The first weekend of every August is "Combat Taiji Seminars" presented by Buddha Zhen, formerly known as Master Zhen, born Richard Del Connor, formerly known as Sifu Richard O'Connor, and currently known as Buddha Zhen, is a weekend where students can request sections of the Form to learn how to fight.
Pooling from his decades of Kung Fu and Tai Chi teaching experience, Buddha Zhen is a gentle man who never intimidates or injures his students. But he does show the students how to intimidate and injure their opponents in this rare type of Tai Chi seminar.
For current schedules, visit BuddhaKungFu.com/seminars
Every movement of Tai Chi is a fighting move.
At least two of my Chinese Masters implored me, "Don't make this into Yoga Tai Chi!" Even back in the early eighties there were some Americans trying to capitalize on Tai Chi without really knowing much about it.
Even today, or last year, one of my supervisors at the YMCA, a Yoga instructor, asked me, "I'm shooting a Yoga video next week. I'd like to sit in on one of your Tai Chi classes so I can put some Tai Chi in my video."
I've been teaching Tai Chi for over 20 years but I've yet to meet an American who knows what Tai Chi is, without learning it.
Tai Chi is more than elderly Chinese people in the park, moving in a slow motion dance. Most of the people who attend my classes at the YMCA make this comment in an appreciative or disappointed tone. The appreciative students are happy to get more than they bargained for in by attending my classes. The unappreciative are used to being able to pop into a Yoga class and hide in their candlelit stretching rooms.
In a Shaolin Chi Mantis Tai Chi class:
- You salute the Past Masters (They don't get royalties so at least say, "Thank You."
- We do one of my two stretching routines
- Punching and kicking exercises can be 10 to 20 minutes
- We take a water break
- We do Qigong
8 Brocade or 4 Winds of Shaolin or 8 Temple Exercises of SCM
- We perform the entire Yang Style Taijiquan Short Form
- We study the handouts or bookwork of SCM (Tai Chi Beginner book)
- Then we work on the new sections of the Form
This takes 90 minutes.
The stretching is required for both the kicking warmup and to remove stress. My success with students is a mixture of successes that is dependent on each student being flexible, stress free, relaxed, breathing properly, moving properly, being focused, and challenging their minds. Then I teach them Tai Chi. That's why Tai Chi works at Shaolin Chi Mantis.
The history of Tai Chi is contained in our student manuals with some short stories on our websites also.
Taijiquan or "Silk Reel Boxing," was the village and family style of martial art passed down from generation to generation by the Chen and Wang families of the Chen village. Some books refer to it by its' Chinese name, Chenchiakou, which means, "Chen Village."
The first Patriarch of what would become Yang Style Taijiquan, Yang Cheng Fu, used his Tai Chi to beat up every martial artist he could challenge in his hometown. He then took his ego, and Tai Chi, and a short spear on the road where he challenged people from town to town.
Hardly a senior in the park.
He taught it to his sons, who taught in to their sons, who taught it to their sons. This third generation of family-Taiji had a son named, _____________, who was forced to teach his Tai Chi publicly. He didn't want to. He complained vigorously and openly stated, "I won't teach them everything!"
This old grumpy man style of Tai Chi is now the most popular version in the world. Yang Style Taijiquan is everywhere now. Like all things quality will vary.
Just remember what one of my Masters said, "If you can't fight with it -- it's not Tai Chi."
My name, Zhen Shen-Lang, was bestowed upon me by the Chen family of the village below the Daoist Temple on Mt. Wudang. Although I've had a bit of Chen training, I only teach the Yang Style and strive to teach all the Tai Chi wisdoms within this Form and Style.
However, I didn't feel comfortable taking the Chen name for several reasons. So, they named me "Zhen," for "Truth," which is another word for "Buddhism," which they knew I taught.
When Master Chen, completed writing my name, and had explained how to write it and what the Chinese characters meant -- he straightened up his back from the table and said, "That's good Kung Fu name!"
Thank you again Master Chen.