Tajiquan (Taiji or Tai Chi) and Baquazhang (Baqua or Pa Kua) are perhaps the most famous Chinese Internal Martial Arts. Chinese Martial Arts are known as Gungfu, Gong Fu or Kung Fu in Chinese and Chugoku Kenpo in Japanese. All Gong Fu are divided into two main categories: External and Internal. Generally, the External Arts trace their lineage to the Original Shaolin Temple and the Internal Arts trace theirs back to Wudang mountain. There is no agreement on what makes an art internal or external. I believe the difference is how each style utilizes your flow of Qi or life energy.

If the art makes your Qi flow more deeply into your body's tendons, ligaments and bones, then it is an internal art. If the art makes your energy flow closer to the surface of your body and primarily into your large muscles, it is an external art.

All of the Chinese Internal Arts promote internal changes in our bodies. Regular practice of Taijiquan and Baguazhang, just like any good Qigong:

•  Increase our strength, flexibility, range of motion, bone density.
•  Enhance the function of our immune system.
•  Detoxify and improve the circulation in our lymph system.
•  Improve our posture and our senses of balance and coordination.
•  Increase our concentration.

My focus in the Chinese Martial Arts or Kung Fu is the Internal Arts of Taijiquan (Tai Chi) as taught by Master Chen Wei Gun. It has much in common with Ninpo Taijutsu; and Bagua as taught by Soke (Grandmaster) Shoto Tanemura* It has much in common with Jujutsu.

I teach the following Taijiquan (Tai Chi) routines:

•Yang style 24, competition 40 and the 88
• The combined 42 and 48 competition routines
•Wu competition form
•Chen style short routine
•32, 42 and Wudang Gim/Jian (sword) routines
Dao routine
•Staff routine
•Cane routine
•Fan routine
•Push Hand routines
San Shou (free fighting)

In his Chugoku Kenpo or Gungfu, Soke Shoto Tanemura teaches Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang, Bagua, or Pa Kua) and its related self-defense drills from GrandMaster's Li Zi Ming's lineage. He learned the art from Grandmaster Li Zi Ming's direct disciple Grandmaster Sato Kinbei.

I teach the first section of this art, which includes Qigong, the first two sets of Palm Changes (Circle Walking) and Chin Na. These are wonderful compliments to Master Chen's Taijiquan (Tai Chi).

The physical, energetic and spiritual origins of Taiji and Bagua are the subject of long debates. However, I believe their essence is "Harmony with the Way Things Are." To be effective and to reach a high level of practice in either of these internal arts, you must be able to harmonize your own energy with that of your uncooperative opponent. Your Yin and Yang with that of another person's Yin and Yang. In order to achieve this, you must first understand and then control your own energy flows. Then, you can begin to sense and then to control your opponent's energy. It requires mindfulness. It requires calmness. It requires balance and harmony. It requires determination, will power and the proper instruction. You can achieve all of this. And with luck-maybe more. All of these skills are also in High Level Ninpo and Jujutsu. They may not be emphasized as much in the Japanese Arts; but, they are there and need to be mastered in order to achieve the higher levels of accomplishment in these Arts also.

Very Sincerely Yours,
Gary Giamboi, Kyoshi, Shibu-Cho

* Soke Shoto Tanemura and Master Chen Wei Gun were fated to meet and become true heart friends the day Soke Tanemura gave me permission to study Chinese Martial Arts with another instructor. It is an extremely rare for a Martial Arts instructor to give this permission, especially since I did not have a specific instructor in mind; yet, it was the necessary first step to them becoming good friends. In 1991, after many months of searching, I began to study Taijiquan with Master Chen in New York, where he had just arrived from China. The next time Soke Tanemura came to New York was in 1995 and the two of meet at a lunch Master Chen prepared at my home for Soke Tanemura. The meal itself was a delicious multi-course feast that Master Chen personally served. When we had all eaten too much, Soke Tanemura and Master Chen began to discuss Martial arts. They continued for hours and left only when Grandmaster Tanemura had to leave to teach at his TaiKai. Since that day, whenever Grandmaster Tanemura came to New York, he invited Master Chen to come, sit at his table and demonstrate at his Taikais. They were united by their love of the Martial arts, their sense of personal honor and the goodness in their hearts.


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Copyright © Gary Giamboi