Link List

The links below are attached to websites and videos that I think provide information that's useful for T'ai Chi practitioners.

  1. T'ai Chi Ch'uan Lee Scheele's T'ai Chi Notebook Lee provides a wealth of information including an extensive list of useful links.
    David Chen's legacy website. David was a gentleman and an accomplished T'ai Chi practitioner. His death is a loss to us all.
  2. Cheng Man-Ching Videos Black and White Form reference film This copy is many analog generations old so it's very grainy and pixelated, but you can still see enough detail and enough of the quality of Professor's form to make it useful. This copy doesn't include the push hands section.
    A short Push Hands clip from the "Taiwan film" with some discussion by Bob Smith. The person being uprooted by Professor is William C. C. Chen.
    Professor teaching the first "Grasp the Sparrow's Tail" at the T'ai Chi Association on Canal Street. Ed Young can be seen assistant-teaching. I'm someplace in the back row, off camera as usual.
    The Black and White Sword Form reference film The beginning is slightly truncated, but the rest is in better condition than the Form reference film above.
    The Color Sword Form film rendered in slow motion Even though this film wasn't made to be a reference and it was shot on broken ground it supplies a useful view and a sense of the vigor of Professor's sword form.
  3. Push Hands
    Professor Cheng demonstrating elbow-elbow contact when practicing This excerpt from the "Master Tapes" show's two things. These are the elbow to elbow connection Professer referred to as "having four hands" and the quality of the push as a single action rather than a spiral or a wave of compression.
  4. Tai Chi Chiang Fu Zong-Wen doing sword form and spear exercises. Fu Zong-Wen was a student of Yang Cheng Fu.
    Yang spear demonstration The way spear develops strength is evident in this video.
    Six Harmonies Spear Imagine doing this form with the spear used in the Yang spear demonstration (above).
    Yang Spear exercises Clearly a skilled performance of "basic exercises." Notice that his feet appear glued to the ground.
  5. Judo Zdenek Matl 9'th dan A top level Judo practitioner who can demonstrate the principle of "ju" or softness at a very high level. This is a must-see video. It shows a soft pull, the inverse of the T'ai Chi soft push.
    More Zdenek Matl Here, Matl breaks with "upright" and produces something in between a push, a pull and shouldering (kao).
  6. Ukemi Aikido ukemi fundementals Ukemi is the art of protecting oneself in a fall. It is not practiced in T'ai Chi but it is a valuable physical skill. Last winter, for example, I fell on my icy driveway while clearing snow. My wife saw the incident and commented that it looked like I melted to ground and then stood up smoothly. I was unharmed. In an "applied" environment ukemi is more than protection in a fall, it is a means of escape and a means of recovering your feet quickly. Having good ukemi skills allows practicing situations and techniques that can't be practiced to completion without them.
    Parkour ukemi Parkour began in France as an urban sport adaptation of paratrooper obstacle course training. The ukemi practiced here is most like Aikido ukemi but in hard, dangerous environments. It's harder to learn on a hard surface, but, in the end, that's where you want to be able to work. Don't get the idea that I think this should be part of everyone's t'ai chi, but it is useful. In the sense that you are, t'ai chi like, neutralizing the ground as it comes at you, it can be a t'ai chi practice.
  7. Aikido Aikido fundementals Here is another old man who has become his art (like Zdenek Matl above). The link will take you to a series of 49 short lectures (and more) by Peter Shapiro Sensei. Two are out of order so keep your eyes open. Shapiro sensei teaches Aikido as a Yoga. He is ignorant of Tai Chi, but everything he says is applicable to Tai Chi, including the mistaken approaches to practice that have become common. If you can ignore the Japanese context and listen to the meat of what he says, you can see it's Tai Chi. It also offers a valuable expansion of viewpoint because of the differences between the Japanese and the Chinese contexts.

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