Quotes Links Bibliography Notes
November 18, 2006
Cloud Hands Homepage
"Tai-chi used to be only for women and children, old people and the
weak. It is a very
interesting practice because it teaches the right kind of breathing (as in zazen),
together with suppleness of the body and concentration of the mind. It has been
called "standing Zen"; but when all is said and done, it is just a dance, a sort of
gymnastic without the true spirit of Zen."
- Taisen Deshimaru, The Zen Way to the Martial Arts, 1982, p. 40
Deshimaru Roshi goes on to praise kendo, swordsmanship, as
the noblest of the
martial arts and closest to the spirit of Zen. Taijiquan does have some of the
spirit of Chan/Zen, and swordsmanship has always been part of Chinese
martial arts, including Taijiquan. With no disrespect to the late Roshi, I favor
Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt's views on Zen and Tai Chi; and both offer a sense of the
'true spirit of Zen." And, "just dancing" is "just" as useful for many as the "just sitting"
that Deshimaru Roshi so wholeheartedly praises as the primary path to profound
awareness, peace, and insight.
"After practicing T'ai Chi with music for a sufficient length of time,
you will forget the
music, the movements and even yourself, although you will proceed as usual. At
this stage you will be in a trace and your five attributes: form, perception, consciousness,
action and knowledge, will be empty. This is complete relaxation of the body and mind.
It is very good for health and the way to immortality.
Of course, if you can reach the highest level while practicing T'ai Chi without music,
so much the better. I cannot do it because I am a human being, an ordinary,
ignorant person with a heart like a monkey and a mind like a horse. I must use
music as a means of concentration, as a stepping stone to the highest level of
- Master T. T. Liang, (1900-2002), 1992, Imagination Becomes Reality, p. 60.
There are short-cuts to happiness, and dancing is one of
- Vicki Baum
I would believe only in a God that knows how to dance.
- Friedrich Nietzsche
"Then there is the question of whether or not to
practice with music. Like everything
else, it should be done in moderation, if at all. Sometimes putting on some soothing,
meditative music can help to create an atmosphere that encourages us to train. The
music quiets us down and fills the space so that it does not feel so empty.
If you know a form well, it can be great fun to put on music with a strong beat, Latin
or reggae music, for example, and just dance the form. I encourage my students to
let the music carry them and to let the movements open up and flow spontaneously.
To begin with it might feel strange, and you may loose your place. If you have been
practicing for a time and the form sits well, then it will fell less like your are doing
something completely different than that you are stretching the boundaries of what
- Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt, T'ai Chi as a Path of Wisdom, 2001, p. 239..
There is a bit of insanity in dancing that does everybody
a great deal of good.
- Edwin Denby
To dance is to be out of yourself. Larger, more
beautiful, more powerful.
- Agnes De Mille
"If you practice Tai Chi Chuan as a dance, which in my opinion is not a
wise thing to do,
and moreover is insulting to all the great Tai Chi Chuan masters in the past who have
bequeathed to us this wonderful martial art, you will get the benefits that a dance will give,
such as elegant movement, loosening joints and gentle blood circulation. But, if you
wish to have the kind of radiant physical, emotional and mental health that characterize
accomplished martial artists, you have to practice Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art."
- Sifu Wong Kiew Kit, Shaolin Kung Fu
"Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order."
- Samuel Beckett
I do not know what the spirit of a philosopher could more
wish to be than a good dancer.
For the dance is his ideal.
- Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche
"Here is a metaphor about truly feeling life as you embark upon an
experience and dance to your own inner rhythms and beat doing it your way, on your terms.
You start to feel better and better about yourself and your choice to take the time to celebrate
the gift of the physical life. You will begin to feel the magic of total surrender as your body
becomes a temple and you cease to be spiritually homeless. No longer separate from your
body, you once again become one with the rhythms of nature and somehow feel in sync with
them, the way the physical is supposed be as you coordinate body with mind and spirit.
With this experience, you encounter for the first time, perhaps, the beauty of being alive
and the truth about full-spectrum fitness for the ultimate game of life as you "dance with the
- Jerry Lynch and Chungliang Al Huang, "Working Out, Working Within," p. 259.
"Never trust spiritual leader who cannot dance."
- Mr. Miyagi, The Next Karate Kid, 1994
"T'ai-Chi Ch'uan exists for itself, in itself, and by
itself through the very complex nature
of its own physical, mental, emotional world. Music is extraneous to the essence of
T'ai-Chi Ch'uan. It is a distraction, a crutch, to woo and reduce the student into
thinking that calmness is being attained. It is a deception to make T'ai-Chi Ch'uan
palatable by romanticizing the exercise.
Actually, music prevents the doer from concentrating on the harmonious relationship
of form and self, of being "aware" and developing insight and conscious tranquility.
Instead of "listening" to oneself, with music one leans on the outside world, which
undermines the essential spirit of T'ai-Chi Ch'uan. Away with the notion that sound
must bombard the ears."
- Sophia Delza, The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Experience, 1996, p. 233.
"Everything in the universe has rhythm. Everything dances."
- Maya Angelou
Movement never lies. It is a barometer telling the state
of the soul's weather.
- Martha Graham
Dance is a song of the body. Either of joy or pain.
- Martha Graham
The dance is a poem of which each movement is a word.
- Mata Hari
We ought to dance with rapture that we might be alive...
and part of the living, incarnate cosmos.
- D.H. Lawrence
"Even if your main objective of practicing Taijiquan is not for combat but for health, you still
Dance till the stars come down from the rafters
Dance, Dance, Dance till you drop.
- W.H. Auden
It takes an athlete to dance, but an artist to be a dancer.
- Shanna LaFleur
"Remember that dance has a dimension beyond the physical. The body, as imperfect
as it always is,
is only part of the picture. Your energy, the quality of your movement, your feeling about the world,
your dance spirit - that is what we see under the lights"
- Dance Magazine, March 2005
Dancing is the loftiest, the most moving, the most
beautiful of the arts, because it is not mere
translation or abstraction from life; it is life itself.
- Havelock Ellis
Dance is the hidden language of the soul.
- Martha Graham
Dancing is just discovery, discovery, discovery.
- Martha Graham
"Tai chi chuan embraces more than one discipline. In North America, the main styles taught
Dancers are the athletes of God.
- Albert Einstein
Dancers are instruments, like a piano the choreographer
- George Balanchine
"To watch us dance is to hear our hearts speak."
- Hopi Indian Saying
Kids: they dance before they learn there is anything that
- William Stafford
Dance is the only art of which we ourselves are the stuff
of which it is made.
- Ted Shawn, Time, 25 July 1955
Music begins to atrophy when it departs too far from the
- Ezra Pound
I see dance being used as communication between body and
soul, to express
what it too deep to find for words.
- Ruth St. Denis
Talk about dance? Dance is not something to talk about.
Dance is to dance.
- Peter Saint James
Dance, even if you have nowhere to do it but your living
- Kurt Vonnegut
Poetry is to prose as dancing is to walking.
- John Wain
You must understand the whole of life, not just one little part of it. That is why you must read, that is why you must look at the skies, that is why you must sing, and dance, and write poems, and suffer, and understand, for all that is life.
Nobody cares if you can't dance well. Just get up and dance. Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion.
- Martha Graham
There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.
- Michel de Montaigne
For what is it to die, But to stand in the sun and melt into the wind? And when the Earth has claimed our limbs, Then we shall truly dance.
- Kahlil Gibran
Live a balanced life - Learn some and think some, and draw
and paint and sing and
dance and play and work every day some.
- Robert Fulghum
There was a star danced, and under that was I born.
- William Shakespeare
When you take dancing lessons, you learn steps and you
learn steps and you learn steps.
It can go on for a long time. And then one day, you just learn to dance, and it is so different.
- Bill Austin
I am lost, and I rejoice in the openness I cannot decide where to go, so for now, I will dance where I am and be. There is no goal, no destination, just wilderness and life and being. I sing and dance and live in the wilderness, and I am home.
If I can not dance, I want no part in your revolution.
- Emma Goldman
Human beings, vegetables, or comic dust, we all dance to a
mysterious tune intoned in the
distance by an invisible player
- Albert Einstein
Let your life lightly dance on the edges of Time like dew
on the tip of a leaf.
- Rabindranath Tagore
Draw a crazy picture Write a nutty poem Sing a mumble-gumble song Whistle through your comb Do a loony-goony dance 'Cross the kitchen floor Put something silly in the world That ain't been there before.
- Shel Silverstien
The truest expression of a people is in its dances and its music. Bodies never lie.
- Agnes De Mille
I do not try to dance better than anyone else. I only try to dance better than myself. - Mikhail Baryshnikov
We're fools whether we dance or not, so we might as well dance. - Japanese Proverb
The main thing is dancing, and before it withers away from my
I will keep dancing till the last moment, the last drop.
- Rudolph Nureyev
Dancing is my gift and my life… God gave me this
gift to bring delight
I am haunted by the need to dance. It is the purest expression of every emotion,
earthly and spiritual. It is happiness.
- Anna Pavlova
Dancing is a sweat job.
- Fred Astaire
Dance is the movement of the universe concentrated in an
- Isadora Duncan
Ah, if you could dance all that you've just
said, then I'd understand.
- Nikos Kazantzakis
The energy doesn’t end at the hands. I want
such intensity that it feels like light is
streaming from every finger.
- Bob Fosse
How can we know the dancer from the dance?
- William Butler Yeats
La danse, c`est le mouvement, et le
mouvement, c`est la vie.
(Dance is movement, and movement is life.)
- Ludmilla Chiriaeff
Taijiquan and Dance
Links and Bibliography
Relaxed, Resilient: The Physical Foundations of Mindfulness.
By Will Johnson.
Boston, Shambhala, 2000. 137 pages. ISBN: 1570625182. MGC.
Arthritis Therapy - Exercise: Taijiquan
Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang)
The Beauty of Gesture: The Invisible Keyboard of Piano and T'ai Chi. By Catherine David.
Berkeley, California, North Atlantic Books, 1996. 166 pages. ISBN: 1556432194. MGC
The Body, Bodywork, Somatics, Health and Social Change. By Don Hanlon Johnson.
Breathing and Taijiquan
Chen Style of Taijiquan
Dance and T'ai Chi Ch'uan
Dance Links (DMOZ)
Dance Movement Therapy: A Creative Psychotherapeutic Approach. By Bonnie
Meekums. Sage Publications, 2002. 130 pages. ISBN: 0761957677.
Dance Therapy and Depth Psychology: The Moving Imagination. By Joan Chodorow.
Routledge, 1991. 172 pages. ISBN: 0415041139.
Dancing: Erowid Spirit Vaults
Diabetes Therapy - Exercise: Taijiquan
Embrace Tiger, Return to Mountain: The Essence of Tai Ji. By Chungliang Al Huang.
Berkeley, California, Celestial Arts, 1973, 1987. 188 pages. ISBN: 0890875049.
Health Aspects of Taijiquan
Meditation (Moving or Dance) Links from DMOZ
Middle Eastern Dance Links
Offering from the Conscious Body: The Discipline of Authentic Movement. By Janet Adler.
Inner Traditions Intl. Ltd., 2002. 264 pages. ISBN: 0892819669.
Rhythmic Dance, Philosophy, and Practical Spirituality. By Susan Kramer.
Qigong: Essence of the Healing Dance. By Gary Garripoli. Health Communications,
1999. 300 pages. ISBN: 1558746749.
Relaxation and Taijiquan
Returning to Health: With Dance, Movement and Imagery. By Anna Halprin.
Life Rhythm, 2002. 193 pages. ISBN: 0940795221.
Rumi and the Whirling Dervishes. Being an Account of the Sufi Order Known as the Mevlevis,
and its Founder the Poet and Mystic Mevlana Jalaluddin Rumi. By Shems Friedlander,
Annamarie Schimmel, and Nezih Uzel. Parabola Books, Revised Edition, 2003. 168 pages.
Sacred Women, Sacred Dance: Awakening Spirituality Throught Movement and Ritual.
By Iris J. Stewart. Inner Traditions Intl. Ltd., 2000. 246 pages. ISBN: 0892816058.
The Serpent and the Wave: A Guide to Movement Meditation. By Jalaja Bonheim.
Berkeley, California, Celestial Arts, 1992. Index, 258 pages. ISBN: 0890876576.
Sun Style of Taijiquan
T'ai Chi as a Path of Wisdom. By Linda Myoki Lehrhaupt. Boston, Shambhala, 2001.
256 pages. ISBN: 1570624453. Excellent guide for beginning students! MGC.
The T'ai Chi Ch'uan Experience: Reflections and Perceptions on Body-Mind Hamony.
By Sophia Delza. Foreward by Robert Cummings Neville. State University of New York
Press, 1996. Index, 330 pages. ISBN: 0791428982.
Tai Chi Music. Composed by Jenny Ly. Performers: Megan Hobbs on flute,
Sharon Lee on violin, and others. Audio CD released in August 2001.
ASIN:B00005OSW9. Produced by Dr. Paul Lam.
Tai Chi Music From the Silk Orchestra. Pat Clemence and the Silk Orchestra "plays all
new World Music for tai chi chu'an. Ideal track lengths for class or individual practice, as
well as for international style competition and demonstration. Inspirational music for
slower and more dynamic practice, as well as sabre and sword forms, pushing hands
and breathing meditation. Featured on numerous Wu style Tai Chi videos, this music
is suitable for all styles of tai chi chu'an and the martial arts." Includes one 30 minute
performance for use with the 108 form. Information 73' 18 minutes long. CD.
Taijiquan and Dancing: Links, Bibliography, Quotes, Notes
Thirteen Treasures Walking Qigong
The Teachings of Master T. T. Liang: Imagination Becomes Reality. A Complete Guide to the
150 Posture Solo Form. Compiled by Stuart Alve Olson. 287 pages. Minnesota, Dragon Door
Publications, 1986, 1992. Second Edition. MGC. ISBN: 0938045091. Hundreds of detailed
pictures of the form, including some interesting multi-exposure photographs of Mr. Olson doing
the long form. "Why I Adopted Music to T'ai Chi Ch'uan," pp. 59-60.
Walking and Taijiquan
Wisdom Comes Dancing: Selected Writings of Ruth St. Denis on Dance, Spirituality and
the Body. Ruth St. Denis (1878-1968). Edited by Kamae A. Miller. Peaceworks Intl.,
1997. 220 pages. ISBN: 0915424142.
The Wisdom of the Body Moving: An Introduction to Body-Mind Centering.
By Linda Hartley. North Atlantic Books, 1995. ISBN: 155643174.
Yang Style of Taijiquan
Zen Body-Being: An Enlightened Approach to Physical Skill, Grace,
and Power. By Peter Ralston with Laura Ralston. Berkeley, California,
Frog, Ltd.. 183 pages. ISBN: 1583941592.
Cloud Hands: T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung Website
Cloud Hands Homepage
Michael P. Garofalo's E-mail
Valley Spirit Taijiquan
Red Bluff, Tehama
County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Close to the Cities of Chico, Orland, Corning, Los Molinos, Cottonwood, Anderson, and Redding CA
Valley Spirit Taijiquan Journal
© Michael P. Garofalo, 2006, All Rights Reserved
Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems
Master Chang San-Feng
Cold Mountain Sages
The Spirit of Gardening
Walking and Tai Chi Chuan
Yang Family Tai Chi Chuan
Cloud Hands: Tai Chi Chuan and Chi Kung Website
Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan, T'ai Chi Ch'uan,
Tai Chi, Tai Ji Quan, Taiji, Tai Ji Chuan, Tie Jee Chewan
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