Quite a few people have asked me about my martial arts, so I decided to dedicate a section here to provide some info and because they are an important part of my life.
What's In A Name...
I am a student of Daoqiquan, which has largely been a closed family system for centuries; a collection of martial arts, philosophy, meditation and health skills. Within this school of practice are modified versions of Xingyiquan, Taijiquan, Baguazhang, and also animal styles usually referred to as Kung Fu. My focus is in Xingyiquan- a military combative system, and Taijiquan- the martial form of "Tai Chi" often overlooked.
These are in essence traditional Chinese arts, but approached from a very modern and
scientific standpoint, looking into the practical meanings and usage behind esoteric concepts like "chi" and flowing energy. In the western world, these kind of arts are largely considered mystical mumbo jumbo. This is because these ideas of chi and energy have been exaggerated or misinterpreted over time. What remains of many Chinese arts today is often just a diluted shadow of what they originally were, which is unfortunate. It is actually rare to find one of these arts properly taught and utilized.
Taiji & Xingyi
In the internal styles, the training begins in the mind. One cultivates their ability to visualize and engage the mind; to develop a sense of whole-body awareness and sensitivity through forms of meditation. There's a lot of discussion in martial arts communities about internal versus external, and if there is even a difference at all.
Many people believe that an internal style is a "soft" style (or using an opponent's force against them by redirecting it) while external means "hard" techniques (or relying on your own strength and force against force). Of course many martial arts have both types of moves obviously. Types of techniques have nothing to do with anything. What makes an art truly "internal" such as Taijiquan, is the use of the mind-body connection.
There's nothing mystical or strange about it really. Your mind can be trained, just like a bodybuilder trains their muscles. You can slowly gain control over concentration, stress, the function of your organs, relaxation of your muscles, even the function of your nervous system to a degree. This skill alone has a profound impact far beyond merely martial application. But when these skills are applied to fighting techniques, the result is a power that one has to experience to believe. The path to some pretty amazing physical abilities all begins by sitting still and using that thing in your head.
The mind commands, the body responds, and the energy flows.
Myself teaching some newer students the Earth element of Xingyi