The Chinese say that "whoever practices T'ai-chi, correctly and regularly, twice a day over a period of time, will gain the pliability of a child, the health of a lumberjack, and the peace of mind of the sage."
In Tai-Chi (a form of Chi Gong) we focus our relaxed mind on our body and being, bringing awakening presence and aliveness to every cell. Relaxation is an act of surrender without collapse, a continuing process that opens us up to our whole self. We gently lengthen our spine and sink our upright body's center rooting it through the legs deep into the ground. Borrowing from the natural movement of breath we draw the energy from heaven and earth focusing it and cultivating it with a loving attentive presence in our core center (the "lower Tantien" in Chinese and the "Tanden" in Japanese). Then, using awareness, we mobilize the energy or"Chi" to move the body through the numerous postures that make up the Tai-Chi form. It is a like the rhythmic flowing of the ocean. It is stillness in motion. It creates a mass integration and organization of the mind, the body, and the Chi. What a wonderful art. With Tai-Chi we engage the profound ideas of Taoism and ancient Chinese Medicine in a practical fitness and healing methodology.
Michael offers the following classes at White Crane Hall:
Cheng Man Ching's "Yang" Style Form:
a slow-moving even-paced medium-length form that follows the basic Yang
style principles. Included in the class is some of C.M.C.'s internal
training to develop the Heart Mind and cultivate the chi. Also included are some Chi Gung movements to help build core spinal/torso support. There are 37
postures and many of them are repeated to create a 64-movement form.
C.M.C.'s "Yang" Style Sword Form and Fencing:
A 52-posture form following the same Tai-Chi principles but with
awareness, chi, and ground connection extended through to the tip of the
sword. Fencing practice is a fun, cooperative, spirited dance with only
the slightest smiling edge of competitiveness. Since we use wooden
swords, the four-ounce rule is always in effect. We learn to use our
newly-developed, relaxed, pliable, grounded, whole-body self and connect
it with others using the sword as the point of contact.
Push-Hands Practice: The Tai Chi form cultivates relaxed fully present highly structured organized
grounded power. In push hands we learn yielding, neutralizing, and
sinking another person's incoming strength through our own body's
upright structure, borrowing their power (which means they no longer have it!), creating within us a
natural dynamic spring like force (like a drawn bow), and then shooting that power
back to them (like an arrow) though their center via a path of least resistance. Even when we attack we are still yielding, neutralizing, and borrowing any resistance that arises.
Eventually all of this can happen in an instant! In Push Hands the
more present, relaxed (not limp!), sensitive, and correct you are in your structure and
application, the more success and improvement you will see unfold. It is a natural, relaxed, two-person practice that can be
spirited at times but is also fun and non-aggressive. It is a sport as
well as the foundation for connecting with Tai-Chi as a martial art. All
the Tai-Chi principles apply to Push Hands.