Seminars & Classes, June & July

The last of our July seminars. Click HERE to be added to our list for Fall classes and seminars on Tai Chi, Bagua, Kung Fu, Qigong, and…?

Feng Shui for Health
Sunday, July 12, 1 – 3 pm
$25.00
Taught by Narrye Caldwell
Click HERE for information, and to register.

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Seminars & Classes, June & July

Martial Arts and Feng Shui

mafs3Traditional kung fu schools are not known for being pretty. Most martial artists can report a long history of working out night after night in basements, garages, parking lots, and warehouses. I taught my first Tai Chi class 30 years ago in a high school cafeteria. My current Tai Chi sword class meets on the basketball court at the park, which we often share with local kids shooting hoops. None of these places would make it into the coffee table books that highlight model feng shui homes—you know the ones, with their cascading water features, peaceful gardens, meandering paths, and elegant front doors. Continue reading

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What you should know before you start a Tai Chi class

tc3I love teaching Tai Chi, and I especially love introducing this beautiful health promoting martial art to beginners. But many people start out with some ideas that are not only wrong, but prevent them from sticking with the practice long enough to benefit from it. This is not their fault. Unfortunately, bad teaching and popular but misleading ideas abound.

So here’s my attempt to set a few things straight and get people started off on the right foot (sorry for the pun.)

1. Tai Chi is a martial art. Yes I know, that sounds obvious. But many people come to Tai Chi thinking it can be stripped of its original function and turned into a relaxation/recreation exercise routine. The truth is if you’re not willing to work at Tai Chi like the kung fu practice it is, you not only won’t reap its benefits, but you’ll be frustrated and disappointed. It’s not that you’re required to develop it as a self defense practice. This Continue reading

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The Profile of Long Fist

The Core of Long Fist
The types of material we teach here—Tai Chi, Bagua and Long Fist Kung Fu—all belong to a large family of Kung Fu style from middle and northern China. Tested in war and refined in peace, this huge family of Kung Fu styles has many unifying principles. Most of the principles here were rarely spoken in ancient days.
Continue reading

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How to Memorize a Kung Fu Form

Forms are pre-arranged sequences of martial movements. The trouble is that you may not have any experience memorizing sequenced actions. Here are a few tips for making this a pleasant learning experience. Continue reading

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Taiwan Tales #4

subway3The metro that links Taipei’s diverse neighborhoods rolls and wriggles many times a day, stuffed with people. There is an old Chinese saying that, “If I don’t know you, you don’t exist.” This allows a person to maneuver through the hailstorm of strangers, while performing a little dance of interrupted steps and altered angles. The ultimate Daoist truth is here presented in the flesh, everyone finds his own way. Looking down on it from the high step on an escalator, the whole operation seems Darwinian; survival of the fleetest. Continue reading

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Training and Training: Shifu Sweats!

There’s training and then there’s training.

In Kung Fu there is a kind of training that so challenges the way of thinking AND the body that people successfully ignore it for years and even decades.

So begins Shifu’s newest article, printed on our sister site, adamhsukungfu.com. Click the picture to continue reading.

We are a little moTPW5re than two weeks into our Taiwan trip, and have been very busy eating delicious food, meeting Shifus and publishers and, of course, training.

Shifu Adam Hsu teaches 7 days a week and encourages his students to practice every day, even if not in class (hint, hint.)

He and his students have warmly welcomed Ted to join the classes: Pigua Zhang, Bajiquan, Long Fist, Bagua Zhang. Two hours every night, 85 degree weather and very humid. Ted will bring much training experience back to Santa Cruz, but will leave a puddle of sweat behind, in exchange.

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Taiwan Tales 3

Taipei4013

Buddhist monk waiting outside clothing shop for a contribution.

  Taiwan is a country on the precipice of its future, politically and culturally. If nothing else this makes for surprise moments. Our 9th floor room has a balcony; rather than waste space, it is overgrown with plants, Daoist rocks and, oh yes, a carp pond stocked with mature koi, big ones. And around the corner, the remainder of the balcony is assigned to a miniature park.

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The famous NIght Market; any kind of fish you would want to taste.

The practice tonight was Pigua, a beautiful Long Arm style that generates huge power from a flexible spine. The moves create power by consciously letting go. This is one of SiGong Hsu’s most persistent points, to let go and relax, to start with relaxation not because it’s a nice idea and you need some after a stressful day, but because there is no other way to your truer discoveries of movement. He sees this relaxation concept echoed in many ways.

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When someone says “just relax,” it’s the worst.

Sifu had me go through the first Pigua form with all the students. This was definitely a puzzle since I’d never done it. When one of the teachers talked to me, he said he couldn’t believe I had never done the form I realized that Sifu Hsu had made some point through me, as teachers will, about relaxation and the attitude that you know nothing. Difficult cultivation.

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Taiwan Tales 2

TPW2In Taipei you eat at a lot of restaurants. Rather than “fine dining” we often sit down to meals of local, humble and utterly delicious food.

Where Sifu Hsu, also a confirmed foodie, escorts us you would never find otherwise. The food seems simple: small vegetable dishes, stewed meats, light stock soups; a plate of wine-infused cold chicken; slices of rich fatty pork beneath slightly sweet gravy pressed between small white buns; ubiquitous greens enlivened by slivers of quickly sautéed garlic.

TPW4bEach simple dish was infused with the indescribable taste of prolonged human sharing.

 That night at class I practiced two moves for two hours, with Sifu Hsu constantly adding more layers of meaning. After a while, I felt like I was cooking in my own soup.

TPW1

 

 TPW3

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Taiwan Tales 1

We’re here, safe and sound. And already working out. For those of you who we’ve made work hard in class you are vindicated. It’s already very warm here!

TP2The first move of Baji Quan about to explode. It wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the fascinating mix that is Taiwan where Japanese, French and Chinese cuisines can be had just by walking down an alley; gingko seeds, tasty eel and stand-up mackerel, all in a block’s radius. Keep practicing, we’re think of you all… warmly.

TP1Here’s Adam Hsu, your SiGong (grandfather instructor) teaching, as brilliant as ever.

 

Debbie and Ted

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Five Elements Seminar

Screen Shot 2015-04-16 at 3.34.03 PMClick image above and it will take you to page where video will load. May take a minute!

 

Here’s a very condensed version of our Five Elements Xing Yi Seminar (6 hours become 3 minutes). Everyone did a great job. Thanks for your participation.

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Learning a Bagua Move

A Bagua Teaching Moment at the Academy thumbnail

Click image above to go to video…

Thanks to Nick and Ikuyo for allowing us to film this lesson.

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Tai Chi Campfire Tales

The art of T’ai Chi is the art of consciousness. The slow, fluid movements of the art gradually blend with the flow of the mind and reveal things often buried in the silent forests of our minds. Most people associate T’ai Chi with the graceful motions of dance-like exercise without knowing the depths of concentration it requires and fosters. Perhaps the following will help illustrate T’ai Chi’s soul. Continue reading

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Tai Chi, A Marriage of Yin and Yang

People know Tai Chi as a slow, gentle and graceful dance. It’s only natural to assume that its famous health benefits arise from its meditative nature. But history tells another story.

It is a story of a marriage made by mutual convenience. And it is a story of a union of parties as different from one another as the Capulets and the Montagues. It’s actually more than a marriage story; it’s a blending of two clans in a union that took centuries to consummate. Continue reading

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Academy T-Shirts!

Tshirt072We’ve moved Heaven, Earth and one large Dragon… and, once again, have Academy T-Shirts!

You can order HERE or just ask at the studio.

Be the envy of your friends and Wear the Dragon!

 

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