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Bruce’s Picks

Tai Chi and Traditional Chinese Medicine traditionally were connected and used together to treat patients in China.

From the perspective of Traditional Chinese Medicine you can say there are two levels of healing injury, illness and diseases. The first involves hands-on energetic healing work, which can get rather complex with the thousands of meridian lines on the human body. The second involves specific qigong or tai chi exercises that can be taught and learned which often are sufficient to heal a health issue.

But the question is: Can tai chi really heal specific health issues rather than just maintain a good standard of general health and enhanced longevity? Also, how can Tai Chi evolve into a health and healing art in the West?

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Island of CreteThe Island of Crete by Wolfgang Staudt

My focus at the Instructor Training this summer is making an attempt to help you bridge the gap between your breath and chi. While your breathing is irregular, erratic and not very strong or smooth, it’s almost impossible to bridge that gap.

If you can take a 20-second breath at least you will have a stable breath, which is the foundation necessary to make the link between your breath and chi. Twenty seconds will regulate many physiological functions within your body. So a 10-second inhale and 10-second exhale (20-second breath) is what you need to come in with–no matter how you do it–to at least have a shot at the chi work.

From here at this summer’s retreat  I’ll take you through two methods to help you bridge the gap between breath and chi:

1.  The first and easiest way is through the nervous system. Understanding what your breath does to your nervous system is important. Chi flows through your nerves, so if you can recognize what your breath does to your nerves, then it can become a method by which you feel your chi. Eventually it becomes possible to then feel your chi directly.

2.  Chi moves the fluids of your body: blood, synovial fluid, cerebrospinal and more. If your mind can enter your breath and feel the way in which the fluids inside your body move, you have a second way of understanding how breath, chi and your fluids are interrelated. Since chi is in your breath and your fluids, recognizing the movement of chi in your fluids can help you make the link.

Ultimately, however, the root through which a person experiences breath and chi happens at the level of the Heart-Mind. That is it happens at the depth of the mind–not on the surface of conscious thinking. It’s not a mathematical formula: I’m doing this, I’m doing that.

Feeling your chi comes from a much deeper place inside of you. Before you can actually get how chi enters and leaves your body as your breath, you also need to allow your breath to really enter your body. So I’ll spend a lot of time helping you become conscious of your breath entering your body.

If you can prepare by working up to a 20-second breath by the time you arrive, you’ll have the stability you’ll need to make the leap possible. I make no promises though.

Of course Taoist Longevity Breathing involves moving your belly, sides, kidneys and really moving the diaphragm, so make all parts move as you practice for best results.

I hope to see you on Crete! For more info click here to learn more.

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During the Chinese New Year of 1986, almost 25 years ago, around February, I was asked, along with my wife, if we would do something for China National Television on their English Sunday program.

At the time, this program was approximately an hour long and it was watched by approximately 500 million people in China. A few days before this, I was trying to figure out what I would do for the TV show, even though I was being asked to appear because I was known as a western Tai Chi Master in Beijing. Read More

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Year of the Tiger_Tai Chi MasterSumatran Tiger Photo by Brimac the 2nd

We are now getting ready to enter the Year of the Tiger and there are several things that I think are helpful for you as an update.  The first one is that we are nearing the end of winter, so within a month from now, during the winter period of time, the most valuable thing you can do is to rest so you have energy for the rest of the year.

This is so your system will regenerate, much like you leave a field fallow in the winter so in the spring it can grow again.  Now that we’ve finished the bulk of the winter and we have less than a month left before the next phase starts, you want to start just like a person who has been very, very sleepy and is waking up, very slowly. Read More

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Sand Dunes_H Dragon

Death Valley (Photo by: H Dragon)

A lot of people don’t know this about me, but when I was young I was an avid reader. I could read a 500-page book in a day and a half or two and actually digest it. Then, I went through a long period where I didn’t read at all, especially not in English.

I didn’t particularly like fiction when I was young. In fact, I almost exclusively read non-fiction with two exceptions. I actually really liked  Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, which is about the French Revolution. In junior high school, when I was 12, I picked up the book The Hobbit on a Friday afternoon and I had read the entire Lord of the Rings series before the weekend was out.

Even still,  I really didn’t care for fiction. I still find most fiction novels boring as hell.

One of things that I did when I came back from China, at some point in the 90’s, was pick up the book Dune by Frank Herbert because a friend of mine said that it was really cool. I found that there are many ideas in Dune that mirror those in Taoism… Read More

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Budda Dog (Photo by: Superfantastic)

Is the Tai Chi tipping point on the horizon or not?

Everybody who has been involved in tai chi in the West for the past 10-15 years has known that tai chi is probably going to reach a tipping point were it really reaches the masses; where tai chi really becomes known to the public rather than being some strange exercise that hippies practice.

The simple fact still remains most of the public know little of the tremendous benefits of tai chi, how tai chi works or how to learn tai chi. Lets connect Malcolm Gladwell, Swami Vichinanda,Jane Fonda and Bruce Lee with the Tai Chi Tipping Point… Read More

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Going for it! (Photo by: nimish_gogri)

7 Stages of Learning Tai Chi

Having taught tai chi and qigong to more than 15,000 students, I have come to a deep understanding of seven distinct stages that my students have gone through in learning and adopting tai chi into their daily lives. Read More

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