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J.JUSTIN MEEHAN CHINESE INTERNAL ARTS ASSOCIATION SAINT LOUIS, MO WWW.STLTAIJI.COM INTERNATIONAL T’AI CHI SYMPOSIUM NASHVILLE TN JULY9, 2009 HunYuan Taijiquan.

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Presentation on theme: "J.JUSTIN MEEHAN CHINESE INTERNAL ARTS ASSOCIATION SAINT LOUIS, MO WWW.STLTAIJI.COM INTERNATIONAL T’AI CHI SYMPOSIUM NASHVILLE TN JULY9, 2009 HunYuan Taijiquan."— Presentation transcript:

1 J.JUSTIN MEEHAN CHINESE INTERNAL ARTS ASSOCIATION SAINT LOUIS, MO INTERNATIONAL T’AI CHI SYMPOSIUM NASHVILLE TN JULY9, 2009 HunYuan Taijiquan and Qigong A system of Self Cultivation and Unification

2 Presentation Overview Learn about HunYuan System. Briefly review the variations of taiji styles and the guiding principles common to all forms. Discuss present day directions and opportunities for the Chinese Internal Arts Community. Explore the spiritual aspects of taiji.

3 Han Yuan Taijiquan Origin Synthesized by GrandMaster Feng Zhiqiang (b. 1928) of Beijing, China based on his mastery of various Internal Arts, especially from his 2 major teachers, Chen Fake ( ) and Hu Yao Zhen ( ). GM Feng does not consider this Art his personal creation, but a Gift of Cultural Treasure to the Entire World from the Chinese People and Traditional Chinese Culture for the purpose of health, well being and world understanding. For full bio of GM Feng go to

4 Benefits of Hun Yuan Taijiquan Healthy Exercise Stress Reduction Self Healing and Energy (Qi) Balancing Self Defense Explore the spiritual aspects of taiji. Introduction to Traditional Chinese Culture Spiritual practice seeking unification with the Dao

5 Key Concepts Essence of HunYuan taiji is the unificationof chan szu chin silk reeling exercises and Qigong energy practice with taiji choreography. The focus is not on form perfection but on Self Nurturing and Cultivation. From a spiritual perspective one is entering into intimate contact with the Source of All Creation and synchronizing one’s movement with the natural operation of the Universe.

6 Terminology Clarification HunYuan (literally “mixed” “original”) emphasizes the underlying Unity and Oneness of taiji, within the Chinese Cultural Context, not its distinct separate subsequent manifestations. Connotes the "Very Beginning” and is meant to be inclusive (as in “taiji comes from Wuji”) acknowledging all the great ancient wellsprings of Traditional Chinese culture that went into the creation of Taijiquan. Congruent with the Big Dao.

7 Silk Reeling Exercises Known formally as Chan Szu Chin. Chan Szu means “silk reeling cocoon” and Chin means “internal flowing energy. Chan Szu Chin describes the way the practitioner moves internal energy through the body by circular body movement. “Silk spirals as it is removed and the cocoon rotates”- ---GM Feng “Silk” represents the way the energy flows thru the body and the “cocoon” represents the waist which rotates on its axis.

8 Silk Reeling Exercises Originated in the Chen Style The art of opening and loosening the 18 joints of the body and coordinating their movement with the Dan Tian to produce integrated, progresssive and unified spiral power essential to taiji. Easier to do, repetitive, and can be used selectively. Multiple applications to treatment of musculoskeletal or movement impairment.

9 Silk Reeling Exercises A sequence of individual movements which can practiced repetitively to unify whole body movement through circling the major joints, torso and limbs Sifu JJMeehan

10 Silk Reeling Exercises There are some 30 of these movements and they form the building blocks of the form, allowing the student to work on correct taiji movement before form choreography. Chan szu chin silk reeling exercises are to be practiced in order to learn how to integrate the whole body in each movement. This will allow the student to practice individual movements repetitively and concentrate on correct taiji principles of movement.

11 Silk Reeling Exercises Any movement in the form can and should be taken out and practiced individually as a silk reeling exercise. There are many students particularly the older or more challenged student who may chose to only practice silk reeling, standing meditation and Qigong, instead of choreography.

12 Qigong The art of accessing, accumulating, directing and moving energy both inside and outside the body for healing, spiritual or martial purposes. Over 4000 year old history. “Qi Gong is a holistic system of self healing exercise and meditation, an ancient and evolving practice that includes posture, movement, self-massage, breathing techniques, and meditation.” Kenneth S. Cohen, The Way of Qi Gong

13 Types of Qi Gong Shamanistic practices Earliest origins found in the practice of rituals Confuscian Qigong Focuses on improving character Meditative or Spiritual Qigong Types of spiritual qigong include Buddhist and Taoist versions

14 Types of Qi Gong Martial Arts Qigong Strengthens, stretches and conditions the body; Speeds recovery from sports related injuries. Medical Qigong Based on Traditional Chinese Medicine; Exercises designed to promote health and self healing.

15 Qigong Meditation Breathing Visualization Movement Self massage Qigong is excellent for stress management because of the centered mental and physical state that is achieved. Consistent and correct practice results in improved martial, health and academic performance.

16 HunYuan Qigong HunYuan Qigong allows one to flush mind and body, collect, build and circulate energy. Without energy and proper practice, the form is meaningless. If limited in time, the student is encouraged to build “gung” or internal fortitude before practicing form. In other words, if a student had only 30 minutes to practice he or she would be encouraged to practice Silk Reeling Exercises, Qigong and Standing meditation and not practice form “Practicing form without Gong is Empty”- GM Feng

17 HunYuan Qigong The system offers a complete curriculum of Qigong including 12 to 24 standing exercises, 15 restorative massage techniques and, and standing meditation practice. Yi or mind intention is the key component to guide the energy and is more important than the external physical expressions. Breathing is natural and focused on Dan Tian or diaphragmatic breathing techniques.

18 Natural Spirituality Hun Yuan system encompasses a spiritual approach that is based on philosophical Daoism rather than a religious Daoism pedagogy. Da Dao is a key concept in this system- “The Dao that can be named is not the Eternal Dao.” “If taiji is to be used for medical and health maintenance purposes it is important to maintain the core integrities of the Traditional Chinese Internal Arts. This includes spiritual, energetic and movement awareness.”-Sifu JJMeehan

19 Spirituality Allows for practitioners “to include their own personal concept of God(Shang Di) within their practice” -GM Feng 2002 The HunYuan system is an integrated system where silk reeling basic exercises, Qigong and taiji form are integrated and one is encouraged to enrich the form withone’s own spiritual or meaningful awareness. In the immortal words of Joseph Campbell, one is encouraged to “follow your Bliss”.

20 Dao De Jing Classic Chinese text written by Lao Tzu over 2500 years ago. The Dao De Jing is comprised of 81 chapters that explore a variety of topics. Lao Tzu was a Daoist sage whose name has been aptly and affectionately translated as “old boy.” Emphasizes the importance of living in harmony with nature and turning within to acquire understanding and spiritual insight.

21 Dao De Jing Teachings On the Dao: “ So, as ever hidden, we should look at at its inner essence… The Mystery of Mysteries is the Door of all essence”. Ch.1 On realizing self: “To a higher principle: See the Simple and embrace the Primal, Diminish thy selfishness and curb thy desires”. Ch. 19 On Water as a symbol of virtue: “Water stays in places loathed by all men. Therefore it comes near the Dao….. In cultivating your own mind, know how to dive in the hidden depths”. Ch. 8

22 Wu Wei Wu Wei (pronounced Woo Way) literally means No Action or Non Action. Taoist ideal of adapting to the way things are. Refers to no precipitous or antagonistic action, which runs the risk of bringing about the opposite of what is intended. Taiji Push Hands is an example of how Wu Wei may be applied by utilizing a passive and redirecting response(Yin) to overcome the active force(Yang).

23 History 2 spellings: Taijiquan or T’ai Chi Chuan Chinese characters for taijiquan can be translated as the ‘Supreme Ultimate Fist’. Historical origin- General Chen Wang-ting in the 1650’s developed and shared with the Chen family members. Legendary origin- Taoist “Immortal” Chang San- feng. All agree that Chen Style is the original system of taijiquan.

24 Variation of Taijiquan Styles There are many different styles/schools/systems of Taijiquan All the result of variation and change by past and present Masters No One System is Better or the Only Correct Style Styles can be classified into major styles, modified, combination and abbreviated. There are 5 major styles: Chen, Yang, Wu, Wu Hao and Sun.

25 Chen Chen was the original style of taiji from which all other styles derive and was founded upon preceding martial art systems and TCM and Daoist philosophy and is today further differentiated into the Lao Jia (Old School), Xin Jia (New Style of Chen Fake) and Zhaobao styles. Noted for low open horse stances, variations of pace, including fast and slow, hard and soft, emphasizing spiraling arm, leg and waist movements, and more vigorous martial applications.

26 Yang Yang was a variation of Chen Style taiji created by Yang Lu Chan ( ) and which further developed by subsequent family members into Small (Yang BanHou) and Large (Yang ChengFu) Frames Noted for frontal bow and arrow stances, and big, round, smooth and continuous movements.

27 Wu Wu as a variation of Yang LuChan’s student Wu QuanYou (Northern School) and further variation (Southern school) by his son ( ) Wu JianQuan (Southern School) Noted for forward incline of body in front stances and parallel foot placements, more upright stances and pronounced waist movement.

28 Wu/Hao Wu/Hao is a variation of the Yang and Chen styles developed by Wu YuHsiang ( ) who studied from Yang Lu chan and then went to the Chen village to study and combined what he learned to create a new taiji. For narrow, upright stances and economy of movements and repetitive opening and closing chest and hand movements.

29 Sun Sun was a creation of Sun LuTang( ) who mastered the Wu Hao style and combined it with elements of BaGuaZhang and Xingyiquan. Noted for narrow, upright stances and economy of movements and brisk follow step footwork and open palm hand positions. Emphasizes open and close principle.

30 Modified Styles HunYuan taiji, a modified (less vigorous) Chen Style; noted for higher, more relaxed horse stances, bigger circular movement with introductory circles and focus on Dan Tien rotations. HunYuan taiji has both hard and soft, but emphasizes softness; it has both high and low, but emphasizes higher; it has both internal and external, but emphasizes internal. It completely eliminates hard stamping or movements which involve too much shaking or severe stress to the body.

31 Modified Styles Cheng Man Ching, a modified, shortened and narrower Yang style variation. noted for narrow and upright stances with sunken knees relaxed movement and reserved arm extensions.

32 Combination Styles HunYuan (Chen taiji, XinYi, BaQua and Tong Bei); Fu Style (Chen, Yang and Sun taiji and Bagua); Sun Style (Wu Hao, Baqua and Xingyiquan); Chen Pan Ling Synthesis Style (Chen, Yang and Wu taiji and BaGua and Xingyi) 42 Competition Routine (including movements from all 5 major taiji styles)

33 Abbreviated Styles Chen 38 and 19 (Chen XiaoWang) Chen 18 (Chen Chenglei) HunYuan 48, 24 and 32 Cannon (Feng ZhiQiang) Yang short Form (Cheng Manching) Standardized Yang 24 (Chinese Government Sports committee

34 Summary of Styles Clearly there is not only one correct style or only one recognized taiji choreography. The same is true of Postures. There is a wide variety of postural performance. Postural differences has in no way limited the number of great Masters or health benefits produced by these differing styles.

35 Taiji Principles/Taiji Classics A comparison of any one movement among these styles, such as Single Whip or White Crane would yield such a diversity of postural variations as to make a beginner wonder which way is correct or how can these all be the right way to do the movement? There can only be one answer: What unifies these varieties of taiji are the principles of posture and movement as set out in the so called Tai Chi Classics.

36 Principles Principles are shared by every traditional taijiquan style. 4 Categories: Posture, Movement, Intention, and Application. A good instructor will have a thorough. understanding of the principles and be able to teach them to the students. Principles range from easy to difficult and from basic to advanced.

37 Common Basic Principles Relax Sink Go Slow Body straight (or Aligned), Head up Distinguish Yin/Yang, shift and change Smooth, round and continuous movement Integrated whole body movement Power up from the Ground Waist leads the movement Intention leads the Qi which moves the body

38 Ten Key Taiji Concepts 1-2 Open and Close 3-4 Up and Down 5-6 Full and Empty 7-8 Circle and Spiral 9-10 Internal and External

39 Four Basic Taiji Energies “Peng” Movements that rise upward and outward. “Lu” Draws and leads the opponents energy back towards oneself and at the same time away as well. “Jee” Forward type of energy going outward towards ones opponent. “An” In the Hun Yuan System is a downward direction of energy. “Form and Function must be combined” Master Zhang Xue Xin

40 Dan Tian Energy storage reservoir of the body, located in the center of the body in the lower torso. Center of gravity and center of energy. Related to the Western exercise concept ‘core.’ Propels energy through the body, like a pump Also referred to as the lower Dan Tian.

41 Yin/Yang Theory Ancient Concept Universal Principle of complementary opposites in nature. Constant dynamic interchange bring about harmony and balance. Underpins Chinese philosophy and traditional medicine. The symbol for this balance is the taiji circle.

42 Hun Yuan Taiji Symbol

43 Modern Times Taijiquan is still practiced as an martial art but along with silk reeling and qigong exercises practiced more for health and spiritual development. High variability between teachers and styles. Taiji is pursued by the West as a complementary medicine approach. Current medical research involves Parkinson’s, arthritis, cancer, HIV, mental illness, cardiopulmonary, bone density, addiction, immune system, balance and fibromyalgia.

44 CHOICES: Past, Present or Future Since there is no one style that is correct, better or best, the student is free to choose his own path. What students want can differ according to age, experience, health, interest, temperament and personal philosophy. Both in China and the US, students tend to be older rather than younger. Student do not have as much time to practice as they did in the past because of school, job and family responsibilities.

45 Consumer Expectations The main reasons students take up taiji are the same reasons that make taiji so attractive: Health Maintenance Stress Management Injury Rehabilitation Improve Balance Interest in Asian Culture and Philosophy Spiritual Practice

46 Conclusion We must be willing to simplify Taijiquan movements without sacrificing the Taiji principles to accommodate students with limited time and or special needs. The classic schools and curriculum must be preserved for the future generations benefit. Differentiate the Traditional Martial Art styles from the adapted and simplified health versions. “Taijiquan” for Traditional Internal Martial Arts “Taiji” for simplified health and wellness curriculum.

47 Resources For other suggested websites, resources, film clips, and articles go to the St. Louis HunYuan website at for information regarding Taiji and Qigong for health and medical benefits.


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