Matthew began his studies in Qigong and Taijiquan in Yangshuo, China in 2000. He continued his training with multiple teachers in the Yang style of Taijiquan, including William CC Chen in New York City and Dr. Tao Ping Xiang in Seattle, WA. In 2007 Matthew began his training with Chen style Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan lineage holder and Taoist adept, Harrison Moretz, at the Taoist Studies Institute in Seattle, WA. Matthew was accepted as a disciple and entered the Chen style and Hunyuan Taijiquan lineages in 2014. Matthew has taught Qigong and Taijiquan since 2004 to both children and adults, from university settings to Senior centers. He enjoys sharing this profound art and does so with patience and humor. Matthew continues advanced training in Qigong and Taijiquan at the Taoist Studies Institute in Seattle, WA.
Qigong class: Classes are the third Saturday of the month at 10:30am. Location: Healing Path Acupuncture, 207 Harrison Street, Frenchtown, NJ.
Taijiquan class: Call for details.
Chen-style Xinyi Hunyuan Taijiquan (abbreviated as Hunyuan Taiji) is a Taiji (Tai Chi) style that combines the martial skills and frame of the Chen-style system with elements of Xinyi Quan as well as Taoist internal cultivation methods. The system includes meditation practices, qigong sets, empty hand forms, weapons, two-person drills (push-hands), and free fighting.
Why practice Taiji?
People practice Taiji for many reasons. Examples include practicing for health, out of curiosity, to participate with friends, for spiritual cultivation, and for martial ability. No matter the reason people begin their study, once the benefits begin to be realized an inner sense of wellbeing arises. Those who continue to practice do so because it enhances and enriches their life.
What are the benefits of Taiji?
There are many benefits of proper practice of Taiji. Common benefits include improved overall health, relaxation, increased vitality, inner strength, poise, and balance. Taiji is also very enjoyable to practice and beautiful to behold.
According to Hunyuan Taiji founder Grandmaster Feng Zhiqiang: “While designed for both health and self-defense, Hunyuan Taiji focuses on health; while alternating between movement and stillness, it emphasizes stillness; and while simultaneously training the internal and the external, it gives priority to the internal. The internal and external should be coordinated, the upper and lower body should follow each other, and the whole body should move in harmony.”
Qigong is a system of self healing that has been used in China for over 2,000 years to maintain health, achieve longevity and treat disease. It consists of gentle exercises that combine breath, slow movement, self massage and meditation to harmonize body mind and spirit.
Hunyuan Taiji system
The Hunyuan Taiji system includes four different qigong sets – groups of movements that are practiced in repetition for specific purposes. These four are Hunyuan Gong, Chansi Gong, Fangsong Gong, and Stick & Ruler Gong. Each of these sets takes an average of an hour to complete. The foundation of all of these is meditation, or “wuji” sitting and standing practice. These qigong methods are more important to practice than Taiji form or push-hands applications. Grandmaster Feng often says, “you can skip practicing quan (form or boxing) for a day, but not gong (internal qi skill).”
Hunyuan Gong The most important of the Gong methods, Hunyuan Gong is designed to accumulate qi from the environment and use it to augment our prenatal qi (our genetic inheritance). This opens the qi-meridians of the body, forms the middle dantian (where qi is stored in the body) and thus promotes health, prolongs life, deepens stillness, and increases strength and vitality.
Chansi Gong or “silk-reeling” Gong is a set of exercises that train the spiraling movements unique to the Chen-style Taiji system. This set also includes joint opening exercises. When the dantian qi is full and the joints are open, the spiraling movements of silk-reeling convey qi throughout the channels to connect all of the eighteen joints of the body together as one. This generates the tremendous power and fluidity of movement that is the hallmark of Chen style.
Fangsong Gong Literally, relaxing skill, Fangsong Gong is an apparently simple set of 18 movements that is actually extraordinarily profound. In Hunyuan Taiji we cultivate a deep level of relaxation in our bodies and minds that is not slack, but buoyant, vibrant, and lively. This set trains this deep relaxation that is one of the hallmarks, and greatest strengths, of Hunyuan Taiji.
Stick & Ruler Gong
Stick & Ruler Gong and Ruler Gong is actually two sets of qigong exercises practiced with different devices. The stick is used to train the twisting movements employed in qinna (joint-locking) using internal skill – another hallmark of Chen-style Taiji. The ruler is used to intensify qi harvesting and circulation (dantian training) and to deepen stillness practice. These exercises are considered advanced.
Wuji Meditation The goal of meditation is the cultivation of stillness – merging with what is without polarity (literally, “wuji”). From this stillness, the one hunyuan qi emerges and becomes taiji (supreme polarity). Using our mind-intent, we then direct the qi through the movements of qigong or taiji form practice. All practices in Hunyuan Taiji emerge from and return to stillness. This is the secret of Taoist cultivation and the key to the deepest mysteries of Taiji.