Friday, December 18, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: The Right Way and the Wrong Way - Part 2

....(continued from last post)....Most people that practice Tai Chi Chuan (hereafter simply referred to as Tai Chi, which is the commonly used nickname.) are doing so for the health benefits associated with Tai Chi training.  So we will address Tai Chi practice for health, first.  When a person is learning Tai Chi movements for health it is true that many of the fine details that are important for the fighting applications of Tai Chi are not a major point of focus in their training, but rather the focus is placed on large scale movements that are going to promote movement of the body in ways that will promote increased balance, coordination, etc.  So it is not necessary to follow a specific partner of movements with a high degree of precision to receive many of the health benefits of Tai Chi.  However, even when practiced for health, the basic Tai Chi principles should be adhered to for better results.  For example, proper alignment should be emphasized to avoid injury and to aid balance.  When a new student practices the movements of a Tai Chi form, it is not uncommon for knee injuries to occur due to poor knee alignment.  If it were true that one cannot practice Tai Chi incorrectly, this could not happen.  However, as with any other physical activity, there is a "right" (safer) and "wrong" (more dangerous) way of performing the movements.  So, the statement in question, does not hold true for Tai Chi when it is practiced for health.

How about for the fighting applications of Tai Chi?  Is it possible to do them wrong?  Oh yes, it is possible, and you will know immediately when it happens.  However, there is a high degree of variability in how each techniques is applied because every person with which you practice will be different and the technique must be adapted to fit each situation.  However, the fundamental principles of the technique do not change, only the way in which the principles are applied.  Even in Tai Chi form practice for martial arts there are a number of variations in how each move is practiced, and these variations are simply ways in which to emphasize a particular aspect of the fighting technique.  So long as the basic principles are correct, and we are only considering variations of correct techniques, then I believe it is safe to say that there is no right or wrong way to practice, because each variation serves its purpose.  However, without those restrictions, it is very possible to practice wrong in the case of Tai Chi training for martial purposes.

So, from where would such a statement come?  Why would it be passed around so often and repeated so frequently by Tai Chi players?  There are a few of different applications for this statement in the world of Tai Chi, but they are not without specified boundaries.

One such application is, as I mentioned before, when referring to different technique variations, or even different styles of Tai Chi.  Saying that there is no right or wrong way serves as a reminder that while there may be some methods that are preferred by some styles over others, as long as they are useful, and adhere to the principles of Tai Chi, they are valid.  It can be used to unite Tai Chi practitioners of different teachers and different styles, because we are all practicing Tai Chi here.

Another application of this statement is in reference to mastery.  When one has sufficiently internalized the principles of Tai Chi, to a point at which they no longer have to concentrate on maintaining those principles, because they have become second nature, then they are no longer confined to specific "right" techniques.  They are free to be creative and adapt to any new situation, by inventing their own techniques if necessary.  For them, there is no right or wrong way of doing...... it is just a matter of doing, because their mastery of the basic principles opens up a whole new world of possibilities to them.  However, few people truly reach a place in their understanding of Tai Chi where they can actually improve on the generations of training and experience that have gone into the creation of the various styles of Tai Chi that we know today.

Saying that there is no right way or wrong way to practice Tai Chi has its applications, beyond what we have even discussed here.  However, as with any skill, there is a great amount of time and training that must go into developing a deep understanding of the basics before the practitioner has a firm enough grasp on the skill to begin to truly express herself/himself in an new ways.  And in Tai Chi, as with any skill, there are correct ways to practice and incorrect ways.  So, appreciate the uses for such a statement, in appropriate settings, but do not let it become an excuse to ignore foundational principles that are necessary for good Tai Chi training.

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt


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Friday, December 11, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: The Right Way and the Wrong Way - Part 1

One of my most memorable experiences from teaching Tai Chi classes was when a student brand new to my class simply refused to practice the basic movements I had shown her.  She insisted on following along with the students who were practicing a form.  I tried to explain that the reason I was showing her basic movements was to help her avoid building bad habits and possible practicing incorrectly.  After I finished my explanation, she shook her head, looked at me and said, "No, there is no right way or wrong way to do Tai Chi."  At first I thought she was joking, but when I realized she was serious, I simply nodded, said, "okay" and let her do whatever she wanted to for the rest of the class.  Looking back, I wish I had asked her a few more questions and engaged her in a conversation to find out what that statement meant to her, but at the time my only thought was that, with her mindset, there simply was not room for an instructor in her training.

However, I would like to address her comment here, as it is one I have heard repeated by various people on the subject of Tai Chi practice.  Let us start by establishing a distinction between Tai Chi (Taiji 太极) and Tai Chi Chuan (Taijiquan 太极拳).

Tai Chi is a concept that refers to the interactions and relationships between Yin energy and Yang energy.  It is a concept of balance between these energies as well as an understanding of how one neutralizes the other and also turns into the other.  It can be applied to pretty much every aspect of life.  For an oversimplified example, think of an extremely active person as being Yang and a sleeping person as being Yin.  If a person is always on-the-go and never stops to rest, he/she is out of balance and the results will be less than favorable.  Therefore, and active (Yang) lifestyle can be balanced by adequate rest (Yin).  To live a long healthy life, balance is necessary and, in a similar manner, the concept of Tai Chi can be used in nearly every aspect of a person's life.  In this regard, I would almost agree that there is no right way or wrong way to do Tai Chi, so long as one is seeking balance.....although, to be fair, it would not be a very strenuous mental exercise to think of ways in which even the concept of balance could be used incorrectly in daily life.

Since Tai Chi is a concept, why do we say that people are practicing Tai Chi when they are doing a set of slow movements or practicing push hands?  The answer is quite simple.  What those people are actually practicing is Tai Chi Chuan.  The term "Chuan" in Tai Chi Chuan means "fist" or "fighting style."  It is a term that is added to the names of many Chinese martial arts to identify them as fighting styles.  Shaolin Chuan would mean the Shaolin (A Buddhist monastery) fist, or the fighting style of the Shaolin Temple.  Wing Chun Chuan means, the fighting style of a woman named Yim Wing Chun.  So when we say Tai Chi Chuan, what we are saying is, "The fighting style based on the concept of Tai Chi."  One of the most popular concepts of Tai Chi Chuan is to yield and redirect (Yin) an opponent's attack (Yang), thus demonstrating the interplay between Yin and Yang in the concept of the maritial art.  When we say that people that are practicing slow movements are practicing Tai Chi, we are really saying that they are practicing movements based on the martial art Tai Chi Chuan, whether they are practicing for martial training purposes or simply for health.  Now, the actual physical practice of Tai Chi (Chuan) is where "correct" practice is very important.

To be continued...


To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt


P.S. Today is the first day of a new round of liver cleansing for me, using Liver Master.  I love this product and I hope you will try it for yourself by ordering from my online health store.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: Take a Moment - Part 2

(Continued from previous post)...Even bending the knees and stepping out to the side is not as simple as it seems.  As you bend your knees, you can see if the movement disrupts the preparations you have just made.  If it does, return to your starting position, readjust, then don't think of bending the knees, think of sinking.  Continue to listen to your body as you sink to make sure that your alignment stays true and your knees do not push out past your toes.  When you finish sinking, shift your weight to one foot (typically the right foot) and stay aware of your root and alignment.  If you feel unstable, shift the weight back to both feet and try this shift as many times as is necessary to feel that your root and alignment are maintaining your balance as you shift.  Then, eventually, take it to another level.  When you shift to one foot, do you simply feel balanced, or do you feel that if someone pushed against you they would have a difficult time pushing you over?  Focus on sinking into your root so much with this shift, that even though you have put all of your weight on one leg, you feel solid enough on that leg, that when you imagine someone pushing against you, you feel confident that you would remain solid.  

As you maintain the root in one leg, pick up the other foot (usually the left foot) and slowly....sloooooooowwwwwwly move it out to its new position.  This is not a simple step out, although it bears a striking resemblance to one.  This step prepares you for how you will be moving through the whole form.  Which is, to always maintain a solid root in one leg while stepping with the other.  No weight shifts and no root shifts until the foot in motion has touched the ground.  Then, and only then, can you begin to shift your root and your weight to that foot.  

The same amount of care should be placed in closing the form.  When you go through "Close Taiji" as you are lowering your hands and straightening your legs you should begin to do an inventory.  Is your alignment still correct?  Is your root still strong?  Is your mind still focused?  Is your weight still sunk into your base?  These should all be maintained throughout practice and if you find that this check point reveals any missing components, it allows you to recognize what was lost during your training.  Sometimes, while one practices, she/he will begin to focus so much on one thing, relaxing for example, that he/she will forget to maintain another thing, good structure for instance.  As I mentioned in a previous tip, it is a good idea to pick one thing to focus on, then add other points of focus as it becomes easier to do so.  The really important part is to make sure that you begin the form and end the form with the same number of Tai Chi principles intact.  In other words, if you begin the form focusing only on alignment, when you do your mental inventory at the beginning of the "Close Taiji" movement, you should find that you are still maintaining good alignment.  Likewise, if you begin with good alignment, relaxation, and rooting, you should still have each of these principles in your inventory at the end of the form.  This mental checklist helps you locate weak points in your form training.  That way, the next time you practice, you can keep an eye out for what exactly caused you to lose one of your key Tai Chi components.  

When you have finished checking yourself for any lost Tai Chi fundamentals, and are ready to bring your feet back together, go through the same rooting and alignment practice that you did at the beginning of the form.  If you find that you can finish strong with the same strength of root, the same alignment and balance, then it shows a proficiency and fitness in those skills, which allows you to carry them through the whole form and finish without them being diminished.  But if you find that you feel fatigued, your root does not feel as strong, your alignment feels shaky, and your balance is unsure, it indicates that your body and mind are still not used to the form and are still developing their Tai Chi fitness.  It is not a bad thing, it is just an indicator that there is work to be done and it gives you a way to measure your progress.  As time passes, and as you continue to train consistently, you will gradually see improvement at this stage of the form.  

After your feet are together and you begin to straighten your legs and return to your starting position, allow yourself to release your practice time and return to the "real world."  Allow as much of that practice session to stay with you throughout the rest of the day as feels natural, but do not try to force any of the feelings to stay with you.  Gradually, more and more will stay with you, but let it happen naturally.  Don't forget the lessons that you learned during your training, but also do not obsess over them.

Both of these sequences at the beginning and end of the form, though they may seem very simple, are actually very involved (as you can see) and they are crucial for preparing you to practice your form correctly, allowing you to gauge your ability to carry Tai Chi principles through the whole form, and allowing you to truly close the form.  These are where you change from "every day mode" into "Tai Chi mode" and back again.  You will find that the more you practice, the easier this transition will be.  Eventually, you will start to realize that there is less of a transition because the Tai Chi principles that you practice in the form are becoming a part of how you function in everyday life, but it all begins with slowing down and taking a moment to appreciate these seemingly insignificant little portions of your daily practice.

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

P.S. With the holidays upon us, large meals, and often unhealthy meals, become far more common than usual.  As you prepare to eat meals with increased fats, proteins and portion sizes...do something nice for your digestion by ordering Synergy Defense on my online health store.  Find out all about it by clicking here. 

Friday, November 20, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: Take a Moment - Part 1

When you go through a Tai Chi form how much time do you spend on starting the form and finishing the form?  That may seem like a strange question, but very often the importance of preparing for the form followed by the "Begin Taiji" movements, and the "Close Taiji" movements followed by the closure of the form are ignored.  Students who are new to Tai Chi tend to rush through the portions of the form to get to the "good stuff."  I remember when I was first learning Tai Chi, the beginning and end of the form were not important to me.  Those movements just seemed like fancy ways to start and finish the practical-training portion of the form.  Fortunately, I was taught the importance of these segments and grew to appreciate them.  It is my hope that by the end of this tip, you will value these small portions of your training time as well.

If I were to ask you, "How do you start your Tai Chi form?" and you were to respond with, "I start with my feet together, I check my alignment, then I bend my knees slightly, and step out with one foot to the side." then you would have answered correctly (for most forms).  However, there is an entire world of training that exists in the movements that you just described and, believe it or not, you could spend several minutes on just this portion of the form. If you find that hard to believe, read on for a sample of the depth of these seemingly insignificant moves. 

As soon as you decide to practice Tai Chi you have automatically begun to prepare your mind and body to practice (to some extent) simply by developing the intent to practice, but that is certainly not where the preparation ends. When you bring your feet together and check your alignment, before you do any other movements, take a moment.  Pause.  Feel.  Listen.  Become aware of your environment.  Become aware of your body.  Every sensation.  Are your shoulders tight? Is your lower back bothering you?  Do you feel more relaxed than usual?  Are you feeling distracted?  It doesn't matter what you are feeling at this point and you should never feel disappointed by any of those sensations that would be considered undesirable for practicing Tai Chi.  At this point, you are simply becoming aware.  

Once you have become aware, it is time to actually prepare yourself for your Tai Chi practice.  This is where you take care of the things that might effect your training.  Begin with deep abdominal breathing to help quiet the mind, then take your attention to one problem area, the tense shoulders for example.  With your attention on the shoulders, inhale deeply and as you exhale imagine the tension releasing from the shoulders with that breathe, and repeat until your shoulders no longer feel tense.  If your lower back is tense, focus on relaxing those muscles and adjust your hips and overall stance to one that helps the lower back relax (this should have been taken care of when you checked your alignment, but sometimes you won't notice subtle misalignments that are causing issues, like a tense lower back, until you take a moment to listen for them.)  If your mind does not want to stay focused, imagine that you can see the air that you are inhaling travel in through your nose, all the way down to your lower belly.  Then watch it travel up from your lower belly and back out your nose as you exhale.  Continue to watch this breath-trek until it absorbs your attention the way watching a tv show would.  This will help quiet the mind and allow you to focus, which is necessary for directing your intent into your form practice.  As you relax, you should feel that it becomes more easy for your body's energy to flow freely, to exchange with the energy of your environment, and to fill you up so that it can support the structure of your movements. 

Next, sink.  Imagine that your body weight is sinking down into your lower belly, down into your legs and feet, and see yourself growing roots into the ground.  While this is happening the upper body will feel as though it is becoming lighter.  Think of yourself as a tree with big heavy roots anchoring you to the ground and supporting light flexible branches that are reaching up to the sky.  Become increasingly aware of your lower belly (more specifically the Dan Tian) and feel the connection between it and every other part of the body.  Understand that it is the director (like a steering wheel) for all of your movements and take time to mentally establish it in that role in your body.  Again, take a moment, allow all of these mental and physical adjustments to feel natural.  Do not worry about moving, don't think about the form, don't be in a hurry.  When you feel comfortable, you are ready to bend the knees and step out........(to be continued).

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

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Friday, November 13, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: Relax

If you have ever attended a Tai Chi class, watched an instruction video about Tai Chi, read about Tai Chi, or even heard someone talk about Tai Chi, you have, no doubt, discovered that the concept of relaxation is closely related to the art of Tai Chi.  However, the concept of relaxation in Tai Chi is much different from the image that appears in most peoples' mind when they hear someone say, "Relax."  To many people, relaxation means lying on the sofa reading a book, watching a movie, taking a nap, or doing some other minimal effort activity.  So when a new student is in a Tai Chi class and they are told to relax, while holding some posture that looks like it is straight out of an old Kung Fu movie, there tends to be some confusion.  How can one relax, while standing on one leg?

This confusion has the potential to lead beginners to think that moving the body and holding the postures like a limp noodle is how one must practice Tai Chi if one wishes to maintain relaxation while performing each movement.  However, in Tai Chi, when one is instructed to relax it simply mean to let go of any excess tension, not to let go of all tension.  Our bodies are, after all, a complex system of levers that depend on muscular tension to produce movement.  So it is impossible to move without some muscular tension, but the trick in Tai Chi is to seek the most efficient movement that does not depend on unnecessary tension.  Here is a quick exercise that over-simplifies this concept, but it will help illustrate the difference.  Bring your hands up in front of you like you're a boxer protecting your head, tense up you arms and clench your fists as much as you can.  Now, while maintaining as much of that tension as possible, push one of your fists out in front of you, like your punching something, then bring it back to its starting position.  Did you feel how difficult that was with all that excess tension fighting against your movement?  Now, maintain the same posture, but relax the arms and fists.  They shouldn't go limp, they should simply release any tension that is not necessary for keeping them in place.  Now push the same hand out, just like you did before, only without the excess tension this time, and bring it back.  Way easier, right?  notice how much less energy you spent the second time to perform the same movement?  Do you see how much more efficient it was?  Again, this is over simplifying the concept of relaxation in Tai Chi, but it gives you a good idea of the difference between going through a movement inefficiently versus doing it without wasted energy.  However, the relaxed version is very different from going loosey-goosey and letting your arms flop out and hang like wilting branches from your body.  Good structure was maintained, as it should be in your Tai Chi practice.

If you are having trouble relaxing while practicing or if you find that you are relaxing so much that your arms and body feel limp while you practice, try the following exercise.  Pick your favorite posture from the form that you practice, "Parting the Horse's Mane" for example, and move into this posture like you would in the form.  Then just stay there, don't move to any other postures, just hold that posture.  Try to hold it for five minutes.  While you're holding the posture imagine that your body and limbs are like fire hoses through which something is flowing (light, energy, or whatever you choose to imagine).  Just like the water moving through a fire hose supports the hose from the inside, let the energy flowing through you support your posture (but don't try to control where the energy goes, just let it flow naturally).  Relax your muscles as much as you can without losing the posture and focus on the feeling of being supported from the inside.  Listen to your body as well.  If something becomes uncomfortable (like your shoulders for example) it's often a sign that there is tension hiding there and you should focus on relaxing those muscles and letting the arms be supported from within.  Obviously, the muscles are still holding the arms up, but you'll be surprised by how this simple mental exercise will improve the energy flow and power of your Tai Chi movements, while allowing you to move efficiently, without excess tension......and don't forget to balance your practice, by doing it on both sides.


To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

P.S. We all know the importance of having a healthy liver (it is responsible for approximately 500 necessary functions in the body), but few of us do many things to really care for our livers.  To show your liver some gratitude for all the hard work it does, try the Liver Master liver cleanse on my online health store Andrew.PureTrim.com today.





Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Yang Tai Chi Saber Instruction Video (14 of 26)

Here is our latest upload.  It is video 14 in a series of 26 videos that offer instruction for all of the movements of the Yang Tai Chi 13 Saber Form.  We hope you all find it useful in your training!

And don't forget to stop by our online health store to try Daily Complete as a replacement for other supplements you may be using. Andrew.PureTrim.com


Friday, November 6, 2015

Tai Chi Tip: Beginner Focus

A common question many people ask when they are first learning Tai Chi is, "what should I be focusing on when I go through the form?"  There are many different things that one can potentially focus on while preforming any Tai Chi movement, or set of movements, and beginners have a tendency to get excited about their training and read as much as they can about it from many different sources.  That is understandable because Tai Chi is very exciting, and it is always good to gather information from multiple sources.  However, this practice often leads beginners to more confusion than clarity.  They may read one source that says they should focus on their breathing, then read another source that says they should focus on moving from their Dan Tian, while yet another source says to focus on connecting all of the body in each movement.

Which of these ideas is the correct one?  Should all of this advice be followed at once and, if so, how can anyone possibly focus on that many things at once and keep it all straight?  The truth is, each of these example sources is correct, and all of these things (and more) should be done during practice, but they should be built on top of each other, rather than all thrown in together at the same time.

When a beginner asks me what they should be focusing on during practice, I tell them to focus on structure and sequence first.  In other words, one should first make sure that the mechanics of the movement are correct (knee alignment, torso alignment, hand position, etc.), then they should make sure that they are doing these movements in the right order for the Tai Chi form they are learning.  Once those things have become second nature, then the student can pick one more thing to focus on, say, keeping the movements smooth and continuous, and after that becomes second nature, they can move on to one more thing.

If you are a beginner, don't worry so much about all the things you can potentially be focusing on during your practice.  Simplify.  Focus on the mechanics of the moves first.  It will give you one specific thing to pay attention to and remove the overwhelming feeling of needing to focus on fifty things at once.  When you no longer have to focus on that thing, pick a new thing to focus on.  Eventually, you will be doing and focusing on all of the things you have read about and it will feel peaceful and rejuvenating, rather than stressful and daunting.


To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

P.S. Please take a moment to check out my online health store and maybe try a product or two by clicking here.





Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Yang Tai Chi Saber Instruction Video #13

Here is the most recent instruction video for our Yang Tai Chi 13 Saber Form series.  For those of you working on learning this form, and those of you brushing up on it, we hope this video is extremely helpful for you.  :)

To see all of the videos posted in this series, so far, click here.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

A New Direction

Since the cancellation of my classes in Amador County and my move to the San Diego area I have begun preparations to steer this site in a new direction.  I am no longer offering personal instruction, due to an extremely busy schedule, but I do not want to stop helping people with my knowledge of Tai Chi and Qigong.  Therefore, I am going to be working on turning this site into a free online learning resource for anyone who is interested in making use of the information I share here.  This will be a very slow process, because of my current time constraints, but I will do my best to keep the transformation moving forward.

What does this mean?
It simply means that I will not be posting information about physical classes.  Instead, I will be posting instruction videos here and I will eventually post a training schedule that will guide beginners from beginning exercises to more advanced ones.  As I mentioned before, this will be a very slow process and I appreciate your patience.

All of this information will continue to be available for free, so if you like what you see, please support this site by visiting my online health store (Andrew.PureTrim.com), finding the products that will make a difference in your life, ordering them, and using them consistently.

I hope this site becomes a valuable resource for everyone who is learning Tai Chi and/or Qigong and I wish you all the very best in your training.

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Tai Chi Class in Jackson, CA

For those of you who are looking for a Tai Chi class to attend in Amador County, there is a new class at New York Fitness.  It is being taught by Shifu Andrew Plitt's dad, Pete, on Monday and Wednesday mornings at 11:00am.  We hope you'll stop by these classes to check them out and we wish you all the best in your training!  

Monday, September 7, 2015

Congratulations to Our Newest White Sash!

This morning at 7:00am one of my extremely talented students tested for her Level 3 White Sash and passed with flying colors.  She worked extremely hard to prepare for this test and showed each skill nearly flawlessly.  I am very proud of all that she has accomplished in such a short time and I would like to congratulate her on her newly achieved rank. Great job, Hillary!


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Amador County Classes Cancelled

I believe that all of my students have been notified already, but this post is just to make sure everyone knows that as of Thursday, August 27, 2015 all group classes taught by me are cancelled.  I am  moving out of the area to attend a university in southern California and have not found anyone to take over the classes for me.  I want to thank you all for your hard work and dedication.  It has been a true honor to be your instructor and I hope you will all continue to practice your skills for the rest of your lives.  I will continue posting instruction videos to YouTube and I hope you will all find them to be a valuable resource in your training.  Thank you again, and I wish you all the best in your training.

To Your Health,
Shifu Andrew Plitt

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Special Focus Evening Class Cancelled

This is a notice for the students who were attending the special invitation focus classes at the KSW Karate Dojo on Tuesday and Thursday evenings.  Unfortunately, we are cancelling those classes and the schedule that was handed out, pertaining to those classes, is no longer valid.  Thank you, to those of you who took part in these classes.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yang Tai Chi Saber Partner Flow Exercises (video)

Here is the first video in a new series we have begun uploading to Youtube.  In this series we will be teaching several different partner flow exercises for the Yang Style Tai Chi Saber.  We hope you all enjoy this series!


Saturday, July 4, 2015

A Natural Approach to Trigger Finger & Arthritis (Video)

Here's a short video we put together in response to some questions we have received from students about trigger finger and arthritis.  Enjoy!  :)


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Sunday, June 21, 2015

More Free Tai Chi Instruction Videos

Here are a few new videos that went up recently.  Two of them give instructions for postures from the Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form and one of them is a part of our Tai Chi Bag Drill series.


This is the video shows the Tai Chi Bag Drill:




This video shows the posture, "Grasp the Sparrow's Tail - Right"




This video shows the move "Single Whip" from the Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Instruction Video for "Grasp the Sparrow's Tail: Left" is Now Available

Here is the latest upload in our free Yang Tai Chi 24 Form instructional video series.  This video features instructions for the seventh move of the form, called "Grasp the Sparrow's Tail - Left."  For a complete list of all the moves in Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form visit our Chinese Terminology page.  We hope you all find this video helpful.  Enjoy!


Thursday, June 11, 2015

Playing the Lute: Move 5 of the Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form

Today our instructional video for the 5th move of the Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form posted to our youtube channel.  As always, we hope you all find this video very helpful while you are learning the 24 form.  Enjoy!


Tai Chi Relaxation......Right or Wrong?

Here is a video by Shifu Loretta Wollering, in which she discusses a common error that arrises in Tai Chi practice when people take the common instruction heard in every Tai Chi class to, "relax" a little too far. Check it out. It is definitely worth watching.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

Yang Tai Chi 24 Form Instruction Series

We have recently started adding videos to our free Yang Style Tai Chi 24 Form instructional video series.  We are on schedule to have a new video up every other day at 6pm.  This series takes all of the moves of the 24 form and breaks them down from several different angles, offering detailed instruction for each move.  We hope this series is a huge benefit to those who are learning the 24 form or for those who have been wanting to learn, but don't have an instructor in their local area.  Below is the youtube playlist to which all videos of this series will be added after they have been posted.  For automatic updates every time we post a new video, click the subscribe button on our youtube channel.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Tai Chi Bag Drills Video Series - Elbow Strikes Video

Here is the most recent video to go up on Youtube in our "Tai Chi Bag Drill" series.  This is the first video of the elbow strike section of this series and it focuses on elbow strikes that are directed forward.  We you you all find this video useful in your training at home.  Enjoy!  :)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

Tai Chi Punching Bag Drill Video: 1 Inch Power Generation

This morning a new Tai Chi punching bag drill instructional video posted.  This video will teach you how to use a punching bag to generate good striking power over a short distance, which is a very important skill to have in Tai Chi, or any other martial art.  A new video for this free instructional series will post on Shifu Plitt's YouTube channel every Saturday at 9:00am until this series is complete.  We hope you find this video very useful in your practice and wish you the best in your training.  Enjoy!  :)

Settling Into the New KSW Karate Dojo

We have been holding our Tai Chi classes are the new KSW Karate Dojo in Jackson, CA since March of 2015 and we are absolutely loving the new location.  Each week there are little improvements made here and there as both the Tai Chi and Karate classes are settling in to their new training environment.  Today we took a little time after class to put up the Tai Chi students' rank certificates and a few old pictures.  :)


Thursday, April 23, 2015

Yang Tai Chi Posture: Snake Creeps Down Video

In Yang Style Tai Chi the posture "Snake Creeps Down" is one of the postures that gives new students a lot of trouble.  It is a fairly complicated set of movements to coordinate when you first attempt it and it can be very beneficial to break the movements down and take them piece at a time.  In this video Shifu Plitt takes this posture from the Yang Tai Chi 24 Form and shows it as a line-drill (where a move is repeated over and over while moving in one direction for the purpose of perfecting the move) and breaks it down into smaller pieces.  He also shows a couple of variations for those who have strong, flexible legs and like lower stance, as well as for those who prefer higher stances.  This video is a part of the free Tai Chi and Qigong lessons that Shifu Plitt has available on his YouTube Channel.  We hope you find it very helpful in your training.  :)


Friday, March 27, 2015

Beach Tai Chi

One of our students, Nancy, was recently in Hawaii and even though she was not with us in our classes, she didn't let that stop her from training.  She was kind enough to have a friend take some pictures of her practicing Tai Chi on a picturesque beach and sent them to us to share with you.  One of the many beautiful aspects of Tai Chi is its mobility, you can take it with you anywhere and enjoy its benefits any time you choose.  :)

Nancy has a wonderful gift for mentoring people and does work with Human Design to help people reach their fullest potential in life.  Take a look at her website to learn more about what she does:  www.everydayspirituality.com







Sunday, March 15, 2015

A Beautiful Training Guide

We came across this picture today and had to share it.  It is a beautiful reminder of the proper mind set with which to approach any type of training, but most especially Tai Chi training.  There is a vast difference between mentally understanding how a technique should be done and actually being able to do it.  One of the most common things we hear from new students who are learning a new technique is, "I understand what I am supposed to be doing, but I can't seem to get my body to do it..."

The good news is, such a difficulty can be overcome through repetition, repetition, repetition......with a little extra practice in between.  You will receive little or no benefits from only understanding a move mentally, but if you do that move over and over and over, your body will be strengthened to perform the move more powerfully, you will begin to naturally understand how to do the move more efficiently, you will become more aware of your body's position and gain much better control over your body (which will not only improve things like balance, but will allow you to learn new movements more easily).......simply put, you will begin to actually experience, in a very deep and profound way, all of the benefits of Tai Chi that you have heard about.

Even more importantly, you will begin to experience the benefits that you don't often hear about, because they are not easily expressed in words and in most cases can only be experienced through determined practice and lots, and lots, and lots of repetition.

So, if you are waiting to hear the deepest, darkest, most profound, game changing, secret of the ancients that will catapult your Tai Chi training to the next level and help you realize all of the benefits that attracted you to Tai Chi in the first place......here it is....."Follow the advice in the picture below and don't ever stop following that advice."  ;)



Friday, March 13, 2015

New Dojo Pictures

This month the Pine Grove Karate Dojo moved to Jackson and began holding classes.  Today's morning Tai Chi class completed the first week of Tai Chi training at the new dojo location and we would like to share some pictures of the new facility with you.  :)

Here is the sign that we have up on Hwy. 49



This is the driveway leading up to the new Karate Dojo





Heading up this driveway, turn in the second parking lot on the right.  We are very excited about the large parking lot for training outside on days with nice weather.  We've had two classes outside so far and it has been amazing.  :)




The smaller portion of the building in front is the indoor training area.




Here is what it looks like on the inside.  





We are thrilled to have this new training area and we hope you will come join us for classes here. 

There have been some rumors that the Karate Dojo in Pine Grove closed, but the truth is, we just moved the Karate Dojo to Jackson and we are continuing to offer Tai Chi classes at the new location.

Help us spread the word about our new location, and stop by to try out a Karate or Tai Chi lesson if you live in or near Jackson.    

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Pine Grove Tai Chi Classes are Moving to Jackson

The classes at the KSW Karate Dojo in Pine Grove will be moving to the new KSW Karate dojo location in Jackson in March 2015.  The classes at the Pine Grove location will continue through Friday, Feb. 27, 2015.  They will be put on hold until the move to the new location is complete and they will resume again on March 12, 2015.

There will be a schedule change at the new location.  The Friday evening Tai Chi class will be cancelled as of Feb. 28, 2015.  

The new schedule as of March 12, 2015 is:
Thur. & Fri. mornings from 9:00 to 10:30



The address of the new location is:
1510 S. State Hwy. 49
Jackson, CA 95642







Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Entire Chen Taiji 27 Form Video Series

For those of you who are learning the Chen Taiji 27 form, here is the complete video series with the form demos and instructions for each segment of the form.  We hope you find it very useful for your training.

To access the full playlist of instructional videos just click on the top left corner of the video below where it says, "Playlist."