Freitag, 15. Mai 2015

Poem: To Boat on the Dongting-Lake

Dear Tai Chi-friends,

some Chinese fighters became free knight-errants. They knew how to fight and knew how to relax - one of them became the known Chinese poet - Li Bai. So if you had a hard week of training and fighting - enjoy one of his poems:




To Boat on the Dongting-Lake

An autumn night at the lake –
not a whit of mist above the water.

Wonderful it would be,
a wave could carry us into the sky.

Moonlight I would buy there –
with borrowed money.

Or sail up to the white clouds,
to buy some wine.

More Info on the Book: here

Samstag, 9. Mai 2015

Article: How did Taijiquan get it's name?

From the club magazine No. 10, page 9 of the Jianquan Taijiquan Association Shanghai from 30.04.1984

Translated by Martin Boedicker

All styles of Wushu have both, their own peculiarities as well as their own names. This manifests in a special character. How is it with Taijiquan – why it's called Taiji? There are reasons.




Wang Zongyue’s Classic of Taijiquan (Taijiquan jing) describes the meaning clearly:

Taiji is born out of wuji. It is the origin of movement and stillness and the mother of yin and yang.”

We know from our own deep experience, that this sentence explains the two Chinese characters taiji correctly and through the use of the word taiji it declares that this martial art is based on the principle of yin and yang, stillness and movement. Taijiquan is also called “Long Boxing”. It is stated in the Classic of Taijiquan:

“Long boxing flows continuously like a long river and the sea.”

Taijiquan got this name because this describes the movements of the form well, which are flowing uninterrupted like a long river and the sea.

But how to use yin and yang, stillness and movement while practicing Taijiquan?

When one starts Taijiquan with the “Preparation (yubeishi)”, you have to strive to stand with a still heart-mind (xin). Both hands hang down and the whole body is relaxed. One uses no force and is not thinking. This beginning is a state of wuji [i.e. without polarity].

Then starts the “Taiji Beginning Form (taiji qishi)”. Through the movements of the hands one distinguishes between left and right, as well as inside and outside. The left leg steps out of pingxingbu and the right leg supports the body weight. This dividing course in the movement means that taiji is born from wuji.

The body, the feet and the hands are moved through the middle of the axis of waist and hip. The centre of gravity is shifting to the right foot. Thus the left leg is empty or yin and the right leg full or yang. After this comes “Outline the Sparrows Tail (lanquewei)”. From then on this rule is in force. In all movements, yin and yang, as well as full and empty are differentiated and the movements are performed without any interruption. When one does Taijiquan like this, then one will certainly understand the name “Taijiquan”.

The term “Long Boxing,” as it is stated in the Classic, explains how we practice Taijiquan. It describes the movements of the entire form. One movement follows into the next. This is the rule for all movements and within them is the mutual change between yin and yang, full and empty. Everything is combined into a continuous single movement. In names such as “Cloud Hands (yunshou)” it becomes clear how the movement flows continuously from beginning to end, like a long river and the sea. […]

In fact, taiji is a specific scientific technical term from ancient times. Its meaning includes yin and yang, full and empty, stillness and movement, to advance and to retreat, front and back, top and bottom and left and right. This use is reflected, as is well known, in the taiji graphic. Taiji moves without interruption, forming a harmonious whole. With it one can explain the whole cosmos, physics and also the techniques of Taijiquan. […]

Starting from the name Taijiquan to the knowledge of the fundamental aspects of Taijiquan, one reaches a method for the training of Taijiquan and recognizes the requirements for the practice of Taijiquan. Truth is what is in accordance with the name. Become familiar with this rule and master it fully. Those that study Taijiquan according to this and progress in this way will certainly achieve much.

Donnerstag, 23. April 2015

Clip: A Moving Meditation

Kungfu saved my live.

Kungfu gave me the ability to be a daddy.




Sonntag, 12. April 2015

Article: Agilty

By Martin Boedicker

In Tai Chi Chuan there are, besides the slow form, a series of weapon forms and the fast form. These forms are conducted dynamically with many changes in pace.




According to Wu Yinghua and Ma Yueliang, in the slow form the aspects stillness (jing), lightness (qing), slowness (man), conscientiousness (qie) and perseverance (heng) need to be taken into account. The dynamic forms are different from the slow form with regard to the third aspect, slowness. Slowness means that the movements are conducted in a controlled manner, yet lightly, evenly and flowing smoothly without any interruptions. (see Ma Jiangbao, p. 41)

In the dynamic forms the aspect of slowness is substituted by agility (ling). Agility manifests itself in four different characteristics, which must be taken into account during training. Only then can the qualities of the slow form translate into the mastery of fast movements. Wu Yinghua and Ma Yueliang write:

“In order to develop lightness, agility, suppleness (yuanhua) and dexterity (ziru), one has to heed four characteristics:

1. Break and turn alternate (duncuo xiangjian)
2. Hard and soft support each other (gangrou xiangji)
3. Fast and slow are in harmony (kuaiman xianghe)
4. The front and the back are connected. (qianhou xianglian)
(Wu, Ma, p. 2)




For Wu Yinghua and Ma Yueliang the break, dun, manifests itself in central equilibrium (zhongding) and cuo, the turn, in the movements of jumping.

Ma Jiangbao explains that most movements in the dynamic forms end with a quick movement, which are accentuated by a brief break after them. The next movement always begins with a change in direction, which is often accompanied by a jump (which can also be a long sliding step). A jump or change of direction is cuo, the turn. Expounding on their explanation of the four characteristics, Wu Yinghua and Ma Yueliang write:

“The hard power (gangjin) uses strong fajin. The principle of softness (rouze) uses soft movements. This means that the hard power is followed by softness. The turn has to be quick. As far as the quickness is concerned: in it lies the turn. In the slowness is the stretching. The positions of the form have to be exact. From its very beginning all of the form has to be conducted naturally, the last movements have to be calm. They must not be neglected. This is the connection of the front and the back.”
(Wu, Ma, p. 2)

Ma Jiangbao explains that in the dynamic forms, individual positions are more stretched than in the slow form. Quite often this leads to a lower position. In spite of that, agility must not suffer.

· Ma Jiangbao, Tai Chi Chuan, Mach:Art, Ratingen 1998.
· Wu Yinghua, Ma Yueliang, Wushi Taijikuaiquan, Henan Kexue Jishu Chubanshi 1988.

Sonntag, 29. März 2015

Film: Needle Through Brick







A documentary about the struggle for survival of traditional art and culture in the face of a rapidly changing and modernizing world told from the perspective of time-honored Chinese Kung Fu masters. The story explores the history, the art of Kung Fu and asks important questions about how the cultural heritage can be kept alive in a world that prefers to forget about its origins. The sadness and tragedy conveyed in the personal stories and anecdotes of today's last surviving traditional Kung Fu masters, along with the majesty and beauty of their skills, serve as reminders of the frailty of even the deadliest of arts.

Samstag, 21. März 2015

Freitag, 20. März 2015

Article: General Teaching Concepts for Tai Chi Chuan

by Martin Boedicker

taken from the book:




Once the goals and content for a Tai Chi lesson have been determined, one should opt for a general teaching concept.
Two fundamental concepts are on offer:

1. The closed concept (deductive instruction)

A deductive approach to instruction is a teacher centred approach, i.e. the student gets clear and concise instructions from the teacher for learning a movement.

This approach is often used for basic material and ensures that the student quickly reaches a certain goal by specific instruction. After a short time a new movement can be practised. For students who arrive exhausted from daily life, this type of teaching is felt as quite relaxing.

However, the closed concept involves one way communication, encourages passiveness, can restrict the student and he/she can develop a shallow movement experience. Little attention is paid to methods of problem-solving.


2. The open concept (inductive instruction)

The open concept is student-centred. It imposes more responsibility on students for their own learning. The student works and solves problems independently. This stimulates thinking and interest. The teacher has a supportive role only.

In the open concept the student has a greater opportunity of acquiring experience with the movements, which can result in a more permanent learning.

On the other hand he/she has to make the effort of taking the initiative and the whole process consumes time. Further on there is the risk that he/she will establish incorrect movement patterns. However, the aspect of self-reliance is an important issue and should not be underestimated.

- Which concept suits my teaching best?
- Which concept suits the needs of the group?
- Does it make sense to vary the concepts within the course or will this unsettle the students?
- Can I imagine a hybrid of the concepts?