Archive for the ‘Taichi’ Tag

Qigong Attitude   3 comments

First, gain an understanding of your energy system.
Align the body correctly to facilitate energy flow.
Relax the muscles to encourage energy flow.
Learn to dissolve your mind and body together.

Develop an emotional connection to the energy within.
Become intimate with your energy.
Practice until you know what is right in your heart.
Let go of your silly ego needs.

Gain freedom from your thoughts,
Become as open as Heaven,
Be as firm as the Earth,
Shine brightly like a star,
Be as flexible as water,
Gain inspiration from all things,
Know the truth that will set you free.

There are many paths to freedom yet only those who learn the truth will be truly free.  The real you is often hidden behind layers of physical and egocentric defenses.  Physical obstructions, thinking, and emotions, all inhibit your true self from shining through.

Spiritual qigong? Medical qigong? Martial qigong? Meditation? Internal, external, standing, sitting, moving, stillness, Taiji, whatever…. It makes very little difference; they are essentially the same thing. Don’t get confused by esoteric teachings. Do not be distracted from the truth by thinking too much about it.

Do not make your journey complicated; just follow the simple methods outlined in your training.  Adding too much just takes you farther away from the truth.  Practice “Wu Wei“; practice with diligence, yet keep it simple and you will gain profound awareness.

The truth is simple:
Love your energy as though it was the most valuable substance in the universe….in time you will discover the creator of all things.

Go to Qigong on Maui web site

Front Page of Maui News   4 comments

Isle seniors learn graceful gestures

The Maui News / MATTHEW THAYER photo Cory Williams shows Kula’s Louise Brandeburg, 84, how to block a punch Tuesday.

Seeking strength and balance in the shade of a Spreckelsville monkeypod tree, a taiji class goes through its moves at Kaunoa Senior Center on Tuesday afternoon under the direction of Cory Williams. Williams teaches a half dozen classes weekly for Kaunoa, including locations in Lahaina, Kahului, Kihei and Spreckelsville. By mixing the “energy cultivation” exercises of “qigong” and the martial-art maneuvers of taiji, Williams said, he helps Maui seniors stay active and on their feet. Williams said taiji is now the accepted spelling of tai chi.

copyright Maui News and Matthew Thayer

Thank you everyone!!!!

Posted February 3, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in News and Events, Uncategorized

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Understanding Reality: Balance and Harmony   1 comment

Part 1 Balance

Align with Heaven and Earth,
Relax and discover the truth about balance
Move with dignity and grace through life,
And harmony will be your companion.

Balance is a function of aligning with Heaven and Earth, relaxing into our roots and exploring the confidence of equilibrium within the self.

Harmony is a function of remaining balanced as we move through time and space, remaining content, while interacting with the forces of nature that act upon us.

Balance is always first, only then can we harmonize well.

In life, there are many ways we can discuss balance and harmony…..
If you think about the opening words, it is apparent that I could be talking about many different aspects of balance and harmony; be it physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual, they all share the same principles.

In fact, if we learn the hierarchy of achieving balance and harmony in one realm we can apply the formula to any of the four realms mentioned. Understanding reality is one of the goals of Taoist praxis, and understanding balance and harmony is paramount to that goal.

For Taiji practitioners as well as in all aspects of life this is a fundamental principle. For example, “aligning with Heaven and Earth” could mean, to know your values and morals and align to them, this could help you relax in a relationship, feeling secure and confident about yourself. The balance gained will allow you to compassionately harmonize with your partner and remain content.

Taiji (the supreme ultimate) teaches us how to achieve balance and harmony in all things through the understanding of the simplest of methods. I have written blog posts about this topic that can be found elsewhere on this site.

To review, the most basic is the physical then as we move inward the next level of understanding is the mental, then the emotional and at the center is our spiritual core.  Each level feeding its energy into the next one and each level is more complex than the one before it.  As we move up through the layers in quantum leaps, the understanding of the principles reinforces the reality of the truth of the hierarchy of our personal growth.

In regards to transformational improvement of our lives then, all we need to do is start with the simple, external physical methods and understanding will emerge with practice over time and through space…

Back to Taijiquan…..and balance and harmony….

When we move in Taijiquan we first need to balance, then we can harmonize with things as we move.  Now reread the opening lines and see what you can glean from the simple instructions.

In class, when we are transitioning to one leg, I say repeatedly…. Align, relax, and move.  There are two alignments. First, there is “rotational” where you align your nose, navel, knee and toes.  Secondly, there is the “Taiji Pole” where you align your Crown Point, perineum, and ankle, actually the bottom of your foot about 1 inch in front of the ankle.

After you are aligned with Heaven and Earth just relax into your leg and explore some counterbalancing with your arms and legs until you find that one spot where you feel confident. When you move (step) maintain a moving counterbalance to harmonize with your movement.

The Taoist sees the simple in the complex and the complex within the simple, achieving balance and understanding all things trough harmonizing with the principles of nature.

Reading List, Books and Periodicals   Leave a comment

Master Yang Chen Fu

There are so many books…Taoist, Buddhist, Qigong, and Taiji. There have been hundreds of books in my life and it may take me that many years to flesh out this list, but I will do my best!

Since Taiji is a Taoist art I will start with some of the works from the Taoist canon.  I list them somewhere between the chronological order that I read them, their historical age, and their relative importance (to me) as it pertains Taiji, Taoism, Buddhism, Qigong, Meditation, Chinese Medicine, and Philosophy, etc.

Books and sets of books:

1.     Tao Te Ching (Dao De Jing)  by Lao Tzu “The Classic of the Way and it’s Virtues”   I have read many translations of this “source book”, my favorites are by Jonathan Star and another by Stephen Mitchell.  The Tao Te Ching is  full of wisdom in 81 easy to digest verses and it is the second most popular book ever written topped only by The Bible.

2.     Chuang-Tzu (Zhuang Tzu) A compendium of stories and fables; a perennial Taoist text.  Master Chuang writes in a humorous story style that is compelling.

3.     The Art of War (Sun Tzu) Another text over two thousand year old from the Taoist canon. Sun Tzu was a great general and sage, he wrote this famous classic on conflict resolution and strategy that could have been titled “The Art of Achieving Peace”

4.     I Ching (The Classic on Changes) Perhaps the oldest book ever written. It was later added to by various sages, in an attempt to understand the nature of “change” and how events must unfold based on the mathematics of their energies and the balance and harmony of  the same.

5.     The Complete Book of  Tai Chi Chuan by Wong Kiew Kit A great book, one of the first ones I read on Taiji.

6.     The Tao of Taijiquan by Jou, Tsung Hwa Another great book on the history and philosophy of Taiji as well as an overview of the different forms or “family styles”

7.     Tai Chi Chuan Applications by Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming Dr Yang is a prolific writer (I admire his energy!) I have many of his books. This one is the best book I have found describing the applications of Taiji. Written for beginners yet it contains information most advanced Taiji people have never learned.

8.     The Taoist Classics (4 volume set) by Thomas Cleary Mr. Cleary s a true genus; translating many books. This set has 15 books in 4 volumes and it was recently released in soft cover.  Mr Cleary’s work is sometimes a bit difficult, and I prefer simpler translations, still I highly recommend him because of the large amount of work presented.

Vol.  1     Tao Te Ching; Chuang-Tzu; Wen-Tzu; The Book of Leadership and Strength; and Sex, Health, and Longevity

Vol.  2     Understanding Reality; The Inner Teaching of Taoism; The Book of Balance and Harmony; and Practical Taoism

Vol.  3     Vitality, Energy, Spirit; The secret of the Golden Flower; Immortal Sisters; and Awakening to the Tao

Vol.  4     The Taoist I Ching; and I Ching Mandala

9.     Classics of Strategy and Counsel (3 volume set) by Thomas Cleary Another great set, this one contains 12 books. Lots of great philosophy from places as diverse as  Greece, China, Japan, The Middle East, Persia, and others.

10.    Chronicles of Tao by Deng Ming Dao This is a compelling story, an account of a modern day Taoist’s life. One of the best books I have ever read.

11.   Awaken Healing Energy Trough Tao by Mantak Chia I have 8 books by master Chia and while I would say, most are beyond the understanding of beginners, I do recommend this book as an introduction to the “Mantak Chia, Healing Tao approach.” Covers opening the “microcosmic orbit” a basic Taoist technique of meditation.

12.     The Roots of Chinese Qigong by Dr. Yang, Jwing Ming  I have many of his books. This one is the best book I have found describing the basics of QIgong Written for beginners yet it contains information most advanced people have never learned.

13.  Iron Shirt Chi Kung by Mantak Chia Another great and classic book from Master Chia  Read the first one first however. This book works with standing postures and will help you get very thorough understanding of advanced Zhan Zhuang   I would not attempt to do some of the breathing techniques in these books with out instruction however.

14.   Chinese Medical Qigong Therapy by Jerry Alan Johnson This 1100 page book is the most comprehensive book on the subject I have owned it since 2001 and keep reading it and reading it, like many of my books..absolutly huge and definitive this book is a must if you want to “go pro” and get TMI.

15.   Cultivating Stillness translated by Eva Wong This is one of those “lost texts” that offers a rare insight into Tao. Written with a slightly Buddhist influence it compels one to contemplate the thinking of the Chinese and their approach to meditation.  Also it contains symbolism to help elucidate the reader towards understanding Tao.

16.     The Art of Peace by Morihei Ueshiba One of the great masters from Japan; Morihei was the founder of Aikido. Paralleling Taoist thought from a martial artist that was also a pacifist, this book helps define the meaning of life.

17.     Tai Chi Explained by Alex Dong Master Alex was the first Taiji master I had, he is the son of my current teacher and the great grandson of Tung Ying Jie, the founder of our lineage. Alex grew up in Hawaii and brings his Chinese history into English for us all. A wonderful and simple book for all Dong practitioners, written by a personal friend of mine.  http://www.alexdongtaiji.com/store/

18. Red Book by Tung Ying Jie translated by Alex Dong. A great classic of Taiji finally in English thanks to master Alex.  Tung Ying Jie was the primary disciple of Master Yang Chen Fu the inventor of the famous “slow set” Yang style Taiji, the most common exercise practice on the planet. This work has been quoted by many other Taiji Authors but it has never before been available in English; now you can get the “Founders” work!  http://www.alexdongtaiji.com/store/

19. Yiquan and the Nature of Energy: The fine art of doing nothing and achieving everything by Fong Ha Master Fong Ha was a student of the great Tung Ying Jie, since then he has branched into a unique method called Yiquan. Master Ha is the worlds foremost authority on this amazing method and he is one of my teachers. Book available here:  http://fongha.com/shop/

20. Taoist Health Exercise Book by Da Lia Master Liu published this book in 1974 it is a small and simple primer on Taoist arts. if you can get a copy… someone recently gave me a copy of this older classic work.  Pretty cool!

There will be many more soon…patience…

Periodicals:

There are three that I recommend.  All are superb,each for a different reason.

1.     Qi Journal This excellent magazine is well produced and has very pithy articles about Qigong, Taiji and all things Taoist.  Also many books are available through the magazine. You can find it at Borders or Barnes and Noble, or subscribe. This is the best publication for the “Way” and I support it because we have so few available.

2.     Tai Chi Magazine Going on 33 years of publication this is the only magazine dedicated to Taijiquan. Another great source for finding books and videos on Taiji. Again this should be available at Borders or Barnes and Noble.

3.     The Empty Vessel I love this magazine. Always good stories and articles. Not as fancy as Qi Journal but simply produced and I am sure the traditional Taoists would be proud.


Qigong Lesson #2 “Wuji” A Physical Reality   6 comments

You need to know where you are in order to find your way.

Your place in the universe is often twisted away from the ideal; it may be physical, mental, emotional,and/or spiritually misaligned.

Let me first explain that in the “physical world” you can be  physically, mentally, emotionally,and/or spiritually misaligned  and you can also be misaligned in the “celestial world”. This is because all things have Yin and Yang elements to them. Our goal is harmonizing Yin/Yang, not just balancing Yin and Yang .

To keep things simple, my objective in this article is just to start with the body, the physical within the physical.

The most important overriding principles in Qigong and Taiji and Meditation for that matter revolve around alignment. As stated in the second paragraph of this page, alignment could mean spiritual, emotional. mental, or physical.

As we work ever inward to the higher levels of understanding we need to start somewhere. The starting point is the physical alignment of your body, starting with your feet. When we learn this basic skill called “Wuji Stance” we will have a working model of alignment that we can “clone” into our thinking to restructure our bodies, minds, emotions, and ultimately our spirits.  Then we can keep feeding back that spiritual energy to continually strengthen our bodies, minds, emotions. The cycle continues until we have the “rarefied qi” of original Spirit known as “the gold pill” a spiritual embryo that grows within us until such time as it “becomes” us and we are reborn into Tao.

It is simple really. Just start under your feet.  We want a totally natural alignment of our skeleton so we can relax all of our muscles. The following list is an example of what I tell my students. I probably say this list fifty times a week in my classes…..

1.     Feet parallel and shoulder width apart

2.     Knees slightly bent

3.     Tailbone tucked in so your lumbar spine is vertical

4.     Relax the hips and “sit” into your legs

5.     Let the “golden thread from heaven” lift your head

6.     Tuck in your chin so that your cervical spine is vertical

7.     Relax your shoulders, let your arms dangle at your side

8.     Contain your chest, don’t “puff out” your chest

9.     Bring your breath  to your dantien, just below the navel

10.   Bring your mind down to your dantien

11.    Put your tongue at your palate

12.    Keep your eyes soft, don’t strain your eyes

In addition I tell students to:  keep their hearts open, explaining that there is no need for any emotional energy, and to keep their mental energy redirected inward,  reviewing the 12 points on the list.  Then I repeat the list….

Now you can start right away by learning to Tune your Breath

Copyright Cory williams 2009

more here: Qigong lesson #3

The One Tao

The Way

Man follows the way of   Nature,

Nature follows the way of  Earth,

Earth follows the way of  Heaven,

Heaven follows the Way of  Tao.

First there was the One, Tao

Then there came the Two,  Heaven and Earth,

The Two begets the Third,  Heaven, Earth and Humans

From the Three came the ten thousand things…

The Tao contains everything and yet it is nothing…

Always giving, and yet it is never exhausted…

Extending everywhere and yet it is nowhere to be found…

It is the greatest treasure, and at the same time,

It is the simplest of things.

It will never come, and it will never go.

It is the eternal….

Hello world!   3 comments

me-25cropped3

 

Aloha, Everyone!

I know most people can’t spend the time that I have been blessed with to study these arts.  Also, I don’t think you need to… I dedicated myself to sorting it all out so I can share them with you.

The Taoist arts saved my life, after all the suffering, I found my Way and now I can introduce you to this ancient wisdom in the hope it may do the same for you.

I’ve read so many books, from self help, to martial arts, hundreds:

Spent years training, often over 8 hours a day …

Traveled thousands of miles attending camps and seminars…

Dedicated my life to making these skills available…

Distilling everything down, to see the “big picture”…

Now it all flows out effortlessly…

Everything here is written to be entertaining and enlightening.

Herein you will find lessons, stories, philosophy, a reading list, internet links, a journal of my journey through the universe and all open to inspection and comment.

So look here, and you can subscribe and receive automatic blogs.

Finding the ultimate treasure is far from boring!  Follow along here and I will keep you posted of all the exciting discoveries I have found along the Way.

Thank you all for your support and interest in what I believe are the most important set of skills that anyone can ever know.

Cory

Posted November 28, 2009 by The Maui Taoist in Aloha Message, Uncategorized

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