What Does The 'Teh' Mean In 'Tao Teh Ching'

If you have ever wondered about the “De” in Dao De Jing… you are not alone. I remember wondering this myself, and expending notable energy researching the etymology of this classical Chinese text’s title.

First off, if you spend much time reading this blog, you’ll know I typically use the Pinyin (pīnyīn) system for transcribing Mandarin into the Latin (English :-P) alphabet. However, especially since many of the popular translations were printed before the official adoption of Pinyin by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), many popular copies of the book – which in Pinyin is written as Dao De Jing are commonly known as Tao Teh Ching or Tao Te Ching (thanks to the older Wade-Giles system of Romanization under which the work was originally translated).

Hence, and rather unfortunately, the whole …

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Hypnosis & Martial Arts - Part Two - Self Delusion

One of the most nefarious side effects of incorrect martial arts practice is the potential to fall into unexamined groupthink. This effect can be disastrous. It is damaging not only for one’s progression in the martial arts … but also for one’s progression in life, and for one’s spiritual pursuits (if any).

Hypnosis In Martial ArtsHypnosis In Martial Arts

“Self Delusion” or “Groupthink” In The Martial Arts

While I usually confine this blog discussion to taijiquan and the Chinese Internal Martial Arts (CIMA) in general, this is a topic that applies to a wide variety of martial disciplines (and many other group-focused activities).

I’m sure you’ve experienced this, or at least heard of it somewhere. A …

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Hypnosis & Martial Arts - Part One

As an avid student of hypnosis, I have frequently noticed and contemplated many areas of overlap between hypnosis & taijiquan.

Hypnosis SpiralHypnosis Watch Induction

I had my own hypnotherapy practice for a few years in Brentwood, California, mostly as a passing fancy rather than a career or major source of income. I’ve also dabbled in stage hypnosis for nearly a decade, performing in hypnosis “edutainment” demonstrations for crowds of 5 – 50. In all cases, I’ve always been a fan of the fine art (and science) of hypnosis, and through the course of my interest I’ve had a chance to study with some of the greats.

Today, I’m drafting a post in response to several requests on Facebook regarding an …

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Tai Chi Movements - Cheng Man-Ch'ing (Zheng Manqing) Tai Chi 37 Form

Zheng Manqing (Cheng Man-Ch’ing or 郑曼青) was a renowned & controversial taijiquan master. His multifaceted skills were widely acclaimed both in China and the West. Few disputed his abilities & character; Cheng Man Ching was master of the “Five Excellences”: Chinese medicine, tai chi chuan, calligraphy, painting, and poetry (not to mention flower arranging and a host of other impressive feats).

Cheng Man Ch'ing SmileCheng Manqing - Deep Thinking

However, as stated, Cheng’s legacy is also quite controversial. From being one of the primary exponents of openly teaching taijiquan to Westerners (a feat which gained him plenty of ill will in certain traditionalist Chinese tai chi circles), to drastically modifying the tai chi …

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Tensegrity and Taijiquan (Tai Chi Ch'uan)

No matter what school, style, or lineage of taijiquan you may encounter, it is likely that over the course of studying this internal martial art … you will at some point be forced to totally reconsider the way you think your body works.

Tensegrity Structure AnimatedTensegrity Structure :: Human Body

The above spinning image (left) is an example of a structure being held together by the force of tensegrity or tensional integrity. In other words, the rigid green “beams” are never touching, but are suspended in their shape by the interconnected flexible red “strings.” The structure in the black and white image (right) is a symbolically simplified model of our skeleton & muscles to display that the …

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The Zen of Taijiquan

When people think of taijiquan — as a martial art or as a spiritual discipline — the first association is with the principles of the Tao. The classics of Taoism are tai chi chuan’s philosophical foundation, and without them, any consideration of our beloved art is missing its most essential cornerstone.

Zen and Taijiquan

The history of Taoism and Zen (Cha’an in China) are intertwined in too many ways to count, but for the sake of the Zen of this article … we’ll save the history lesson for another time.

As I have heard from one of my teachers:

“All explanations are wrong. Correct taijiquan is a feeling.”

It is here, at this intersection of feeling & explanation, that I would like to examine the “Zen” of Taijiquan.

As I understand it, Zen, too, is a feeling.

I have heard it referred …

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Guo Shilei Taijiquan Lecture Series - Part One

Who is Guo Shilei (郭石磊) … and where’d he get his ill gongfu skillz?* (See videos for proof)

According to an excellent interview available on his own site … Guo Shilei began his deeper studies into the Chinese Internal Martial Arts (CIMA) when he was 15. That is when he met his teacher, who is the renowned Shi Chongying (石崇英), a 6th generation inheritor of Ma Weiqi style Bagua as well as a 7th generation inheritor of Yang style taiji. Guo’s own words express his relationship to his teacher the best:

“When I was 15 I met my teacher Shi Chongying and, thinking that my iron arm was already …

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