A New York Times article recently emailed to me by T’ai-Chi student, MaryColleen…..thanks!
On June 30th 2001 Sifu was initiated as a 7th Generation Disciple in Grand Master T. T. Liang’s Yang Style T’ai Chi Ch’uan lineage.I made a pact with myself that day, that I would do a minimum daily practice of at least a ’round’ of T’ai-Chi Ch’uan with warm ups, Standing Meditation and Qigong. Today will make 8 years (2,922 days) that I have been blessed to be physically, mentally and emotionally able to do that practice daily without fail. I am so grateful to my teachers and the knowledge and wisdom that they have shared with me. I’m grateful to them for giving me these truly marvelous health maintenance practices and all of their multifaceted parts; Warm ups, Standing, Qigong, Solo Forms, Weapons Forms, Two Person Sensitivity Exercises, Two Person Weapons training….etc. etc.My main teachers in the chronological order that I met them:Sensei Steve McCabeMaster Paul GallagherMaster Ray HaywardGrand Master Remy PresasAnd all the other teachers that I have trained with over the years that have had a serious impact on my life and my art:Master Ken CohenMaster Leung Key-ChiMaster Zhang JieSifu Jimmy MorrisSifu Paul AbdellaMaster Duan ZhiliangAnd of course many thanks to Grand Master T. T. Liang for the way he handed down the ‘complete system’ and his words of encouragement for my daily practice. The music and Grand Master Liang counting one, two……assists me everyday I encounter difficulty in my daily practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan…as soon as the music starts and the Master starts to count….It’s like domino’s falling or like flipping a series of internal switches. Inside of me everything slows down and emotionally and spiritually things start to fall into place and I become more peaceful and tranquil inside. The Master helps me to ‘arrive’ at my practice.Over these past 8 years, the daily practice of T’ai Chi Ch’uan has greatly contributed to my “Joi de Vivre”.To all of my teachers ………….[Bow] I show my respect for you is in my daily actions, as I practice and research what you have taught me and reflect and meditate on what you’ve told me. I’m so fortunate to have been blessed with such wonderful teachers and I feel truly grateful. Thank you all! [Bow]J. R. Roy Sifu
Harvard Health Publications calls T’ai-Chi “Medication in Motion”!
Tai chi is often described as “meditation in motion,” but it might well be called “medication in motion.” There is growing evidence that this mind-body practice, which originated in China as a martial art, has value in treating or preventing many health problems.
Tai chi is easy to learn and you can get started even if you aren’t in top shape or the best of health. In this low-impact, slow-motion exercise, you go without pausing through a series of motions named for animal actions or martial arts moves. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention — as in some kinds of meditation — on your bodily sensations.
Tai chi differs from other types of exercise in several ways. The movements are never forced, the muscles are relaxed rather than tensed, the joints are not fully extended or bent, and connective tissues are not stretched. Tai chi can be easily adapted for anyone, from the most fit to people confined to wheelchairs or recovering from surgery.
Tai chi in motion:
A tai chi class might include these parts:Warm-up. Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body.
Instruction and practice of tai chi forms:
Short forms — forms are sets of movements — may include a dozen or fewer movements; long forms may include hundreds. Different styles require smaller or larger movements. A short form with smaller, slower movements is usually recommended at the beginning, especially if you’re older or not in good condition.
Qigong (or chi kung):
Translated as “breath work” or “energy work,” this consists of a few minutes of gentle breathing sometimes combined with movement. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilize the body’s energy. Qigong may be practiced standing, sitting, or lying down.
No pain, big gains:
Although tai chi is slow and gentle and doesn’t leave you breathless, it addresses the key components of fitness — muscle strength, flexibility, balance, and, to a lesser degree, aerobic conditioning.
Here’s some of the evidence:
In a 2006 study published in Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, Stanford University researchers reported benefits of tai chi in 39 women and men, average age 66, with below-average fitness and at least one cardiovascular risk factor. After taking 36 tai chi classes in 12 weeks, they showed improvement in both lower-body strength and upper-body strength. In a Japanese study using the same strength measures, 113 older adults were assigned to different 12-week exercise programs, including tai chi, brisk walking, and resistance training. People who did tai chi improved more than 30% in lower-body strength and 25% in arm strength — almost as much as those who participated in resistance training, and more than those assigned to brisk walking.“Although you aren’t working with weights or resistance bands, the unsupported arm exercise involved in tai chi strengthens your upper body,” says internist Dr. Gloria Yeh, an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. “Tai chi strengthens both the lower and upper extremities and also the core muscles of the back and abdomen.”
Women in the 2006 Stanford study significantly boosted upper- and lower-body flexibility as well as strength.
Tai chi improves balance and, according to some studies, reduces falls.
— the ability to sense the position of one’s body in space — declines with age. Tai chi helps train this sense, which is a function of sensory neurons in the inner ear and stretch receptors in the muscles and ligaments. Tai chi also improves muscle strength and flexibility, which makes it easier to recover from a stumble.
Depending on the speed and size of the movements, tai chi can provide some aerobic benefits. But in the Japanese study, only participants assigned to brisk walking gained much aerobic fitness. If your clinician advises a more intense cardio workout with a higher heart rate than tai chi can offer, you may need something more aerobic as well.
For more information on the health benefits of exercise, order our Special Health Report, Exercise: A program you can live with, at www.health.harvard.edu/E.
Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publication, May, 2009
————————————————————————————————-“Tai Chi & Qigong will play an important role in global awakening.”
Eckart Tolle, author of A New Earth (Oprah’s Book Club Pick)
JRRMAS Staff member JK assists Sifu in an explanation of how to correctly practice Joint Lock’s.Lesson 1:These practices can injure your joints if not practiced properly, Always practice with respect for each others range of motion limitations. Injury is guaranteed if you practice to quickly and use too much external muscular force….Instead, concentrate on the exactness of your fulcrum and lever…. and proper body positioning, listening skills and leverage. Speed is good…..up until the point where the slack is taken out of their jointthen you must go slowly giving them time to ‘slap out’Going slowly at the point that the joint lock is ‘activated’ ……will gradually increase the strength and the range of movement in the jointThen instead of injuring the jointsthey are slowly being strengthened and stretched!Sifu
JRRMAS Staff member BL and Sifu practice Part Three of Grand Master T. T. Liang’s T’ai-Chi Dance. Sifu is practicing the issuing side.
Sifu and JRRMAS Staff member BL practice Grand Master T. T. Liang’s T’ai-Chi Dance. Sifu is on the receiving side of Part ThreeLesson 1:When practicing, at first go slowly,Concluding your gestures with your whole body ONE unit!pausing slightly as you synchronize your movementsas the Yin/Yang flow and exchangeThe Dance is truly marvelous and infiniteas you learn to SEE with your touch,and not merely your eyes!Lesson 2:The eye is easy to fool, but to fool the touch of a T’ai Chi Ch’uan Master, is very difficult, indeed!Once you know the ‘sequence’ of a solo or two person set, then try practicing with your eyes closed. Remember to meditate on the principles, your balance point and your breathing!Practicing with your eyes closed is an excellent way to practice anything from solo forms to Trapping Hands and Chasing Hands, as well as any of the Pushing Hands and Da Lu variations.
Sifu and the morning class practice the solo form. This is what I’m calling Part Five of the solo form from the second Wave Hands Like Clouds to the third Wave Hands Like Clouds.Again this clip uses the music and Grand Master T. T. Liang counting as a training aid.
JRRMAS Staff member LB and Sifu demonstrate Part 2 of the T’ai-Chi Dance. Sifu is demonstrating the receiving side.
The morning class and Sifu practice our daily round of the solo form. This is what I’m calling Part Four. From the second Cross Hands to the second Wave Hands Like Clouds. This demonstration, like the earlier Solo Form posts, is to the music, with Grand Master T. T. Liang counting. The music and the counting are meant as training and practice aids They are for intermediate levels of training The highest levels are practiced to the rhythm’s of nature and ones own internal beat.In classes we practice several ways:1. With music and counting 2. Just the music3. To a metronome (with beats and half beats sounding out 4. Without music or counting, using our own internal beat. Lesson 1:Practicing to the music will verify your meditation. If you space out and miss a movement….you will know it at the end of the round….because you’ll have more beats left than you should!!Otherwise, you might think you did all the movesBut ..really…there is NO verification that you actually did!!Thank you Grand Master Laing!Lesson 2:The other purpose I use the music and counting for are for those day’s that I need a little ‘help and support’ for my personal practice….I can always count on Grand Master Liang being there for me …and counting ….One..Two…The sound of his voice alone sets the tone for the meditation…and is inspiring and supportive……. Grand Master Liang never fails to help me jump start my practice…even if I’m struggling…even if I’m feeling down and out!!Thank You Grand Master Liang!!!