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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Podcast
    to be played and we use the form as a teaching tool for that The idea is that every week we look at one principle in isolation we study it and we understand what is going on and a bit of why and hopefully a little bit of how That s what we ve been doing tonight One of the interesting things that came out of tonight s class was how difficult it was to look at one principle in isolation The conversation constantly kept coming back to how the principles interlock how they support each other and how one principle is possible by the application of another principle There s an interesting point in this about how T ai Chi starts of as very daunting and learning the form movements and moving around these are movements that we don t do in normal daily life or at least we don t feel that we do In time we get the hang of that and we start to feel a bit more comfortable And then we ve got the principles which turn everything on its head again For a while everything seems to be getting more and more complicated there seems to be more and more involved Eventually what happens is that you reach a point where you start to internalise these things and you move from thinking about them to simply feeling them It is part of what makes T ai Chi an internal martial art I would argue although that s perhaps a larger topic for another discussion Part of the key for this is that ultimately there is just T ai Chi and all these other things they just blend and they all merge and they become as one And that is our half way goal That s what we re aiming to get to Once we ve got to there we can start thinking about how to use T ai Chi once you can do it Be the first to leave a comment Elbows Low Exercise Posted by Stuart Herbert on February 21st 2010 in Podcast Principles Technique This blog post was originally published as a podcast in June 2009 I m slowly transcribing all of my podcasts to share them with my readers who either cannot play podcasts on their computer or who simply prefer reading instead of listening We ve just done the Tuesday night class the Improvers class and tonight we did a recap of the principle of Elbows Low which was highly entertaining for everybody and quite informative too I hope The main thing we were looking at with Elbows Low tonight was the idea that in order to keep your elbows low it s all about relaxing the shoulders as much as possible getting the tension out of the shoulders This results in the elbow naturally falling by your side in much the same way that your hips naturally tilt forward if you eliminate the tension in the lower back Ed We also looked at situations where the elbow is raised up There s a great exercise for this to let you feel the difference between what we re looking for with Elbows Low and what to avoid The question always is if your elbow is not held at your side but is deliberately held up in the air how can that possibly be Elbows Low The exercise very simply is to hold your right arm out in front of you turn the right hand out so that wrist and elbow are at the same height forming a bar facing to your right From that position raise the wrist a little bit to ensure your wrist is higher than your elbow Take a moment to feel what that s like at the shoulder That doesn t feel too bad I hope unless you ve had shoulder surgery or you ve got a damaged shoulder at which point you ve got to learn to work within your own particular limits To compare and contrast this instead of raising the wrist to be higher than the elbow raise the elbow to be higher than the wrist Can you feel the extra tension that has now entered the shoulder That tension limits the mobility of the shoulder It unbalances you as well because your shoulder has had to rise in order to bring the elbow higher than the wrist and I m willing to bet that for a lot of people listening to this podcast if someone was to stand in front of you and look at you they d see that you re now leaning to one side because of the raised shoulder It s very disruptive to your bio mechanical structure just by making the elbow too high That s just a little exercise we did tonight in the class to show how Elbows Low works Be the first to leave a comment Thoughts On Practicing Posted by Stuart Herbert on February 21st 2010 in Podcast Teaching Your Practice This blog post was originally published as a podcast in June 2009 I m slowly transcribing all of my podcasts to share them with my readers who either cannot play podcasts on their computer or who simply prefer reading instead of listening I ve just completed tonight s class teaching the beginners on a Thursday night and there are two key lessons we ve taken from tonight s class First of all no matter what the weather no matter how hot or how cold it is the class always goes easier if it is nice and lighthearted and people are able to have a good old laugh as part of the class It makes them enjoy themselves a lot more as a result they actually find that they re more focused As a teacher you ll see that in the students because they re not looking to escape they re not watching the clock they re here they re in the moment and

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/category/podcast/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Principles
    knee up high he chose to preserve his balance and his uprightness by playing the sweep low to the floor instead He brought the right foot up just enough to clear the floor so that he could sweep in once and sweep out twice and keep his uprightness I must point this out as being a great choice that he made and a great tip for everyone who is beginning to try and find their balance One of the reasons T ai Chi teaches balance is that it is teaching the body to understand what it feels like and what it means to be upright This is part of the mindfulness side of T ai Chi But as a beginner if you are wobbling left and right all the time as beginners are want to do and as I did too when I was a beginner what are you teaching the body there You re not You re continuing to confuse the body by lurching from one side and back to the other By smoothing these things out by focusing and saying right being upright is the most important thing and my form will have to grow around that core pillar over time it improves your balance far quicker and far better than throwing yourself from left to right That s a great little tip from tonight s class 2 comments An Observation On Looking At The Ten Principles Posted by Stuart Herbert on February 23rd 2010 in Podcast Principles This blog post was originally published as a podcast in June 2009 I m slowly transcribing all of my podcasts to share them with my readers who either cannot play podcasts on their computer or who simply prefer reading instead of listening On a Tuesday night I teach an Improvers class This class is for people who have completed the Beginners course and can play the short form all the way through from start to end either under instruction or as time goes on without instruction The syllabus for the Improvers class is to look at the ten underlying principles that shape the way the form is meant to be played and we use the form as a teaching tool for that The idea is that every week we look at one principle in isolation we study it and we understand what is going on and a bit of why and hopefully a little bit of how That s what we ve been doing tonight One of the interesting things that came out of tonight s class was how difficult it was to look at one principle in isolation The conversation constantly kept coming back to how the principles interlock how they support each other and how one principle is possible by the application of another principle There s an interesting point in this about how T ai Chi starts of as very daunting and learning the form movements and moving around these are movements that we don t do

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/category/principles/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Beginning To Find Your Balance
    then twice in a big circle before placing the feet heels in line to finish When I play this move my right knee the leg that is doing the sweeping the right knee comes up to hip height as I sweep in and out It s quite natural for beginners to want to try and copy that shape because as a beginner you are learning the shapes But what happens as you play the form with the knee up when you don t yet have Single Weight and when you don t yet have Relax The Hips and you don t yet have the uprightness that comes from Head And Body Moves As One Unit what happens to the beginner is that the sweep in and the sweep out cause the body to wobble left and right quite substantially It s not unusual for beginners to fall over at this point because they are trying to stand on one foot but don t yet have the balance to achieve it I saw a great thing in tonight s class where one of my students made a choice Instead of bringing the knee up high he chose to preserve his balance and his uprightness by playing the sweep low to the floor instead He brought the right foot up just enough to clear the floor so that he could sweep in once and sweep out twice and keep his uprightness I must point this out as being a great choice that he made and a great tip for everyone who is beginning to try and find their balance One of the reasons T ai Chi teaches balance is that it is teaching the body to understand what it feels like and what it means to be upright This is part of the mindfulness side of T ai Chi But as a beginner if you are wobbling left and right all the time as beginners are want to do and as I did too when I was a beginner what are you teaching the body there You re not You re continuing to confuse the body by lurching from one side and back to the other By smoothing these things out by focusing and saying right being upright is the most important thing and my form will have to grow around that core pillar over time it improves your balance far quicker and far better than throwing yourself from left to right That s a great little tip from tonight s class About The Author Stuart has been writing PHP applications since 2003 and has been contributing to open source software since 1994 He was an early writer for php architect a co author of the Official Zend Certification Study Guide for PHP 4 and a regular speaker at conferences and user groups since 2004 When he s not designing software Stuart loves to explore the world through a camera lens spend time with his beloved guitars and continue his study to

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/2010/02/25/beginning-to-find-your-balance/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Technique
    handed down to me by my teacher It wasn t that my teacher didn t believe in chi and its cultivation per se it was simply the case that my teacher rightly believed that we have no place teaching things we cannot demonstrate and put to the test As a result my knowledge on the subject is simply theoretical and I have no formal teaching in it myself Taoism is one of the oldest surviving philosophies in the world best known through the great work the Tao te Ching attributed to Lao tzu At the core is the concept of The Way the do in Japanese martial arts such as akido iaido judo and kendo and how we can all find our own harmony with The Way Practitioners of taoism are known as taoists As a way of living it has a lot to offer us Westerners and it is said to be the underlying philosophy that Tai Chi is based on More on that in a later article Man everywhere is obsessed with his own immortality and taoists it turns out are not immune to this desire The difference I guess is that some taoists believe that real immortality is not only possible has actually been achieved in the past by such as Cheng San feng the legendary creator of Tai Chi Just as western alchemists attempted to turn base metals such as lead into pure gold so taoist internal alchemy is concerned with practices to turn the base energy into a refined spirit One of the practices of taoist internal alchemy is to turn ching generative energy into chi vital energy and then to turn the chi into shen spiritual energy The area we call tan tien in our class is actually the lowest placed of three separate tan tiens the second is at the solar plexus and the third between the eyebrows The lower tan tien is used to refine ching generative energy into chi vital energy very appropriate from a western point of view given its location at our centre of gravity at the place in Tai Chi where all our movement is controlled from This is a gross and decidedly ill informed over simplification of the subject I must stress Anyone interested in learning more should seek out a qualified instructor on the matter or failing that start with reading Eva Wong s translation of Cultivating Stillness I freely admit that I m not all that comfortable talking about my own experiences with the mystical side of Tai Chi Part of it comes from my teacher s own understandable feelings on the subject and part of it comes from my own training as a scientist and qualification as an engineer There s also the important matter that if we tell our students what feelings to expect the mind has a funny way of manifesting those feelings whether or not the work has been done to make them real And as if that wasn t enough I m sure that there are some in our community who exploit students interest in and dare I say desire for such experiences I do not want to become one of them even unwittingly But what it comes down to is this At the end of the day how can you share your experiences with someone else You can t not without a common frame of reference a teaching tool I need to write a lot more about As teachers it must be our role to direct our students through a programme of learning that will result in our students having these experiences for themselves How to achieve that is perhaps the ultimate question of teaching and it was the last question my teacher and I discussed before he left us And as I experienced on Tuesday night watching my Improvers students explore the principle of Relax the Waist on those rare occasions when we pull it off there are few pleasures in life more satisfying Be the first to leave a comment Shanghai Camp 2007 Videos Posted by Stuart Herbert on June 24th 2008 in Technique Video Over on the Qi Gong Videos blog you can currently find some Tai Chi footage from Double Dragon Alliance 2007 Shanghai Camp Masters Exhibition 24 step Tai Chi with Master Wang Ming Bo and his students Tai Chi and nei gong with Master Zhu Jian Li Two persons push hands drill with Master Shen Xing You and Master Shen Xing Zuo Chen style Tai Chi with Master Gu Yong Fa Wu style Tai Chi with Master Zhang Xi Xing Yang style Tai Chi with David Thorpe Colin Jefferson and Jon Kilgarriff Well worth a look to get an idea of how different Tai Chi styles look especially for my students as our style has quite a few differences that you should be able to spot 2 comments More On Why We Cross Hands The Way We Do Posted by Stuart Herbert on June 15th 2008 in Technique Video I know I promised a different topic for this much delayed post but I think it s worth looking a bit more about why we possibly cross hands the way we do And now that my camcorder has arrived hopefully the accompanying video will help with the explanations and the questions This is the first Tai Chi video that I ve ever uploaded and it s also the first time in years that I ve videoed myself so be gentle Cross Hands A Popular Move Here s a short video I ve uploaded to YouTube demonstrating the different places where we cross hands in our form Cross Hands after Shoulder Press Cross Hands after Box Ears which is repeated again at the end of our form Cross Hands Low after Golden Pheasant Stands on One Leg immediately followed by Cross Hands after Golden Pheasant Stands On One Leg repeated twice but not properly shown on the video Crossed Guard in Fair Ladies corner 1

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/category/technique/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » An Observation On Looking At The Ten Principles
    of the interesting things that came out of tonight s class was how difficult it was to look at one principle in isolation The conversation constantly kept coming back to how the principles interlock how they support each other and how one principle is possible by the application of another principle There s an interesting point in this about how T ai Chi starts of as very daunting and learning the form movements and moving around these are movements that we don t do in normal daily life or at least we don t feel that we do In time we get the hang of that and we start to feel a bit more comfortable And then we ve got the principles which turn everything on its head again For a while everything seems to be getting more and more complicated there seems to be more and more involved Eventually what happens is that you reach a point where you start to internalise these things and you move from thinking about them to simply feeling them It is part of what makes T ai Chi an internal martial art I would argue although that s perhaps a larger topic for another discussion Part of the key for this is that ultimately there is just T ai Chi and all these other things they just blend and they all merge and they become as one And that is our half way goal That s what we re aiming to get to Once we ve got to there we can start thinking about how to use T ai Chi once you can do it About The Author Stuart has been writing PHP applications since 2003 and has been contributing to open source software since 1994 He was an early writer for php

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/2010/02/23/an-observation-on-looking-at-the-ten-principles/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Elbows Low Exercise
    Low and what to avoid The question always is if your elbow is not held at your side but is deliberately held up in the air how can that possibly be Elbows Low The exercise very simply is to hold your right arm out in front of you turn the right hand out so that wrist and elbow are at the same height forming a bar facing to your right From that position raise the wrist a little bit to ensure your wrist is higher than your elbow Take a moment to feel what that s like at the shoulder That doesn t feel too bad I hope unless you ve had shoulder surgery or you ve got a damaged shoulder at which point you ve got to learn to work within your own particular limits To compare and contrast this instead of raising the wrist to be higher than the elbow raise the elbow to be higher than the wrist Can you feel the extra tension that has now entered the shoulder That tension limits the mobility of the shoulder It unbalances you as well because your shoulder has had to rise in order to bring the elbow higher than the wrist and I m willing to bet that for a lot of people listening to this podcast if someone was to stand in front of you and look at you they d see that you re now leaning to one side because of the raised shoulder It s very disruptive to your bio mechanical structure just by making the elbow too high That s just a little exercise we did tonight in the class to show how Elbows Low works About The Author Stuart has been writing PHP applications since 2003 and has been contributing to open source

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/2010/02/21/elbows-low-exercise/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi - » Thoughts On Practicing
    in two hours between everybody in the group and it s a real joy to see it s one of the things that as a teacher keeps bringing you back to class week in and week out And then there s a third thing as well as beginners T ai Chi is something that they cannot yet understand They re being taught the form because the form is a teaching tool it s also a martial fighting form Ed to teach true T ai Chi afterwards At this stage of learning the form all the movements are they re not flowing because it s all muscular it s all hand and foot mentality as my teacher would have said It s a case of always reassuring them and let them understand that they re actually doing very well because at this stage they re doing the best they can It s all you can ever ask from anybody And encourage them to come back every week This is week 26 now for the Thursday group and just seeing the difference from week 1 when they came in having not done any T ai Chi before and now they ve played the form twice tonight and we ve done corrections on five six separate moves and had a good debate about how things should be and why and such a short period of time really from when they first came through that door and this is just the start of their journey It s a real joy as a teacher and as a student of the art to share that with people You may be listening to this on the podcast and wondering what this has to do with T ai Chi and how does it help your practice try and bring these things into your practice Look for the enjoyment in your form and the moves and the principles that you are applying and the goals you are working towards Put in the work to achieve those goals Have a plan about what you re going to do what you re going to explore Stick to it do the work And then finally accept that when you get there what you really do is achieve a new level of understanding and a new set of goals to work towards It never stops You re capable everyone is capable of infinite polishing being polished more and more improving more and more as time goes on And that s just as true in solo practice as it is in a group teaching situation About The Author Stuart has been writing PHP applications since 2003 and has been contributing to open source software since 1994 He was an early writer for php architect a co author of the Official Zend Certification Study Guide for PHP 4 and a regular speaker at conferences and user groups since 2004 When he s not designing software Stuart loves to explore the world through a camera lens

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/2010/02/21/thoughts-on-practicing/ (2016-05-02)
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  • Ten Principles Tai Chi -
    Podcast Every September is a new academic year which means I m back teaching twice a week three times if you count Saturday mornings although those aren t really classes as such and that means regular podcasts once again I hope you find them interesting and informative Why We Learn In Groups Use My Notes But Think Of The Environment Teachers must be patient with themselves Too Much To Relax Using Your Aches And Pains I don t get a lot of feedback on the podcasts so I m not sure whether they re really of any interest to anyone If you enjoy them let me know in the comments 1 comment Open Source T ai Chi Posted by Stuart Herbert on September 21st 2009 in Books News Teaching Over the past two years I ve been working on a set of notes for my Beginners class With the help of feedback from my students the notes have been polished tried and tested and I m now happy enough with them to share them online for anyone else who is interested in reading them To make my notes easy to find I ve added a new Class Notes page to the website which lists all of the notes I ve uploaded I still need to finish off and publish my T ai Chi for Improvers notes plus the notes I m scribbling away about my own practice And to make my notes as free as possible I m licensing them under the Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike 2 0 UK license This license allows you to re use my notes and to make your own version of these notes provided you give the original author me credit and that you also distribute your own version of the notes under the same license This makes our T ai Chi notes a Free Cultural Work Why am I doing this Our art has a tradition going back at least to Yang Cheng fu in the 1930 s of sharing everything we know This means you don t have to take any modern teacher s word on T ai Chi you can go and track down a translation of Yang Cheng fu s book and see for yourself When my teacher died his surviving family chose to withdraw the two instructional aids he had made during his lifetime videos of both himself and his teacher playing the form This sadly means that my students and in time their students cannot compare their own understanding and practice to that of the teachers who went before me My own work such as it is is now a Free Cultural Work and can never be withdrawn from my students when I die I hope you find these notes helpful and I m always keen to receive feedback to help me improve them still further Be the first to leave a comment July Tai Chi Podcast Round up Posted by Stuart Herbert on September 21st 2009 in

    Original URL path: http://blog.stuartherbert.com/taichi/page/2/ (2016-05-02)
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