Embodiment & Healing: The Heart of Tai Ji
Tai Ji is a path of embodied aliveness. It is a journey of discovery, nourishment and revitalization, awakening our spirit to the joy, peace and power available within. Tai Ji is a way of cultivating our true nature - the harmony of our body, heart and mind. The correct practice of Tai Ji over time leads to deep mental and physical relaxation, profound coordination of mind and body, and liberation of the flow of energy (Qi).
Ongoing Tai Ji classes with Sol at Mana & in Coromandel
Mondays at 5pm at Tara Sanctuary at Mana Retreat Centre
Thursdays at 10:30 am with Terry Petersen in Coromandel at the Trust Waikato Events Centre
For more information call Sol on 07-8668971 or 021893055 or Terry on 078667374 or 0272039706
Retreats with Sol
Tai Ji and meditation retreats - next one November 5-11, 2010 at mana....see upcoming events on the home page
Tai Ji Movies,Information and Resources at the bottom of this page or on the Resources Page
The Heart of Tai Ji by Sol Petersen
Strength Through Softness the Healing Power of Tai Ji
by Sol Petersen, 2003
There was a quiet strength about the man - a grace in movement and a sense of peace behind his eyes that set him apart. But I only noticed this in passing. To me he was that elderly Chinese gentleman who owned the corner grocery store on 112 Street in Edmonton, Canada where I was attending university. I would have been astounded if I could have known what a profound influence this man would come to have on my life.
His name is Mak Ying Po, 89 years young, and today he still practices and teaches the ancient Chinese art of Tai Ji. Tai Ji is both a martial art and a moving meditation leading to strength through softness and a peaceful yet concentrated state of mind.
Mak left China with his family in the late sixties to escape the oppressive Chinese regime. He had a degree in Economics but as he spoke only a few words of English he opted for the financial security of the corner store.
My interest in yoga, dance and meditation led me to Tai Ji and a friend told me about Mak. I went to his shop and found him behind the till. I said I want to learn Tai Ji He hardly seemed to look at me but said Kung Fu better for you. While I struggled to come up with an intelligent reply, a customer appeared with an armload full of groceries a temporary reprieve. I had heard that some masters say no two or three times to test the sincerity of the student before finally taking them on. Its not like attending a class at night school or at the gym. If a master accepts you he will take the responsibility quite seriously. Master Mak said later that it was like the relationship between a father and son - only more important.
The customer left. I asked again. He laughed and repeated Kung Fu better. I was worried. I tried to appear as sincere as possible and asked yet again. He smiled and wrote down the address of his house and a time to come the next evening at 10:30 pm!! At nearly sixty years old, he worked from 7 am til 10 pm and then taught Tai Ji in his home at 10:30 to private students while his wife and friends played enthusiastic games of mah jong in the kitchen. I still remember his clarity, attention and patience in that first lesson and as an athletic 23 year old it was quite a surprise that this sixty year old could put me off balance with one finger and easily throw me right across the room.
Even now I feel humbled remembering the generosity of his presence. and especially aware that he always knew at every first lesson that a only tiny percentage of people will ever continue with the demanding art of Ta Ji. Yet he never gave each less than one hundred per cent.
It is now 30 years since my first lesson and I am still surprised at my passion and enthusiasm for the art. I see the purpose as being to awaken the essence of movement and power from within not to simply impose an external discipline.
The words Tai Ji can be translated as the supreme ultimate but may be more easily understood as harmony. You could say the surfer, the skateboarder, the athelete who finds the groove is in their Tai Ji. The double fish yin/yang circle is actually a symbol for the words Tai Ji., The form starts with relaxation exercises then a sequence of soft , fluid movements are practiced in slow motion .
You may ask How can this slow motion movement be a martial art? To be able to apply tai ji in self defence one must also practice with power and speed and learn to yield to force. Usually as people grow older their muscles and joints stiffen and their inner energy decreases. The basic exercises and principles were carefully designed and refined over hundreds of years to counter the effects of age and to create a surplus of energy to ensure physical, psychological and spiritual health.
Says Murray from Coromandel After 15 years of practice, at age 73, I still find Tai Ji beneficial. Paying attention to posture, movement and breathing as a personal discipline in todays world of blaring distractions is valuable and clarifying. I hope to practice Tai Ji for many years to come.
Tai Ji is a complete exercise system. The attention given to relaxing the muscles supporting the spine helps postural problems. Blood circulation is improved. The internal organs are stimulated, the muscles are nourished and the breath revitalized-.It is an inner art where intention is used to rejuvenate and circulate the chi or energy through the acupuncture meridians of the body.
Dr. Bryan McLeod of the Coromandel Family Health Centre says What I like about Tai Ji for myself is the sense of quiet but I also see real value for people of all ages and those with injuries in the rehabilitation of back pain.
In our high speed world that can put us under a lot of stress and take us out of our self Tai Ji is a refreshing experience of the stillness within.
Tai JI and Related Movies
Cheng Man-Ching Short Form
Master Huang Sheng Shyan push hands video and others
Wu Style Tai Ji