I’ve been studying Tai Chi for a little more than eight years. For most of that time I have maintained an online Tai Chi Notebook, not because I am any kind of authority–I’m not!–but because it helps me. I’m a writer–I learn best by writing. Also, it helps to have video links and lists of names within easy reach.
I am currently studying with Master Jesse Tsao, with whom I have traveled to China twice, with Grandmaster Aiping Cheng, who has recently moved to Austin, Texas, much to my delight, and with a wonderful Taiwanese master named Frank Lee, who has been chiseling away at my basic form for more than a year now.
I first learned Tai Chi at Master Gohring’s Tai Chi and Kung Fu, but I have also practiced for some years with a woman named Long Feng, who studied with a master in her native Sichuan, and with other Chinese friends in my neighborhood. Among them in particular, Hu Pei Yi, a national-level instructor and coach from Jiangying, has been extremely generous with her excellent teaching. Everything I know about sword I have learned from her.
My Chinese friends mostly don’t speak English. Most are about my age, with grown children who have moved to this country. I’ve picked up a little conversational Chinese, but I’ve learned a fair amount of what I call Taijiese–Chinese names and directions for Tai Chi movements and forms. A number of pages in this notebook are devoted to the study of these terms.
My practice encompasses both traditional and modern Tai Chi. I have studied both Yang and Chen styles, but only know as much Wu and Sun as I have encountered in the combined forms. I am hoping to learn the traditional Sun-style long form next.
I’m not an instructor. The material in this notebook is not reviewed or approved by anyone. These are my personal notes, which anyone is welcome to use, but which exist mainly for my own convenience. I am happy to hear about any mistakes or need for corrections!
Like I said–I’m a writer. In Lay Death at her Door, an old murder comes unsolved when the man convicted of it is exonerated. That book got a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly:
The bill for lies told decades earlier comes due for Kate Cranbrook, the complex narrator of Buhmann’s superior debut. In 1986, while Kate was a college student at Sweet Briar in western Virginia, she was raped and witnessed a murder. Kate’s eyewitness testimony convicts a man who’s released more than 20 years later based on DNA evidence. The development isn’t a complete surprise to Kate, who has lived with the knowledge that she perjured herself. Her life since the trial has been a disappointment, and her social life is limited by her possessive and creepy father, Pop, who keeps her on a tight leash. That constraint becomes even more difficult to bear when Kate, who works as a landscaper, falls for a gardener, Tony, and hopes she has found the love of her life. Things don’t go smoothly, and more blood is shed along the way to a jaw-dropping, but logical, climax that will make veteran mystery readers eager for more of Buhmann’s work. (starred review, Publisher’s weekly)
In Red Sky in the Morning, I tell the story of my friend Lily’s journey from war-torn Saigon, across the South China Sea, and ultimately to America. That book was illustrated by a well-known watercolorist, JU Salvant.