The Dao of learning Taijiquan
A conversation with Yang Jun
By Dave Barrett
Yang Jun, the grandson of Yang Zhenduo and the lineage holder of the Yang family tradition in the fifth generation, talks to Dave Barrett about the process of learning Taiji. He stresses the importance of ethical behaviour by both the students and the teachers. Comparing traditional training methods in China and the current situation in the West, he points to the lack of mutual support and to the need to understand the meaning of the movements in order not to lose interest. In his opinion, the interaction between learning the form and putting the movements into practice in Tuishou embodies the yin and yang in the Dao of learning Taijiquan. This ultimately leads to a completely natural and spontaneous way of moving.
Qigong and virtue
A path to harmonisation of body and mind
By Buyin Zheng
A fundamental difference between Qigong and Western forms of exercise is that the former practice always includes the body and mind. Buyin Zheng, who grew up with a traditional understanding of Qigong, explains how the Qi of the earth and the Qi of the heaven can nourish the various aspects of human life. For instance, both energies not only affect a person’s organs but also his or her characteristics. These too are assigned to the transformational phases.
Tones – Qi of heaven
Song in the context of the five transformational phases
By Petra Elisabeth Orth
Sound, like all other things, corresponds to the interaction of the five transformational phases. Here, the tones created within the human body itself allow us to experience the qualities of these phases. Petra Elisabeth Orth, a sound physiologist and song therapist, has been studying the transformational phases for over ten years and describes their dynamics in the act of singing. In this context, the energy of water gives the voice a vibrant sound, the energy of wood shapes the beginning and coordinates the many necessary processes inside the body, while the heart makes a connection with the world through the song. The energy of earth ensures the balance of all the energies influencing the vocal tone, between calm and dynamism, inside and outside. The element metal, expressed in the breathing, enables the initial formation of the voice and gives the voice its natural rhythm.
Jibengong – or: Instructions for the cook
By Paul Shoju Schwerdt
Just like the preparation of a tasty meal, one’s Qigong practice benefits strongly from thorough preparation. Paul Shoju Schwerdt explains why we should attune ourselves intensively before beginning with the actual energy-related work of each individual Qigong. This Jibengong includes various tasks such as warming up the body to stimulate the flow of Qi and blood, stretching to make the muscles more supple, exercises to school the perception of one’s own body, calming the spirit and the heart and becoming more sensitive to one’s own state in order to project the Jing.
The unity of being and nonbeing
A commentary on the first chapter of the Daodejing
By Jan Silberstorff
The Daodejing is the best-know work in the Daoist canon but due to its highly compressed, image-based mode it remains puzzling to many people. On the basis of his intensive experiences with Taijiquan and meditation, Jan Silberstorff is working on an extensive interpretation of this text. In the previous issue we published the first part of his commentary on the first chapter of the Daodejing. In his view, an “understanding” of the Dao as inexpressible whole that permeates everything, and in itself does not exist, can arise only through an inner experience of unity and its translation into action. Now he references the second part of the chapter and explains the origin and the interrelationship of Wuji and Taiji, the “gate” through which it is possible, from the perspective of existence, to experience the non-existent, and he examines the significance of De, the active property of the Dao.