The Untold Truth About Taiwan’s Real Legal Position*

The daily Western presentation of Taiwan as a functionally independent nation on the verge of being “invaded” by China flies in the face of the actual facts, as specified by global agreements recognized and codified by people on both sides of the strait.

  • China’s governing constitutional instruments specify that the mainland and Taiwan are one country;
  • And so does the constitutional document of Taiwan, Republic of China – it ALSO specifies that the two entities are a single, indivisible country;
  • To this day, the ROC Constitution ostensibly applies not just to Taiwan but to the whole of China, indicating the Taipei-based government’s control over Tibet and other parts;
  • China’s “Nine Dash Line” under which the country claims a large portion of the South China Sea is actually a reduced version of Taiwan’s “Eleven Dash Line”, which Taiwan still applies to the same waters;
  • Journalists correctly mention that some countries (193) legally support China while others (13) legally support Taiwan; but they omit the key fact that both groups (read the small print) legally support the principle that mainland China and Taiwan are a single country;
  • While some in Taiwan’s DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) openly push for independence, the party would have to rip up or massively amend Taiwan’s own constitutional document to do so.

Professor of Law Richard Cullen reports on the actual legal situation, and how it evolved, to clear up the widely circulated myths about the relationship between mainland China and Taiwan.

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Short Summary of History of Chen Taiji and Yang Taiji

Original Style:  Chen Style:  It is more likely that 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).

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Some Comments on the Mind Set to Learn Taiji

Taiji has been around for centuries and people have been learning Taiji for generations, and new classes are being taught to new learners all the time. This article offers some thoughts on the mind set one should have for learning Taiji.

Taiji is a wonderful skill to have.  It can provide you with an exercise that you can practice for a lifetime.  It has many health benefits that have been confirmed by numerous medical journals. 

Health Benefits of Taiji: Taiji has many health benefits that have been confirmed by numerous medical journals.  For example, health benefits have been found [1] in the following categories:

  • Bone Density
  • Cardiopulmonary
  • Physical Function
  • Falls and Balance
  • Immune Function and Inflammation
  • Quality of Life
  • Self-Efficacy
  • Patient-Reported Outcomes
  • Psychological

Reference [2] provides another review article on the health benefits of Taiji. 

The Mind Set to Adopt in Learning Taiji: Learning Taiji is not simply to learn the basic movements of your arms and legs in executing the motions of a particular form set. Yes, it is important to learn to do that, but just as important, it is to learn why you are doing certain movements, what are the health benefits of of doing those movements, and what are the potential martial arts applications of those movements. Although one may take up Taiji purely for its health benefits, and one doesn’t need to know or to practice the potential martial arts applications of the various Taiji movements, it is still important for one to be aware of its potential martial arts applications, because it helps you to understand and appreciate why the movements are done in a particular way and why it can lead to potential health benefits, and besides that, it helps to build confidence that you know some basic skills of self defense. As a matter of fact, explaining the Taiji movements from a health perspective and from a martial arts perspective can complement each other.

Breathing is also an important part of learning Taiji. Although in the beginning, the student is told to breathe naturally, except that occasionally, the student is instructed that for certain movements, when one should breathe in, and when one should breathe out. In general, when you are delivering a strike, you want to breathe out. When you are setting up a strike, you want to breathe in.

But no benefit can be realized if you don’t practice it.  Furthermore, one’s interest and motivation for practice will fade away quickly if you don’t learn it, constantly practice it, and enjoy doing it.  Therefore, while you are learning Taiji, you also need to enjoy doing Taiji. It will be a waste of your time if you don’t plan to spend the time to learn it, practice it., and enjoy it.

Examples To Illustrate the Mindset: Let’s use practicing the Yang-style 24 Form to illustrate several points mentioned in this article. The movements of the 24 Form are described in [3].

The reason that Taiji can give rise to multiple health benefits is because while doing the Taiji exercises, your body goes through certain exercises, e.g., stretching, aerobic, or breathing exercises, that increase your flexibility, massage your body including your internal organs, build your endurance, relax your body and calm your mind.

One of the exercises we want to practice from the health perspective is to rotate our waist. This is executed in part of the Form 2 “Wild Horse Shakes Its Mane” when we pivot the left (right) foot to the left (right) so that in the next part of that move when you step up, you need to rotate your waist while still ending up facing your opponent.

Another exercise we want to do from the health perspective is to be able to go low and block a low attack to our groin area. This is executed in Form 4 “Brush Knee and Step Forward,” when we go low and position our body to be able to block a low kick to the groin.

Another exercise we want to do from the health perspective is while simultaneously moving backward with your feet, you can use your arms to do other things. In Form 6 “Step Back and Repulse Monkey,” by stepping back we can avoid a direct attack from the front and at the same time initiate a counter attack by striking your opponent on the face or neck.

One of the exercises we want to do from the health perspective is to use our hands to block an attack and simultaneously initiate a counter attack. In Form 10 “Wave Hands Like Clouds,” we are moving our hands in a way that blocks an opponent’s attack and simultaneously counter attacking the opponent.

From the health perspective, one of the exercises we want to do is to be able to position our body in a low position and do things with our hands and feet while in a low position. In Form 16/17 “Push Down and Stand on One Leg (Left Leg or Right Leg),” your bend your body to go low so that you can extend your hand to reach your opponent’s foot, and once extended, you can use your extended hand to lift up your opponent’s foot/lower body while leaning your upper body against your opponent’s upper body to cause your opponent to fall backward.

One of the exercises you want to do from the health perspective is to exercise eye-hand coordination and at the same time to be able to use one hand to do something while using your other hand to do something else. In Form 18 “Fair Lady Works the Shuttles,” you exercise eye-hand coordination while blocking an opponent with your right hand but simultaneously attacking your opponent with your left hand (or blocking an opponent with your left hand but simultaneously attacking your opponent with your right hand).

Like some of the exercises previously mentioned that you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to do one thing with one hand while supporting that activity with the other hand. In Form 20 “Unfolding Arms Like a Fan,” you block with your right hand close to your head while counter attacking your opponent with your extended left hand.

One of the exercises you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to rotate your body rapidly and respond appropriately in the other direction. In Form 21 “Turn, Deflect Downward, Parry and Punch,” you change direction, counter attack to your opponent’s head, and followed by a frontal attack to your opponent.

One of the exercises you want to do from a health perspective is to be able to go low while doing something low and simultaneously do something high. In Form 23 “Cross Hands,” you block an opponent’s attack from your back or side, and then pull opponent’s feet upward and toward you, while leaning your upper body against your opponent’s upper body, causing your opponent to lose balance and fall backward.

Summary: The Taiji exercises are designed to be done in a certain way so that your body is going through a list of motions that engage your body in stretching, aerobic, or breathing exercises. As you can see from the discussion above, many exercises we want to do from a health perspective can be done with Taiji exercises that have self defense applications built in. That is why we say that explaining the Taiji movements from a health perspective and from a martial arts perspective can complement each other. That is also why we say when you learn Taiji in the proper way, you will enjoy doing Taiji

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References

[1] See for example, a review article “A comprehensive review of health benefits of qigong and tai chi”(https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20594090/) by R. Jahnke, L. Larkey, C. Rogers, J. Etnier, and F. Lin, in the American Journal of Health Promotion, 2010 July/August.  I have written a short summary of this article in my website “A Comprehensive Review of Health Benefits of Qigong and Tai Chi”:  https://www.dontow.com/2010/12/a-comprehensive-review-of-health-benefits-of-qigong-and-tai-chi/

[2] See also “Health Benefits of Taiji” by Don M. Tow, The Journal of Traditional Eastern Health & Fitness, Vol 29, No. 3, Autumn 2019, pp. 20-28.

[3] D. M. Tow, “Simplified Yang Style 24 Form”, contains an attachment providing the names (both English and Chinese) and a short description of the form for each of the 24 forms: http://www.dontow.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2023/06/Yang-Style-24-Forms-1.pdf.

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