TAO MOTION TAI CHI CHUAN
(article in Quest magazine, New Zealand Nov 2000)
A Taoist way to stay healthy for everybody
Interview with Gabrielle Euteneuer, International Teacher in Tai Chi Chuan, Tao and Feng Shui
Question: What is Tai Chi Chuan?
Gabrielle: Tai Chi Chuan is an ancient Taoist meditative art of motion. In Tai Chi Chuan the whole body is flowing and relaxed while moving. The first step is to learn and remember the outer movements. When one practices all the movements in sequence, this is called the Tai Chi Chuan form. The other part is the internal “work”. The way I teach Tai Chi Chuan the student will also learn to use energy in each posture. So internal Taoist practise will accompany the Tai Chi Chuan workshop as well.
Question: What is the benefit of practising Tai Chi Chuan?
Gabrielle: Through the natural, unrestricted postures, the meridians (energy channels) open more. This allows your “Qi” (= life force) to circulate freely and then multiply. This is the basis of vitality and health. Tai Chi Chuan can clear negative emotions and strengthens the nervous system. The Inner organs are massaged and the glands will be harmonised. The smooth and slow movements will benefit the connective tissue, tendons, muscles and circulation of Qi. Tai Chi Chuan can benefit chronic illnesses.
Question: I understand, that you will need years of practise to come to these results?
Gabrielle: Not at all. In my experience of teaching Tai Chi Chuan over the past 12 years, the beginner already feels the benefit in the first lesson. The first most important benefit of Tai Chi Chuan practise is the improvement it creates in posture. Poor posture results from a combination of negative emotional states and lack of self-awareness. Once the negative emotions become chronically established, they are imprinted in the physical frame. These dysfunctional malformations then prevent the person from experiencing a harmonious and balanced emotional state. Structural alignment is a natural function of the human body, but we tend to lose it after childhood. Through Tai Chi Chuan practise the proper structural alignment becomes part of our bodily knowledge once again. Improvement in physical posture is immediately reflected in improved mental and emotional structure.
Question: That sounds great! Who can practise Tai Chi Chuan?
Gabrielle: Everybody can, no matter what age you are going to start. It does not require strenuous effort to accomplish. It can also be practiced into quite an advanced age. By practising Tai Chi Chuan for 10 minutes every day. You will experience the benefits already.
Question: Can you briefly tell us the history of Tai Chi Chuan?
Gabrielle: Tai Chi Chuan is one aspect of the Dao. Daoism has its roots from more than 5000 years ago from remote places of China. Shortly described, it is a living philosophy. There are different theories of when Tai Chi Chuan actually appeared. One is that Chen Wang-Ting a General in the Ming Dynasty army of the 17th century created Tai Chi. When he retired he used his military training to teach his clan members. The movement were based on the Red Fist style of the nearby Shaolin Temple combined with movements from a famous boxing manual of General Chi Ji-Guang. Years later, a wandering Daoist taught the Chen clan to adapt principles of the Dao, such as using the Qi-flow and other internal energy practises. So Tai Chi Chuan was created. Until the beginning of the 20th century, Tai Chi Chuan was considered a secret practice. Now Tai Chi Chuan is very popular all over the world, especially because of the benefit of health and relaxation.
Question: When did you start Tai Chi?
Gabrielle: About 20 years ago, I experienced my first Tai Chi Chuan movement. I still remember how I felt in my first Tai Chi Chuan lesson. It was such a sensation of feeling, consciousness and inner balance. I knew this was what I was looking for! Until then I practised Hatha Yoga intensely and was certified in England as a Hatha Yoga teacher. Still something was missing for me in the Indian energy practise. So, when I was eager of knowledge to learn, Tai Chi Chuan found me.
Here a Daoist “secret”: When you want to invite new challenges and situations in your life, than create a little spark for this within yourself. It will attract the situations you focus on.
Question: What means Tai Chi Chuan for you now?
Gabrielle: Tai Chi Chuan means the same to me now, as in the very first moment. Still after 20 years it is exciting to practise, it is fun and it feels great. Even when I might know more now, I still feel like I am just starting with that same enthusiasm.
Question: What means Tao Motion Tai Chi? Is this something else?
Gabrielle: Tao Motion Tai Chi Chuan includes all the tradition of Tai Chi Chuan. Tao Motion continues the ancient way and includes new methods, views of life and techniques for 21st century. My teachers are Mantak Chia, Thailand, and Juan Li, New Mexico. I work with both closely. Together they have inspired me to develop the techniques and to create new methods. Tao Motion Tai Chi Chuan has its focus on healing and harmonising the mind, body and spirit.
Question: There will be a one-day workshop here in Hastings at the 25th of November. What will the participants learn?
Gabrielle: They will learn the easy to learn sequence of Tai Chi Chuan “The inner harmony”. It is easy to remember and still will have all the important aspects of Tai Chi Chuan in it. We also will practise aspects of the “Inner Structure of Tai Chi Chuan”. This will make Tai Chi Chuan even more exiting! I also will include the daoist meditation “Bone Marrow Cleansing”, which is very powerful and will bring “Qi” into the bones. This supports the healing process tremendously.
Question: And what is about the Tai Chi introductory on Friday the 23rd of November?
Gabrielle: It is a mini workshop. So all the participants will be able to feel the Tai Chi Movements and their Qi. Also I will performance a sequence of the “TAI CHI SWORD”. For sure it will be an inspiring evening!
Thank you for the Interview, Gabrielle.