Tai Chi Interviews

Tai Chi Interviews and Discussions

Tai Chi Interviews and Discussions

Tai Chi Interviews and Discussions: In the early days of tai chi chuan it was very difficult to get good, clear information as much of the material was considered precious and was confined to a few families or individuals who were often secretive for fear their art would be taken from them. Now there are many teachers who willingly share all their ‘secrets’, or at least enough to allow us to proceed with effective practice methods.

Since the early 1980’s the tai chi knowledge base in the west has increased considerably as more highly-competent teachers have travelled extensively share their skills in an open, giving manner.

Traditionally teachers, particularly those of Chinese origin, were not necessarily used to being closely questioned on the material they were passing on. Coming from a culture of unquestionably accepting the knowledge of superiors, and paying due difference to the original Masters, it was often a case of just tireless repeating of postures and movements, sometimes without knowing why.

As you will see from this collection of interviews, there is much to be gained, from the considered thoughts of highly experienced instructors, that can be of invaluable assistance to the students of today. We have included material which cover a range of ages, from a variety of approaches which will hopefully provide a greater sense of how these arts have enriched the lives of many, and, more importantly, how they can enable you to get the best from your training.

Interview with direct Cheng Man Ching Students

Conversations with the GrandmastersInterview with direct Cheng Man Ching Students
During the course of the Cheng Man Ching Forum 2002 I wanted to arrange interviews with the special guests who were the lineaged Grandmasters that had been very close students of Professor Cheng Man Ching. The Gentlemen concerned were: William C C Chen, Benjamin Lo, Hsu Yee Chung and Hung Ping Chu. As they were attending the event as honoured guests it proved very difficult to find the quiet space that would provide the desired conviviality for our conversations.

Tai Chi Interview – Ken Van Sickle

Ken Van Sickle, a native of New York City, is best known for his work in recording images of film and video of Cheng Man Ching, who he was a student of from some years. However is sword skills are exceptional and he has produced an excellent DVD and is currently working on a book on the subject. I first met Ken at the Cheng Man-ching Congress/Forum in Hannover Germany in 2002 and later at Recontres Jasnieres in France…

Ken van Sickle on Cheng Man Ching

Interview with James Lau K King

Master James Lau K King (刘恭庆) from Miri, Malaysia was so kind to give a in depth interview on his personal and Tai Chi life. He talks about his childhood how he met his teacher GM Huang Sheng Shyan in 1977…

Tai Chi Interview – Gerda Geddes

Gerda Geddes was the first person who ever studied and taught Tai Chi in the UK, she began training in Shanghai at a time when very few women of any nationality were able to study the art. For nearly 60 years Tai Chi played an integral part in her life and she remained actively interested and open in her heart and mind right to the end. She passed away on Saturday 4th March 2006 at age 89…

Interview – Shi Ming

Stillness: The Mover & Shaker in Taiji

Shi Ming- Stillness: The Mover & Shaker in Taiji

Shi Ming is known as one of China’s preeminent taiji masters. He is a strict disciplinarian of the old school, inspiring his students to practice long hours in the park under all conditions, including the sub-zero temperatures of winter. He holds himself to the same standards. During the disturbances in 1989 in Beijing, bus service was interrupted for weeks, but Shi Ming rose early to walk 2 ½ hours across town to where he teaches his students every day.
Like the legendary taiji teachers of the past, Shi Ming’s skill in hand-pushing borders on the magical. It gives peerless authority to his ideas on taiji. Opponents are discharged in the air with a flick of the wrist or bounced backward 20 feet with the turn of the waist. And, according to taiji standards, no force is used. Each Sunday Shi Ming gives hand-pushing demonstrations in the park to convince onlookers that taiji is profound practice, not merely a poetic dance form, which it has become so often in China…

Tai Chi Interview – Mario Napoli

I first met Mario Napoli was around the year 2000 when I attended his workshop at the annual French Tai Chi Camp, Recontres Jasnieres. For me it was one of these moments when something clicks which changes your perception on what you’ve been doing up to that point in time. Although I didn’t have the time or physical requirements to devote to his ongoing training regime his teachings led me on a totally different path…

Tai Chi Interview – Li Deyin

Professor Li Deyin in one of China’s most famous Tai Chi Masters and creator of a number of modern-day competition routines such as 24 Step Taijiquan, 48 Step Taijiquan, Taiji Kungfu Fan, Xiyangmei Taiji Kungfu Fan. He is also the highest authority on 24 step simplified Yang style taijiquan, 88 Step Traditional Yang Style Taijiquan, Wudang Taiji Sword and and 32 step Yang Style Taijijian…

Tai Chi Interview – Faye Yip

With high-ranking contacts to the official Taijiquan community and family ties back in China on the one hand, and her own family and teaching life in the UK on the other hand, Faye walks between the worlds…

Tai Chi Interview – Tiffany Chen

There is a commonly held misperception that tai chi chuan is primarily a soft, gentle exercise system that is not only suitable for the elderly but is actually only for older people. Whilst any serious practitioner is more than aware of the many aspects of the art it still remains strongly fixed in the public perception that old people are the ones who do it most. Tiffany Chen is part of the new breed of practiioners who is young, fit, extremely active and highly capable of effectively applying the martial aspects of tai chi…

Tai Chi Interview – William CC Chen

In the year 2000 Tai Chi Grandmaster William C.C. Chen was teaching at Tai Chi Caledonia in Scotland, when event organiser and Editor of Tai Chi Chuan magazine (UK), Ronnie Robinson took the opportunity to conduct this interview. At that time Grandmaster Chen has studied Tai Chi Chuan for over 50 years,…

Interview – Laura Stone

Quotes interspersed in this interview with Laura Stone:

  • Music and T’ai Chi Chuan came together for me in calligraphy.
  • Learning from Grandmaster Chen is enjoyable; he says ‘right, right’ and you relax.
  • You have to make a commitment to softness, gentleness, otherwise your reptilian brain will continue to take over…
  • This is what I have to offer, softer than soft, I am one of the softest
  • Learning to go with an attack in T’ai Chi has been my salvation.
  • Interaction is the greatest gift of T’ai Chi Ch’uan

Tai Chi Interview – Adam Mizner

Adam Mizner recently appeared on the tai chi 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 tai chi skill than the dynamic push hands demos…

Tai Chi Interview – Bruce Frantzis

Since 1961, Bruce Frantzis has followed the 3,000-year-old Taoist tradition of warrior/healer/priest by studying, practicing, teaching and writing about energy arts including: qigong; energetic healing therapies; Taoist meditation; and martial arts, including tai chi. The heart of his tradition is the cultivation of chi, the internal energy that connects the mind, body and spirit to the underlying consciousness of the universe (Tao)…

Tai Chi Interview – Chen Zhenglei

Grand Master Chen Zhenglei, born in May 1949 at Chen’s Village, China, is a 19th generation descendant of the Chen’s family and a 11th generation direct-line inheritor of Chen’s Taichi. He was the head coach at the Chen’s Village National Taichi Center and vice-president of Henan Wushu Stadium. He is officially accredited with the title of “China’s Top Ten Contemporary Martial Arts Masters”.

Tai Chi Interview – Jan Silberstorff

I first met Tai Chi Master Jan Silberstorff at the Taijiquan & Qigong Federation for Europe gathering in Prague in 2001, where we were both teaching. The first thing that struck me was his unusual hairstyle which didn’t quite fit with the general perception we have of serious taiji practitioners. His skill however was soon evidenced by those who partook of his workshops in push hands or, like me,  had the opportunity of touching hands with him…

Tai Chi Discussions

There are many ways in which we can further our experience in learning and, by far the most effective would be constant physical practice, just going over things again, again and again so our body and mind gradually develops a familiarity and understanding of each posture, transition and purpose of the art.
discussWe can spend time reading the Classics, principles and all-important texts that the founders and fore-bearers wrote when creating these systems. Interviews and other reading matter can also yield previously un-considered aspects which will help to broaden our understanding.
Discussions allow the listener to get a deeper sense of not only the speaker’s views but can actually experience them being questioned as others view’s may not necessarily coincide with theirs.
Through these pages we will include transcripts of discussions that have taken place at various internal arts events around Europe and beyond. We hope they will help you to get a deeper understanding of the various Chinese Internal Arts.

Taiji forum welcomes your interviews or suggestions for teachers to be included in these pages.

Spirit in Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong

Spirit is a quality that is often referred to in the work of taijiquan and qigong and it is also one of the qualities that is considered when evaluating a tai chi performance in competition. That being said it is, to many, a concept that is difficult to explain or put words to. At 2009’s Tai Chi Caledonia I invited a few of our instructors to give their views on the matter…

Why Push Hands

The following discussion group on push hands took place in Scotland at Tai Chi Caledonia in June 2007 and was chaired by the organiser of the event, Ronnie Robinson…

More Tai Chi Interviews and related links

Autor: Ronnie Robinson

Images: Ronnie Robinson