Taiji for health

18 11 2009

The WCC Taiji Class had a lovely visit from its master Alex Dong this week. He is a fourth generation Taiji master who was born in China, moved to Hawaii as a boy and attended school here. From Hawaii he moved to New York City and opened schools in many parts of the world. He travels from school to school.

I’ve been attending the class at Windward Community College in Kaneohe on the island of Oahu for only about three years. Class is twice a week and tuition is $40 a month. Once or twice annually, Master Dong returns to teach weekend workshops from which we learn the finer points of the Taiji form, that is “Dong Style Orthodox Taiji” evolved from the Yang and Hao styles.

When he’s not in town, his senior students or appointed teachers lead the class. Students may advance their study during the various workshops taught by Master Dong wherever in the world he gives them. Many combine the workshops with vacation travel abroad—New York, Greece, Italy, Croatia, Czech Republic, Brazil, Great Britain, China, Hawaii, for example.

To become more acquainted with Taiji, I’ll refer you to the website alexdongtaiji.com. There I read that Alex Dong comes from a family of Taijiquan masters. His great-grandfather, Grand Master Tung Ying Jie was the national champion of China for many years, and he was a leading disciple of Yang Cheng-Fu, the main proponent of the modern Yang Long Form. Tung Ying Jie also studied with Li Xiang Yuan who was a disciple of Hao Wei Jing founder of the Hao style Taiji. Alex Dong’s grandfather, Grand Master Dong Hu Ling, spread the art in Southeast Asia and the United States, and his father, Grand Master Dong Zeng Chen, is world famous for his skills, especially in Taiji push hands.

Taiji had been recommended to me for exercise, and I do think my health has improved since I began. Balance, concentration and memory, strength, breathing (I am asthmatic, but less so now), energy, grounding, flexibility, posture—these are just some of the aspects of mind, body, and spirit that Taiji addresses.

To give you an idea of how whole Taiji is, I asked the master sifu (teacher) what he did to cross train. He replied, “Nothing. Only Taiji.”

So far I practice all three sections of the slow set and the sabre (knife) set; I practice between classes, read articles and books, and watch the videos of the master performing. My first Taiji teacher Lois explained that learning Taiji is like peeling away the layers of an onion. That is so true! A warm “Thank you!” to all of my teachers.

At this stage of my practice, I have a personal interest in relating the energy work of Taiji to Qigong to Reiki and healing.

For related posts, please see my 9/3/09 entry “Learning about energy healing.”  From the menu bar, Reiki Healing by Oelen, tells about my Reiki practice.

Copyright 2009 Rebekah Luke
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