B. Milani, Cecil Community Centre, Toronto

 

This page offers resources for tai chi players, especially those at Toronto’s Cecil Community Centre, but also for anyone else interested in tai chi, other internal martial arts, and similar mind-body disciplines.  See general information on our free Cecil Monday morning class here; and more info on instructor Brian Milani here. 

 

 

   Mr. Mai, circa 1988

 

At Cecil CC, we practice a conventional Yang style form, as taught by Master F. Y. Mai in Toronto from the late 80s to mid-2000s.  Here is Mr. Mai doing the Long Form at the Centre in 2009.  Students can refer to this video at home to refresh their memory of the form or see how various movements are done.

 

At classes, we also do a short warmup qigong set: “The 26” adapted from “The 24” set taught by late great Sifu Tchoung Ta-Tchen in Vancouver, mid-seventies to 2000.  Brian does The 26.

 

 

Students at Cecil St. are urged to memorize the Long Form, but also to learn the principles of tai chi movement to be able to apply them to a wide variety of everyday situations and activities.  Learning the principles can be aided by watching not just Yang style tai chi, but also other styles of tai chi chuan (meaning Great Ultimate Fist) and related internal arts like bagua zhang (8 Trigrams Palm) and yiquan (Mind Fist).  While it is useful see the differences between styles, even more useful is understanding—and feeling—the common principles that underlay them all.  And while it is important to go deeply into one or two styles (and not divide one’s focus too much), sometimes doing a movement or style a little differently than normal can aid one’s road to mastery. 

 

‘The 26’ Qigong

Here is the current version of Grandmaster Tchoung’s original 24, performed by Phoebe Chow of Kam To Tai Chi Chuan Assn. led by Sifu Laurens Kam To Lee of Vancouver.  (Our ‘26’ is virtually the same form, but with a couple movements restored that Sifu Tchoung had replaced in the early 80s). 

 

And here is a derivative version of The 24 performed by Sifu Gene Burnett, learned from his teacher Seattle Sifu Andrew Dale, who was another long-time student of Grandmaster Tchoung. 

 

The Five Main Styles of Tai Chi

There are countless other derivative and family styles of tai chi, but these five are considered the main styles of tai chi chuan, sufficient here for conveying the scope of the art, and featuring prominent figures in each discipline:

 

Yang style: still the most widely done in North America, characterized by round, slow and even movement.

   Yang Cheng-fu Classic form (known as the ‘85’ or ‘108’)

Fu Zhongwen:  Yang style 85

Cheng Man-Ching (Zheng Manqing) Short form

Tchoung Ta-Tchen’s Doubled-sided form (section 1 of 6)

 

Chen style: the original tai chi style, most associated with self-defence & martial applications:    Feng Zhiqiang

                                  Empty Mind Films: Chen Village      

                                  CGTN: The Sacred Home of Tai Chi

 



 

Grandmaster Gu Liu-Xin with

Sifu Tong Yau-Sun, mid-1980s

 

Wu Style:   Wang Peisheng:  37-Posture Wu form

 

Sun Style:   Sun Jiayun (daughter of founder Sun Lutang)

 

Wu/Hao Style:   Li Weiming:  Wu/Hao 96

 

 

Learning Tai Chi

Bruce Kumar Frantzis,  Learning Strategies for Beginners

 

Realbuzz,  Top 10 Tips for Tai Chi Beginners

 

Sifu Tim Parsons,  Tai Chi: Paths of Development

 

Dr. Peter Anthony Gryffin, Tai Chi For Health: Tips for Choosing a Class

 

 

Tai Chi Principles 

John Loupos, Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle, part 1

 

from The Tai Chi Classics:  Yang Cheng-Fu’s 10 Rules for Tai Chi

 

Benjamin Lo, 5 Principles of Good Tai Chi Chuan skills

 

Dr. John Painter, The Power of Soft Energy---No Enemy, No Fight

 

Ben Sterling, How to Move with Intention

 

Ken Guillette:  Peng Jin in the Internal MA’s

 

Open Mind Space, The Five Bows 

 

Peter Newton, The Spheres of Tai Chi

 

Sifu Sam Sun, Tai Chi Basics: Mingmen Out   

 

Water Dragon Arts, The Mingmen—The Gate of Power & Vitality

 

Daniel Grolle, The Mingmen: Every Movement Arises in Your Center

ShapeShifters Den, Wuji Stance and the Dan Tien

 

Bruce Frantzis, The Lower Tantien: Go Beyond the Ordinary

 

John Loupos, Your Tai Chi Pelvis

 

Greg Brodsky, What If It’s All Vertical?

 

What is Fa-Jin?

 

 

 

 

Tai Chi Worldview

Andrew Townsend,  Everything is Tai Chi

 

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming,  Taijiquan Theory of Reaching Enlightenment

 

Einselganger, Taoism: The Philosophy of Flow

 

The School of Life, Taoism & Wu Wei

 

Master Chungliang Huang, Five Elements Taiji 1

                                              Five Elements Taiji 2

 

John Loupos, Form as a Vessel for Tai Chi Principle, part 2

 

 

Mind Science

Jeff Haden, A Johns Hopkins Study Reveals the Scientific Secret to Double How Fast You Learn

 

Sonya Buyting, CBC, Your brain replays new skills at superspeed during rest periods to boost learning

 

Will Storr, Can You Think Yourself Into A Different Person?

 

Olivia Goldhill, Open-Minded People Have a Different Visual Perception of Reality

 

Jim Davies,  The Key to Good Luck Is an Open Mind

 

Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Regular Tai Chi Practice Is Associated With Improved Memory as Well as Structural and Functional Alterations of the Hippocampus in the Elderly  

 

                                  

Zhan Zhuang Standing Meditation

Often referred to as the fastest way to develop internal Whole-Body Power, Zhan Zhuang (Pole or Stake Standing) is a powerful tool of deep relaxation and mind-body unity.  Most internal systems have their favoured complementary qigong and standing practices, but some, like Yiquan (Mind Fist), a spinoff of Xingyiquan (Form of Mind Fist), put it at the core of their training.  Zhan Zhuang is also practiced as a discipline in its own right, noted for its healing powers. Never has so much energy been put into doing nothing and feeling everything.

Sifu Bruce Frantzis,  Building And Balancing Your Qi With Standing Practices

 

Trevor E. Hudson, Zhan Zhuang is an exercise system that combines meditation with physical rigor — by standing still.

 

Master Hao Zi Xia    How to meditate as a Taoist

 

David Dorian Ross, Spine Alignment for Standing Meditation                              

 

Karol Kosuba   Yiquan - Power of the Mind

 

Bruce Frantzis, Standing, Tai Chi, Xingyi (Hsing-I) and Santi stance

 

 

Baguazhang Circle Walking

Even before Sun Lutang popularized the contemporary concept of Neijia as “Internal Arts” about 100 years ago, teachers of Tai Chi, Bagua and Xingyi often enriched their respective disciplines with practices from the other two systems.  Many benefits can emerge from this cross-fertilization, and not just for martial skill.  For tai chi players who emphasize the contemplative side, bagua’s core practice of walking the circle offers much.  It provides a bridge between the radical stillness of Zhan Zhuang standing, and the Long Form’s moving meditation.  As with Zhan Zhuang, fixed upper-body positions are held, but the player walks slowly in a circle with primary attention on the centre of the circle.  Besides cultivating moving balance in stillness, attunement to the circle does some strange and wonderful things to the mind.

 

Self-Defense Guides, Origins of the Circle Walk Practice in Ba Gua Zhang

                                     Circle-Walking as Meditative Practice

 

John Hall, Altered States of Baquazhang             

 

Master John Bracy, The Martial Dimension of Bagua: Why Circle?

 

Dr. Yancy Orchard, Jiulong Bagua circle-walking palm changes

 

The Gompa, Two Dragons at Play: Jiulong Bagua push hands

 

Pride’s Deadly Fury circle-walk training scene

 

Transformative Visualization

Tai Chi is about becoming sensitive to organic patterns of energy and movement that we’re not normally tuned into.  Often these are subtle but real energy patterns; sometimes the visualization is used as a mental trick to help us to attain some element of balance, flow or whole-body power. 

Robert Chuckrow:   Cultivating the Correct Internal State in T’ai-Chi Movement

                    R.C.:  Swimming on Land

 

Dan Pasek, Differentiating Yin from Yang in Taijiquan     

 

The Five Bows 

Mike Ferruggia, Three Internal Bows of Tai Chi

 

Pathways Dojo, The Sphere in Tai Chi Chuan

 

Sifu Jesse Tsao, Tai Chi Ball Neigong

 

Sifu Jesse Tsao, Silk-reeling Tai Chi   

Center Life Balance, Silk-Reeling Fundamentals for Beginners

 

Ted Mancuso, Tai Chi Training Secrets: Peng, Intent, Continuity & Repetition                                                                           

Dr. Paul Lam, What is the Spiral Force?

 

Scott Meredith, Tai Chi Power: One Thing to RULE THEM ALL     

 

Robert Chuckrow,   The Benefits of Expansive Strength and How to Cultivate It

 

 

Partner Work:  Posture-testing, Push Hands & Self-Defence

Ken Guillette  Internal Strength for Tai Chi Bagua Xingyi

 

Mike Sigman, How to Do Internal Strength

                  Whole Body Movement with Internal Strength

 

Master Ding Academy, Posture Testing

 

Rick Barrett, Testing a Tai Chi Posture

 

Bruce Frantzis, 7 Principles of Tai Chi Push Hands

 

Master Byron Zhang, How to Use Tai Chi for Push Hands

 

Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan Push Hands Drills

 

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming Push Hands Demonstration

 

Tchoung Ta-Tchen 2-person San Shou form (1972)

 

Gene Burnett’s version of Tchoung 2-person form (2012)

 

How to Develop Explosive Penetrating Force (fajin)  

 

Old Taiji Master’s Neigong & Fa-Jin powers

 

     

 

Master Sam Tam Yielding

 

Sam Masich & Chung-Jen Chang Push-hands Demonstration (1998)

 

Cheng Man Ching Push Hands Play

 

Cheng Man Ching Push Hands Instruction

 

Scott Meredith, Train Hand and Pressure Sensitivity

 

Liang Dehua, Why we train Fa Jin in Yang Taiji Quan

 

Erle Montagne, Fa-Jin Explosive Power

 

Enter Tai Chi,  Fa-jin is the Building of Energy

 

Old Bagua Master Shows Skills

 

 

 

 

Breathing

CBC / James Nestor Why Breathing Matters

 

Patrick McKeown, Improve Oxygen Uptake in the Blood   

                                   How to Breathe During Exercise

 

Mike Sigman,    Breath & Internal Strength

Balance

Bob & Brad, This One Simple Exercise Can Greatly Improve Your Balance

 

Bruce Frantzis, The Lower Tantien and Balance in Tai Chi

 

                           Tai Chi Pearls

 

Masters in a Park in 1959

Tai Chi and Qigong in a Chinese Park

Empty Mind Films, Yang Tai Chi Chuan

The Forgotten History of Two Trailblazing Tai Chi Women

Video China TV: Wonder of China: Wudang Tai Chi

Shifu Donna Oliver performs the rare Wudang Taijiquan form

Tai Chi in a Wuhan hospital, Feb. 2020

Dr. Paul Lam: Tai Chi for Arthritis

Helen Liang: Overcoming Cancer with Qigong

         Master Helen Liang: Tai Chi at Banyen Books

Master Shou-Yu Liang (Helen’s dad)

UNSW, Tai Chi for Diabetes Sufferers

Bruce Lee HATED Tai Chi

Lou Reed & the Art of Tai Chi

        Lou Reed: The Voice and the Practice  

Dan Kleiman, Ten Things Modern Athletes Can Learn from the Tai Chi Classics

Fat Chi: Wave Hands like Clowns

David-Dorian Ross: Meet my Master, Chung-liang Al Huang

Ang Lee’s Pushing Hands movie

Tai Chi Zero: movie about the founder of Yang style, Yang Lu-chan [this really happened!]  

And this is a true story, I swear!

And who can forget this Clash of Tai Chi Masters ?

coming soon:  Video of young Tai Chi student pummelling muscle-bound MMA fighter   ;-)

 

 

There are many more titles we could list here, but all of the following are fascinating and relevant books that can increase your understanding and enjoyment of tai chi:

 

Robert Chuckrow, Tai Chi Concepts and Experiments: Hidden Strength, Natural Movement and Timing (2021)

Tai Chi Dynamics: Principles of Natural Movement, Health & Self-Development (2008)

Jan Diepersloot, Masters of Perception: Sensory-Motor Integration in the Internal Martial Arts

Bruce Frantzis, The Power of Internal Martial Arts and Chi

Jess O’Brien (ed.), Nei Jia Quan: Internal Martial Arts: Teachers of Taiji Quan, Xingyi Quan, and BaGua Zhang

Andrew Townsend, Principles and Practices of Taijiquan, vol. 1, the solo form

                                  Principles and Practices of Taijiquan, vol. 4, martial applications

Martin Mellish, A Tai Chi Imagery Workbook: Spirit, Intent and Motion

Dr. Peter Anthony Griffyn, Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing, and the Power of  Tai Chi

Paul Cavel, The Tai Chi Space: How to Move in Tai Chi and Qigong

John Loupos, Tai Chi Connections: Advancing your tai chi experience

Colin and Gaynel Hamilton, Tai Chi Mastery: 7 Practical Steps to Improve Your Tai Chi Forms and Access Your Internal Power

W. B. Burt,  Tai Chi: Moving at the Speed of Truth

Waysun Liao (trans. & commentary), The Tai Chi Classics

Fu Zhongwen (Louis Swaim trans.), Mastering Yang Style Taijiquan

Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, vol. 1 Tai Chi Theory & Tai Chi Jing

                                       Advanced Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan, vol 2  Martial Applications

Wolfe Lowenthal, There Are No Secrets: Professor Cheng Man-ch’ing & his Tai Chi Chuan

Scott Meredith, Juice: Radical Taiji Energetics

Tchoung, Ta-Tchen,  The Annotated Theoretical and Practical Tai Chi Chuan

Chungliang Al Huang, Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The essence of taiji

Andy James, The Spiritual Legacy of Shaolin Temple: Buddhism, Daoism & the Energetic Arts

Ling Seto, Yiquan 360: Internal Factors and Training Concepts for All Internal Art Enthusiasts

Dr. John Painter, Combat Baguazhang: Nine Dragon System, vol. 1 Forms & Principles

                              Combat Baguazhang: Nine Dragon System, vol. 2 Warrior Training & Applications

Mark Cohen, Inside Zhan Zhuang

Lam Kam-Chuen, The Way of Energy: Mastering the Chinese Art of Internal Strength with Chi Kung Exercise

Peter Ralston, Cheng Hsin: The Principles of Effortless Power

Herman Kauz, The Martial Spirit: an introduction to the origin, philosophy and psychology of the martial arts

Robert W. Smith, Martial Musings: A portrayal of martial arts in the 20th century