The Art of Tai Chi & Qigong

 

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TAIJIQUAN (T’AI CHI CH’UAN)

“..Tai chi is the crystallization of mankind’s most profound philosophical ideals. Its subtle and essential elements raise it above every martial art, and makes [its] perfection more elusive than any beaux-art.” –Prof. Cheng, Man Ching

Why practice tai chi or qigong?

Practice tai chi for optimal health. Our good health can be maintained by tai chi and similar movements, according to Daoist philosophy and other ancient Chinese sources. Illness is regarded as an outcome of an imbalance or decline in life force  (qi). The potential for disease exists inside and outside each of us at all times. When balance is disturbed, this disease potential will manifest. Tai chi contains both yin and yang movements and this is how this practice harmonizes our qi. By assisting the flow of qi, the taiji practice tones and strengthens our entire organism.

 

Frances Gander

sword001While living in Maryland and Ohio, Frances Gander taught classes in Old Yang/Wu style taijiquan (tai chi), a traditional 108 long form which Frances studied with the late Grandmaster Yin Qianhe of Milwaukee, WI. Yin passed in 1988. In Milwaukee several of his senior students teach this tai chi style and the Shaolin kung fu which formed his school’s curriculum. You  will find classes at the Tai Chi Center of Milwaukee and the Art of Kung Fu (Cindy Martinez).

In Athens, OH, the last place where Frances taught tai chi and qigong was at the Athens Ki-Aikido dojo. Now back in Milwaukee, she continues her study and at this writing, her plans do not include teaching.

Tai Chi in Maryland

The Tai Chi Study Group in Finksburg, MD meets every week, led by Frances’ senior students. Contact Maureen Harvey at 410-795-3117. Future review sessions in Maryland will be less frequent, due to the longer distance. See photo from a previous visit.

 Old Yang/Wu Style Tai Chi:The Yin Qianhe Tradition

In addition to Milwaukee, you may study the style of Old Yang/Wu tai chi brought to the U.S. by Grandmaster Yin in Salt Lake City, UT, and other locations. In Utah, Master Lu and his son, Tye-Hao, teach this tai chi plus the kung fu styles at Lu’s Health Center. Sifu T. Pat Leary teaches in Sandy, UT. As time goes on, other students are maturing in the tradition of Yin Qianhe and also teaching.
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Cindy Martinez, Frances Gander, Sherrod Milewski at Cindy’s Art of Kung Fu Studio in Milwaukee

Although Master Yin’s original school, the Chinese Kung Fu Center in Milwaukee, WI, was officially dissolved as a legal entity in 2002, his senior students continue to teach the tai chi and kung fu from Yin’s curriculum some three decades after his passing. In fact, the ‘old students’ have passed the Yin treasures on to many students in Milwaukee and afar.

 

 

Qigong for your health

 “The wise nourish life by flowing with the four seasons and adapting to cold or heat, by harmonizing joy and anger in a tranquil dwelling, by balancing yin and yang, what is hard and soft. So it is that dissolute evil cannot reach the man of wisdom, and he will be witness to a long life.” — Huangdi Neijing Suwen (The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine)

Frances Gander’s  two main qigong teachers are Yin Qianhe and Liang Shouyu. She teaches forms from both teachers. In general, Master Yin’s qigong will help you to increase stamina, have a calm mind, and increase your resistance to illness. Qigong is the modern name for this kind of qi-circulation exercise, which is sometimes called neigong.

Master Yin’s qigong forms are  breath and qi-linking moving postures. He gave us a set of eight and another of 18. In addition, we have his Continuous Baduanjin. He also trained us in the venerable Baduanjin of which many versions exist all over China and the world. Baduanjin is essential conditioning for tai chi and kung fu, or by itself a most excellent daily morning exercise. Loosely translated, baduanjin is what we call ‘Eight Pieces of Brocade.’

During the 1990’s Master Liang Shouyu from Vancouver, BC taught frequently in the mid-atlantic region. Frances studied with Grandmaster Liang at every opportunity. His qigong had Mount Emei, Buddhist and Daoist origins. Frances’ Seasonal Qigong sessions are also  known as Medical Qigong or Healing Sounds qigong. She was certified to teach this qigong set by Grandmaster Liang. Many versions of this set are in circulation.

Seasonal Qigong

Frances Gander offers seasonal qigong sessions near the five traditional seasonal changes according to Chinese medicine. The seasonal transitions are times to pay special attention to the pace of life, diet, to  stay in tune with nature’s changes (see Chronobiology). In winter, for example, there is a need to go within, to reflect and rest more. Future qigong sessions will be announced on this website and the Gander Acupuncture page on Facebook.

Asian Healing Practices Seminar

This qigong-based seminar in Asian healing practices provides experiential knowledge of the principles, e.g., five elements, yin and yang, meridian flows and qi-centers that form the foundation of Asian healing practices. The course provides a thorough introduction to core theories of traditional Chinese medicine. Acupuncture, herbalism, dietary therapy, and bodywork are based on these theories. The seminar was offered in the associate degree program at Hocking College in Nelsonville, OH. Frances Gander considers engagements to lead qigong workshops and seminars. The Asian Healing Practices seminar is a 3-day or longer intensive workshop.

Tai Chi & Qigong: An historical perspective

The mind’s health affects the body, likewise, the body’s health affects the mind. The degree of chronic tension held in the body is strongly associated with a youthful (or lack of youthful) mental state. Here’s how the Jesuit priest Cibot described this principle in a French journal in 1778 :

“It follows that the various postures of the Cong Fu (kung fu, a category which includes taiji and qigong) if well directed should effect a salutary clearance in all those illnesses which arise from an embarrassed, retarded, or even interrupted circulation. But, how many diseases are there which have a cause other than this? One may well ask whether–apart from fractures and wounds which injure the organization of the human frame–there are any such diseases.” —  from a translation in Joseph Needham’s Science and Civilization in China, Vol.5.

 Please call 414-323-4721 or email for more information or to schedule.

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