Book recommendations

Finding the Heart: Principles for Tai Chi and Life

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"To find and to understand the principles means to find the heart." - Hilmar Fuchs 

This book describes our learnings over the years and the principles we found and teach in class.

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Der Tanz des Kranichs: Tai Chi für Gesundheit und Wohlbefinden (German Edition)

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A great Tai Chi book, written by our teacher. It explains the Tai Chi we have learned, coupled with lots of valuable insights and advice. However beware: it's written in German.

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Laoshi: Tai Chi, Teachers, and Pursuit of Principle

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An entertaining book that discusses Tai Chi and life principles through stories. It's easy to read but offers lots of food for thought. Reminds us of 'Zen in the Martial Arts', just for Tai Chi.

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Tai Chi - The Perfect Exercise

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We like this book a lot. It doesn't explain techniques or exercises but talks about the philosophy and principles behind Tai Chi as well as its benefits.

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Zen in the Martial Arts

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Our favorite book about martial arts. It's not linked to any specific style or school, it doesn't show moves or exercises. But it does talk about key principles and lessons for martial arts and life.

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Peak

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This book explains modern science behind the teaching approach that was practiced in martial arts for centuries. It highlights both the need for mental representations of complex problems (eg branch for the bird) as well as deliberate practice (perfecting the details).

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Presence

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One of the first things our teacher taught us when we started with martial arts was: "your body reflects your mind, your mind reflects your body". Presence provides the science behind this old knowledge and some tips for improving your everyday mindset.

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Mastery

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Mastery takes the students perspective and again is a modern take on ancient martial arts wisdom. It explains learning and mastering a skill from an apprentice point of view, going through copying, understanding and finally reinventing (Shu-Ha-Ri).

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Ikebana

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https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ikebana

Ikebana (生け花?, "arranging flowers") is the Japanese art of flower arrangement, also known as kadō (華道?, the "way of flowers"). The tradition dates back to the 7th century when floral offerings were made at altars. Later they were placed in the tokonoma alcove of a home. Ikebana reached its first zenith in the 16th century under the influence of Buddhist teamasters and has grown over the centuries, with over 1000 different schools in Japan and abroad. The most well-known schools are Ikenobo, Ohara-ryū, and Sōgetsu-ryū.

More than simply putting flowers in a container, ikebana is a disciplined art form in which nature and humanity are brought together. Contrary to the idea of a particolored or multicolored arrangement of blossoms, ikebana often emphasizes other areas of the plant, such as its stems and leaves, and puts emphasis on shape, line, and form. Though ikebana is an expression of creativity, certain rules govern its form. The artist's intention behind each arrangement is shown through a piece's color combinations, natural shapes, graceful lines, and the implied meaning of the arrangement.

Tai Chi

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tai_chi

T‘ai-chi (Mandarin: tàijí 太極, an abbreviation of tàijí quán 太極拳, literally "Supreme Ultimate Boxing") is an internal Chinese martial art 武术 practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. 

Though originally conceived as a martial art, it is also typically practiced for a variety of other personal reasons: competitive wrestling in the format of pushing hands (tui shou), demonstration competitions, and achieving greater longevity. As a result, a multitude of training forms exist, both traditional and modern, which correspond to those aims with differing emphasis. Some training forms of t‘ai-chi ch‘üan are especially known for being practiced with relatively slow movements.

T‘ai-chi ch‘üan training involves five elements, taolu (solo hand and weapons routines/forms), neigong and qigong (breathing, movement and awareness exercises and meditation), tuishou (response drills) and sanshou (self defence techniques). While t‘ai-chi ch‘üan is typified by some for its slow movements, many t‘ai-chi styles (including the three most popular—Yang, Wu and Chen) have secondary forms with faster pace. Some traditional schools of t‘ai-chi teach partner exercises known as tuishou (pushing hands), and martial applications of the postures of different forms (taolu).

Form of 24 (Short Form)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/24-form_tai_chi_chuan

1. Commencing (Qǐshì, 起势), Preparation, Beginning

2. Part the Wild Horse's Mane (Zuoyou Yémǎ Fēnzōng, 左右野马分鬃), LEFT and RIGHT

3. White Crane Spreads Its Wings (Báihè Lìangchì, 白鹤亮翅), Stork/Crane Cools Its Wings

4. Brush Knee and Step Forward (Zuoyou Lōuxī Àobù, 左右搂膝拗步), Brush Knee and Twist Step, LEFT and RIGHT

5. Playing the Lute (Shǒuhūi Pípā, 手挥琵琶), Strum the Lute, Play Guitar

6. Reverse Reeling Forearm (Zuoyou Dào juǎn gōng, 左右倒卷肱), Step Back and Drive Monkey Away (Dǎo niǎn hóu 倒攆猴), LEFT and RIGHT

7. Left Grasp Sparrow's Tail (Zuo Lǎn Què Wěi, 左揽雀尾), Grasp the Bird's Tail 

   1. Ward Off (Bing, 掤)

   2. Rollback (Lǚ, 捋)

   3. Press (Jǐ, 擠)

   4. Push (Àn, 按)

8. Right Grasp Sparrow's Tail (You Lǎn què wěi, 右揽雀尾)

9. Single Whip (Dān biān, 单鞭)

10. Wave Hands Like Clouds (Yúnshǒu, 云手), Cloud Hands, Cloud Built Hands, Wave Hands in Clouds

11. Single Whip (Danbian, 单鞭)

12. High Pat on Horse (Gāo tàn mǎ, 高探马), Step Up to Examine Horse

13. Right Heel Kick (Yòu dēng jiǎo, 右蹬脚), Separate Right Foot, Kick with Right Foot

14. Strike to Ears with Both Fists (Shuāng fēng guàn ěr, 双峰贯耳)

15. Turn Body and Left Heel Kick (Zhuǎnshēn zuǒ dēngjiǎo, 转身左蹬脚)

16. Left Lower Body and Stand on One Leg (Zuo Xià shì dúlì, 左下势独立) 

   1. Single Whip Squatting Down, Snake Creeps Down,

   2. Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Golden Bird Standing Alone

17. Right Lower Body and Stand on One Leg (You Xià shì dúlì, 右下势独立)

18. Shuttle Back and Forth (Yòuzuǒ yùnǚ chuānsuō, 右左玉女穿梭), Fair Lady Works with Shuttles, (Walking Wood), Four Corners, RIGHT and LEFT

19. Needle at Sea Bottom (Hǎidǐ zhēn, 海底针)

20. Fan Through Back (Shǎn tōng bì, 闪通臂), Fan Penetrates Back

21. Turn Body, Deflect, Parry, and Punch (Zhuǎnshēn Bānlánchuí, 转身搬拦捶)

22. Appears Closed (Rúfēng shìbì, 如封似闭), Withdraw and Push, as if Closing a Door

23. Cross Hands (Shízìshǒu, 十字手)

24. Closing (Shōushì, 收势)

Traditional Form (Long Form)

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https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/103-form_Yang_family_tai_chi_chuan

第一段 | Section 1 

1. | 预 备 | Yùbèi | Preparation Form 

2. | 起式 | Qǐ shì | Beginning 

3. | 揽雀尾 | Lǎn què wěi | Grasp the Bird's tail 

4. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single whip 

5. | 提手上势 | Tí shǒu shàng shì | Raise Hands and Step Forward 

6. | 白鹤亮翅 | Bái hè liàng chì | White Crane Spreads its Wings 

7. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

8. | 手挥琵琶 | Shǒu huī pípá | Hand Strums the Lute 

9. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

10. | 右搂膝拗步 | Yòu lōu xī ǎo bù | Right Brush Knee and Push 

11. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

12. | 手挥琵琶 | Shǒu huī pípá | Hand Strums the Lute 

13. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

14. | 进步搬拦捶 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

15. | 如封似闭 | Rú fēng shì bì | Apparent Close Up 

16. | 十字手 | Shí zì shǒu | Cross Hands 


第二段 | Section 2 

17. |  抱虎归山 | Bào hǔ guī shān | Embrace the Tiger and Return to Mountain 

18. | 肘底捶 | Zhǒu dǐ chuí | Fist Under Elbow 

19. | 左倒撵猴 | Zuǒ dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Left 

20. | 右倒撵猴 | Yòu dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Right 

21. | 左倒撵猴 | Zuǒ dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Left 

22. | 斜飞式 | Xié fēi shì | Diagonal Flying 

23. | 提手上势 | Tí shǒu shàng shì | Raise Hands and Step Forward 

24. | 白鹤亮翅 | Bái hè liàng chì | White Crane Spreads its Wings 

25. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

26. | 海底针 | Hǎi dǐ zhēn | Needle at Sea Bottom 

27. | 扇通背 | Shàn tōng bèi | Fan Through the Back 

28. | 转身撇身捶 | Zhuǎn shēn piē shēn chuí | Turn Body and Chop with Fist 

29. | 进步搬拦捶 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

30. | 上步揽雀尾 | Shàng bù lǎn què wěi | Step Forward and Grasp the Bird's Tail 

31. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single whip 

32. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (1) 

33. | 云手' | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (2) 

34. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (3) 

35. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single whip 

36. | 高探马 | Gāo tàn mǎ | High Pat on Horse 

37. | 右分脚 | Yòu fēn jiǎo | Right Separation Kick 

38. | 左分脚 | Zuǒ fèn jiǎo | Left Separation Kick 

39. | 转身左蹬脚 | Zhuǎn shēn zuǒ dēng jiǎo | Turn Body and Left Heel Kick 

40. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

41. | 右搂膝拗步 | Yòu lōu xī ǎo bù | Right Brush Knee and Push 

42. | 进步栽锤 | Jìn bù zāi chuí | Step Forward and Punch Down 

43. | 转身撇身锤 | Zhuǎn shēn piē shēn chuí | Turn Body and Chop with Fist 

44. | 进步搬拦锤 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

45. | 右蹬脚 | Yòu dēng jiǎo | Right Heel Kick 

46. | 左打虎式 | Zuǒ dǎ hǔ shì | Left Strike Tiger 

47. | 右打虎式 | Yòu dǎ hǔ shì | Right Strike Tiger 

48. | 回身右蹬脚 | Huí shēn yòu dēng jiǎo | Turn Body and Right Heel Kick 

49. | 双峰灌耳 | Shuāng fēng guàn ěr | Twin Fists Strike Opponents Ears 

50. | 左蹬脚 | Zuǒ dēng jiǎo | Left Heel Kick 

51. | 转身右蹬脚  | Zhuǎn shēn yòu dēng jiǎo | Turn Body and Right Heel Kick 

52. | 进步搬拦锤 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

53. | 如封似闭 | Rú fēng shì bì | Apparent Close Up 

54. | 十字手 | Shí zì shǒu | Cross Hands 


第三段 | Section 3 

55. | 抱虎归山 | Bào hǔ guī shān | Embrace the Tiger and Return to Mountain 

56. | 斜单鞭 | Xié dān biān | Diagonal Single Whip 

57. | 右野马分鬃 | Yòu yě mǎ fēn zōng | Parting Wild Horse's Mane, Right 

58. | 左野马分鬃 | Zuǒ yě mǎ fēn zōng | Parting Wild Horse's Mane, Left 

59. | 右野马分鬃 | Yòu yě mǎ fēn zōng | Parting Wild Horse's Mane, Right 

60. | 揽雀尾 | Lǎn què wěi | Grasp the Bird's tail 

61. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

62. | 玉女穿梭 | Yù nǚ chuān suō | Fair Lady Works at Shuttles 

63. | 揽雀尾 | Lǎn què wěi | Grasp the Bird's tail 

64. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

65. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (1) 

66. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (2) 

67. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (3) 

68. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

69. | 下势 | Xià shì | Snake Creeps Down 

70. | 左金鸡独立 | Zuǒ jīn jī dú lì | Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Left 

71. | 右金鸡独立 | Yòu jīn jī dú lì | Golden Rooster Stands on One Leg, Right 

72. | 左倒撵猴 | Zuǒ dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Left 

73. | 右倒撵猴 | Yòu dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Right 

74. | 左倒撵猴 | Zuǒ dào niǎn hóu | Step Back and Repulse the Monkey, Left 

75. | 斜飞势 | Xié fēi shì | Diagonal Flying 

76. | 提手上势 | Tí shǒu shàng shì | Raise Hands and Step Forward 

77. | 白鹤亮翅 | Bái hè liàng chì | White Crane Spreads its Wings 

78. | 左搂膝拗步 | Zuǒ lōu xī ǎo bù | Left Brush Knee and Push 

79. | 海底针 | Hǎi dǐ zhēn | Needle at Sea Bottom 

80. | 扇通背 | Shàn tōng bèi | Fan Through the Back 

81. | 转身白蛇吐信 | Zhuǎn shēn bái shé tǔ xìn | Turn Body and White Snake Spits out Tongue 

82. | 进步搬拦捶 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

83. | 上步揽雀尾 | Shàng bù lǎn què wěi | Step Forward and Grasp the Bird's tail 

84. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

85. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (1) 

86. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (2) 

87. | 云手 | Yún shǒu | Cloud Hands (3) 

88. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

89. | 高探马穿掌 | Gāo tàn mǎ chuān zhǎng | High Pat On Horse with Palm Thrust 

90. | 十字腿 | Shí zì tuǐ | Cross Kick 

91. | 进步指裆锤 | Jìn bù zhǐ dāng chuí | Step Forward and Punch Groin 

92. | 上步揽雀尾 | Shàng bù lǎn què wěi | Step Forward and Grasp the Bird's tail 

93. | 单鞭 | Dān biān | Single Whip 

94. | 下势 | Xià shì | Snake Creeps Down 

95. | 上步七星 | Shàng bù qī xīng | Step Forward Seven Stars 

96. | 退步跨虎 | Tuì bù kuà hǔ | Step back and Ride the Tiger 

97. | 转身摆莲 | Zhuǎn shēn bǎi lián | Turn Body and Swing Over Lotus 

98. | 弯弓射虎 | Wān gōng shè hǔ | Bend the Bow and Shoot the Tiger 

99. | 进步搬拦捶 | Jìn bù bān lán chuí | Step Forward, Parry, Block, and Punch 

100. | 如封似闭 | Rú fēng shì bì | Apparent Close Up 

101. | 十字手 | Shí zì shǒu |  Cross Hands 

102. | 收式 | Shōu shì | Closing 

103. | 还原 | Huán yuán | Return to Normal