Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.
Titan Framework Error: Wrong usage of getOption, this should be called inside a hook or from within a theme file.

Discover Taiji Blog

    Cheng Man Ching's "Invest in Loss"

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Sifu Adam Mizner
    Sifu Adam Mizner

    Many of us have heard time and time again the famous saying of the late Prof. Chen Man Ching to “invest in loss”. What does this mean? What did the professor mean when he said it? It is not easy to know another's intentions, none the less I can share my personal take on this principle and the way I have used it as a guiding light through the years to keep my training progressing smoothly and consistently.

    First of all lets look at what in my view is not the correct way to invest in loss, these common errors in understanding block the students progress in developing real taijiquan skills.

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    Confused About Unification?

    Joey NishadJust recently while conversing with a group of martial artists on Facebook, I began to think about my current understanding of “unification”. More specifically, realizing how much I have taken this understanding for granted. Of course my understanding is not my own handiwork, but a result of guidance from my skilled and generous teachers, over the years. I can’t take credit for it, other than for any misunderstanding, which is of course no doubt, very much exclusively my handiwork. I’m good at it!

    Now in my experience, the concept of “unification” is a fundamental concept in the internal arts. We hear phrases like “unified/whole body power” and “move unified” in these practices all the time. But it seems there is also, so much disagreement and confusion about what the term “unification” really means! So let me share my current understanding, based on the worldview of multiple traditions I’ve been fortunate enough to have been exposed to. Of course other traditions may describe “unification” differently, to suit their framework/approach. No harm in that! Words are not our masters after all.

    So “unification” as I understand it, can be described with the following little metaphor.

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    What is “Internal” Anyway?

    Joey NishadFor as long as I have been an enthusiast of the “internal arts”, a passionate debate has been raging on, as to what exactly qualifies as an “internal art”. With no consensus in sight! And often accompanied by bitter disagreements that tend to degrade into much worse.

    Even after training in the “internal arts” for a couple of years, I must admit, I personally had no idea myself as to what might make something an “internal art”. And also, what would prevent something from being an “internal art”. Over the years, through experiencing and exploring many “internal arts”, the teachers, seasoned practitioners and the communities that galvanize around them, I’ve come to realize the following.

    In my opinion, the one most important factor in this whole debate is that the answer to the question “what is an internal art?”, is rather subjective. The answer depends on who you ask. And what they train in. And how they train. So for myself, I have come to adopt the following variation of the question as a better candidate to explore the range of views. What is an “internal art” to you, in your (current) opinion?

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    Interview with Sifu Adam Mizner for TAICHIMAG

    ADAM MIZNER

    A RETURN TO THE SOURCE

    After the simplification of the form by Yang Chengfu and Wu Jianquan during the 30's, Taijiquan has mostly become known to the public as a health exercise. Today, few teachers  of this art are still capable of demonstrating the martial aspects and to apply its theory of empty and full when facing an aggressive opponent, including in China. Adam Mizner is among those exceptional people that come to prove that the simple forms of the Yang style still contain the martial principles which were at the origins of this school. Here you can read the original article in French, Adam Mizner Interview for TAIJIMAG

    By Emmanuel Angletiner

    TAICHIMAG-N°7

    His ability to maintain release in all situations and his mastery of Tuishou are of a rare level. And, furthermore, Adam Mizner is capable of utilizing these principles in the most dangerous situations, putting out a rigorous framework of coaching, or even dealing with experienced partners of other disciplines, in free exchanges. In Europe for a time in order to teach his art, he agreed to give us this interview.

    Could you please introduce yourself to the readers of Taichimag ? How old are you and how long have you been practicing Taijiquan?
    I am 37 years old and have been practicing Taijiquan for 20 years, naturally in the early years I was not really doing Taijiquan at all but just slowed down Weijia.

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    The Three Hands of Taijiquan

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Within my training and teaching of Tàijíquán, I emphasize two primary areas that must be developed and balanced. On the one side we have technical skills or 'Quan' - born from ting, timing and having trained the correct responses to different situations. The other side of the coin is power or the development of Gong Li. In practical application, these two aspects must not only be balanced but also be simultaneous and in harmony. Some of my teachers have emphasized skillful application of technique and while others have focused more on the development of Gong Li.

    With regards to the technical skills, in ones personal development, we must pass through 3 specific stages to achieve a high level of in Tàijíquán:

    1. Stupid hands
    2. Smart hands
    3. Mysterious hands

    We all start out with 'Stupid hands' and its a sad truth that most of the taiji world never graduate beyond this level. One of the famous sayings of Cheng Man Ching is “Don’t resist, Don’t insist" - stupid hands are characterized by insisting and resisting.

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    SELF DEFENSE

    DEFENSE AGAINST THE SELF

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Sifu Adam Mizner - Shoot Tiger with BowSelf defense in modern times, is it practical? In ancient times, before the invention of firearms, the practicality of being skilled in hand to hand combat was very clear. The way things are now in many parts of the world, a violent encounter is likely to be met with at the wrong end of a gun. At times like this, engaging in hand to hand combat is generally a very unwise course of action.

    Nonetheless, the training of self defense, within the traditional martial arts framework, is as vital and practical as it has ever been. The lessons learned and the skills cultivated can effect one deeply in many areas and not just in the realm of hand to hand combat.

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    Taijiquan - Finding the right teacher

    YOU SHALL KNOW THEM BY THEIR FRUITS

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Taiji Masters
    When a new student of taijiquan is searching for a teacher, it can be a daunting and confusing time. There are many claims by students and teachers alike, so who should a student believe? What are the things to look for in a teacher and a school?

    The main problem is that when someone is a beginner, by definition it is very difficult for them to know who has real skills and who does not. Because of this problem, a students needs to judge prospective teachers somehow, so lets talk about some things to look for in a teacher.

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    Qi Gong, breathing for a positive life

    An article by Adam Mizner

    discover qi gong taijiquanIt is an undeniable fact that the most powerful tool we posses is our mind. The mind can give us pleasure or pain, stress or peace. Often life unfolds in ways that we cannot control, yet even in such times we can influence our mental state and lead it in a positive direction. When we have a developed and skillful mental state, that can also lead more material aspects of our life into a more positive direction.

    The results of hypnosis and affirmations are well known, those who practice qi gong (chi kung) or taijiquan also know the benefits of working directly with relaxation, breathing and intention. When we bring the qualities of these practices together we can have a very powerful practice for self transformation.

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    Timing, Placement and Power

    An article by Adam Mizner

    When I am teaching classes or workshops on taijiquan I always emphasize the three principles of timing, placement and power.

    These three skills are not only fundamental to acquiring real world taijiquan skills but are fundamental to the successful application of any martial arts technique.

    TIMING

    Timing Placement PowerBruce Lee and other famous martial artists often talk about speed as one of the most important attributes of a successful martial artist.  This is not untrue, though I would say that timing is more important than mere speed. It is certainly possible to miss the mark because one arrives too early or is too fast.

    Understanding this we should strive to master timing rather than just speed. When we arrive “on time” in this way, our opponent is where we perceived him to be and our technique is neither early nor late.  In tai chi chuan this ‘correct time’ is when the opponent has “fallen to emptiness”, he is off balance and frozen or double heavy.  This is the right time to attack and finish the confrontation.

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    RELAX THE SHOULDERS IN TAIJI AND QIGONG

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Shoulder tension and painOne of the fundamental principles of taijiquan for martial arts and taiji for health is to relax and sink the shoulders.  It is so fundamental that it is listed in Yang Cheng Fu's famous ten points and the principle is shared in all qigong styles.

    Yang Cheng Fu's 10 Points

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    Tai Chi internal stretching

    An article by Adam Mizner

    Sifu Adam MiznerDui La 对拉  meaning something like "to stretch between". It's one of those fundamental principles of taiji quan that are all too often forgotten or misunderstood. When I travel to give taiji, qigong or meditation workshops in Asia, the USA, Australia and Europe I find that this taiji principle is mostly ignored. Most people attempt to use their body as one piece, committing the whole body in one direction at a given time.

    "If there is up, there is down;
    when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
    when striking left, pay attention to the right.
    If the wants to move upward,
    it must simultaneously have intent downward"

    T'AI CHI CH'UAN CHING
    Attributed to Chang San-feng (est. 1279 -1386)
    as researched by Lee N. Scheele

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    Yang Family Fajin

    An article by Adam Mizner
    Sifu Adam Mizner demonstrating Fajin with Gérald Tur
    The idea of fajin is highly debated in Taijiquan circles, where some consider it the be all and end all of taiji quan skill, while others who have never experienced it, consider it a fallacy. In truth, fajin is a fundamental method of taijiquan.

    No matter what one might think or argue, the fact remains that fajin is a standard part of the tai chi chuan skill set and has been practiced and developed by tai chi masters since the founding of the art until present day.

    Below are excerpts from an article by Li Ya Xuan, one of the top students of Yang Jien Hou and Yang Chen Fu, on Yang family fajin.

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    The Workshop Works!


    Last month I was fortunate enough to participate in Sifu Adam Mizner's workshop in Athens, Alabama.

    This was the third workshop I've attended with Sifu Mizner, and once again, his teachings left me (and I think all attendees) awestruck and inspired to continue to train on a path towards the inner, by providing clear practices for developing a taiji body and mind. By following his no-nonsense, step-by-step traditional training methods, dedicated students from any background of martial/internal arts are able to refine their appreciation of the effortless, but exquisitely intelligent power that comes from fundamental practices of taiji.

    Every year, Sifu's U.S. seminars keep getting better and better and better. And while it shouldn't be surprising, I am always amazed that

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    Interview with Sifu Adam Mizner - Tai Chi Chuan Magazine

    An interview with

    Adam Mizner

    by Ronnie Robinson

     

    Sifu Adam Mizner with Gérald TurAdam Mizner recently appeared on the taiji scene, predominantly via a few well-placed videos and links to websites containing minimal information other than video film. The films seemed to focus on push hands skills where his ‘opponent’ was bounced across the floor, often violently with what seemed to be minimal touch or force. By contrast one clip showed a quiet, internal and deeply connected hand form routine, which, for me, showed more of his taiji skill than the dynamic push hands demos.Tai Chi Chuan & Oriental Arts Cover - Interview with Sifu Adam Mizner

    Maybe we could start by you telling us how you got into this business?

    When I was a teenager I, like many other teenagers, went down the wrong path and I needed something to straighten out my life and I happened to choose kung fu. My kung fu teacher at that time said to do tai chi, so I did, and we went from there.

    So your purpose for getting into kung fu, did it have something to do with the potential of gaining a sense of discipline?

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    Basics of Double Heavy in Taijiquan

    Steffan de Graffenried
    No concept in Yang Taijiquan has more confusion surrounding it than the concept of Double-Heavy. Much can be read about Double-Heavy in the classic Taiji writings. Much can be read but little understood. As with all Taiji concepts and principles, one must understand it before reading about it in the Taiji classics. Reading the Taiji classics without prior understanding will lead you miles in the wrong direction.

    Another reason for the confusion surrounding Double-Heavy is that the Yang family spread misinformation about Double-Heavy to the public students of Yang Cheng-Fu, one of the greatest Taiji practitioners of all time. Since Yang family Taijiquan was one of the most secretive styles of martial arts in Chinese history they needed a way to appear to be teaching Taiji to public students but still ensure that they couldn't possibly attain any level of real skill. In 1915, China was in a very impoverished state and many were hungry, including Yang Cheng-Fu. When he decided to teach his family's secret martial art to the general public, there should have been serious repercussions

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    The good, the bad and the bitter standing

    Jason Shelton
    The following is an observation of a daily internal dialogue that often rambles its way through my mind (I never get lonely).

    I remember a guy wanting to learn taijiquan once when I was in Miami. We had him stand in Wuji for half an hour of qi-sinking. He wanted a taste of what it’s all about. Afterward, his only comment was, “Man, this must be really hard to market.”

    And if you’re like me, you’ll hate it. You’ll think of a million reasons not to do your sinking practice. Maybe I should just work on form today. Oh, I gotta send that email. I have to do laundry. I haven’t cooked dinner in a while. One more episode of Hannibal. I haven’t worked on the book in a while. Anything. Anything… but that. When you finally get around to the doing, it’ll only be because your Sifu’s voice will ring through your mind with that painful reminder, “There is no other way, young (relative) Jedi.”

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    Years of experience

    Patrick Reece
    I seem to make it pretty clear that there isn't a single aspect of standing post practice that I enjoy. I would say that perhaps I enjoy the end of standing, but that's not true, I'm merely relieved at the end, there is no joy. But Sifu says I have to do it... so I have to do it. The reason I have to do it is because Sifu says that this is where the power is created, or at least, the power generator is made. So I stand.

    There are some things that must always be present according to Sifu regarding not only standing but anything we do in our training: structure, shape, soong, and release to name a few. Some of these things feed some of the others. And I'm finding that when done correctly (my version of what my idea of 'correctly' is) they all seem to feed and encourage each other.

    BUT, a big problem I have had in my training is

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    Will the real Slim Shady please stand up?

    Jason Shelton
    After trying some hard styles and suffering inevitable knee injuries from poor teaching, I was left no choice but to learn taijiquan if I wanted to stay in the kung fu domain. Slow, stability-based movements. Easy to work with for the injured. A perfect place to start. I learned a lot for the first few years. Lots of fundamentals. Lots of eye-openers. But over time I felt I my progress began to slow. By the time I hit the 8 year mark, I was in a long rut that had lasted about 5 years with absolutely no progress in my taiji abilities. It seemed as if my qi would never arrive. It seemed as if I had no way to gauge my ability to fang song. I could feel my teacher rebounding, but I couldn’t replicate a single part of it. I was thoroughly confused over all the concepts. It seemed as though I never felt comfortable knowing which direction I was going, so to speak.

    In 2006, in the last year of college, I decided to do a study abroad for a year in Nanjing, China. There I met a few more masters, but still, no one seemed to stand out. I did a bit of baguazhang with a teacher, not because she was amazing, but just because I thought something new might spark more interest for me.

    After I came back to the U.S. I decided to

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