A New Home
by Sifu Calph
The Plymouth-Macalester space served us very well for about ten months. But, as you know, we had many interruptions, disruptions and the carpeting was hard on our knees.
The space at Lauderdale has been a pleasant change. We have a well-lighted space, a great floor, no interruptions and a good feel to the space all around. So far, student comments have been very positive. Thanks to all of you for your great support.
Chinatown Tai Chi Center has moved several times since its beginning in 1992. After every move, I was reminded that it doesn't matter where you practice tai chi as along as you keep moving forward. It doesn't matter what space you practice in as long as, having laid a foundation for tai chi, you continue to practice and make progress—whether your goal is to build a five story building, a ten story building or a skyscraper.
Exploring our Newsletter
by Michael D.
We are enjoying an excellent newsletter at Chinatown Tai Chi Center and we want to recognize what we have and benefit from it. It is interesting and varied, drawing input from different voices within our group. It also includes information that could benefit your practice of tai chi.
In order to bring the newsletter more into the midst of our experience, Sifu asked me to lead, in class, a discussion of the last issue. Unfortunately it wasn't much of a discussion. There were too many "deer in the headlight" expressions around the room.
So in the future I will prepare a short survey to get input, questions and reactions from you about the current issue. Then I will bring your input into a discussion in this class. This will encourage us all to read our great newsletter, stimulate your thoughts about what's in it and allow us to avoid starting a "cold" conversation when we discuss it in class.
So, read, enjoy and value our publication, and be sure to thank Jaime for her great work.
Member's Tai Chi Vignettes
Tai Chi is my home.
I started Tai Chi in 2008, a short few years ago. While martial arts have been a part of my life for many years, I could no longer participate in "hard style" martial arts. Nevertheless, the ache for the discipline of martial arts was still in my heart.
I visited many Tai Chi schools in the Twin Cities before joining Chinatown Tai Chi Center. When I first walked into Chinatown, I knew I was home. Other students greeted me warmly and with a genuine desire to have me in class. Sifu Calph spent time with me, a beginning student. This is unheard of in many other schools of martial arts. I loved the emphasis on personal development, not learning targeted forms for promotion.
I immediately observed and appreciated the direct lineage of the past masters to Grand Master Doc-Fai Wong, founder of the Plum Blossom International Federation. Later I learned that this organization really is international with schools on every continent except Antarctica.
Soon I had a new group of friends at Chinatown, other people who treasure what Tai Chi brings into their lives. Some have sash fringes that are more advanced than mine; some have fringes less advanced than mine. It doesn't seem to matter. At Chinatown, every student is valued.
Tai Chi brings a peace and sense of inner relaxation into my hectic life that was never there before. Our world is so full of noise and clutter that the moments I spend in standing meditation are a gift of great price. I was not so enthusiastic about meditation of any sort but have learned the value of it through Tai Chi and the encouragement of Sifu Calph.
Tai Chi is practiced quietly in contrast to many other styles of martial arts that emphasize noisy exhalation of a big breath during a strike. The quiet beauty of an experience Tai Chi student in practice is amazing, graceful and balanced. At the same time, Tai Chi is a very powerful martial art and complements my previous training. I look forward to the day when my Tai Chi looks as lovely as some of the advanced student's Tai Chi. I have a place that brings me peace and allows beauty into my life.
Tai chi is my home.
Learning Terminology from the Lo Han 18 Form
Fun-sau 立手: Separate Hands: Roll palms before performing fun-sau when the hands are at solar plexus level or lower. Omit rolling the palms when the hands start from above solar plexus level. Performed as a wrist release move, fun-sau is a signature movement in Choi Li Fut. Keep wrists straight in the final position.
Ding-yuit 按月: Pressing the Moon: An upward pressing motion with both palms in a horizontal position. Use the forearms to block a double downward strike to the head or clavicles.
Fut-sum-jeung 佛心掌: Buddha Heart Palm: A thrusting strike to the solar plexus or sternum using the edge of the palm. This strike is sometimes called san-kiu.
How's Your Tai Chi Knowledge?
Challenge: Okay, as a health art, tai chi doesn't work on the heart directly (like aerobics)--but through some other system in the body. My question for you today is: What system in the body does tai chi work through?
Answer: Tai Chi works through the vascular system. It increases blood flow and it improves circulation. And blood flow has a lot to do with the healing process.
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tsu's very short work outlines the spiritual philosophy of the Taoist philosophy. Confucianism, on the other hand, is concerned with the rules and practicalities of everyday living. One of the reasons I like Lao Tsu's poem so much is that he uses everyday metaphors to explain the philosophy, making it just as lively today as it was 2500 years ago. Chapter 53: "If I have just a little sense, I will walk on the main road and my only fear will be of straying from it. Keeping to the main road is easy, but people love to be sidetracked!"
Chapter 64, at 22 lines, is one of the longest chapters of Lao Tsu's work and contains the principal themes of the entire work. These principles are Genesis, the Female (Yin), Union with the primordial, Emptiness, and Knowledge with humility.
Two nuggets from that chapter are especially important to me:
The brittle is easily shattered
The small is easily scattered
In partner work we try to remember to stay "soft" and not "brittle" and to neutralize our partner's attack before it becomes too powerful to control. If our partner is "brittle" or attacks in a small way, we can take advantage of that mistake.
Possibly the most famous lines of the entire poem:
A tree as great as a man's embrace springs from a small shoot;
A terrace nine stories high begins with a pile of earth;
A journey of a thousand miles starts under one's feet.
It's important whatever our level of skill, to be patient with ourselves, and to keep moving forward. Every shovel of dirt is vital in creating the terrace.
Every step is vital in the horny, so taking the first step is as important as taking the last step.