Site Overview

The www.dontow.com is the website of Don M. Tow. It contains articles in three topical categories (or pages): Political/Social Commentary, Taiji, and Other Topics.  Currently, a new release of this website is published usually every three months.  The website also has a fourth category “Soccer” about the soccer book that I published in 2006.

Any article in a particular category can be accessed via the corresponding category on the menu bar at the top of the page.  Any article in a particular release can be accessed via the corresponding release on the right sidebar.

This website began in October 2006, and the website has been redesigned twice, once in October 2008, and the second time in November 2009.

We welcome comments from readers.  Readers can directly submit their comments at the end of any article.

Stages of Learning Taijiquan As a Martial Art

Taiji is both a martial art and a good health exercise for people of all ages.  As a matter of fact, when it was first invented several hundred years ago, it was even more used as a martial art, e.g., to protect villages from bandits or as body guards for transporting people and goods.  That is why Taiji is also known as Taijiquan, the fist of Taiji.

Just like learning everything else, be it learning to read, write, mathematics, riding a bicycle, cooking, drawing, playing a musical instrument, or playing soccer, there are several stages in the learning process, i.e., there are several skill sets one needs to learn.  When one has learned a particular skill set, then one can proceed to learn a more advanced skill set, and it takes repeated practice to learn and retain a skill set.  For example, in mathematics, one first learns the basic skill set of arithmetic, composing of skills of adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing.  Then one learns the skill set of algebra, composing of skills of using variables, equations, and solving the equations.  Then one learns the skill set of geometry, composing of skills of learning the relations between lines, shapes or figures, space and their various properties such as area and volume.  Then one learns the skill set of calculus, composing of skills of learning to divide things into smaller and smaller parts (differential calculus) or adding smaller parts into larger parts (integral calculus).  The learning continues to other skill sets, perhaps leading even to inventing new skill sets.  Furthermore, the learning is not necessarily linear, i.e., one doesn’t have to finish learning one skill set before proceeding to learning another skill set.

This article describes the stages of learning Taijiquan as a martial art in terms of its basic skill sets.

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New Nanking Massacre Petition for 80th Anniversary – December 2017

Over a period of about six weeks starting on December 13, 1937, a huge number (around 300,000) of Chinese, mostly civilians including women and children, were massacred by the Japanese army in Nanking (now called Nanjing). Countless women and girls were also raped.

These gruesome events were recorded by eye witnesses from around the world, including Americans, Germans, British, Japanese, Chinese, as well as many other nationalities, and were documented in diaries, home movies, and oral interviews. Here are a few such examples:

Yet the Japanese government still denies such atrocities 80 years after their occurrence. For the sake of justice, history not repeating itself, and world peace, this situation must change.

Therefore, there is a new Nanking Massacre Petition being posted in the GoPetition website.  This petition contains two requests:

  1. The Japanese government must publicly admit and apologize for committing the Nanking Massacre and other related atrocities in China and Asia during the period 1931-1945.
  2. For the sake of world peace the U.S. government must use its influence to press Japan to recognize this part of history, instead of partnering with Japan to surround, isolate, and weaken China.

The reason for Request #1 is that the Japanese government must not continue to deny the existence of the Nanking Massacre, and the Japanese government and the rest of the world must learn from this part of history, so that such atrocity will not be repeated in the future in any place in the world.  Only with proper recognition of this part of history can genuine friendship be established between the Japanese people and the Chinese people, and true peace be established between Japan and China.

The reason for Request #2 is if one studies the history of U.S. policy toward China and Japan in the last 70 years since the late 1940s, one will see that the U.S. has adopted a series of policy decisions that not only have not applied any pressure on Japan to acknowledge and apologize for Japan’s WWII atrocities, but have actually tried to groom Japan to be the U.S.’s front-line pawn to surround, isolate, and weaken China.

U.S. adopted this policy starting in the late 1940s when she sensed that the Chinese Communists would most likely win the Chinese civil war. We list here only a few examples of such policy decisions in the late 1940s and early 1950s:

  • The U.S. did not prosecute any of the leaders, scientists, or medical doctors who headed Unit 731, Japan’s huge biological and chemical warfare laboratory and manufacturing center in Harbin, China in exchange for getting these people’s knowledge and expertise in biological and chemical warfare [1].
  • The U.S. did not prosecute Emperor Hirohito, even though he was a hands-on emperor who knew and approved of all key decisions by the Japanese military [2,3],
  • Unlike the Cairo Declaration of 1943, the Potsdam Declaration of 1945, and the Japanese Surrender Treaty of September 2, 1945, which all declared that Japan should surrender back to China all those territories, such as Taiwan, that Japan seized from China, the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty only stated that Japan should relinquish former Chinese territories such as Taiwan, but did not explicitly say that they should be returned to China.  The treaty was orchestrated by the U.S. and over 50 countries were invited to the treaty conference, except that China (either the People’s Republic of China or the Republic of China), the country that suffered the most from the war with Japan, was not invited to the treaty conference.  This intentional twisting of history leads to remarks by American leaders, such as Secretary of State John Foster Dulles, co-author of the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty, who said in 1955 “the treaty ceded Taiwan to no one; that Japan merely renounced sovereignty over Taiwan, and that America cannot, therefore, admit that the disposition of Taiwan is merely an internal problem of China.”  Therefore, as early as 1951, it was already fairly clear about the imperialistic intention of the U.S. toward China and their planting the seed to ally with Japan to isolate and weaken China.
  • On December 25, 1953, the U.S. Civil Administration of the Ryukyu Islands (also known as Okinawa Prefecture) issued, with no legal grounds whatsoever, Civil Administration Proclamation No. 27 and unilaterally included the Diaoyu Islands as part of the Ryukyu Islands whose administrative rights would later be handed over to Japan in 1972, thus planting the seed of controversy.
  • Although on many occasions the U.S. would state that it does not take a position regarding the territorial sovereignty of the Diaoyu Islands, the U.S. would also claim that these islands are covered under the Japan-U.S. Mutual Defense Treaty.  In other words, U.S. showed itself willing to go to war with China with no moral or legal justification.

In the last couple of years there has been so much complaints by American political leaders and the American press over China’s actions in the South China Sea as violating the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).  However, studying the facts about this issue will lead to the conclusion that what China has done is completely consistent with UNCLOS, and yes, there has been an abuse of power, but the country doing the abuse is the U.S., not China. [4]

Finally, the U.S. has accused China of military aggression and creating instabilities in the world, but it is the U.S. that has military bases all around China, and has military alliances with Japan, South Korea, the Philippines, Australia, and New Zealand. The U.S.’s huge 7th Fleet is patrolling the waters all around China with 60-70 ships and submarines, 200 to 300 air crafts, and about 40,000 sailors and marines.

For a more detailed discussion of the U.S.’s complicity with Japan against China, see “How to Understand Japan’s Intransigent Policy Toward Her WWII Atrocities?

Therefore, we believe that to seek justice for the atrocity victims of WWII suffered at the hands of the Japanese military, Japan must step forward to acknowledge and apologize for the massive and inhumane atrocities she committed, and the U.S. must pressure Japan to own up to her responsibility and should not try to groom Japan as its front line pawn against China, because that does not lead to world peace.

The U.S. can vigorously compete against China economically, but should also collaborate with China and other countries to help solve many of the world’s pressing problems, such as fighting against terrorism, environmental protection, world hunger, and world peace.  We must understand that this complicity with Japan against China is in the long run not in the best interests of the U.S. and the American people.

It is heartening to learn that the Ontario legislature in Canada is considering of passing Bill 79—an Act to proclaim every December 13 “The Nanjing Massacre Commemorative Day.”  It is equally heartening to learn that the noted Japanese-Canadian writer-poet Joy Kogawa has just published an article in the Toronto Star supporting Bill 79.

Please sign the new Nanking Massacre Petition before December 1, 2017. We will then forward the signed petition to the Japanese government, the U.S. government, the Chinese government, and the United Nations.

The petition also contains a Chinese translation.

 


[1] See, e.g.:  Factories Of Death: Japanese Biological Warfare, 1932-1945, and the American Cover-Up, by Sheldon H. Harris, Routledge, 1994. ISBN-10:1568656556.  A Plague Upon Humanity: The Hidden History of Japan’s Biological Warfare Program, by Daniel Barenblatt, HarperCollins, 2005. ISBN 978-0-06-093387-6.  Article by American medical historian Dr. Martin Furmanski in the book Blood-Weeping Accusations:  Records of Anthrax Victims, by Li Xiaofang, 2005.

[2] Herbert P. Nix, Hirohito and the Making of Modern Japan, Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd; 2001.

[3] David Bergamini, Japan’s Imperial Conspiracy, William Morrow, 1971.

[4] For background information and a discussion of this issue, see Don M. Tow, “South China Sea Dispute:  Abuse of World Power,” China-US Focus, September 15, 2016:  http://www.chinausfocus.com/foreign-policy/south-china-sea-dispute-abuse-of-world-power.