I have been playing Taiji since 1978. I started with Cheng Man-Ch’ing’s form and have studied with a number of Yang style traditions. My practice includes sword and saber, standing meditation and qigong. I have also studied a little Wu style, some Bagua, some Aikido and a bunch of Karate and Kenpo. I have my third degree black belt in Daimon Ryu Kenpo Karate.
I also have a background in massage – used to do that professionally as well as having taught prelicensing classes in Oregon.
Over the years I have studied a bit of Feldenkrais, Rosen work, Polarity, Shiatsu, Connective Tissue work, Authentic Movement, Continuum, Alexander technique, and Kentro.
I love partner play, whether we are sparring, doing push hands or dancing. The latter has led me to square and contra dancing, ballroom and Contact Improvisation.
I love the martial side of Taiji, and as I’ve gotten older, my interest goes more to the moving meditation aspects of Taiji. This is drawing me to take my love of push hands and apply what I learn there to relationships in general.
A pet peeve of mine is that those who study one movement art can be so ignorant of the broad field of Somatics and movement in general. This is particularly true in T’ai Chi and other martial arts. In my view, the task of Western Taiji authors is to demystify the art. This means writing in clear English, grounding the art in accurate physical descriptions including specific bones and muscles, and it means connecting Taiji to other movement arts. My wish is that this blog will help students of one art broaden their studies and see that all these somatic practices are studying the human body.