"Tai Chi Chuan, 24 & 48 Postures with Martial Applications, by Master Liang, Shou-Yu and Wu, Wen-Ching,
Beginner to Intermediate.
This book contains general background information about theory and history of Taijiquan. It covers basic movements with many pictures covering the basic movements and examples of how these movements are used in self-defense. Although, some of the transitional movements and directions of the movements may be a little different than what istaught at Tai Chi by the Sea, it is an excellent book for those that want to understand the self-defense aspects of Tai Chi Chuan.
"The Healing Promise of Qi" Creating Extraordinary Wellness Through Qigong and Tai Chi,
by Roger Jahnke, O.M.D.
This book covers information on Qigong by taking you on a trip to China and exploring the teachings of the different areas with history, theory, examples and easy to follow exercises. It goes into the 10 Phases of Qigong. Each chapter covers one of the phases of Qigong with background information and step by step instructions on how to do and what to expect.
Practicing Outside is Full of Rewards Meeting Buddha Bird Over the years Taijiquan student's have shared their stories and experiences about practicing Taijiquan in nature and with encounters with animals. Animals seem to sense the energy around us while doing our Taijiquan and Qigong forms. Animals are not threaten by the energy and seem to be attracted to it if they are in need. Students have had deer come out to of the woods to watch them practice and birds often join us on the beach. Once I was alone on the beach doing my morning Taijiquan and Qigong routine. I turned to look behind (Eight Pieces of Silk Brocade Qigong) and I visualized leaving my problems behind, but saw a fluff of feathers blowing in the wind. Upon further investigation it was a baby bird injured struggling on the shoreline. I was able to pick it up and turn the bird over to the beach rangers for transportation to the local bird shelter. Our energies were meant to cross that day, at that moment. One beautiful Florida evening we moved our class outside to the boardwalk next to the river. It was a peaceful evening with just enough breeze to keep the bugs at bay, birds and dolphins floated by and fishermen were trying their luck on the dock. We welcomed the fresh air and chance to be outside while practicing our breathing and gentle movements. We started our walking exercises, step, shift weight, open toe, step, shift weight and added the parting of the wild horses mane hand movements. As I lead the class, parting with my left palm up, open and forward a pigeon tried to land on it. We were all surprised but kept our slow, gentle movements going and proceeded to repulse monkey backwards. The pigeon stayed close and was walking with us. I asked it if it needed some help. It seemed to look about still watching us. Upon asking it again if it needed some help, the bird looked up and then took it's beak down it's neck and flung it up revealing a piece of metal weight hanging on fishing line which it could not remove on it's own. The fishing line and metal formed a necklace around the bird's head, but was hidden by the birds feathers. We started doing a few grasp bird's tail and other non-traditional Taijiquan movements like corner bird to land on hand. Although the bird seemed friendly it avoided coming close enough for us to capture. We took Carol's sweater and was able to drop it over the bird, picking it up protected by the cloth. Bill was strong enough to break the fishing line to free the lead weight from it's neck. We let it go, glad we could help, naming it Buddha Bird. We then went on to practice Taijiquan under the watchful eye of Buddha Bird. When we went into the Community center to get our swords, Buddha bird tried to follow, scratching at the glass doors to let us know we left him behind. By the time we all came back outside Buddha bird was standing on Olga's shoulder and climbed up to her head. Buddha Bird seemed to delight in saying hello to each of us by swooping to land on our heads or following the sword's movements as we practiced our Taijiquan Sword forms. After practice we gathered for our Five Element closing meditation. With all of us forming a circle, Buddha bird lighted down in the middle of our circle. As our arms opened wide to represent water, Buddha Bird flew up, wings spread wide, landing on my chest as if to give me a hug. This interaction with nature uplifted the whole class and reinforced the teachings that our gentle movements are very close to nature. If we take time to listen, nature speaks and the rewards are endless for those who hear. Now when a pigeon joins our Taijiquan practice it reminds me to be thankful for my Taijiquan instructors and students who over the years have helped me learn to listen and become more aware of the lessons life brings and the energy we share with all of nature.