Author Archives: InternalGardens

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In Tai Chi, Avoid the Misapplication of “Relax” (w/ video)

A typical tai chi class: the instructor admonishes his students, “Relax!”  They go ahead and do what they think is “relax.”  And here’s where the trouble begins. Ask a roomful of people what the opposite of tension is and you’ll get the unanimous reply, “Relaxation.”  At first consideration, this indeed makes sense.  But then ask…

Avoid This Tai Chi Warmup Exercise To Loosen Your Knees!

There is a tai chi, qigong and daoyin exercise that people often teach and do to “warm up” or “loosen” the knees.  And it is the absolute worst thing you can do to your knees.  It will “loosen” them alright – to the point that you may need surgery in a few years.  WHY this…

Tai Chi Martial Arts Application for Yang Tai Chi & Chen Tai Chi Opening Move

Here is a very basic look at how you might use the opening tai chi move for self-defense.  Very few people understand that not every single move of the tai chi form is used in application exactly as it is in form practice.  For example, you might add an extra step or tighten the movement…

What are the “5 Elements in the Feet” of Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan)?

The Tai Chi Classics mention that their are “Five Elements in the feet,” and are referred to as the “Five Steps.”  What does that mean?  Let’s first examine the Taoist five elements, and then we’ll discuss how they are used to symbolize the five steps, or “wu bu,” in Chinese. The five elements are Bookmark…

When You Have No Time to Practice Tai Chi, Here’s What to Do Instead

I constantly remind my students that real tai chi chuan practice is not about being fixated on memorizing the postures of the form.  Sadly, a lot of people will never understand this fact of traditional tai chi. But the ones that do, soar like eagles. Their skills and energy development accelerates exponentially. My teacher, Master…

What are the Eight Gates of Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan), and How Are They Used?

Every posture of tai chi chuan has at least one of the eight gates (or, bamen) dominating the movement. This is how tai chi was originally constructed, as stated in the Tai Chi Classics. Each of the 8 gates has a certain martial “energy.” Each of these martial application basics are constructed from varying degrees…

Oriental Culture Has Has the Concept of Qi, Chi Or Ki Energy for Thousands of Years- But What Is Qi?

Qi is a concept unique to the East Perhaps the first time the masses of the western world got a thorough exposure to this concept was in the movie “Star Wars,” in which it was referred to as “The Force.” It’s an elusive, though not too difficult concept. If you are exposed to it enough…

What is the Silk Reeling Energy of Tai Chi (Taijiquan), or Chan Si Jing?

The traditional schools of tai chi chuan (taijiquan), along with the other Chinese internal arts, emphasize the development of “silk reeling energy,” or “chansijing,” in Chinese. The oldest documented and codified style of tai chi chuan known to man is Chen style. Chen tai chi chuan and its basic developmental exercises can help you learn…

“Kua Turning” – Protect & Heal Your Knees in Tai Chi, While Strengthening Your Tai Chi Moves

Your tai chi moves are only as good as you can direct your internal energy (qi) and vector the energy of gravity.  The secret to healing and protecting your knees (which also empowers the martial applications of tai chi) requires that you learn to move from your kua. “Kua” refers to Bookmark on Delicious Digg…

How to Do Dantian Compression/Expansions for Strengthening Internal Organs, Qi and Vitality

In Master Jou Tsung Hwa’s last edition of “The Dao of Taijiquan” he emphasized special use of the dantian for tai chi (taijiquan), qigong, and Taoist meditation. But most people have trouble with it and do it wrong. Doing it wrong will deviate the qi instead of cultivating it as well build up tension. Doing…