Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Tai Chi and Tai Chi Chuan
Tai Chi Quan is also called "philosophical Chuan," meaning that its principles and techniques all contain the idea of Tai Chi in Chinese classical philosophy. To learn Tai Chi Quan calls, first of all, for under-standing this philosophical thought. This helps to know the techniques of Tai Chi Quan.
The idea of Tai Chi is, in fact, a systematic thought of balance.
Tai Chi refers to a primitive state in Chinese philosophy. It is a natural existence. The life of man was a state of Tai Chi in the earliest stage, just like the baby in the body of a mother. Lao Zi, the repre-sentative of Taoism, spoke very highly of this state when he wrote that people formed much tension in their daily lives which led to illnesses. Therefore, people should relax their bodies and minds through exercise to return to the infant state.
Chinese classical philosophy holds that all things are born of Tai Chi. The whole process is stated in detail in the Book of Changes written in the Zhou Dynasty (1100-221 B.C.): "Tai Chi causes the two opposites, the two opposites cause the four seasons, and the four seasons cause the eight natural phenomena (denoting heaven, earth, thunder, wind, water, fire, mountains and lakes)." The eight phenomena cause all things. The two opposites mentioned here are the yin (negative) and yang (positive), which exist in all system. The picture shows the famous "Tai Chi Chart," in which the black represents yin and the white yang. They are supplementary to each other, transform themselves into each other and depend on each other. The harmony and balance between yin and yang constitute the "Tai Chi state." The human body is also composed of yin and yang. When yin and yang are balanced, both the body and mind are in a good state; however, their imbalance leads to illness. Therefore, to improve the physical qualities and prevent illness begins with the adjustment of yin and yang. Offence and defence also form a contradiction of yin and yang; if the relationship between offence and defence is handled well, the key point of combat is grasped. Therefore, to grasp the rules of the changes between yin and yang of the human body is an important way to improve the ability of combat. The ideas described above form the basic train of thought for Tai Chi Quan.
The Tai Chi philosophical thought is embodied in the play of every exercise of the Tai Chi Quan.
Yin and yang are divided in every movement: the relationship of yin and yang is involved in every motion of the Tai Chi Quan, whether in a fixed form or in a process.
There is a clear distinction between the empty and the solid, and between the above and the below in every movement. In the Single Whip exercise, the left hand in front is the open palm and belongs to yang, and the right hand in the rear is the hook and belongs to yin. When the head is up slightly, it is yang, and when the crotch is relaxed and down, it is yin. When the weight is on the left leg, it is solid and belongs to yang; then the right leg is empty and belongs to yin. At the same time, every yin and yang element implies the tendency to transform itself into the opposite. This is why the play of the Tai Chi Quart changes constantly and continuously like the moving clouds and flowing water.
There are curves everywhere: The Tai Chi Chart is round in shape. Between yin and yang are harm-onious coexistence and soft transformation. The curved movements conform best to the natural state of the structure of the human body, making it easy to transform and adjust the yin and yang relationship smoothly.
Motion and stillness exist together. The movements of the Tai Chi Quan are relaxed and slow. They call for stillness in motion to achieve the relaxation of the mind and body. At the same time, while in the fixed form, there must be motion in stillness so that the movements do not discontinue and the mind and energy flow do not stop. Motion and stillness are the two opposites of a contradiction-the yin and yang. The coexistence of motion and stillness is the embodiment of the Tai Chi Quan idea: "There is yin in yang, and yang in yin."
Hardness and softness are combined: if too hard, it is easy to break; if too soft, it is easy to damage. The Tai Chi Quan stresses softness to achieve hardness. In the light and soft movements is an im-posing manner, assisted by the mind at the same time. Where there is the body form, there is the mind. What is tempered is the changeable and flexible "hardness." While executing the movements, softness is implied while hardness is shown in form. So exists the integral whole, whether in ad-vance or retreat, in rise or fall, or in closing or opening. When one part moves, all parts of the body move. This effectively helps to temper the integrity and harmony of the human body and in-crease the harmony between yin and yang.
The Tai Chi thought is a strict system and it is embodied in the Tai Chi Quan in many ways. I have given only a few examples to illustrate the points. The readers have to carefully understand the more pro-found intentions of the Tai Chi Quan through their own practice.
Sunday, June 24, 2007
m, f, n, l, h and sh are pronounced as in English.
◆d like "d" in "bed" (unaspirated)
j like "g" in "genius" (unaspirated)
z like "ds" in "beds"
zh like "j" in "job"
b like "p" in "spin" (unaspirated)
g a soft unaspirated "k" sound
x like "sh" in "sheep" but with the corners of the lips drawn back
r somewhat like "r" in "rain"
◆Particular attention should be paid to the pronunciation of the so-called "aspirated" consonants. It is necessary to breath heavily after the consonant is pronounced.
p like "p" in "pope"
t like "t" in "tap"
k like "k" in "kangaroo"
q harder than "ch" in "cheap"
c like "ts" in "cats"
ch (tongue curled back, aspirated)
◆Distinction between certain initials:b / p d / t g / k j / q z / c zh / ch
In modern Chinese, there are 38 finals besides the above-represented 21 initials.
◆ie like "ye" in "yes"
e like "e" in "her"
er like "er" in "sister" (american pronounciation)
ai like "y" in "by" (light)
ei like "ay" in "bay"
ou like "o" in "go"
an like "an" in "can" (without stressing the "n")
-ng (final) a nasalized soung like the "ng" in "bang" without pronouncing the "g"
uei, uen and iou when preceded by an initial, are written as ui, un and iu respectivly.
Mandarin Chinese has four pitched tones and a "toneless" tone.
Tone Mark Description
1st dā High and level
2nd dá Starts medium in tone, then rises to the top
3rd dǎ Starts low, dips to the bottom, then rises toward the top
4th dà Starts at the top, then falls sharp and strong to the bottom
Neutral da Flat, with no emphasis
A 3rd tone, when immediatlely followed by another 3rd tone, should pe pronounced in the 2nd tone.Nǐ hǎo = Ní hǎo
4 first chinese characters : 你，好，再 et 见. Learn the stroke order.lesson one.rar
Friday, June 22, 2007
Chinese in 10 Minutes a Day
This method is adequate for those who are learning to speak Chinese and want to gain fluency in everyday speaking and grammar use.
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◎Lesson 01 - Phonetics, Hello (mp3 )
◎Lesson 02 - Phonetics, Thank You (mp3 )
◎Lesson 03 - Numerals (mp3 )
◎Lesson 04 - Surname, First Name
◎Lesson 05 - Country, Nationality
◎Lesson 06 - City, Native Place
◎Lesson 07 - Year, Month, Date, Day
◎Lesson 08 - Birthdays, Age
◎Lesson 09 - Time, Daily Schedule
◎Lesson 10 - Public Places
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Filmed on location in the Gobi Desert, Taklamakan Plateau, Urumchi, the Bamboo Forest in Anji, and Cheng De, with the permission of the Chinese government.
Known for making films about familial relationships, director Ang Lee surprised everyone with his martial arts epic CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON. Based on a novel by Wang Du Lu, CROUCHING TIGER starts with the revenge plot common in the wuxia stories that Lee loved as a child, then adds a feminist twist. Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) is a legendary martial artist who has decided to pass on his sword, the Green Destiny, to a friend. Soon afterward, the sword is stolen by a masked female, setting in motion events that test the bonds of family, love, duty, and sisterhood. Chow appears with three generations of female stars: Cheng Pei Pei, a 1960s action heroine; Michelle Yeoh, the beauty queen turned 1980s action goddess; and newcomer Zhang Ziyi, who smolders as the princess who wants more than domestic tranquillity. Famed action choreographer Yuen Woo-Ping (THE MATRIX) stages jaw-dropping zero-G fights across rooftops, rivers, and bamboo trees, while Yo-Yo Ma punctuates the fisticuffs with dramatic cello solos. Described by Lee as "SENSE AND SENSIBILITY with martial arts," CROUCHING TIGER recalls the best wuxia films of the 1960s and pushes the genre in new directions.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
ANJI County in northwestern Zhejiang Province is synonymous with bamboo, containing as it does 60,000 hectares of bamboo groves. It has been designated a pilot county for ecological construction. Within its boundaries are mountains and gullies, lush with forests and vegetation. The air is fresh and the river water is crystal clear.
Anji is only 65 kilometers from Hangzhou. During the 1990s, however, it took more than two hours to travel to Hangzhou by bus. Poor transportation isolated Anji from the outside world, and for many years its economy remained underdeveloped.
From 1997 to 2000, Anji built highways to Hangzhou and Huzhou, and from 2000 to 2002, highways connecting to the National Highway 318 were constructed. The provincial highways within its boundary were also widened, forming a transportation network. Now the 100-km high-class highway traversing the entire boundary has been completed, and it takes less than three hours to reach Shanghai, Nanjing or Suzhou, and less than one hour to get to Hangzhou and Huzhou. Cashing in on the progress, the Anji people have taken the sustainable development road by developing ecology-friendly agriculture, industry and tourism, and building an ecology-friendly city.
A bamboo shoots workshop.
The ecological tour area covers one-tenth of the county's total area.
Anji produces 12 million commercial bamboo poles annually, ranking first nationwide. It also has China's largest bamboo nursery. The Anji Bamboo Garden is acknowledged by scholars within and outside China as containing the widest variety of bamboo to be found. It was formerly a bamboo grove research base that combined scientific research with teaching, and has received many foreign experts and scholars and officials from the International Network for Bamboo and Rattan.
The Anji people are highly aware and appreciative of their beautiful environment. At the Longwang (Dragon King) Mountain Nature Reserve, lies the source of the Huangpu River, and the 800-hectare primeval forest there contains numerous flora and fauna under national protection. The Huadong Pumping Storage Power Station, located in the Tianhuangping Scenic Area, is the largest in Asia and second largest worldwide. It blends harmoniously with the surrounding environment, and is consequently a China industrial tour demonstration project.
In 2001, Anji received 1.4 million tourists, earning it 310 million yuan, which made up 6.1 percent of the county's GDP. A feasibility plan recently commenced at the 20-square-kilometer British designed Huxi Ecological Garden. Qian Kunfang, county magistrate, says, "Though ours is a mountainous county, we nevertheless receive large numbers of visitors, either sightseeing or seeking to invest, every day. Anji's mountains, waters and pure air are now valuable commodities."
A bamboo village.
When developing ecological tourism, the local people naturally gravitate towards ecology-friendly agriculture and industry. By taking advantage of their favorable environment and climate, they are able to develop pollution-free green products, such as bamboo shoots, tea, alpine vegetables, and flowers. Production bases for green products have been opened, and specialized markets for agricultural products and comprehensive wholesale markets built. In order further to supplement ecological tourism, agricultural sightseeing gardens that provide leisure activities have also been constructed.
Pollution-free products currently make up 40 percent of the market, and the per capita income of farmers has increased steadily, from 3,708 yuan in 1998 to 4,556 yuan in 2001. Anji white tea, grown nowhere else in the country, sells for a price higher than the famous Dragon Well tea.
Chain production is a characteristic of Anji's industry. Bamboo, for instance, can be made into food, handicrafts, and building materials, and its remnants can also be utilized. Anji products are now exported to more than 20 countries and regions, and about one-fourth of the county's gross output value of agriculture and industry comes from bamboo-related industries.
Anji's fine ecological environment has attracted large numbers of investors. In 2001 alone, over US $50 million in foreign investment was absorbed. But the local government is strict about protecting its environment, and no projects are permitted that incur the slightest possibility of pollution.
Taking full advantage of its resources and developing an ecology-friendly economy, Anji County has accomplished a "win-win" mode, both in economic development and environmental protection. The people of Anji are striving to make it the "back garden" of big cities.