Tai Chi Alchemy visits China – Day 1

It was the trip of a lifetime for me. Last spring my friend/teacher, Master Yang Fukui, suggested we visit Wudang Mountain, the legendary birthplace of taijiquan. We would also visit his hometown of Tianjin, another place with a rich martial arts history (see Jet Li’s film Fearless).  Sign me up! I had visited Beijing in ’99, a great trip, but going to Wudang with Master Yang was like a back stage pass to a world I could never access on my own. Maria was immediately up for the adventure, and so were some Tai Chi Alchemy regulars: Jonathan Bricklin, Mike… Read More

Yang Chengfu’s 13 Original Postures

Yang Chengfu’s 13 Original Postures is a short, powerful form I learned from Master Yang Fukui. He learned it from his grandfather in Hebei, China. It is a large frame form, and contrasts nicely with my go-to taijiquan, the small to medium frame, Grandmaster William C.C. Chen’s “60 Movements.” I have been doing Master Chen’s version of the Yang style short form for over 35 years. I love its economy of moment. It is about as spare as you can get. Master Chen comes from a fighter’s perspective, and all unnecessary frills are trimmed to leave a rugged, dependable taijiquan… Read More

Luoxuanzhang: “Spiral Mystery Palm”

Luoxuanzhang is the martial arts equivalent of eating braised short ribs: you can’t believe all that flavor is packed into such a small package. It is astounding how much energy is unleashed in a few movements. When Master Yang Fukui first showed it to me I was dazzled. What was happening? The movements were exquisite and dynamic and…strange. They didn’t seem to follow the rules I had then accepted as fundamental. How could such power be manifested while violating so many of the hoary “truths” I held as gospel? I had to know more. And what I have found so… Read More