TNT? Right, TNT! The explosives? No, not really. TNT stands for: Taichi and Tongbei, or Tongbei and Taichi. Although I have been training in various Kungfu systems, I kept up with these two and really like the philosophical foundation of them – Yin/Yang and the eight trigrams (Taichi) and Five Elements (Tongbei).
Inscribed in 2020 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, “Taijiquan (Taichi) is a traditional physical practice (Try the free classes.) characterized by relaxed, circular movements that works in concert with breath regulation and the cultivation of a righteous and neutral mind. Originating during the mid-seventeenth century in Wenxian County in the Henan Province of central China, the element is now practised throughout the country by people of all ages and by different ethnic groups. Taijiquan’s basic movements center upon wubu (five steps) and bafa (eight techniques) with a series of routines, exercises and tuishou (hand-pushing skills performed with a counterpart). Influenced by Daoist and Confucian thought and theories of traditional Chinese medicine, the element has developed into several schools (or styles) named after a clan or a master’s personal name. The element is passed down through clan-based transmission or the master-apprentice model. The latter relationship is established through the traditional ceremony of baishi. Taijiquan has also been incorporated into the formal education system. The element builds upon the yin and yang cycle and the cultural understanding of the unity of heaven and humanity. It has been disseminated through legends, proverbs and rituals, among other vehicles of expression. Safeguarding the element would increase its visibility and dialogue about the diverse ways Taijiquan is practised by different communities.”
Tongbei literally “Spreading Power from the Back Boxing”, as tong means “through,” bei means “back” and quan means “fist”) is a school of martial arts popular in northern China, known for engaging opponents from maximum distance. Tongbei’s basic principles and many of the training methods are similar to those of the internal styles. In traditional Tongbei training, several parts are included: basic training (stance, arm techniques, leg techniques and conditioning), combinations, forms training, two-person free sparring, weapons training, and qigong training. The Five Elements Tongbei (Try the free classes.)takes the five elements as its core and back-through as its application. It takes the five elements of traditional Chinese philosophy as its basic theory. The doctrine of Five Elements believes that heaven is a macrocosm while the human being is a microcosm but the principles of the systems remains constant regardless of the size. The five elements of the heaven are wood, fire, earth, metal and water while those of the human being the liver, heart, spleen, lung and kidney. The Chinese boxing philosophy believes that everything in the world finds its roots in the five elements.
I have been teaching Chinese Martial Arts in Canada since 1988.
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