Brushwork & Calligraphy: The Art of the Brush
This workshop will introduce the contemplative art that is the
foundation of Chinese culture, and help you begin to paint your own
cards, scrolls, shirts, whatever! Study of basic strokes and simple
characters helps foster the delicacy needed to sense energy in
Taijiquan. Practice control, flow, vigor, and balanced character
formation using brush, ink, stone, and paper. Some materials provided.
Chen Style Knife Lao Ma learned this form in Wuhan on one of his return trips to China. A vigorous reflection of Chen Style principles in a weapon well suited
to the expression of sudden hard energy, "fa jing."
The Eight Brocades were created to cultivate energy, deepen and regulate
the breath, and stretch and relax the body. An excellent complement to
Eight Trigram Sword
First sword form Almanzo learned in Wuhan, China. Postures are close to
tassel sword postures, making this an excellent companion form: vigorous
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.
The delicate silk fan on bamboo ribs can sound like a firecracker when
opened! As a weapon it is graceful yet vigorous, subtle yet surprising.
Instructor will provide fans or substitutes.
Build the temple of Taijiquan on a good foundation: attend this seminars
for an introduction to various stances, Taiji walking, and the
essentials of qigong (energy cultivation).
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."
Liu He Ba Fa Quan ("Water Style")
A rare and powerful art, combines strengths of three internal martial
arts: the straightforward, compact delivery of Xingi, the agile,
circular dynamics of Bagua, and the smooth, relaxed execution of Taijiquan, and a fourth element consisting of unusual undulating, wave-like movement that gives the style the name “Water Boxing.”
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.
Practice the interactive application of Taiji principles. In push hands
(tui shou) partners help each other relax, center, listen, and express
intention. Recommended for all players. Periodically, this course may
also offer practice in tournament-style push-hands, during which each
participant will have an opportunity to be a competitor, referee, judge,
timekeeper, and scorekeeper.
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), "Five Animal Frolics," and the "Eight Brocades."
Excellent introduction to weapon study, or a fine complement to other
weapons. The first section of a solo stick form, and a two-person set
that makes use of the solo form postures. Bring a two and a half to
three foot dowel.
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: Long Tassel Sword
With its long, heavier war tassel attached, the yang of the straight
sword is beautifully balanced by yin, and the weapon seems to take on a
life of its own. This is a very rare and unusual form,--rhythmic and
fluid. With timing, momentum, and smooth circles, the tassel
flies--otherwise, it fizzles!
Sword: Simplified Taiji Sword (Jianhua Taijijian)
An excellent introduction to weapon play, the jianhua "simplified" form
is the standard 36-posture double-edged straight sword choreography
taught throughout China. Good for toning the arms and upper body, and
getting a feel for energy extension. No sword necessary to begin-info
on borrowing, buying or making a sword or substitute will be covered in class.
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.
T'ai Shi Bian
The bian or "Imperial Teacher's Whip" is a very ancient Chinese weapon
consisting of a knobby stick about 3 feet long, originally with multiple
lashes attached to one end. It is perhaps the source of the posture
name "single whip": danbian. A rare and unusual form: flashy, active,
and thoroughly martial.
A popular form in China, though rare here, devised by the first Tang
emperor's 3rd son in the 7th century, Tangquan is characterized by
vigorous expression, fluid changes, and alacrity. Almanzo's teacher
learned Tangquan in 1911, and in 1980 won a gold medal with it in open
competition at the All-China Wushu Championships.