I just read the book Steal My Art The Life and Times of Tai Chi Master T.T.Liang by Stuart Alve Olson. I really feel like I got to know T.T. Liang and what type of person he was through the stories told by the author. One of my favorite parts was a story of how T.T. Liang would eat Twinkies.
Here is a quote from the book as told by the author:
“So you do eat those things,” I immediately said. “of course I do,” he said with a serious tone. “They are delicious and have helped keep me alive.” “What?” I said with disbelief. “How can these keep you alive, sir?”
“You know nothing about these matters you bloody stupid fool,” he admonished, half joking though maintaining a serious tone. “Twinkies have a shelf life of one hundred and twenty-five years. If I eat two every day then without question I can live as long.” “You mean Twinkies are the elixir of immortality, the secret formula that all Taoist sages throughout history have been searching for?” I said mockingly.
“Of course they are. I will surely live at least one hundred years or more. You doubt it?” “No sir,” I said. “I believe you.”
I really enjoyed this book a lot and suggest you go to the library and read it for yourself. If you would like to buy a copy for yourself you can Click Here.
This is a sample of a 75 minute program featuring over 20 of America’s best known Tai-chi teachers, including Yang, Jwing Ming, Pat Rice, Jou, Tsung Hwa, T. C. Chao, Bob Klein, Jean Goulet and others. Many Tai-chi styles are demonstrated by these teachers so you see the variety of interpretations. Also included: weapons and animal forms, applications, push hands, Pakua and even the lion dance. The shorter sample shown here includes part of the introduction by Bob Klein and Yang style form performed by several teachers.
This is a very unusual program and was taped at Jou, Tsung Hwa’s Tai-chi Farm in Warwick, N. Y.
For more information about the full program Click Here.
While practicing my tai chi form the other day I had my thoughts on a recent quote I posted on my Tai Chi Quotes page by T.T. Liang “A man with great strength can lift an iron bar of one hundred pounds, but he cannot lift an iron chain of one hundred pounds because the latter is divided into many joints which are connected without severance so that no center of gravity can be traced. When practicing Tai Chi or doing combat with an opponent you must employ the same principle.”
After reading this I became more aware of the way my body was moving throughout my form and made sure that I am moving my body joint by joint.
At first I take up T’ai Chi as a hobby,
Gradually I become addicted to it,
Finally I can no longer get rid of it.
I must keep on practicing for my whole life—
it is the only way to preserve health.
The more I practice, the more I want to learn
from teachers and books.
The more I learn, the less I feel I know.
The theory and philosophy of T’ai Chi is so
profound and abstruse!
I must continue studying forever and ever…
It is the only way to improve and better myself.
– T.T. Liang
WHAT IS WORLD TAI CHI DAY
World Tai Chi and Qigong Day (WTCQD), also spelled World T’ai Chi and Ch’i Kung Day, is an annual event held the last Saturday of April each year to promote the related disciplines of T’ai Chi Ch’uan and Qigong in 100s of cities, spanning 80 nations. WTCQD was co founded by Bill Douglas and Angela Wong-Douglas in 1999.
The annual April event is open to the general public, and begins in the earliest time zones of New Zealand at 10 am, and then participants across Oceania, Asia, Africa, Europe, North America, and South America take part, with celebrations in sixty nations and several hundred cities, ending with the final events in the last time zones of Hawaii almost an entire day later. Celebrations include mass Tai Chi Chuan and qigong exhibitions in many cities, and free Tai Chi and Qigong classes in most participating cities.
If you have never tried Tai Chi or Qigong this is a wonderful time to take part in free Tai Chi or Qigong class near you. If you reside on Long Island or happen to be visiting in April, the World Tai Chi and Qigong event held at Shorefront Park, Patchogue Long Island NY is definitely worth checking out.
Click here to view past photos from WTCQD.
About four years ago I was driving normal speed on the parkway and felt my car shake violently and I smelled rubber burning. I quickly realized I had a blow out! I pulled over to the shoulder and prepared to change my flat tire. As I removed the jack from my trunk I remember thinking to myself wow this jack is really small. As I proceeded to jack my car up the jack started to sink into the earth. I remember trying again a few feet away and had the same result. I tried one more time and it worked, then suddenly the jack leaned and the car fell. Luckily I hadn’t removed the tire yet! By now a police officer pulled over and loaned me a larger jack and a wide piece of wood to use as a platform base. This worked and I was able to change my flat tire and was on my way.
As I was driving to my destination I remember thinking about my Tai Chi form and the lesson I learned that afternoon. My foot is the base of the jack and my body is the jack. As I shift my weight into my substantial foot do I have a good base(Is my weight in my substantial foot and is my body properly aligned)? If the answer is yes then I can breathe in and inflate the Jack(my body).
I have had lower back pains that seem to come and go since I was a teenager. Why all of a sudden do they seem to be disappearing. I believe that it is from practicing Tai Chi that I am now more aware of any tension in my body and how to dissipate it.
Whenever I feel tension in my lower back during my form it is because my waist has stopped moving.
Keep your waist moving!
Many people practice Tai Chi and go through the motions of a choreographed form. I don’t think you can really reap the full “benefits of Tai Chi” by practicing any Tai Chi form this way. Tai Chi has its obvious benefits such as increased oxygen to the cells, better balance, stronger bones and reduced stress, but there is so much more. Tai Chi is a lifelong journey, as one thing unfolds something else will reveal itself.
I have spent many years practicing the Yang Tai Chi short form and concentrate on the movements, postures, alignment, breathing and body mechanics. If there are blockages (tension) in the body the chi cannot flow freely.
If you take a glass cup and fill it with water. You place the cup in a lake, the water inside the glass is not part of the lake. In order for the water inside the glass to be part of the lake, you have to dissolve the glass. When you practice your Tai Chi meditative form you must relax while maintaining proper alignment. When you can dissolve the outer edges of your body so you feel like the air can pass through you then you will reap the full benefits of Tai Chi.
I wanted to share with you a short ebook on Aikido titled “Reflections on Friday Morning” written by my good friend Richard Morrison.
Rich is a 4th Dan Aikido instructor at Center Island Aikido Lake Grove, Long Island NY.
Some people think it is incredible and love it. Some people don’t think much of it at all. I personally loved it and with Rich’s permission wanted to share it with you. If you practice Aikido, Tai Chi, Zen or any similar practice I think you will enjoy it too.
Click here to download the pdf.