“The fish trap exists because of the fish.
Once you’ve caught the fish you can forget the trap.”
“The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.
Once you’ve caught the rabbit, you can forget the snare.”
“Words exist because of meaning.
Once you’ve caught the meaning, you can forget the words.”
“Where can I find a person who has forgotten words so I can talk with them?”
― Zhuang Zi
Tai Ji movements exist to benefit the person, to make them healthy, virtuous, relaxed, and happy, so they may enjoy long meaningful lives. Once you’ve ‘caught’ these benefits, you can forget the movements.
Traditional Tai Ji forms have more than 100 movements linked together in a continuous sequence. Many movements are composed of multiple components. Each component requires the coordination of several small movements.
There are modern forms of Tai Ji with fewer movements, but even these forms require good execution of individual components. Good execution requires flexibility, open joints, good alignment, and a relaxed mind.
Ji Ben Gong, are basic exercises to develop and maintain flexibility and coordination. The Chinese begin Ji Ben Gong in early childhood when the body is flexible, and continue practicing into old age. Tai Ji consists of long sequences of complicated movements. Ji Ben Gong consists of short sequences of simple movements. Most Western adults lack the flexibility needed to execute Tai Ji movements effectively because they did not grow up doing Ji Ben Gong as children.
To make the benefits of Tai Ji more accessible I begin each class with Ji Ben Gong and simple Tai Ji movements. First we open the joints, warm the body, and relax the mind, then practice simple single and two-person Tai Ji forms. Continuing students learn the full 108 movement sequence. This approach provides a good foundation for further study of any martial art, dance, or sport.
I am available to teach private lessons, provide training in institutional settings, and to train advanced forms where appropriate.