Back to school….

Posted September 5th, 2018 in News, Newsletters and Notifications, Push Hands, Short Form, Sword Form by Phil Vickery

I hope everyone enjoyed their summer break and are ready to come back to classes which are commencing tomorrow Thursday 6th September – 7:00pm.

I thought I’d outline what to expect as a reminder of what has been and what will be. We will continue to practice the Long Form as our major form exercise and also continue to embed and refine the Da Lu we have all learnt as a rule for this term.

  1. Whilst doing solo and partner practice over the break I thought it would be helpful to re-introduce the concept of weekly applications revision with a chance to review in order, hopefully every week, the applications of the Short Form postures on an ongoing basis. This will seek to both remind us all of the function of postures (which is vital to understanding the Jin level the 3rd level of practice in Dr Chi Chiang-tao’s levels of Taiji). Jin level is important to comprehend because it helps us understand the internal structure of how the body moves in order to perform the function of the application.
  2. We will continue with the Da Lu we have learnt to further refine it but between now and Christmas I would like to start teaching the next Da Lu too which is the first one I learnt and is 7 postures long, and again is a 2-person exercise helping us to understand Taiji application concepts with pre-arranged movements.
  3. I would like to take Push Hands further so all students feel able and well practiced at Roll-back, Press and Push as a standard practice of Push Hands.
  4. Between now and Christmas I would also like to take my lead from the Taoist and Traditional Chinese Medicine line of though of teaching The Crane qigong exercise as with Taoist thought Autumn is the season of the element Metal and relates specially to both the Lower Intestine and the Lungs.

As ever the classes are yours and the direction is aided by myself to help all students develop and advance in Taiji for the benefit of your own personal mastery. Regular practice and repeated practice are the key in Taiji and after the first term back I will also re-visit for one 10 week term Yang Cheng-fu-‘s 10 essentials of Taiji which we will nimbly slip into every lesson.

If you have not practised as much as you have wanted to over the Summer have no fear as Thursday class will also offer up a good opportunity for revision and questions on basics as well as specifics as ever.

I will text you all as well and hope to see you all tomorrow.

Much Love

Phil.

 

 

 

Dr Chi Chiang-tao: Push Hands and Da Lu

Posted March 25th, 2018 in Course Material, News, Push Hands, Videos by Phil Vickery

Here is some footage showing Dr Chi performing Push Hands with his students, the most notable was Alan Peck’s first teacher Master John Kells.

The Da Lu you see in this footage is the one we are currently learning and therefore it is of good note to study it and absorb the dynamics and quality of application.

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi and its applications

Posted June 25th, 2017 in Push Hands, Uncategorized, Videos by Phil Vickery

Many people ask about Tai Chi and whether it is effective as a martial art. The answer is yes however that is not a simple and straight forward yes. Finding someone who has trained well to demonstrate the applications and execute them effectively  approaches a fuller yes. This is just the same thing as a weapon. If a weapon is not handled with skill it might be ineffective in what it can achieve, and therefore it may not harm anyone, but in the hands of someone with knowledge and experience it then has deadly application. However, demonstration of applications and technique can be very useful not just to verify fighting ability but also more real time co-ordination.

 

Here a couple of clips of some useful and interesting application of Tai Chi postures and Tai Chi principles.

Here is an interesting clip of Master Sam Tam who was a peer of Master Alan Peck and who both studied under Grand Master Chi Chiang-tao at the same time.

 

Interesting and old footage of Grand Master Huang Sheng-shyan’s public and some would say controversial fight against a famed wrestler at the time circa late 1950’s early 1960’s.

 

An interesting clip from modern day martial artist both internal and externalist Chris Crudelli demonstrating Tai Chi fighting techniques.

From time to time I will try to post up some other bits of applications or even form work from past Masters as although the quality of film may be variable we can learn from this documentation the Tai Chi principles being used in either combat demonstration of form work.

Hipsters of the world unite and take over.

Posted April 14th, 2017 in News, Push Hands, Reference Material, San Sou, Short Form, Sword Form, Uncategorized by Phil Vickery

In the  Tai Chi classics there is great mention of the hips or waist and the importance it plays in our Tai Chi practice. Yang Cheng-fu draws two of his 10 Golden rules of Tai Chi together to highlight this when he speaks of Loosening the Waist and uniting both upper and lower parts of the body. These 2 particular points have a special relationship in helping the body work as one unit.

This is not just for form practice but actually for all Tai Chi whether it’s open hand forms (Short and Long), Weapons forms and Push Hands too. Why are the hips and waist so important?

The hips/waist are at the bottom of the spine and therefore are the foundation for everything that happens in the upper body. However the hips/waist also sit on top of the legs and also act as the gateway to allow our root from the feet that then channels all movement up the legs to pass onto the spine. It’s like a lock-gate that you would see on a canal system on the river ways in that it controls what passes through it. Again the classics speak very clearly on how we transmit the force for all Tai Chi movement in our body when it says Qi is rooted in the feet; channelled  through the legs; directed by the waist onto the spine and then is expressed in the hands and fingers by way of the arms.

A common feeling in practitioners who cannot feel the whole body as one unit is that the legs move and the upper half of the body including the arms move separately. This is because the waist is closed and does allow the unification of upper and lower.

If we forcibly turn our waists with strength then we usually close it and we still keep the upper and lower separated. However if we sink our waist and hips, and like Tai Chi teachings make it feel like a ball on water i.e. frictionless, then we open it and can allow all the work we do with our feet connected to the ground to transmit naturally up through to the spine.

Push Hands is an excellent opportunity to learn how to loosen the waist and make it feel like a ball on water. In Push Hands we need to unite the sensitivity of the upper half of the body with the work done by the lower half of the body for yielding and attack to be successful. Yes, you’ve guessed it, the key to this is the loosening of the waist. In this way the hips/waist have 2 functions:

  1. As mentioned their looseness allows us to make 2 separated movements of upper and lower into one whole body movement through connecting them together.
  2. The loose turning of the waist is how we yield and neutralise an opponents attack.

When the lower lumbar of the spine is closed the backside protrudes a little and this is a physiological sign that the Tailbone/Coccyx known as the Wei-Lu in Tai Chi and Chinese Medicine has not sunk downwards to help lower alignment of the spine. Some Tai Chi schools of thought say we must tuck the Wei-lu down and in, which is not entirely correct. If we do this physically and with force tension can still be held and the waist actually can still remain closed. So we sink our mind intention or Yi down through the whole pelvis, and the effect can be felt very subtly at first of the Wei-lu dropping and an opening or greater connection from the legs up onto the spine. This opens up and connects upper and lower as Yang Cheng-fu instructs us. When we walk around in our normal lives it is a significantly valuable practice to sink the mind down through the pelvic region and let go of the waist all the time to open up the hips/waist.  This allows us to develop it as a good habit, and when we practice any form solo or with a partner we must try to do the same.

The other benefit of doing this, in and outside of our Tai Chi practice, is that it keeps the mind quite low in the body and thus naturally allows us to sink the Qi and reduce upper body tension, which is good for Tai Chi in general as well as our health. So in summary, the hips/waist help us to advance in our practice in all areas in Tai Chi and also help provide a better quality of health too. So make it your habit to loosen the waist, unite the upper and lower body into one and for Qi and internal force to take over tension and dissolve it so nothing obstructs your internal practice and experience.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Use the force: from foot to hand

Posted November 29th, 2015 in Course Material, News, Push Hands, Reference Material, San Sou, Short Form, Sword Form, Uncategorized by Phil Vickery

In Tai Chi we always speak about various classical quotes from the canon of Tai Chi texts such as ” be rooted in the feet”, “the body moves as one unit”, “use the intention to move the body” and “keep the body sunk” etc. All these things are true and very important in Tai Chi and recognising them with actual experience helps us comprehend the teachings of the classics and what comes down through lineage teachers.

In order to assist us in developing our Tai Chi to the highest levels we all need to have clear instructions in what we are looking for as correct experience or else we never can tell if we have the goal in our sights.

So, attached here is an extremely useful pictogram of all the aspects one needs to get the Jin (or tai Chi intrinsic force) to come from the feet; through the legs; directed by the waist; up the spine and to separate between the shoulder blades to funnel out through the arms and hands. It simply splits down into the physical, energetic and mind aspects as a checklist of vital points one needs to get the force from foot to hand.

 

 

Autumn term start date and news

Hi all this is just a quick note to say that the first class back at the Lam Rim Centre will be Wednesday 2nd September at 8:00 – 9:30pm. From that point all other classes will continue as normal.

Monday classes will resume on Monday 7th September at 6:30-8:00pm.

As an additional note to late Wednesday classes, a local Yoga school has now taken up the early slot on a Wednesday. Due to the nature of their class structure, and after having a conversation with the teacher, can I ask all students not enter the hall (where we practice our form) to get to the café area until 7:50pm please. This is due to it being with beginners and a portion of teaching that requires meditation and out of respect I said the school would be mindful of this.

So as the weather is variable and we’re coming towards the end of Summer when coming in to the side entrance if you come early can you please either remain downstairs, or if you can get through the Main doors to the centre go up the central stairs (equally being mindful of practitioners in the practice rooms on the ground floor), to the café? Many thanks.

As with last year both classes over a 10 week period went through and reviewed Yang Cheng-fu’s 10 essential points of practice, this term we will be doing something similar. Over a 4 week period both classes will be being introduced to and taught Dr Chi Chiang-tao’s 7 point practice of Tai Chi.

Dr Chi Chiang-tao’s 7 Point’s of Practice:

1. Full

2. Empty

3. Yin

4. Yang

5. Open

6. Closed

7. Central Equilibrium

By paring up most the of the points we will deepen our practice of the natural and correct techniques of Tai Chi and how we can develop and advance our practice and experience. The 7 point principles are essential in Tai Chi whether you want to practice just for health or martial art. A thorough understanding of them is vital to advancing to higher stages in Tai Chi practice.

Enjoy the last week before we come back to classes and as the season transforms so does our awareness to make sure our practice adapts to any changes internal or external, yet always for ours and others benefits.

See you soon

Phil and Chris

 

 

 

 

 

DR John Kells Alan Pecks teacher demonstrating Tai Chi emptying and issuing back in 1990

Posted July 22nd, 2015 in News, Push Hands, Videos by Phil Vickery

An interesting little clip here at the turn of the 90’s of Master Alan Peck’s first tai Chi teacher back in London demonstrating the emptying and issuing forces developed in Push Hands:

 

Song of the Essence and Application of T’ai chi Ch’uan – By Li I Yu

Posted October 12th, 2014 in Course Material, Long Form, News, Push Hands, San Sou, Short Form, Sword Form by Phil Vickery

Wu Yu-hsiang (who founded Wu Style Tai Chi) was a scholar from a wealthy and influential family who became a senior student of Yang Lu-Chan (founder of Yang style tai Chi). Wu’s most famous student was his nephew Li I Yu a formidable Tai Chi Master and a scholar who produced many manuscripts which are considered part of the canon of the tai Chi classics today. One of his most famous writing was called Song of the Essence and Application of T’ai chi Ch’uan. Please take some time to read and absorb the highly realised teachings he recorded which will contain many familiar sayings you may have read or heard in the classes: Li I Yu

Cheng Man-ching short form and Push Hands

Posted August 11th, 2013 in Course Material, Holidays 2013, News, Push Hands, Reference Material, Short Form, Uncategorized by Phil Vickery

Here (click on link below) you might be familiar with the first half of the footage showing Professor Cheng doing the short form. The 2nd half shows him doing Push hands with some of his American students with some nice detail:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fSYPOhSgiis

Dr Chi Chiang-tao doing Push Hands and Da Lu

Posted April 17th, 2011 in Push Hands, Reference Material by Chris Hill

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBEh1eab0b0&feature=related

Dr Qi pushing hands with John Kells and other students.