Traditional Chinese Practices
Traditional Chinese Martial Arts and Healing Practises
Chinese traditional martial arts are centuries old mind-body exercises that lead to improved physical conditioning and well-being, as well as heightened mental concentration, confidence and focus. Their practice improves memory, mood, balance, and strength.
Although originally developed as a self defense system, for which it is highly effective, the art was developed in monastery settings by enlightened individuals with higher objectives than defeating opponents.
Traditional Chinese Martial Arts include
- Tai Chi - A style of Internal Kung Fu practised Martially and for Health/ Self Development.
- Qi Gong - Energy Work both dynamic and static
- Styles of Kung Fu split broadly into Internal And External Styles
Qi Gong and Tai Chi
What is Qi Gong?
Qi Gong and Tai Chi describes various types of soft exercise, which combine relaxation, intent, meditation, movement and breath. These practises cultivate well being, balance the bodies subtle energy system and facilitate personal development (Physical/ Mental/ Emotional and Spiritual). Qi Gong is the older of the two, with the earliest records dating back some 5000 years. Developed by individuals attuned to the elements and the natural forces, these practises have been adapted and modified over the centuries by monks, warriors, physicians and laypeople in ancient China. These practises were passed down through to today by unbroken lineages within Taoist and Buddhist settings. They have since been integrated into modern preventative health care and form the movement component of Chinese Medicine and they are also the basis of the internal training for Kung Fu and other martial arts.
There are now thousands of types of Qi Gong practice, each with their own emphasis and specific objectives.
What is Tai Chi?
Tai Chi Chaun is a soft or internal style of Kung Fu, which incorporates the principles of Qi Gong. It is characterized by slow, precise, connected movement coordinated with one’s breathing or qi (life force). James practises Yang and Chen styles, each of which has distinctive characteristics. Practise is done by executing forms or patterns of movements.
What are the benefits?
Physically they brings balance to the body, both in terms of establishing a moment to moment relationship with gravity and in creating evenness within the physical structures from left to right and front to back. Mentally these practises reduce stress and tension by removing the focus on the content of thoughts, which are the root of all mental strain and instead bringing attention to the bodies spatial arrangements to energetic reference points and flows. When this part of the brain then thought drops away and is replaced by a presence that observes the activities of the moment. The Emotional and the Spiritual are aspects of ourselves, which we can access and work with via the energetic body. These components are paid relatively little attention in conventional western medicine, yet are impacted by much of our personal history. Eastern medicine provides languages and frameworks to understand these aspects of our selves. By organising and balancing the energetics of any particular body area within the energetic sphere, which sits around us, we can balance and calm our emotions. Spiritually, through a practise of awareness and a focus on the heart we can find our way back to a centered place from which we operate in an authentic manner and find our way to a passionate and engaged modus operandi. Chinese internal practises help us to become in tune with the natural energetics of the seasons and our role and relationships in harmony with nature. Practising Tai Chi and Qi Gong with James
James teaches group classes and 121 sessions in Qi Gong, Tai Chi and Kung Fu. These sessions are suitable for all levels and bring many benefits to participants including tailored health and well being. Regular practice is required to derive the benefits.
What is Kung Fu?
Kung Fu roughly translates as skill developed through work. In this instance the work is on developing oneself physically mentally, emotionally and spiritually. It is a perfect compliment for Chi Kung Practise and builds on the objectives of harmonising energetic flow into takes this into dynamic and expressive movement.
James’ Background in Traditional Chinese Martial Arts
James began studying Kung Fu as a pre-teen before moving into other physical sporting activities. Aged 21, he returned to the Chinese Healing Arts and studied Qi Gong, Southern Shaolin Wushu and Hopgar Tibetan Kung Fu with Sifu Ali Sina in Brighton U.K. These are hard or external styles and are suitable for both children and adults. Their appearance is dramatic and acrobatic, and develops a complex sense of timing and technique.
Since arriving in the United States, James has studied Qi Gong and Yang Style, Chen Style and Wu Style Tai Chi with Taj Johnson of Sky Valley Tai Ji in Washington D.C. Since then James has also began training with Chinese Master Sifu Liu Xiao Ling of the Wudang Longmen Lineage. With Master Liu, James has studied Yang Style Tai Chi, Shaolin Staff and Sword, Ba Gua Zhang and Da Bei Chaun. Da Bei is a style of Buddhist Kung Fu, which encourages opening of the body and extension of muscles and tendons in preporation for meditation. In many ways, it is similar in approach to the physical practises of yoga. In Ba Gua, the forms are usually performed walking in a circle with a flat foot, with one’s focus on a deep spiralling action enabling defense of oneself from attacks coming from all directions. The spiritual and philosophical aspects of Ba Gua stem from the I Ching, the Chinese Book of Changes.