Available from Plum Publications
Available from Plum Publications
We currently have one student with a malfunctioning ZIC3 gene. This gene normally is found on the X chromosome in q26.3 region. ZIC3 “probably functions as a transcription factor in early stages of left-right body axis formation. Mutations in this gene cause X-linked visceral heterotaxy, which includes congenital heart disease and left-right axis defects in organs”. One of the realities that Tai Chi theory, with its foundations in Traditional Chinese Medicine, bumps up against is that we humans are not symmetric -the heart in most people is considerably left of the centerline. And the four-chambered heart itself, while a marvel of bio-engineering, is not symmetric either.
The student wears biosensors (a smart watch that does not tell time) on his wrist to track blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature. Preliminary indications are that the data might be more accurate if he wore two – one on each wrist. We are not convinced the wrist is the best location. Or that even two would be enough. Maybe ankle and even neck locations are useful. While considering those lofty thoughts there are some more immediate and local problems. He doesn’t like the more commonly available watchbands – metal or plastic. They chafe. So we need lightweight sensors that can be worn comfortably. So far, we also need a device that doesn’t wander around on the wrist because we cannot distinguish between spikes and drops in the data due to movement versus due to a cardiac anomaly.
Jean-Baptiste Joseph Fourier (21 March 1768 – 16 May 1830) was a French mathematician and physicist who, among other things, put forth the proposition that a function, whether continuous or discontinuous, can be expanded in a series of sines of multiples of the variable. So we have to see if Fourier analysis can overcome the ambiguity mentioned above. Fourier had experienced “some attacks of aneurism of the heart” in Egypt and Grenoble. These frequently caused suffocations and falls. More on Fourier and his student Navier later.
The student does things about 25% per cent more slowly than most of his classmates. They do eight repetitions of each of the warn-ups – he does six. We found an excerpt of a video of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei explaining that emphasizing the Four Gos (go soft, go slow, go low and go again) were the hallmarks of a Tai Chi master and that going slower just meant the student was further along.
After the Ba Bao Zhou breakfast brush teeth.
Then our normal daily protocol as if one were in class:
On page 267 of volume 4 of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s series of books on Chen Family style Tai Chi Chuan during a discussion of the weapons known variously as batons or maces it is mentioned that “There is a hole at the end of the handle for a rope to wrap around the wrist”. I have mixed feelings about the wrist straps. Yes, the stick is then unlikely to hit someone else (or the teacher, which might well be me). The stick probably won’t hit the floor which is likely to be good for the stick and the floor. However, the person holding the stick (until a second ago) might hit their own knee. My enthusiasm for drilling holes in the sticks was not high to begin with as I was worried about the stick cracking from drilling as well as the consequences of the drilled end of the stick being used to hit something. My enthusiasm has decreased after an incident. We were using single padded sticks. They come in black. One of the arthrogryposis students has grip problems as one might expect. Well, they almost all have grip problems, but hers are the most severe. So we were using a single padded stick to do some simple circles much like silk reeling. For her we had tied a piece of double-thick yarn around her wrist and the stick. I am informed she has had that sort of thing done with pencils and paintbrushes. For some reason she is fine with forks and spoons (nothing tied). I assumed this difference is due to the grip used. We had done the exercises five times before. In the middle of the movements this day she suddenly screamed and started shaking her arm to try and get rid of the stick. Her aide and I converged very quickly and I caught the stick. No one was hurt, but no is really sure what was going on. We’ve been fine since, despite it being a little unnerving. It might have been a visual hallucination (her parents’ guess) or some sort of pain or tactile sensation in the palm from holding the stick or in the forearm where the yarn was tied (the aide’s theory). We could not tell from the video if she was holding the yarn and the stick (so increased pressure against the palm) but I don’t think so. After some discussion we went with no yarn at all.
Cheb Qing-Zhou, Chen Family stylec, Chen Xiaowang, Chen Xiaoxing, Chen Zhenglei, flail, Han YiLing, Hung Gar, Jack Yan, Lam Yan, Lin Xin, Liuhe, long pole, Ma Hong, saber, spear, tai chi chuan, Wu Dang Dragon Gate
From Plum Publications (www.plumpub.com). Note that there are three sections of the web site – one for DVDs, one for books and one for VCDs
In Master Jack Yan’s translations of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s books volume V has the Chen Family style 13 Movements Long Pole as well as two person drills for long pole versus long pole and long pole versus flail (two section staff)
Kung Fu Direct has the following videos:
butterfly knife, butterfly sabers, Chen style, Chen Zhenglei, Drunken Master, flail, Hung Gar, Jack Yan, Jackie Chan, lau gar, Lau Kar Leung, long pole, Shaw Brothers, spear, sword, tai chi chuan, tassel, waxwood
Chen style Tai Chi Chuan has a set called Long Pole 13 movements which features a tapered waxwood (Ligustrum lucidum, sometimes known as Glossy Privet, Chinese Privet or Broad-leaf Privet) staff about 3 meters long. The same staff is used in a set called Lau Gar in Hung Gar style [teaching DVD by Grandmaster Wing Lam http://www.wle.com/products/LauGarLongStaff.html] To confuse matters a bit, Lau Gar can also be a southeastern Chinese style from Guangxi province near Vietnam. In that case Lau Gar is written differently (but sounds the same) and means Lau Family fist. That Lau Gar is a lot more popular in Britain than here in the US. Even more confusing, there is an unarmed set in Hung Gar called Lau Gar [teaching DVD by Grandmaster Wing Lam at http://www.wle.com/products/VHG02.html]. I have not done it for years and years, but back in the 70s it was made popular by the famous master Lau Kar Leung, director and star of many great martial arts movies for Shaw Brothers in Hong Kong. There is a lot of Lau Kar Leung’s choreography (so the art is revved up a bit for the movies) in Jackie Chan’s Drunken Master films.
Chen style Long Pole 13 is a comparatively short set: as one might expect, only 13 movements. According to written tradition (one example is page 179 of volume V of Jack Yan’s translation of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei’s books), one can add a spear point and a typical (for spears) red horsehair fringe or tassel around the point. As an opponent you are supposed to be distracted by the red color and dismayed that the fringe is red from being soaked in the blood of my enemies. That is, unless it is the student’s own blood from making mistakes.
There are two collections of Chen Family style schemes based on long pole: two persons, where both have long poles AND two persons where one has a long pole and one has a flail (two section staff). Quite by chance, I once saw two very capable Wing Chun students in Florida decades ago perform a set featuring double butterfly sabers versus single long pole. Grandmaster Wing Lam has a teaching DVD of the Hung Gar version of this set [http://www.wle.com/products/VHG33.html]. I have never seen or even heard rumors of long pole versus single sword or versus single sword with shield.
Most aides carry devices like an iPad and some students also have smart phones. The SAITO software has to sort out what a device does and who it belongs to. Class starts with a formal bow and salute, followed by five minutes of sitting meditation and then five minutes of standing meditation. Then several minutes of centuries-old Chen family warm-up exercises, so we had thought we had a comfortable amount of time until the first Tai Chi Chuan set to perform this identification process. Until Professor Peter Wayne and others at Harvard Medical School pointed out it was useful to measure movements during sitting and standing. We’ll see what the upcoming Internet of Things Conference and the Sensors Expo (both in San Jose California in May and June, respectively) showcase in terms of hardware, but we are leaning toward pressure sensors embedded in chair seats and personal foot mats.
The shortest and simplest (and, therefore, the first taught) of the Chen Family style sets is known by the precise but not especially imaginative name of 18 Movements. Once they learn this set, students would perform it twice per class forever. The students can see a canonical video of Grandmaster Chen Zhenglei, who choreographed 18 Movements, either projected on large mirrors or on smart glasses. 16 students times 20 sensors ties several times per second gets to be a lot of measurements to store in a database very quickly. Well over 100,000 sustained database inserts per minute. And we have to extract the raw sensor data from the Internet of Things hub where it is stored.