Work that (re)connects
Taijiquan and Deep Ecology
By Dr Claudia Friedel
Deep Ecology is a branch of the ecological movement that emphasises one’s own connection and affinity with all other forms of existence. It utilises feelings such as desperation and anger, usually more or less suppressed, that one experiences when confronted with the situation on our planet. Claudia Friedel combines the deep ecology approach with her experiences in Taijiquan, which works with similar ideas and terms from another tradition. The art promotes the dissolving of blockages at the physical level and increases physical openness while simultaneously training stability and centring, which also helps one to deal with strong emotions and to develop inner strength.
On the origins of Taijiquan in the art of war
Part 2: The historical development of the sword and sabre
By Dr Jan Harloff-Puhr
The first part of this series of articles provided a general overview of traditional weapons currently or previously used in the Chinese martial arts. This second part now examines the historic development and cultural importance of the classical bladed weapons that are used in all styles of Taijiquan: the sword and the sabre. In the course of time, the sword has increasingly gained a ritual and representative function in addition to its self-defence role, while the sabre was used more as a weapon of war.
Moving art experiences with Qigong
Qigong tour for women around the “Deutsche Eck” monument in Koblenz
By Hanne Heckner
There are many options for linking Qigong exercises with other fields of activity. Hanne Heckner combines Qigong with museum work and art-history tours. Here she describes a tour for women as an example of how she incorporates various Qigong exercises and basic themes such as the stand, mindful walking, and yin and yang. In these exercises she draws her inspiration from the surroundings, the works of art or the stories connected with specific locations.
Trusting one’s own body
Taijiquan in relationship with Multiple Sclerosis – an explorative study
By Janina Burschka, Dr Ulrich Hofstadt-van Oy, Prof. Dr Peter Kuhn
Multiple sclerosis is an autoimmune disease that can result in issues such as balance problems, gait disturbances and sensory dysfunction. The uncertainty of the disease’s course and the changing symptoms lead to mental stress and a reduction of body awareness. This confronts persons suffering from MS with the challenge of getting to know their body anew – a process which needs to be repeated again and again. Janina Burschka and her co-authors Ulrich Hofstadt-van Oy and Peter Kuhn investigate to what extent Taijiquan could be suitable for supporting this process and for improving the well-being of the patients. This investigation is based on a study conducted between 2010 and 2012. First results indicate that Taiji is suitable for motivating persons with MS to engage in physical activity. Furthermore, the participants report subjective improvements in the areas of balance, body awareness and stress management.
Daoist life-care from the Zhongnan Mountains
Jindan Dao of the Dragon Gate tradition
By Gerhard Milbrat
The Zhongnan Mountains are an old centre of Daoist culture. As part of the general reconstruction of Daoist temples and schools, much restoration has taken place here too in recent years. The abbot of the small Anle Gong Temple, Li Jiacheng, was commissioned to make Jindan Dao, an established method in the Dragon Gate tradition, accessible to a wider public. Gerhard Milbrat describes how this three-level system of practice initially promotes an intensive development of the lower dantien, progressing to a distribution and channelling of Qi into the meridians, and then to specific absorption and issuing of Qi. This also leads to therapeutic benefits, to opening of the ‘heavenly eye’ and ultimately to an experience of unity and oneness.