We teach three styles of Taijiquan: Chen, Yang, and Wu (Hao).
Each style offers unique insights into the elusive reality of Taiji; all
conform to the principles contained in the "Classics." We do not
necessarily recommend one style over others. All form classes include
fundamentals of stance, principles, and energy cultivation.
Chen Style. Devised in the 17th century, Chen is the original from which most other styles derive. It is characterized by sinuous,
spiraling motions designed to cultivate silk reeling energy, by lower
stances and vigorous expression. Dr. Jay learned Chen style from
Grandmaster Jou Tsung-Hwa in 1981.
Yang Style. Yang is the most widely-practiced style of Taijiquan. The traditional Yang family form is characterized by generous circles,
dynamic postures and smooth, graceful movement. Softer than Chen, it is
still more energetic in appearance than Hao. Kathleen studied with
Grandmaster Yang Zhen-Dou, 4th generation heir.
Wu (Hao) Style. The Wu (Hao) is an understated, tranquil, meditative style, with small steps and subtle movements that disappear into
formlessness and appear ordinary. It fosters mind method: internal
focus and awareness through a concentration on opening and closing
(kai-he). Dr. Jay studied this style privately with Grandmaster Jou Tsung-Hwa.
Eighteen Luohan Qigong (Shiba Luohangong)
Eighteen Luohan Qigong is a 1,500 year-old set attributed to
Bodhidharma, a bodhisattva (luohan) of the 6th century, 28th patriarch
of Buddhism in India and founder of the Chan (Zen) “meditative”
school in China. He is said to have taught the Luohan exercises to the monks
of the Shaolin Temple to improve their health, enhance their strength
and flexibility, and fortify their internal energy with the goal of
deepening meditation. According to tradition, this set forms the basis
of Shaolin gongfu. The exercises are dynamic yet calming and
invigorating in the Daoist tradition of “dao yin,” with a subtle
undertone of yoga asana, revealing their historic roots. The Magic
Tortoise School's version of this ancient series is beautifully
detailed, derived from the teaching of three masters. We offer a
teacher certification program in Luohangong to insure the highest
standard of transmission.
Five Animal Frolics (Wuqinxi Qigong)
Devised nearly 2,000 years ago by Hua T'o, the father of Chinese
medicine. Movements of the crane, bear, monkey, deer and tiger
strengthen the internal organs and harmonize the 5 elemental energies
(fire, water, earth, wood, metal). Historically the basis and
inspiration of many Taijiquan movements. We learned this set (over
three dozen exercises) from Master Paul Gallagher, author of Drawing
Silk--who learned it from Master Kenneth Cohen, author of The Way of
Qigong: the art and science of Chinese energy healing.
Hooked Walking Cane (Guai Gun)
Lao Ma's signature form, with which he won a gold medal in the weapons
division of a provincial tournament in Hubei, China. The choreography
tells the story of an attack on an elderly person, leaning on a cane for
support, by a gang of hooligans who receive a sharp lesson! This is a
rare and exciting internal weapon form, not to be missed!
I Ching (Yi Jing) Divination
"The Little Old Sage in the Yellow Coat"
Introduction to the 4,000 year old I Ching (Yi Jing) or Book of Changes,
and to various methods of consulting the "little old sage in the yellow
coat" (eg. yarrow stalks, coins, dice). The Yi is the "user's manual"
for the energies of Taijiquan. We will cultivate a personal
relationship with "the little old sage in the yellow coat" to find
guidance, inspiration, and empowerment amid the rhythms of daily life.
Bring bag lunch, drum if you own one, and (preferably) the
Wilhelm-Baynes edition of the I Ching. Offered locally each term as a
one-day workshop, or in host schools as a weekend course combined with
movement study of the Taiji diagram and "Eight Gates Walking."
Master Key to Taijiquan (Also called: "Principles of Unified Movement," "The Internal Dynamics
of Meditative Movement," and "The Dynamic Circle.") A fluid foundation
in the body dynamics of Taijiquan: the theoretical and physical
underpinnings of the art. The "Master Key," transmitted by Grandmaster
Jou, is that which makes this art effective. Exercises open energy
channels, stabilize the knees, loosen the hips, and foster internal
power, relaxation, and concentration. Courses in this series may include:
-Four Treasures, Eight Gates, which introduces the principles
underlying Taiji study, and covers standing, walking, knee safety, hip
mobility, opening gateways to internal energy, pre-birth breathing, and
a Taiji qigong (energy cultivation) set.
-Three Powers, Five Elements, a firm foundation for beginners and a
"must" for experienced players. This course offers valuable insight
into the energetics of Taiji forms, and helps maximize the returns from
personal practice. Introduces standing meditation and various exercises
related to the five elements, including organ cavity pulsing, five
elements jing walking, internal cleansing, qi anatomy and mental practice.
Qigong (Ch'i Kung)
Qigong is the cultivation of internal energy for various purposes:
health or healing, martial power, enlightenment, etc. "Qi" is literally
internal energy, often called bioelectricity, or breath-blood energy:
both nutritive and defensive, both yin and yang. It is formulated of
air and food and essence. It is also that vibration which is the source
of both change and continuance. "Gong" means work or effort. In the
Magic Tortoise School, we approach Taijiquan as a form of qigong, with
an approach similar to that taken in qigong study. We also teach
specific qigong practices, such as Guanqifan, Taiji Qigong, zhan zhuang
(standing meditation) and "Five Animal Frolics".
The long staff is considered the "mother" of all Chinese long weapons, a
category which includes the spear and the long-handled horse dao.
Acquaintance with the staff is a great aid to Taijiquan players and
other martial artists in understanding connectedness and whole-body
movement. This is the rare Yang-style two-person set: an internal,
soft-style weapon form. Participants learn side "A," which stands alone
as a solo set, side "B" as a matching set, and a variety of two-person
drills. Bring a smooth dowel your height plus three inches long, and an
inch and a quarter or an inch and a half in diameter.
Sword: Old Style Taiji Sword (Laojia Taijijian)
A traditional 64-movement choreography for double-edged straight sword,
this is the parent form of the more recent Yang style version. Course
includes partners' drills and foundation exercises. No sword necessary
to begin: info on borrowing, buying or making a sword or substitute will
be covered in class.