Valley Spirit
T'ai Chi Ch'uan and Chi Kung


Reflections, Notes, Suggestions, References, Questions and Answers, Links, Quotations, Blog


Michael P. Garofalo

July 2003

Index to the Valley Spirit Taijiquan Journal

Cloud Hands







July, 2003, Valley Spirit Tai Chi Chuan Journal


July 31, 2003, Thursday

We just returned from a long vacation to Humboldt County on the coast of northern 
California.  Karen and I really relaxed in the cool and foggy climate of 
this beautiful area.  We visited and walked at many fine beaches, rocky shorelines,
lagoons, and dense forests.  We were awed by the redwood groves at Prairie
Creek Redwoods State Park, and the spruce-hemlock forests around Patrick's
Point and Trinidad State Beaches.  We enjoyed sumptuous meals at many fine 
restaurants in Arcata and Eureka.  We were delighted to meet some new friends:
Robert and Mazie O'Hearn.  Finally, we followed the mighty Klamath River from 
its oceanside terminus and up route 96 from Willow Creek to Yreka.  

I attended a two day workshop led by Elaine Waters.  We did form work, 
covered principles, and learned a great deal about push hands.  She was 
preparing five of her top students for an upcoming push hands competition
in Dallas, Texas.  I worked with four students and Sifu.  The workshop was 
held in beautiful Trinidad.  

The push hands work was rigorous, challenging, and very instructive for me.  
One gentleman, Bruce, a geologist, was a man closer to my size (I'm 6'6',
255 pounds), so we did a lot of push hands work together.  Nobody was hurt 
or injured, people were respectful and helpful towards each other, we had a 
lot of fun, and everyone shared techniques and ideas.   

Elaine Waters is very energetic, enthusiastic, full of ideas, and very talented and
experienced.  She is an aggressive, hands-on, and lively teacher.  




July 21, 2003, Monday


Does a qigong form itself have the power to heal our body and improve our health?
Or, is it the belief of the person doing the form that the form will benefit their health?
Is the healing power in the person who believes, who prays, who wishes for a cure?
Or, is it the practice of the form, the activity, that helps us improve our health?
Or, is it the combination of the qigong form along with other conventional 
medical treatments that improves our health. Are the qigong benefits just some 
type of placebo effect?  Are the improvements in health a result of the combination 
of postiive attitude, belief in the power of the qigong form, the additional exercise 
itself, and the power of the particular qigong form itself.  

Sometimes feeling good about doing something to improve one's health is sufficient
reason to continue because it gives the person a sense of empowerment, a sense
of self-control, a sense of active participation in the process.  Later, they may change
from doing one method (Ba Duan Jin) to another method (Tai Chi Chuan), but they
are still actively involved with self treatment and personal transformation.  The patient
who is actively involved in their treatment, improving their knowledge and asking 
questions, and exercising on a daily basis is more likely to achieve positive results
that the patient who is passive, uninformed, and a couch potato.  




July 20, 2003, Sunday

Updated the webpage on the Short Staff Weapon.  Added links,
pictures, and books.  


July 19, 2003, Saturday


"Correct central equilibrium (Zhong Ding) is the basis for everything else in Taijiquan. 
One must focus with their complete intention (Yi) to differentiate that which is external and 
separate from ones centre. The centre is the key; it must remain straight and hidden, 
concentrated, deep inside the body constantly changing, spiraling into the earth for the 
most part. One must gather all the Qi (energy) to your centre.  It is this structure that is 
the basis for internal power (Nei Jing) or Zhong Ding Jing, and essential for good 
health and longevity."
-  Article about Wu Style Grandmaster Wang Hao Da published in 
Qi Magazine #48 by J. Reynolds Nelson






July 18, 2003, Friday

During the hottest part (105 F) of the day, siesta time, I sat indoors, read, and
wrote about the Eight Section Brocade (edited, added new links and references,
added a few graphics, wrote the section on "The Wise Owl Looks Back.")  A
very productive afternoon.  







July 17, 2003, Thursday

I am doing lots of research into the Tai Chi symbol.  This Yin-Yang emblem or 
graphic is widely discussed in Tai Chi Chuan classes.  Many Tai Chi schools 
incorporate this graphic into their school logo.  Artwork featuring this graphic is 
widely seen in America.     

I was interested in the concepts and interpretations of this symbol, its significance
in the context of Tai Chi Chuan, exercises using the symbol, its origin, and 
its place in Taoist philosophy and practice.  





July 16, 2003, Wednesday

Tristan send me additional links to websites with information about the 
Eight Section Brocade.   Many Thanks!  

I edited and rewrote some of my notes about the Eight Section Brocade 
based upon print and on-line 

We had our last Tai Chi class at the Maywood School tonight.  There were
six people at the last class.  There was some interest and discussion about
continuing the class next week, on Wednesdays from 6:30 - 8 pm.  I don't know
if enough students will attend.  Joyce Harrison needs an assistant instructor
if beginners are always going to attend.  






July 15, 2003, Tuesday

We took our regular trip to the California State University at Chico Library today.
I picked up a number of interesting books about Taoism.  Fascinating reading.
Added them to the bibliography

Expanded my notes on the Tai Chi symbol.  





July 14, 2003, Monday

I worked on writing up movements in the Eight Section Brocade Qigong and
Thirteen Treasures Walking Qigong.  These webpages are seved to many
readers each day.  








July 13, 2003, Sunday

Worked 10 hours at home.  We are screening in the back porch, adding
some electrical features to the porch area, and doing painting.  

Daytime temperatures are now above 98F.  At night, the temperatures are below 
70F.   One must be careful about exercising and doing hard physical labor in 
the direct sunshine and high heat of the day.  Rest in the shade more, and drink
plenty of water!! 

Reading some about the Tai Chi symbol, Tai Chi Tu, yin/yang emblem.  

Garden Snake   Colorado Herpetological Society Logo

Mathematics and Informatics in Old Symbols: Tai Chi Symbol and Hexagrams
from the I Ching.  By Klaus-D. Graf.   

Tai Chi Symbol  Instructions for making an origami Tai Chi symbol .  20K, PDF.  

The Tai Ji Symbol and the Oviphile Swastika.   By Ming Zhen Shakya.  
Useful instructions for drawing the Tai Chi symbol.   34K.  

Tai Chi Tu (Supreme Ulitmate Symbol)  

Yin and Yang

Yinfishy    By Carl Attenisese Jr.  Image


"The term "Tai Chi" first appeared in the "Book of Change" better known as "I Ching", in which it is said "Out of Tai Chi is born two elements; out of two elements are born the four phenomenas; out of the four phenomenas are form the eight trigrams." The term Tai Chi here refers to the originator of everything. Later in the Northern Song Dynasty, a new-confucian philosopher by the name of Chow Ton Yee expanded this notion with the contribution from taoism. He used the Tai Chi symbol to demonstrated the common elements in everything. What he did was make a circle to represent Wu Chi stage. Inside this Wu Chi circle, he drew a wave line in the middle separating two equal black and white components to represent yin and yang. The black component represented yin and the white component represented yang. Inside the white component was a black dot to show that yin existed in yang and inside the black component was a white dot to show that yang existed in yin. With this he established a duality principle to explain that yin and yang are the most basic of all things. When these two components intercourse, everything mutlipied. Later, when this duality principle became popular, people used the term "Tai Chi" as Tai Chi symbol to represent the universe. Now, we can see that the term "Tai Chi" in the Book of Change does not have the same meaning as the term "Tai Chi" in the "Tai Chi"symbol. The first one refers to the originator of all things and the second one refers to the duality principle."
Gin Soon Tai Chi Chuan Federation

The Tai Chi emblem/symbol has been attributed to Fu-hsi, the first recorded Chinese
ruler (2852-2738 B.C.).  






July 12, 2003, Saturday

Attended Taijiquan class in Chico today led by Marilyn Bonney.  This is the 
level of instruction that I need to improve!  She provides good constructive
criticism and clear suggestions for individual improvement, insightful observations, 
positive encouragement, and challenges the group to improve their Tai Chi.  

This class always has a number of fine advanced Tai Chi teachers and students
in attendance.  The energy of the group is very good - positive, hardworking,
serious, and friendly.  

Starting today, for the next 30 days, I will begin a careful review of the Third
Section, Parts I and II, of the Yang Family Traditional Long Form.   





July 11, 2003, Friday

Finally, after many many hours of work, the Cloud Hands website is now running
on the ChicoNet web server.  The website was down from 7/1/2003 until today
due to the very poor service of AtlanticNet and Feature Price.  

Time that I could have spent writing and creating webpages was spent on resolving 
web hosting problems.  It is like spending hours sharpening and repairing garden 
tools, rather than working in the garden.  

I had a lot of time invested in numerous websites running at  
In just six months, the domain was getting 45,000 hits a month.  These websites 
could be found in all the search engines.  

I was very dissatisfied with the poor service by AtlanticNet and Feature Price.  
These inept and dishonest web hosts were totally inaccessible - my emails went 
unanswered and the phone lies were always busy.  I will Blast them in my Blog.   

In contrast, ChicoNet, and August Germar in particular, were very helpful.  They 
were just a phone call or e-mail away, and solved all my problems.  





July 9, 2003, Wednesday

Attended the Wednesday night taichichuan class at Maywood School in Corning.
Twelve people were in attendance.  After days of 100F heat, everyone seemed
slower and weaker.  We took more breaks.  

I now have all the workshop materials for the September Tai Chi for Arithritis workshop:
DVD and books.  I will add to the references to the links section.  

My review of the Second Section of the Yang Family form has been useful.  I have the
movements committed to mental and physical memory, and with good style.  




July 3, 2003, Thursday

Working on extra exercises in preparation for the Push Hands workshop in 
Trinidad with Sifu Elaine Waters.  This two day workshop will be held at the
end of July.  Trinidad is a small town right on the Pacific coast, just a few
miles north of Arcata and Eureka, California.  The setting is very beautiful
in a spruce-hemlock forested area overlooking a rugged rocky coastline.

Did some webpage touch up and made additions to my general webpage on




July 2, 2003, Wednesday

I attended our Tai Chi class in Corning tonight.  We started with about 25 students 
three weeks ago and tonight there were seven students.  Exercise classes have a high
dropout rate.  Habits are hard to change.  Plus, Tai Chi does not appeal
to many folks because of its difficulty - most departed when they had to learn
Cloud Hands.  I have enjoyed the class.  

We are learning the Tai Chi for Arithitis form developed by Dr. Paul Lam.  
It is in the Sun style.  

Joyce Harrison mentioned attending the Plum Blossom fan workshop in San 
Francisco with Grandmaster Doc Fai Wong.  She said the form was very martial.  




July 1, 2003, Tuesday


My web host, for, where Cloud Hands lived, was Feature Price, 
in Florida.  They have suddenly gone out of business and disappeared.  Some 
company called Atlantic.Net is now posting a message on egreenway 
saying that I will need to sign up and pay them to get my website back up,
even though I am still paid up for another 6 months.  What a racket!!  Based
on my experiences, Atlantic.Net and Feature Price are a ripoff team, can't do
the work you pay them to do, can't run your webpages or mail server, make 
excuses, and don't answer your e-mail or phone calls.  Beware!!!  

I signed up with Chico.Net in Chico, California, today for them to be my
new web host for my websites.  Chico.Net has been in business 
for six years and runs on Red Hat Linux.  But, we shall see how they perform!  
I have also used Radiant Communications in Vancouver, B.C. since 1999, - they 
run on UNIX, and are an excellent web host - fast, reliable, and very helpful.  












Cloud Hands - Yun Shou

Cloud Hands - Yun shou




Michael P. Garofalo's E-mail

Red Bluff, Tehama County, North Sacramento Valley, Northern California, U.S.A.
Close to the Cities of Chico, Orland, Corning, Los Molinos, Anderson, and Redding CA

Valley Spirit Taijiquan Journal


Michael P. Garofalo, 2003, All Rights Reserved





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