Home Joseph Spagnuolo 2014-07-30T17:32:25+00:00
In this article on Taiji Swords, the author, Zhang Yun, explains the similarities and distinguishing characteristics of Taiji Jian (Straight Sword) and Taiji Dao (Saber or Broadsword). A detailed section on the history of Chinese swords traces their early development in the Shang and Zhou Dynasties, beginning with bronze swords and through the centuries evolving into high quality steel. Many photos depict the different shapes and metallurgy of these early weapons. The explanation of the differences between military and professional martial arts training is worth noting for all serious practitioners. The fighting principles of Taiji Sword and Taiji Saber are explained in detail as are the function of hand shapes, attributes of each weapon, internal and external training qualities, and relationship between the fighting principles of Taiji Quan and how they apply to the swords.
Lee Koon Hung (李冠雄 1942-1996) was one of the shining lights in Choy Lay Fut's (Cai Li Fo) modern era. An influential teacher, he did much to promote Choy Lay Fut not only in Hong Kong but throughout the world. This interview with his brother, Li Siu Hung, provides a window into Lee Koon Hung's early training with Zhēn Yánchū (甄炎初 Yan Yim Chou) and his later training with some of the giants of Choy Lay Fut. Timelines, famous personalities and dozens of historical photos enrich the interview, which also deals with Li Siu Hung's own journey in martial arts. A renowned teacher, he has been carrying on his brother's legacy. The interview covers Cai Li Fo's fundamental principles, skills and techniques; the forms in Lee Koon Hung's Choy Lay Fut curriculum, training, competition; and the heritage of this lineage, which is now widely practiced in many parts of the world.
This article by Yuzeng Liu provides a window into the philosophical principles of Wǔdāng (武當) and the concepts of the Yì Jīng (易經 Book of Changes) and the Dàodéjīng (道德 经 Tao Te Jing) and how they are integrated with the internal martial arts of Tàijí Quán (太極拳), Xíngyì Quán (形意拳) and Bāguà Zhǎng (八卦掌). Liu states, "I think that in practicing the fundamental techniques of Wǔdāng internal martial arts, in order to advance one must move in the direction of the Dào, toward understanding the distinct aspects and requirements. In this way, after the movement is understood, practice improves and energy improves. By quietly observing and mulling over, one gradually arrives at the heart’s desire, becoming adept and transforming." Liu introduces various principles and their relationship to internal martial arts, which can be used as guideposts to the deeper study of Wǔdāng internal martial arts.
William C. C. Chen, one of the giants in the modern Taiji era, in Tàijí Quán de Hūxī - An Essay on Breathing, explains in a concise and easy to understand manner both the essence and function of breathing. He writes, "The gentle, deep and full inhalations in the movements of Tàijí Quán allow us to receive a greater volume of the 21 % oxygen into the lungs. With an adequate oxygen supply in our system, we can produce more energy. Oxygen is essential to our daily activities and in fighting disease, repairing tissues, and removing cancerous cells." Further, "The system of breathing with the diaphragm is of great significance in the movements of Tàijí Quán. In these gentle relaxing movements we keep the air passage wide open, which maximizes the airflow out and in from the throat. When the diaphragm moves up, we exhale; this pushes the carbon dioxide out from the lungs. When the diaphragm pulls down, we inhale; this helps the lungs draw in oxygen." Just as in his teaching, William C. C. Chen imparts knowledge without mystery and in a manner that is simple and yet profound.