Band of Brothers and Sisters

For all the perils of the Internet and social media, they can be useful in building global communities, including among internal martial arts students and teachers. I owe much of my interest and growth in Tai Chi and qigong practice to connection with others online, and particularly through Facebook groups like The Kwoon, Tai Chi Connections and Internal Arts Journey, among others.

Virtually meeting practitioners from all over the world, and exchanging ideas and experiences, has made me better appreciate my 34-year odyssey studying the Taoist martial arts.

One such exchange on the Kwoon 11 years ago led to my first “meet-up” for push hands play and forms practice. The call to meet in Asheville, N.C., came from Tai Chi savant and legendary Tarpon Springs fisherman Bob Messinger, who was in North Carolina visiting friends in April 2012. Meet me in Asheville for an informal workshop, he said, and we’ll play push hands and learn from each other. Bob not only was an experienced teacher of White Crane Tai Chi, but also proficient in other internal martial arts forms, including Bagua and Hsing-I.

Among the eager students was Patrick Reece, who traveled over the mountains from his home in Tennessee, where he was studying I Liq Chuan, an internal martial art developed in Malaysia and pioneered in the United States by Grandmaster Sam Chin. I got up early for the 14-hour round trip from suburban D.C., eager to expand my skills beyond the basic Cheng Man Ching Yang-style short form I’d been practicing for 20 years, and to learn push hands, the drills that help connect practitioners to the martial arts part of the discipline.

It was a day of learning, yes, but also a beautiful moment for strangers touching hands and feeling the vibe of qigong. We were connected via social media networks that promote our interests and curiosity, but the experience was real, a connection to remember. I remember it like it was yesterday, which makes me miss Bob even more.

Bob Messinger is the cool one here as we prepare to leave Hontoon Island, Fla., after a Kwoon party in 2016. RIP, my friend.

Flash forward to 2023, and Bob is gone far too soon, a cancer victim who is also missed by a host of friends across Florida and around the world. Now Patrick has advanced to teaching, and is following the Heaven Man Earth path guided by Adam Mizner. I’m still searching, of course, but I did find Patrick again – reconnecting first in 2018 at a workshop conducted by Sifu Mizner and then, in late January, when he was the guest instructor with Charles Hoge, an HME disciple responsible for the entire DC Metro area.

Patrick was very much in charge of a three-hour DC-area class, demonstrating balance and sung in movements, while also enforcing the grueling standing postures that always test my endurance. While many standing qigong drills stress balance and mind-body awareness, allowing for meditation, the HME method stresses building the Tai Chi body through exercises that fortify structure and loosen connective tissue, which in turn helps move qi through the body and demonstrate its explosive power.

Sifu Mizner explains the building blocks of the HME system this way:

“Sifu (Mizner) is able to teach everyone differently because it’s based on touch,” Patrick said, describing training in a group of 15 with the master in a Thailand retreat. “Words mean different things to different people, but the bulk of the training is internal process. Sifu can feel you when you push hands. We just touched and trained and that’s how we learned.”

Patrick Reece, facing at left, and Charles Hoge, instruct a DC-area Tai Chi student (and fan of “Traditional Medicinals).”

Push hands partner drills were the primary lesson at the D.C. class, and Patrick made the rounds touching hands with all the students, demonstrating and answering questions. For me, it was the basics of the hand movements, and the all-important sung, the ability to release/relax and control the opposing force. Although he has bulked up since I first met him, Patrick seems to disappear against a push, rotating to another angle, and he’s got me (again). It makes sense that relaxation, or release of tension, is a critical element of internal martial arts, practiced by many people today to relieve stress.

It was most illuminating when Patrick pushed with Charles, also a skilled Tai Chi teacher who travels to train with Sifu Mizner, when Patrick’s greater mass proved difficult to move between the skilled players. “It doesn’t matter how big your opponent is,” Patrick counseled the group. “The key is to relax and sink the qi, then you can uproot your partner from below,” a technique that Charles demonstrated.

Comparing his current Heaven Man Earth Tai Chi practice with his initial work in I Liq Chuan, Patrick recalls meeting and pushing with Grandmaster Chin. “I never felt power like that,” he said. The ILC method is different because “it’s based around the application. Tai Chi is based around the art, on developing a body of energies. The practice of neigong (internal energy work) lifts you up. But I think ILC may be more effective in dealing with another person –  combat,” he said.

Patrick hopes to return to Philadelphia and reopen his HME training studio, which he shuttered as the pandemic fractured groups in 2021. Meanwhile, he’s available for private lessons for players in the New Jersey area. Give him a call at 609-226-5110. If you’re looking for instruction in the D.C. area, contact Charles at, or 202-368-0425.

Doctor Fung is In. Listen …

John K. Fung could be out of central casting to play the role of a principal character in my novel, The Return Trip, which will be available early next year. The fictional character is recalled as a young Kungfu fighter who mellows as a popular writer and, eventually, becomes an influential holistic wellness guru. The character draws from traditional Chinese medicine and internal martial arts practice to help rescue my protagonist on a fraught journey across the American West.

While I missed the opportunity to meet Dr. Fung in person this summer in New Mexico, where he journeyed from his native Australia to lead workshops in Alamogordo and Santa Fe, he’s become a social media friend, and a ready source of information. I wrote about him previously when I visited Ray Abeyta at the Top of the Mountain in November 2016, when this blog was new. Ray is the master of the Sacramento-Chi School of Tai Chi in Alamogordo, and a student of Fung’s school of Imperial Yang Taiji.

In conversations with Dr. Fung, I’ve discovered that my search for a “Taiji Body” runs naturally through his school, which combines both Eastern martial arts and Western science. Dr. Fung, with decades practicing both martial arts and oral surgery in his native Sydney, offers a unique perspective on building power to fight, and to heal.

In his latest book, Recalibrating the Mind, Reconnecting the Body, Fung provides “A Practical User Manual for the Human Machine,” marrying the Asian martial and healing arts with prose and illustrations that are easily accessible to general readers. This is the third in Fung’s Tensiometrics series that describes his unique training method, applying the ancient Shaolin Tendon Changing Classic with contemporary medical and biomechanical sciences to strengthen the fascia, tendons and other connective tissue that provide the “structural integrity of the entire body.”

Fung recasts Buckminster Fuller’s model of tensegrity in architectural structure to describe the human body, noting that “your skeleton is suspended within a network of muscles, tendons, ligaments, fasciae and connective tissues acting as elastic cables.” Tensiometrics is a set of exercises and concepts that facilitate how the body moves and works together, developing a network of “iron wires” to deliver and manipulate power. “The Iron Wire Network behaves like high tensile springs, with the amount of elasticity or fluidity completely at your command,” he writes. “When the system is hardwired into your being, you will have total control at an intrinsic level, with very little conscious effort.”

To fully command your “iron wire network,” you first must work to reconnect with your real self, shen, the top of the shen-yi-qi line of action that informs the Imperial Yang style of taiji, Fung said. This requires meditation and mindful living to overcome the “monkey mind” of your jangled, jumbled thoughts, which cloud your vision and your actions. The second book in the Tensiometrics series, Yi: How Your Mind Can Supercharge Your Training, provides mindfulness exercises and forms to help sharpen the “Shen-Yi-Qi Body Command Chain.”

Dr. Fung’s research with original Chinese texts, such as the Shaolin Tendon Changing Classic, is especially useful to me, a Chinese linguist who learned many years ago to understand and speak the language, but never to read or write it. In explaining jin, which is translated as the power exerted by taiji players, he breaks down the character into its graphic parts:

  • The horizontal line on the top left represents the surface of the ground.
  • Below that, a symbol that represents the flow of water.
  • Below that, a symbol that represents underground
  • On the right, the character li, which means strength or force.

“Together, the word jin describes a hidden force like water flowing below the surface of the ground,” he writes. “It’s not an obvious force that you can see, but a power that is flowing, yet hidden.”

I’m reminded of the “Science of Elastic Force,” a system taught by another Australian, Mark Rasmus, who demonstrated the “spring power” of conditioned fascia and other connective tissue in a workshop for taiji enthusiasts in Frederick, Md., in 2013.  Like Dr. Fung, Sifu Rasmus began his practice with wing chun, an external Kungfu that originated in the Shaolin Temple in China’s Henan Province, before he moved to taiji and other internal martial arts.

Wing chun is a true martial art, for fighting,” Dr. Fung says, “but there are important internal principles, such as the Tendon Changing Classic. That was written by the monks at Shaolin, about strengthening connective tissues inside the body, for Kungfu. My wing chun teacher, Master Leung Wunzi, told me it was the most important lesson.”

While Rasmus ties the philosophical underpinning of his practice to mystical theories of Hermetics, Fung uses a strictly scientific standard as he seeks to reconcile the most advanced traditional Chinese internal practices with contemporary medical and biomechanical sciences. For him, there are no absolutes. “Science is not about declaring that one has found the truth; that’s religion,” Dr. Fung says. “Science is about looking for the truth and continuing to refine our studies.”

As he continues to refine his studies, Dr. Fung is focusing more on shen, the True Self that, unburdened by thoughts of past and future, can see clearly the way for the mind to move the body to action. “Your shen is right here,” Fung said, pointing to the spot between his eyes. “Unless you are reconnected with your shen, you do not know who you are, what your life means, what you truly want, or the path you should take. In the state of shen, suffering ceases, time ceases, delusion ceases, and you are free.”

Nirvana? Maybe not, but it certainly sounds like a good place to be. Excuse me while I get back to practice.

Dr. John Fung strikes a pose after a workshop with students at Sifu Ray Abeyta’s Sacramento-Chi School of Tai Chi in Alamogordo, N.M.

Qi to the Nth Power

Three years ago I set out on an eight-state odyssey to touch hands and pick the brains of gifted teachers of the internal martial arts, friends from social media I’ve characterized as New Dharma Bums. Meeting them and writing about my experiences was a prime objective, and deepening my understanding of taiji, qigong and Taoist philosophy was a driving ambition. Also, an underlying motive: I am imagining a literary journey across modern-day America guided by this distinctive Eastern perspective on life, the universe and everything – Dharma in real time.

The novel I’m writing, inspired by my journey through this blog, is being crafted slowly but surely, close to 300 pages as it nears a denouement. As the inveterate editor, I’m looking forward to the fun of rewriting, and rewriting some more. I admit I’m in no rush, even as I sometimes feel anxiety about not getting feedback from editors and other readers, including the readers of this blog. I offer this blog as a prelude to that bigger story, and as an assurance that the journey continues.

When I last wrote about my journey, I was concerned about creating a Taiji Body, to better sink qi to the dantien, enervate internal energy and channel this power for self-defense and healing. And more recently, I wrote about new training techniques to open joints and release this energy through specific applications. I start every day with exercises I’ve learned to enhance this internal power, even as I realize I’m missing the sensitivity training I need with push-hand partners. At some point, I will remedy this weakness in my training, but it’s not my main intent.

Mine is a literary adventure, after all, so I’m focused on learning new aspects of the Chinese internal arts, to provide background for my story and expertise for the characters. I’ve also used the opportunity to discover new treatments for my own feeble version of the Taiji Body. In the process, I’ve deepened my appreciation for the power of qi, an energy force that cannot be measured empirically and yet underpins the internal power of taiji and qigong, and is a principal construct of Chinese philosophy – essentially the force that makes up and binds everything in the universe.

We’ve considered the taiji master who sinks and mobilizes qi to generate internal power and defend against attacks. And the qigong master who uses qi, as breath, to connect the mind and body to the rhythm of the universe, for health and meditation. There is also the fengshui master who advises how to organize the home or office based on how qi is activated, to give you the most power in your environment. And the master of Chinese medicine who uses acupressure points to transmit and unblock qi in the body, to heal.

During the course of my investigation, I’ve consulted doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) who use acupuncture and acupressure techniques to heal, and even a “qi healer” who has been “attuned” to use her hands to diagnose and cure blockages. Most recently, I’ve been treated by a licensed acupuncturist who also is an internal martial arts enthusiast and social media friend who shares many interests.


Matt Stampe, licensed to practice Traditional Chinese Medicine in DC, Virginia and Maryland.

Matt Stampe, LAc, began his journey to learn Chinese internal martial arts and medicine more than 30 years ago in Virginia Beach, one of my old stomping grounds. He was soon teaching Yang-style taiji, and learning meditation and massage therapy in Richmond in northern Virginia, while also gaining skills and employment in information technology. He combines all these interests in administering the Taijiquan ‘One Family’ Mission group on Facebook and conducting online training.

Matt is featured in the first part of a Chinese You Tube video, “Traditional Chinese Doctors in America” by Bingru Sees America. The video opens with him practicing taiji and discussing his various medical practices before he and the host visit another American practitioner of Chinese medicine in Maryland, who conducts his interview in Chinese Mandarin:

My acupuncture session with Matt began with an interview and a diagnosis focused on different pulses along my wrist, the texture of my tongue and color of my skin. I was seeking to relieve discomfort from peripheral neuropathy in my left leg, a challenge to my own taiji practice. Matt used needles in my back, the top of my head, and along my left side from the hip to the foot, while also playing recorded music composed for metal, one of the five basic elements in Chinese philosophy – wood, fire, earth, metal and water. This metal music, soothing to my mind, was unlike any “heavy metal” I’ve been exposed to over the years.

As part of the treatment, Matt also gently manipulated the needles and sought to generate his own healing qi, extending his hands along a path above my leg and foot. All the while, he urged me to relax, to use my mind to salve any pain or discomfort. I attribute his comforting table-side manner for some of the relief I’ve felt since, as I’ve continued to work on relaxing the leg with my own daily taiji and qigong exercises.

Besides treating what some medical professionals say is a symptom of age, giving me hope for a revival of my youth, Matt also revealed how his youthful adventurism – skateboarding and rock climbing – led to his fascination with the Chinese internal medical and martial arts. When he sought out Dr. Amy Tseng in Richmond to treat a broken wrist, the acupuncture treatment led to a broader, holistic approach that is the hallmark of Traditional Chinese Medicine. Besides treating him with acupuncture, Dr. Amy, as he affectionately calls her, advised him to incorporate meditation into his life, and to completely change his diet.

“Dr. Amy says you have to be able to heal the mind and emotions to be a good doctor,” Matt says. “To be a great doctor, you have to be a psychologist and a nutritionist.”

I was especially interested in the nutritional advice, since I had recently begun a diet of balanced superfoods, mostly vegetables and probiotic dairy, limiting sugar and sodium, and eliminating alcohol and coffee. I had lost 30 pounds and begun to experiment with different combinations in cooking that would make food more interesting while stabilizing my weight. Matt offered a few pointers based on “the essential energy nature of various foods,” under Dr. Amy’s system:

• Do not eat anything cold or hot. This includes not only raw vegetables, but also foods with cold and hot properties. Foods deemed too cold include bananas, watermelon, celery, cauliflower, asparagus, pineapple, Brussel sprouts and tofu. Foods deemed too hot include nuts, mangos, avocados, chocolate, raw onion, coffee, lamb and duck, as well as grilled food and deep fried food.

• Instead, eat foods that are cooked just right, cool or warm, including tea, pears, peppermint, green apple, snow peas, rice, cheese, mushrooms, fish, broccoli, eggs, yams, ginger, oranges, milk, garlic, spinach, rice, pork, chicken, green beans, kidney beans, bread and carrots.

The list of foods under what I would call Dr. Amy’s “Goldilocks rule” is not exactly the recipe I’ve followed to lose weight and increase energy, but there are similarities and anomalies that now inform my choices when I prepare a meal. The key, in any case, is to avoid eating raw or processed food, but rather to cook fresh produce and meats with herbs and seasoning that enhance both the flavor and the energy nature. The warming diet: cooking style is steamed, simmered, soups and stews.

I’m grateful to Matt for the acupuncture treatment and the dietary advice, and also for sharing several interesting books about Chinese medical and martial arts, including The Tao of Yichuan, about practicing meditative martial arts, and a 1949 translation of The Yellow Emperor’s Classic of Internal Medicine (Nei Ching). They are now part of my expanding world of qi.

Stay tuned for more..


Off the Road and into the Arena

We’re taking a little detour from our Dharma Bums journey to explore Taiji competition – how the ancient Chinese martial arts have been organized as modern sport in the United States. No, this isn’t “push hands,” the play form of Taiji fighting we’ve explored on this blog previously. I’m talking about the mastery and presentation of martial arts forms, on stage with other competitors, going for the gold.

Internal martial arts are now mixing it up alongside external forms like Karate and Tae Kwon Do in these tournaments, with help from competitors like Dr. Melody Lee and her son Mickey, both originally Tae Kwon Do performers who became champions working with Chen Taiji forms. They have created a unique teaching program, Sun & Moon Taiji One, that reflects their global experiences and interest in competition, and for the past two years have organized the China Open Internal Martial Arts Championships, part of the U.S. Capitol Classics, founded by their original Yang-style Taiji teacher, Grand Master Dennis Brown.

While these competitions may not be a regular Dharma Bum’s cup of tea, they do serve to popularize the martial arts, particularly among students looking for alternative sports activity. It was a natural for Mickey but a complete makeover for Melody, who is a physician and research scientist by training. How they got to this stage is a remarkable tale of trial and error, like the scientific method, with ultimate discovery.

Chen reunion

Mickey and Melody Lee are front and center at Sun & Moon Taiji One with visiting Chen-style Grand Master Zhu Tiancai.

A brilliant student in Korea, Melody’s immunology research in the late 1970s led her to laboratory jobs at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York and the National Institutes of Health in suburban DC, as well as a PhD in molecular biology from Cornell. But while she was working long hours in the lab studying retroviruses in the fight against HIV, “so focused on one little thing at a time,” she was missing the big picture, she said.

“Over the years I came to realize I was going about it all wrong. I was wasting time,” Melody remembers. Her epiphany came on vacation at the beach, when she finally took time to relax. “It was an enlightening moment, when I realized my entire hypothesis was wrong. When I returned to work, I knew I needed to make changes, to start all over.” That resulted in a new discovery,”  a previously unidentified host protein that protects retroviral DNA from autointegration.

Melody also was discovering the natural power of relaxation and exercise, beginning the work of transforming a bookish, non-athletic academic into a champion martial artist. Tae Kwon Do was a good way to relieve stress and reconnect with her Korean heritage, and teaching martial arts became a rewarding new outlet, she said, a way to “grow young” while helping others to good health.

In the meantime, Melody had married and given birth to Mickey, who was uprooted a few times in his early years, moving from Manhattan to Virginia and Maryland. With Melody’s encouragement, he had turned to martial arts to gain self-confidence and defend himself against bullying – as an 11-year-old new kid in a Maryland middle school picked on because he was obese and shy. Over the next few years, working through the rigors of Tae Kwon Do and regular swimming routines, Mickey lost weight and became a skilled martial artist. “It was the perfect sport for me,” he said. “I was uncoordinated with the ball sports, but I had a natural aptitude for martial arts.”

As a student at Georgetown University, where he founded the Tae Kwon Do Club, Mickey began studying other martial arts forms, including Hung Fut, a southern China style of traditional Kung Fu, and Yang-style Taijiquan. Eventually, he settled on the style he adapted for winning forms titles in the years ahead – Chen-style Taiji. Mickey and Melody both trained with Dr. CP Ong, who also hosted Chen Grand Masters Chen Xiaowang, Zhu Tiancai and Chen Zhenglei for hands-on training in the United States. Later they joined a pilgrimage to China’s Chen Village, considered by many to be the birthplace of Taijiquan, training at Grand Master Zhu’s school. Mickey competed in a nearby international tournament, winning silver medals in Taiji form and straight sword (Taijijian) divisions.

Mickey and Melody both stepped up the competitions and performances as they learned, traveling across the country for tournaments. They performed together with a synchronized Taiji form at the U.S. Capitol Classic in 2004, impressing the judges, and each has won national championships in forms competition, with and without weapons, listed here and here. Mickey’s Chen Taiji routines have won world titles from the North American Sports Karate Association. In this video, Mickey and Melody perform the Chen form together at an event honoring Dr. Ong:

For their performances, Mickey and Melody choreograph routines to music, using the basic Chen form, with and without weapons. Forms judging is by its nature highly subjective and open to bias, but Mickey and Melody consistently score high marks for their steady performances, and for their steady hands in organizing events. The China Open Internal Martial Arts Championship scoring is like gymnastics, rating performances based on three components – basic/technical, overall and degree of difficulty, sometimes with room for “charisma.”  Mickey says he may add push-hands competition to the tournament next year, although that will present a new set of challenges to implement a clear and fair evaluation.

Garden Foodie

Melody and Mickey pose at a favorite restaurant in Falls Church, Va.

Besides Taiji performance competition, Mickey and Melody are keenly interested in food – nutritious and flavorful eating – so much so that they have adopted “Martial Foodie” as a social media identity, adding healthful eating to their martial arts training program. For Mickey, who not only battled childhood obesity but also a bout of food poisoning and subsequent severe allergic reactions, balance in eating goes hand in hand with balance in Taiji. “Learn to listen to your body,” he said. “Sometimes you get the wrong signals from the brain, feeding impulses instead of a healthy body. If you make the right choices, your body will be healthy and happy.”

The Martial Foodie advice boils down to this: Eat less quantity and more quality.  This means organic, free-range, grass-fed meats, dairy and eggs when possible; seafood that is from clean sources, and produce that is organic, pesticide-free when possible. Enjoy full-fat milk and butter, meat and fish with fat, vegetables with fat, such as avocados. The key, as they always say, is portions. Melody and Mickey eat one meal in the middle of the day and otherwise may eat a quick snack, fruit or maybe a poached organic egg. “You should have discipline and a sense of self-defense with eating,” Mickey said. “Eat in moderation, and smaller amounts, and also eat not to get sick, as self-defense. Raw garlic, for example, is a natural antibiotic.”

Eat consciously, our Martial Foodie advises. “Like in meditation, be in the present moment.”

That’s sound advice for any foodie, martial or not.

One final look at Mickey’s winning Chen-style Taiji form, in a video from a 2012 tournament in Chicago:

Taiji Transformation

Four days of intense training with Adam Mizner gives new meaning to the idea of building a “taiji body,” my goal since a seven-state 2016 tour studying the internal martial art. The teachers I met along the way, whom I’ve likened to New Dharma Bums after the Jack Kerouac classic, showed me that, to fully realize the potential of taiji, I must first transform my body. I drew up an exercise regimen based on their advice, but I see now it was not nearly sufficient to the task.

That’s the first thing I learned from Shifu Mizner, who emphasizes rigorous training to open the joints, tendons and fascia of the body, to make room for the qi that can energize you. For several hours each day, we worked to open our bodies, one joint or region at a time. Beginning with the hips and kwa (the inside of the hip socket that folds between the thigh and the groin), then the waist and lower back (the yao, which Mizner calls “the commander”), we left no joint or muscle unstretched.  We’re also pushed by our shifu (the Chinese honorific for teacher) to “eat bitter” in standing exercises, including interminable one-legged postures, enduring any pain or discomfort, willing it to dissolve. Observe, release.


Adam Mizner provides hands-on instruction as he circles the floor with a portable microphone that allows him to broadcast the lesson room-wide.

Strict discipline is required if we are to take the full step into taijiquan, Adam tells us. No half-measures will work. “The path lies in sincerity alone,” he says repeatedly, reflecting his own sincere approach to the internal arts he teaches. The website for Heaven Man Earth, which Mizner founded in 2004, is open and transparent about the method and goals of the program. Adam’s personal journey began as a spiritual quest – studying Buddhism and Taoism in and out of monasteries, and even in caves in Thailand and Burma, where as a young man he would isolate himself to meditate and practice qigong. Today, he also teaches meditation and Dhamma, the universal law of Buddhism, as a “senior lay disciple of Ajahn Jumnien in the Thai Forest tradition of Theravada Buddhism.”

In our workshop in Washington, DC., Shifu Mizner’s final stop in a whirlwind tour through Europe and the United States, the focus was almost entirely on body transformation. Even the afternoon partner push-hands drills pointed to the body work we needed to play at a high level. Many were like me, looking for opportunities to touch hands with Adam, to see how quickly he took control of our bodies with his gentle touch. I was helpless against his fingertips, feeling but not yet understanding the power of the soft yin release in the body. “There are three reasons to practice taiji,” he tells us, “for fighting, for health and for the cultivation of the Tao. I think this cultivation is a worthy goal in and of itself.”

“Taiji is yinyang together, the harmony of the duality within nature,” Adam says, instructing us to harmonize shen (spirit) with yi (mind/intention), yi with qi (energy), and qi with li (force). Using these three internal harmonies in conjunction with the three external harmonies (feet with hands, hips with shoulders and knees with elbows), we are able to create jin (power), if we work hard enough. Mizner insists on using the Chinese words for the concepts in taijiquan, noting that they originated thousands of years ago within the Chinese culture and don’t have ready English-language equivalents.

“The dantien, where we sink the qi, is not a physical organ in the body,” Shifu Mizner said. “It must be developed from where you center and mobilize qi.” He uses metaphors to describe the terms and processes, referring to qi as a fluid and the body becoming “hydraulic” if we work at it. Unless we are able to clear blockages within the body through rigorous training, we will not be able to sink the qi and create internal power, he said. “Calm the mind, sink the qi and release with song. Then you can do taiji.”

Adam teaches a Yang-style taijiquan that can be traced to the grandson of Yang Lu Chan, the father of the most popular style of taiji. More directly, the Mizner method is related to Grandmaster Huang Sheng Hsien, a Chinese White Crane kungfu champion who “converted” to the internal martial arts after seeing a demonstration of its power. Huang studied with Cheng Man-Ch’ing in Taiwan, then spent decades in Malaysia perfecting the art that Adam cultivates today at Heaven Man Earth, using Huang’s short form and sincere focus on preparing the body. He demonstrates Huang’s “5 Loosening Exercises” (Song Shen Wu Fa) in this video:

At about 3:10 on the video, Adam begins a series of movements that made me sweat profusely during the workshop, with three repetitions each, first slowly harmonizing shen and yi and qi and li down to the feet and slowly drawing long jin up, then bending down for three individual movements loosening the kwa, the “belt” around the waist, and the space between the ribs, one side then the other. “One part moves, all parts move,” he repeats, getting us to focus on the single movements. I don’t remember working so hard in a five-minute exercise.

Through this “eating bitter” process I also learned, despite my convictions to the contrary, that I am capable of doing the “Asian squat,” a phenomenon that once amazed me along the streets of Saigon, Taipei and Bangkok. How do they squat with their haunches just above their heels, flat-footed, balanced between their legs? Was it a cultural or physical anomaly? Why do I fall on my butt when I try it? The answer, it turns out, is that I haven’t tried hard enough. If I turn my feet out at 45 degrees and slowly sit down toward my heels, hands between my legs for balance, I accomplish the squat, not yet comfortably but I’ll persist.

I also participated in “bone-setting” treatment, getting stretched and aligned by Adam’s senior student and assistant, Curtis Brough of Australia. I continue to work through structural issues with my computer neck and separated shoulder, and had hoped for Tui Na treatment, having read about Adam’s study and practice as a healer. Tui Na is an acupressure massage treatment that helps to clear blockages and open channels within the body. It is offered at some Heaven Man Earth workshops.

The participants in the DC workshop, pictured below, are among the fortunate ones who got to train with Shifu Mizner before he goes on retreat for a minimum year and a half. Battling illness and exhaustion at the end of his tour, he was ready to retreat and recharge. Heaven Man Earth students won’t miss a beat, however, since Mizner has created an online video training program called Discover Taiji. “Solo training is the most important,” he said.


Adam Mizner with students at the Heaven Man Earth workshop in Washington, DC

Besides this step-by-step video series for online, Adam has built a network of Heaven Man Earth affiliates in Europe, the United States and Southeast Asia, where hands-on training is available from qualified teachers. Sometime soon, the U.S. workshops will be run by Brough, who is Adam’s most senior student. Also assisting in the Washington, DC., workshop was Ben Sanchez, from Los Angeles, and Patrick Reece, who offers Heaven Man Earth training in Philadelphia, with monthly visits to Washington.

Mizner’s success in creating his global taiji presence so quickly is made more remarkable by the fact that he’s only 39 years old. He has students and acolytes nearly twice his age, many of whom are teachers themselves. Adam said he promised himself he would take a break when he turns 40, which happens in November. He’s off the fast track, but he’ll be back.



Back to Real Life

Since our last discursion, practicing with a real-life master of Chen-style taiji, I’ve been having fun with the novel I envisioned at the outset of the New Dharma Bums project, and the evolving form of it. Discovering a world turning as I go is the most enjoyable part of writing, the invention of imagined story, time and characters. It’s not like the news and exposition writing that paid my salary over the years, but a creative adventure in literature that is a reward itself. Or so it goes.

I’ll enjoy this writing adventure a while longer as I absorb new information and experience into it, and will share. Most immediately, I will take you on an excursion into the mind-body rap of Adam Mizner, a modern master of Yang-style taiji and of marketing the martial art. His Heaven-Man-Earth international training corps is growing into many U.S. communities, and in cities around the world.


Shifu Adam Mizner sends a student flying during a taiji demonstration.

Adam’s visit to the Washington, DC, metro area in July is part of a global tour through Europe and across the United States. Originally from Australia, he trained in Thailand and throughout Asia, and now spends most of his time in southern Europe, creating an online training program that further expands his global reach. He promises to follow this globetrot with a long retreat, so I am pleased to be among the lucky ones to experience his touch.

Shifu Mizner’s touch is renowned for its internal power – being so soft and “empty” that it can send you flying across the room. If that seems counter-intuitive, imagine how it feels to push someone who deflects and absorbs your pressure and sends it back a thousand-fold. This is the internal power of taijiquan, which is expressed in the ancient classics as “Four ounces repel one thousand pounds.” Adam explains and demonstrates in this video:


The key is to relax your body so completely that you are sung (soong), a Chinese term explaining a level of relaxation that is largely unknown in western cultures. You don’t just lie back and relax into sung, you have to work at it. As a reward, in the martial art, you have the ability to “stick” and control an opponent, as Adam demonstrates.

This same sung that allows remarkable martial feats also is responsible for the health benefits that many seek through taiji. As we’ve explored in previous blogs, you achieve this heightened sense of relaxation with mindful breathing exercises, whether moving (qigong) or standing (zhan-zhuang). Adam promises to teach other methods to heighten the empty, yielding yin energy and combine it with the forceful yang energy to produce a “supreme ultimate” force. At the heart of the internal martial arts is qi, energy you sink into your center (dantien) and then mindfully flow through your body to repel an opponent.

But you really don’t know what it is until you practice with others in push-hands exercises. I have felt the sensation in others, in workshops or individually working with teachers across the country – including with another Australian, Mark Rasmus, a martial artist who taught meditation to the young Adam Mizner. But my push-hands experience is limited. I hope to work with Adam and other workshop participants to feel that sensation for myself, to be able to truly relax into sung, sink the qi and to feel the generation of internal power as a result.

In this, my 29th year of practicing taiji, I have much to learn. Stay tuned.


A Chen Warrior Tells All


In this blog, we’ve examined Taiji mostly through the lens of Yang-style teaching, which is my primary experience and the most popular style in the United States. The slow and gentle movements of the Yang style are easily accessible to people of all ages for general health and balance. While it’s also a martial art, this aspect is not as obvious as in the other four styles – and particularly Chen, which features both the soft and the hard martial applications.

I got an up-close view of Chen-style Taiji recently in a Washington, DC, suburb, where Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai led a group of 40 Taiji enthusiasts through a series of vigorous exercises, including the Chen form, push hands and applications. We also benefited from the translation of Chen Master and author C.P. Ong, whose book, Taijiquan: Cultivating Inner Strength, is an authoritative source on the Chen style and an excellent primer on Taiji generally.

Chen was the first school of Taijiquan, dating to the 1600s, when Chen Wangting developed the martial arts form in his native Chen Village. For more than a century, the elders of Chen Village kept the Chen family secret until Yang Luchan, the father of Yang-style Taiji, was invited into the village to learn in the early 1800s. Today, Chen is chasing Yang for influence. Grandmaster Zhu is one of four “Jingangs” (Guardian/Warriors) from Chen Village who travel the world to preserve and expand the reach of Chen-style Taiji.


To demonstrate the movement of qi in his dantien, Grandmaster Zhu Tiancai invites Billy Greer of the Jing Ying Institute to place his fist on the area just below his navel while he pushes hands with Jing Ying student Mary Anna Cirlot.

Students attending the Washington-area workshop came from all across the country, some expressing concern that, at 75, Grandmaster Zhu might not be back this way again. My friend Ray Abeyta, who hosted Zhu many times at his Texas School of Tai-Chi and Healing in El Paso, skirted Hurricane Harvey to fly in to see his old friend.

“Grandmaster Zhu is a national treasurer in China,” said Abeyta, who has visited Chen Village and competed in push-hands tournaments in that country. “He is humble, grounded and generous with his family art, and he is deservedly well-loved and respected. I’ll be passing along greetings from all of my students who worked with him over the years.”

Indeed, Grandmaster Zhu’s face lit up when he saw Abeyta, and drew him to the front of the class several times to demonstrate different postures and moves. Zhu is a slight man with thinning jet-black hair who looks decades younger than he is. The vitality you see in his appearance is magnified when he is in motion, as he literally pulses with qi energy as he moves. “In …. Out … in …. Out …. In …. Out,” he commanded during drills, two of the few English words he uses, cuing the all-important breath, which is another word for qi.

Qi, the subtle breath, is the magic potion that stirs the inner cauldron. All Taiji is focused on the quest for inner strength (neijin), which is cultivated through qigong exercises and meditation, along with the Taiji form and push-hands practice. Throughout the exercises, Grandmaster Zhu constantly reminded the students to sink qi/energy to the “dantien,” a metaphysical position about three-fingers’ width below the navel, the “cauldron” from which internal strength is expressed, usually through the hands and fingers.

At one break in the workshop, Grandmaster Zhu gathered everyone around him, promising through his interpreter, Master Ong, to tell the “secret” of Taiji. “If you want to know the mystery of internal strength, just relax. That is the secret. If you relax and breathe, you can sink the qi to the dantien. And now you know, the mystery is gone.” The students laughed, as they all strained to relax. It is the first bit of instruction every Taiji student hears, to relax – fangsong – but actually achieving this essential first step to Taiji is not easy.

Many of Zhu’s Chen exercises include fast-motion repetitions of the slow-motion form movements – the expression of power through fajin, or explosive force. Yang stylists practice fajin without the fast strikes, again using the internal power to repel opponents with what appears to be little effort. The quick punches, strikes and stomps give Chen its martial character separate from the other styles.

The fast and slow synthesis of the Chen style can be seen in the following demonstration by Grandmaster Zhu. Unlike other styles, the internal energy is expressed directly as Zhu moves from one posture to the next, particularly on the fast strikes, which also are generated from the dantien:

I stumbled through the Chen form, which I’ve never practiced, and it was clear that Grandmaster Zhu was not happy with any of his students on the first round. He stopped the exercise to demonstrate the essential four cardinals jins, or power – peng (push up), lu (roll back), ji (press) and an (push down). Unless you are cultivating these jins when you do the form, you are just going through the motions, he suggested. As we worked through the second and third rounds of the form, we became more emphatic in using these jins.

As C.P. Ong notes in his book, one of the oldest verses about Taiji was written by Chen Wangting, preserved from the 17th century. The first two lines of the poem, “Song of Boxing Canon,” reveal the distinctive feature of Chen style:

Charging, retreating, back and forth, all can plainly see,

I fully rely on coiling is the basis of all my combat techniques.

It is this coiling, spiraling power cultivated in Chen-style Taiji that makes it unique. Chen stylists enhance this technique by practicing chansi, or “silk-reeling,” referring to the motion of pulling silk from a cocoon without breaking it. Grandmaster Zhu demonstrates the Chen silk-reeling exercises here:

Editor’s Note — Throughout this blog, I’ve been using different romanization systems — the Wade-Giles system I learned many years ago, and the Pinyin system that is the most prevalent today — based on the literature I’ve been reading.  As a result, I’ve been mixing the two systems — Tai Chi (Wade-Giles) and qigong (Pinyin), for example. From now on, I intend to use Pinyin, the official system. Thus, you will learn more about taiji and luoxuan (coiling) in future blogs.


Finding Your Way

I’ve cast a wide net with these blogs, covering weekend seminars with Tai Chi and qigong masters, connecting in Florida with teachers and students of the virtual Kwoon community, and spending a month on the road visiting devotees of the Taoist martial arts in Kansas, Nebraska, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Arkansas. It’s been a great ride, and it’s not over. Over the mountains I must go, to the West Coast, where my story actually begins. I’ll tell you more about that another time.

But let’s take a pause to answer the big question, the one I get most often from friends and blog readers: How can you, with some or no knowledge of Tai Chi, learn how to gain better health, strength and balance through this ancient Chinese practice? It’s not like yoga, with classes all over your city or county – including at gyms and sports clubs. You have to work to find Tai Chi classes, but it’s worth it.

Tai Chi and related qigong practices is yoga’s martial arts cousin, both concentrating on internal energy, breath work and chi, called prana in yoga. Both are beneficial to your fitness, improving balance and relieving stress. But Tai Chi has applications outside the body, in healing as well as in self-defense. It emphasizes dynamic fluid motions rather than holding static postures. My friends at Energy Arts describe the difference simply: “In Tai Chi you relax to stretch; in yoga you stretch to relax.”

While yoga classes are more accessible, Tai Chi is poised for a surge in popularity as more practitioners arise around the world. Some of the best Tai Chi masters are emerging right now – in countries outside of China, which has created a national brand of graceful Tai Chi called wushu. As a writer of the popular story, I am not a teacher. But I share the knowledge and I tell the stories of those who make this journey, particularly the new masters, the new Dharma Bums.

Push hands

I prepare to engage in Tai Chi sensitivity training, Push Hands, with Sifu Michael Paler, left, in his studio in Colorado Springs last November. Paler recently launched an on-line training program. (Photo by Julie Paler)

During my journey, I’ve met many teachers, some who were inspired to lead – like Bill Douglas, the Kansas Tai Chi evangelist who was assured by a Taoist monk in Hong Kong that he would be a teacher, something he had never considered. Today he leads a global movement, not only a local practice but also World Tai Chi and World Healing Day, observed the last Saturday in April each year – in countries all over the world. This year, on April 29, Douglas was in Tunisia.

Douglas began his practice when a neighbor asked him to show her the exercises he was doing in his back yard. Finding a good teacher is not so easy in most places. You want to make sure your teacher not only is accomplished (ask for the lineage and experience of the teacher), but also someone who is passionate about teaching the skills and benefits of Tai Chi. Individual, personal training is the best way to learn this art form – for either health or martial applications.

I first understood how important hands-on training is when I took a weekend seminar with Mark Rasmus, an Australian whose home base is Thailand. He demonstrated how sensitivity to others, sensing their center through gentle, yielding touch, leads to the ability to get them off balance and send them flying. After nearly 25 years of study, this was my first experience with the martial aspects of Tai Chi. Rasmus hopes to make another tour of the United States, but in the meantime, you can learn much by checking out his teaching videos on YouTube.

I can recommend several teachers in the Washington DC Metropolitan area, and throughout the United States and world, depending on your interests. Some are expert in Ba Gua and Hsing-I, and other martial applications. There is a wealth of information online, and a vibrant community of Tai Chi enthusiasts eager to turn other people on to this art. Besides the many groups on Facebook, others write well-circulated blogs, including Qialance by Angelika Fritz, who also connects other bloggers from her home in Germany.

If you are unable to find a reliable teacher close to you, or classes are too far away to attend, I can suggest several on-line training resources, based on the recommendations of teachers I trust. If you are a beginner, in particular, you should check out the on-line training unveiled this year by Michael Paler, who teaches the Yang style form and Old Six Roads tradition at his studio in Colorado Springs.

Another excellent resource, especially for those with some experience (or even a lot of experience, as his expert students will attest), is Adam Mizner, a young Australian who recently moved his teaching practice from Thailand to the Czech Republic. But his Yang style martial arts lessons are available anywhere in the world with Internet through his Heaven Man Earth training program.

Finally, for those more interested in the health and healing aspects of qigong and Tai Chi, I recommend Bruce Frantzis and his Energy Arts combine. Frantzis teaches around the world – I spent a weekend with him in Maryland learning Taoist breathing and the Dragon and Tiger qigong exercises – but his lessons are also available online.

If you prefer hardcover illumination, I have written about literary classics that will give you a keen understanding of the philosophy, if not the practice. To fully grasp the power of the internal martial arts, you have to reach out and touch someone.

Back to Jack

When last we pondered Jack Kerouac, we were contemplating a trip to the mountains of Colorado, and a school, Naropa University’s Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics, dedicated to extending the literature and spirit of the Beat Generation. Until recently, I was planning a return engagement, as a graduate student. But we are taking a different course as the trip resumes.

Although he inspired many writers of his generation, and their children, Jack Kerouac withdrew from the creative well of the Beats as he hurtled toward his death of liver cirrhosis in 1969, at the age of 47, a victim of his own excess. In the end, he didn’t want anything to do with the literary movement he helped create.

In his final years, Kerouac was bitter, hateful and largely incoherent, even in prime time TV appearances, here on William F. Buckley Jr.’s Firing Line, along with Lewis Yablonsky, a professor who had written a book about hippies, and Ed Sanders, a poet, political activist and leader of The Fugs, a hippy-dippy protest band. Kerouac was out of his element, a bit out of his mind:

That same year, in an interview with Paris Review, Kerouac railed against the left-wing bent of the Beat movement, dismissing the “community” of Beats led by Allen Ginsberg and Lawrence Ferlinghetti by questioning their politics and lifestyles. All those being lined up by the media as Beat Generation artists were different people, he said.

“They are very socialistically minded and want everybody to live in some kind of frenetic kibbutz, solidarity and all that,” Kerouac said. “I was a loner. (Gary) Snyder is not like (Philip) Whalen, Whalen is not like (Michael) McClure, I am not like McClure, McClure is not like Ferlinghetti, Ginsberg is not like Ferlinghetti, but we all had fun over wine anyway. We knew thousands of poets and painters and jazz musicians. There’s no ‘Beat crowd’ like you say … What about Scott Fitzgerald and his ‘lost crowd,’ does that sound right? Or Goethe and his ‘Wilhelm Meister crowd’? The subject is such a bore. Pass me that glass.”

“That glass” helped Kerouac’s escape from the public spotlight that exposed the “confessional” nature of his writing. As he told Ted Berrigan in that 1968 interview, “It’s our work that counts, if anything at all and I’m not too proud of mine or theirs or anybody’s since Thoreau and others like that, maybe because it’s still too close to home for comfort. Notoriety and public confession in the literary form is a frazzler of the heart you were born with, believe me.”

There it is: the fragile ego behind the bravura of Jack Kerouac. He put himself out there, and he’d taken it on the chin. He was like the battered prizefighter bobbing and weaving against the rat-a-tat-tat attack of an opponent that sticks him every time. He was tired and giving up on writing, which he said he never really liked to do anyway.

51XNA5oKR5L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Kerouac previewed his end of days in the brutally honest biographical novel, Big Sur, as he grappled with alcoholism and the nature of friends and relationships, with the constant party of his life but also deeply alone, there at Ferlinghetti’s cabin in the wilderness along California’s rugged Pacific coast. For all his meditation and brooding melancholy on this trip, Kerouac finds solace and inspiration in nature, reflecting truth and light in the words he chooses, or the words that spill out of his mind. Take a minute to read this paragraph from Big Sur out loud. The punctuation will come to you:

“It’s as familiar as an old face in an old photograph as tho I’m gone a million years from all that sun shaded brush on rocks and that heartless blue of the sea washing white on yellow sand, those rills of yellow arroyo running down mighty cliff shoulders, those distant blue meadows, that whole ponderous groaning upheaval so strange to see after the last several days of just looking at little faces and mouths of people – As tho nature had a gargantuan leprous face of its own with broad nostrils and huge bags under its eyes and a mouth big enough to swallow five thousand Jeepster stationwagons and ten thousand Dave Wains and Cody Pomeroys without a sigh of reminiscence or regret – There it is, every sad contour of my valley, the gaps, the Mien Mo captop mountain again, the dreaming woods below our high shelved road, suddenly indeed the sight of poor Alf again far way grazing in the mid afternoon by the corral fence – And there’s the creek bouncing along as tho nothing had ever happened elsewhere and even in the daytime somehow dark and hungry looking in its deeper tangled grass.”

There was something happening here in Jack Kerouac’s brain that defied the caricature of the person we saw in his demise, on TV or in the obituary reports. He took refuge in the work of authors long dead, dismissing his own work as unworthy of the literary tradition he loved, finding little hope in the literary movement that embraced him. And yet he sparkled on the page, and still does.

This sad demise of a literary giant leads me to ask: What if Jack Kerouac didn’t drink himself to death, sitting alone in front of the television at his mother’s house? What if he carried on, in the best of the Beat tradition, to chronicle the personal and cultural transformation that he and his generation were undergoing.

I am imagining a Jack Kerouac who survived, even thrived, and is now telling stories of the Information Age – not Kerouac, per se, but an adventurous Beat spirit that infuses a new “Dharma Bums” quest. This literary light has been my muse in writing this blog, and in planning to pick up the thread that Kerouac let die out there on the road many years ago. Stay tuned.


The Tai Chi Body

Back home, recharging from my November journey to the Rocky Mountains and back, I am encouraged to build a Tai Chi body – a very different physical specimen than the one I’ve been inclined to build in the gym. Forget the weights. Stop flexing and relax. No six-pack abs required. Relax the breath into the abdomen, hollow the chest and sink the tailbone.


Brush knee, or perhaps the Vulcan greeting. I come in peace.

What kind of warrior is this? “Soft in the middle,” like Paul Simon’s Al? Yes, and soft in the arms, too. Relax the shoulders and hips, loosey-goosey. Relaxing inwardly, I am soft enough to take and/or redirect a blow, if it comes to that. But who wants to fight such a gentle man? That is the warrior I aspire to be through Tai Chi, the internal martial art.

Tai Chi masters are seldom imposing physical figures. Most tend to be small – even diminutive, like Professor Cheng Man-Ching. Working out for them may be quietly sitting, or standing in one position for an hour. Or pushing hands with partners who help, and whom they help, to improve balance, flexibility and root. In this video, Wu Tai Chi Master Qiao Song-Mao demonstrates the awesome power generated from inside the body with seemingly little external effort.

Mastering Tai Chi means relaxing your external muscles, but also getting in touch with your internal organs. The power of Tai Chi comes from the inside, by relaxing deep into your being while channeling vital energy (qi), strengthening the connective tissue (fascia) and developing the torqueing capabilities of the body’s rotation, which are accentuated through the circular motions of the Tai Chi forms.

Thanks to my generous hosts and teachers along my road to discovery, I have exercises now that will help me condition my body for Tai Chi, and all the benefits that entails, including the silk-reeling exercises used especially in Chen Tai Chi to train the body’s torqueing ability. I’ve also learned new sets of warm up exercises and standing postures, as well as subtle changes in my form and Qigong exercises.

Besides the hands-on instruction, I now have a two-disc DVD on the Yang long form, with Michael Paler of the Tai Chi Association of Colorado Springs demonstrating each move. He is really good! The 108-posture long form repeats many of the movements I’m familiar with through the Cheng Man-Ching 37-posture Yang short form, but the mix has been confusing to me. Now I can follow along, eventually expanding the time I spend with a single run-through of the form from 8 to nearly 25 minutes.

Next up is organizing push-hands practice among the Tai Chi players in my area, although the weather is somewhat inhospitable for outdoor play. So, I will focus on building a new soft body, stepping up my Qigong exercises. I am working to sink the energy (qi) to the vital center of the body, the lower dan-tien, and channel it through the meridians for healing and strengthening the internal organs, circulatory system and connective tissue.

So much to do, and so little time! Based on lessons from my recent Tai Chi tour, I’ve developed a workout regime that only takes an hour and 20 minutes a day, and can be divided up throughout the day. Morning exercise works best for me because it helps me focus. Notes: The Bear Posture is a specific Standing Post (Zhan Zhuang) exercise. “Circular Breathing” is Qigong focused on a particular breathing pattern. The walking distances here are from 2 to 4 miles:

Sunday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Warmup Stretching/Qigong (10 minutes)
  • Form (8 minutes)
  • Bear Posture (7 minutes)
  • Circular Breathing (4 minutes)
  • Walking (45 minutes)
  • Qigong (6 minutes)

Monday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Warmup Stretching/Qigong (10 minutes)
  • Form (8 minutes)
  • Walking (45 minutes)
  • Standing post (5 minutes)
  • Silk reeling (5 minutes)
  • Qigong (7 minutes)

Tuesday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Bear Posture (7 minutes)
  • Circular Breathing (5 minutes)
  • Form (8 minutes)
  • Walking (60 minutes)

Wednesday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Warmup Stretching (10 minutes)
  • Walking (60 minutes)
  • Qigong (2 minutes)
  • Form (8 minutes)

Thursday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Dragon and Tiger Qigong (9 minutes)
  • Form (24 minutes)
  • Bear Posture (10 minutes)
  • Circular Breathing (9 minutes)
  • Silk Reeling (8 minutes)
  • Meditation (20 minutes)

Friday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Warmup Stretches (10 minutes)
  • Form (8 minutes)
  • Walking (45 minutes)
  • Standing post (10 minutes)
  • Qigong (7 minutes)

Saturday (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Meditation (20 minutes)
  • Circular Breathing (5 minutes)
  • Form (16 minutes)
  • Walking (30 minutes)
  • Bear Posture (9 minutes)

Snow Day Option (1 hour, 20 minutes)

  • Meditation (20 minutes)
  • Dragon and Tiger Qigong (9 minutes)
  • Bear Posture (8 minutes)
  • Form (16 minutes)
  • Silk Reeling (7 minutes)
  • Meditation (20 minutes)