On the origins of Taijiquan in the art of war
An overview of traditional Chinese weapons
By Jan Harloff-Puhr
Taijiquan originated as a martial art in China at a time when violence and armed conflicts were very common. Consequently weapons played a much greater role than they do today; nowadays they serve mostly to provide additional movement aspects in training. Jan Harloff-Puhr provides an overview of the various categories of weapons that were common in China, and which were categorised according to their chief function and their form. He also draws comparisons with European traditions, which are very similar in many areas. In two following articles he will take a more detailed look at the weapons most common in Taijiquan: the straight sword, the sable and the staff.
On the path to unity
The standing pillar: a personal view
By Jürg R. Schmid
The exercise known as the “standing pillar”, however simple it may seem to the eye, makes considerable demands of body and mind and presents a real challenge to many practitioners. Jürg R. Schmid describes his highly personal approach to this exercise, which he originally regarded as nothing but an imposition. The brief moments in which he experienced himself as calm and empty encouraged him to continue practicing and gradually the standing pillar became a benign companion for him.
Partner exercises in Qigong: what use can they have?
By Dietlind Zimmermann
In traditional Qigong each person practices by himself, even in group tuition. Dietlind Zimmermann presents partner exercises that help one to experience basic aspects such as relaxation, body structure and abdominal breathing more easily in contact with someone else. The starting point here is always a mindful basic attitude by the partner, enabling new experiences and insights for both persons. This shared practice allows one not only to extend perception beyond one’s own boundaries but also to develop an accepting presence, also facilitating a shift into the “Qigong state”.
On the trail of Huang Xingxian
A travelogue by Axel Dreyer
Huang Xingxian was a student of Zheng Manqing and one of the most important Taiji teachers in South-East Asia. Axel Dreyer, who learns this Taiji tradition from Patrick Kelly, travelled by way of Kuala Lumpur to Singapore and Kuching – various cities in which Huang Xingxian taught. Together with his teacher he was able to visit schools founded by Huang Xingxian and to experience for himself several important places in Huang’s life.
„... retaining the idea of the hero ...“
An interview with Liu Jingru
In August 2011 in Beijing, Christine Will met one of the most outstanding Chinese martial artists, the Baguazhang grand master Liu Jingru, to interview him about his career and the special features of Baguazhang. Like Taijiquan, Baguazhang is regarded as an internal martial art and is characterised above all by its typical “circle walking” which, with its frequent changes of direction, makes the body very agile. Liu Jingru, the lineage holder of the 5th generation of Cheng style Baguazhang, has conducted his own research into the origins of the system he practices and thus gained a deep understanding of the development of today’s system of training.
“This really is a dilemma”
An interview with Dr Johann Bölts
The DAK medical insurance company maintains a review board which issues recognition of Qigong courses, thus enabling subsidies by the health insurers. This year the review board changed its recognition criteria, leading to various training programmes that were previously recognised now no longer being accepted as a qualification. The key issue here is the training qualifications of the trainers in the areas of medical basics, TCM, didactics and philosophy: now they each have to hold their own professional qualification in these fields. Dietlind Zimmermann and Helmut Oberlack talked to Dr Johann Bölts of the University of Oldenburg, who chairs the review board, about how it was created and the current changes.