MFCS – Summer Newsletter – August-2021
Registration is Open. You Still have time to Register!
To register online:
If you have any questions or need additional information on registration please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
Below are the class scheduled for in-person and online
|In-Person Language Classes|
|1st Grade (一) Mandarin Traditional|
|2nd Grade( 二) Mandarin Traditional|
|3rd Grade( 三) Mandarin Traditional|
|7th Grade (七) Mandarin Traditional|
|CSL 5/6 Mandarin – Advanced|
|Online Language Classes|
|4th Grade (四) Mandarin Traditional|
|5th Grade (五) Mandarin Traditional|
|Under Review by Language Department|
|8th Grade (八) Traditional|
|In-Person Culture Classes|
|Chinese Brush Painting (國畫) & Chinese Calligraphy (書法)|
|Chinese Chess (象棋)|
|Chinese Tang Poem Recitation|
|Chinese Yo-Yo (扯鈴)|
|Dance – Chinese Folk (中國民俗舞蹈)|
|Dance – Chinese Traditional (中國傳統舞蹈)|
* The Culture Department are working to develop a schedule for in-person Culture classes to accommodate students with online classes that will attend Culture in-person
|Under Review by Culture Department|
|Children’s Culture (幼兒歌舞)|
|In-Person Adult MFCS Clubs|
If you have any questions or need additional information on the return to in-person or online classes please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at email@example.com or the Mandarin Language Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Cantonese Language Department at email@example.com.
Registration for the adult MFCS clubs are still open. If you are interested in joining one of the adult MFCS clubs, please click the link below, complete the registration form and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you have any questions or need additional information on registering for one of the adult MFCS clubs please don’t hesitate to contact me directly at email@example.com
A Brief Introduction to MFCS Taiji
What is Taiji: Taiji (also known as Tai Chi or Taijiquan) was originally invented as a fighting art, i.e., a martial art. In recent years, Taiji is often known, especially in the West, as a form of exercise that is good for health. Taiji is actually both: A form of exercise that is good for health for people of all ages, and a martial art that is good for self-defense.
Because of the mostly slow and gentle movements of Taiji, its practice has low impacts on the body, but at the same time it is an aerobic exercise. This is why Taiji can be practiced by young and old, including children, and it has become a favorite health exercise for senior citizens in China.
Taiji’s Origin: There is some uncertainty on how and when Taiji was invented. Some speculate that it was invented by the Daoist mystic Zhang San-Feng (张三丰) living in the Wudang Mountains (武当山) in Hubei Province (湖北省) in the late Song Dynasty (960-1279 A.D.) or early Yuan Dynasty (1279-1368). This could be speculated folklore, because there is not a great deal of early historical records that directly link Zhang San-Feng to Taiji.
It is more likely that modern Taiji was invented about 350-400 years ago near the end of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) or the beginning of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), associated with Chen Wang-Ting (陈王庭, 1600-1680), a former military officer who lived in the Chen village in Chenjiagou (陈家沟) in Henan Province (河南省).
Different Styles of Taiji: There are many different styles of Taiji. The original style is the Chen Style, which gave rise to the Yang Style, when Yang Lu-Chan (楊露禅, 1799-1872) from Hebei Province (河北省), went to the Chen village to work, and then also learned Taiji from Chen Chang-Xing (陈长兴) for an extended period (about 7 years). Then Yang went back to Beijing in Hebei Province and taught Taiji. Because many of his students were from the imperial court’s aristocratic class, instead of laborers, farmers, and soldiers, he modified the Chen Style Taiji to make it less physically demanding and more suitable for the aristocratic class (but not necessarily decreased its effectiveness as a martial art). During the next hundred or so years, several other leading practitioners of Taiji made their own modifications and extensions of the Chen Style Taiji and gave rise to the Wu Style (吴式), Sun Style (孙式), and Wu/Hao Style (武/郝 式). Today, the Yang Style is the most commonly practiced Taiji style in the world.
Because there are so many different styles as well as different form sets even within the same style, it was difficult to evaluate and give scores during competitions. Therefore, certain standardized sets were agreed upon in China. The Simplified Yang Style 24 Form was established in 1956, which is now the most practiced Taiji form set in the world. The Mixed Style 42 Form was standardized in 1989, which consists of mostly Yang Style forms, but also utilizes some forms from other styles, such as the Chen, Wu, and Sun Styles.
Contents of Class: For the school year 2021-2022, following MFCS’s guidelines, our adult Taiji class will be held in person at Marlboro Middle School, on Saturday, 9:30-10:30 AM. We will be learning and practicing the Simplified Yang Style 24 Form for the Fall Semester, and the Mixed Style 42 Form for the Spring Semester. At the beginning of each class, we will always do some warm up exercises. We will also be learning and practicing some simple Qigong exercises. In the past, we often illustrate the martial applications of some of the forms that we have learned. However, in light of the recent pandemic discouraging touching, we will not do that for 2021-2022.
There is no prerequisite to this class; students who are new to Taiji are welcome to join the class. However, for new students who have never learned the Simplified Yang Style 24 Form or the Mixed Style 42 Form, the student should come to class 20 minutes earlier, at 9:10 AM, to learn the forms. Previous students who have already learned both of these form sets can come to class at 9:30 AM to do the warm-up exercises, and to practice and improve their forms, as well as any Qigong exercises that we will be practicing.
Taiji is not hard to learn, but it is also not easy to learn. However, if any interested student wants to learn it and spends the time to practice it, then it will be a very rewarding experience to learn an exercise that one can practice for a lifetime, besides learning a skill that is good for health, as well as good for self-defense.
Depending on the situation with the pandemic, MFCS may need to change its in-person class to an online class. If so, we will make the corresponding change for our Taiji class at that time.
Don Tow (曹赞文) has been teaching Taiji since 2004. The places that he has taught include the Chinese Community Center in Somerset, the Senior Citizens Center in East Brunswick, Raritan Computer in Somerset, Brookdale Community College in Lincroft, Monmouth Fidelity Chinese School in Marlboro, Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, and most recently at the Jersey Shore Chinese School in Holmdel.
Don is a physicist by training, with a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley. First, he worked as a physicist in academia, and then he worked as a systems engineer in the telecommunications/high tech industry.
For the first nine years after his Ph.D., he worked as a physicist, doing research at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, University of Paris VI and XI in Paris, France, and the University of Texas in Austin. He also taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in physics at the University of Texas in Austin.
In 1980, he changed fields from academia to industry, and worked as a systems engineer in the telecommunications/high tech industry, working at Bell Laboratories, Bellcore, Motorola, Telcordia, and Raritan Computer. He retired in early 2006.
Shortly after his retirement, he published a book in October 2006 titled Mental Aspects of Youth Soccer: A Primer for Players, Parents, and Coaches.
He has been learning and practicing Taiji since 1998, when he was working for Motorola in Beijing and took a year of private lessons. Since he returned to the U.S. in 1999, he has continued until 2018 to take lessons in Taiji, from more than a dozen teachers. He has also taken lessons in other martial arts and Qigong.
He has his own website: www.dontow.com, which contains his articles on Taiji, political/social commentary, and other topics. He has written more than 60 articles on Taiji and over 200 articles in his website.
He is also the President of the “New Jersey Alliance for Learning and Preserving the History of WWII in Asia” (NJ-ALPHA), and the Co-Founder of the “10,000 Cries for Justice.”.
He lives in Middletown, NJ with his wife. They have two grown sons and a granddaughter. He can be reached at 732-687-0644, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Principal, Monmouth Fidelity Chinese School
355 County Rd 520
Marlboro Township, NJ 07746