The Golden Thread & Wu Style Tai Chi
July 20 - July 31
For Beginners and Experienced Students
Whether you’re learning tai chi for the first time or deepening your existing study of tai chi, don’t miss this rare and unique opportunity to study tai chi from the inside out with Master Frantzis and his Senior Instructors.
The Wu Style lineage presented here was passed to Master Frantzis by his teacher, Liu Hung Chieh, who in turn learned directly from Wu Style co-founder Wu Jien Chuan and his sons, living with them as a disciple. It’s rare in any era to have the chance to study such a pure form of tai chi so closely linked to its undiluted source.
In the West, tai chi is typically first learned as an outer form, that is a sequence of precisely-choreographed movements, practiced in a slow, meditative manner. Then, after a year or more of study and if you are fortunate enough to find yourself with an accomplished and willing teacher, you begin to learn “internal content,” or that which powers tai chi forms.
Connecting your mind and body, you begin to learn how to use not only your muscles when doing the form, but to use your intent to engage your whole body in a unified manner – from your joints, spine and internal organs, to your breathing, blood and nervous system. In the rarest schools, you would also learn methods for circulating and cultivating your qi in ways that join and enliven the body’s systems.
Master Frantzis and his Senior Instructors have designed this course to be different, to take you back and forth between learning and refining the outer form and basic physical principles of Wu Style Tai Chi, all while studying one of the most profound inner subjects in our tradition – The Golden Thread – with a living lineage holder. Learn more about Master Frantzis’ extraordinary lifetime of study: Bruce’s Story.
What Is the Golden Thread?
“When one part moves, all parts move. When one part stops, all parts stop.”
“From posture to posture, the internal energy is unbroken.”
These are two of the most central and profound statements of the Tai Chi Classics, and which underpin the entire study of Taoist tai chi, neigong and meditation. Developing continuity and connectedness at all levels of being is one of the crown jewels of Taoist energy arts. For this reason, Master Frantzis will make The Golden Thread an overarching theme of his teachings at the Training Center in 2020.
The study of The Golden Thread within Wu style tai chi is focused on how to precisely and practically generate this continuity inside of you, without breaks through your entire form. This development starts at the level of your physical body, and over time spreads to all levels of your being—including your qi, emotions, thoughts, psychic capacities, karma and essence.
The Wu Style Tai Chi Taught by Master Frantzis
Wu style tai chi is one of the most widely practiced tai chi styles in the world. Through its study you can enjoy all of the benefits for which tai chi has become known, including calmness, flexibility, coordination, balance, stamina, better health and greater energy.
Master Frantzis learned Wu Style Tai Chi from his teacher, Taoist Sage and Tai Chi Grandmaster Liu Hung Chieh. Grandmaster Liu learned the Wu Style directly from it’s co-founder, Wu Jien Chuan, in the 1930’s. For more information about the origins of Master Frantzis’ Short, Medium, and Long Forms, click here.
The Wu style forms, as taught by Master Frantzis, stand out in the tai chi world for helping practitioners heal injuries, especially back problems; for their particular emphasis on yin and transformational energy; and for being vessels through which one can reach emptiness, in both the tai chi and spiritual meanings of the word.
The gentle, small frame movements of Wu style tai chi encourage a practitioner to bring their mind more easily inside their body, making its forms a perfect container for learning deeper skills, such as The Golden Thread.
Single Course Price – $1,895.00 / After June 1 – $2,095.00
Bundled with Heaven and Earth Qigong or Taoist Meditation Events – $2,495.00 / After June 1 – $2,745.00
Complete 4 Week Summer Retreat Package – $3,295.00 / After June 1 – $3,595.00
This course will be taught by Master Frantzis and Senior Instructors Paul Cavel, Craig Barnes and Bill Ryan. Master Frantzis also will offer regular Taoist Meditation sessions during the course that will complement Wu style tai chi practice.
Three tracks of study will be offered to ensure that new and beginning students receive a solid grounding in the fundamentals that make more refined training possible, while existing students can go much deeper into their studies.
Track 1 – Short Form and Golden Thread Instruction
Open to beginners and those who already know the Short Form, but not very well.
Recommended for those who are still learning to practice confidently on their own. Attendees in this group will learn the fundamentals and movements of the Wu Style Tai Chi Short Form. For more information about the Wu Style Tai Chi Forms taught within the Energy Arts system – Click Here.
Master Frantzis advocates that beginners start with the Short Form. After having taught thousands of tai chi students worldwide, he has found that most people are better-served by a short form since they can finish learning it more quickly and ground themselves in the art.
He designed the Wu Short Form to provide the majority of the health and spiritual benefits that can be gained through practice of the Wu Long Form.
The form takes about four minutes to perform.
Specific material presented in Track 1 includes:
- Generally relaxing your body and mind
- Body alignments
- Choreography of the form
- Keeping all parts of your body engaged
- Tai chi’s particular method of bending and extending your arms and legs and their soft tissues
- Clear weight shifting and waist turning in unison with the arm movements
- Folding and squatting with your kwa
- Maintaining a consistent focus on your movements.
Master Frantzis also will teach those aspects of the Golden Thread which he thinks will be most useful to the group. This teaching will include the principle of Separate and then Combine, which is a core method in learning Golden Thread teachings. This teaching will begin on the first day after students have learned the opening movement of the Short Form. Students can learn Golden Thread practices, initially apply them to only the parts of the form with which they are comfortable, and gradually apply the practices further into the form.
Attention: Long Form Practitioners
If you are a student of Master Frantzis’ Wu Style Tai Chi Long Form, he highly encourages you to attend either Track 2 or 3 of this course as a way of significantly upgrading your Long Form practice. If you already know the Long Form, he will encourage you to practice the form, neigong, and/or Golden Thread knowledge you will learn: first in the Medium Form until you can embody it; and then do so in every move in the Long Form.
This course will also provide the foundation for Long Form training planned for the near future.
Track 2 – Medium Form and Golden Thread Instruction, Short Form Refinements
Open to Short and Long Form Level 1 Certified Instructors and Those Who Meet the Prerequisite
Prerequisite: You must show on the first day of the course that you have embodied the list of Short Form material to be taught in Track 1. If you aren’t able to do this, or want input on those techniques, then you can participate in Track 1. You will not fully benefit from Track 2 instruction if you can’t do the foundational material that precedes it.
Participants will study the Wu Style Medium Form. This form contains all the movements of the Short Form, and takes about seven minutes to perform, as compared to four for the Short Form. For more information about the value and importance of the Wu Medium Form and the progression of learning the tai chi forms of the Energy Arts system – Click Here
The physical movements of the Medium Form bring new opportunities to strengthen your legs and balance. It adds signature Long Form movements such as Cloud Hands, Repulse Monkey, and Single Lotus Kick for a far more comprehensive workout than the Short Form.
When well learned and embodied, the Medium Form is meant to replace your Short Form as a more powerful “upgraded” practice, that still is not nearly as time consuming as a traditional long form. Should a student wish to continue to the Wu Style Long Form, the Medium Form acts as a springboard to make rapid and sustained progress.
Participants will learn refinements to the Short Form movements within the Medium Form, learn any Medium Form movements they don’t already know – and refine the ones they do know – and learn the sequence and flow of the Medium Form.
Master Frantzis views the Medium Form as a key practice in and of itself. He designed it as an ideal vessel in which to learn how to incorporate key qigong and neigong practices, including openings and closings, into the Wu Style of Tai Chi.
Aspects of the Medium Form movements that may be taught in Track 2, include:
- Making your movements truly circular and continuous.
- Developing hyper-coordination of your body so that the movements of all parts of your body are coordinated and you truly embody the tai chi principle “one part moves, all parts move.”
- Learning to move with gravity to release, relax, and stretch/lengthen your soft tissues.
- Turning the soft tissues of your arms from your spine to your fingers.
- Softly relaxing your eyes and developing your peripheral vision.
- Deeply relaxing your whole body simultaneously, shedding tension and stagnancy.
- Relaxed breathing from all parts of your belly.
- Maintaining a relaxed physical balance at all times.
- Maintaining a sense of openness and sponginess in all parts of your body at all times.
- Feeling and balancing blood circulation in your body – right and left, top and bottom, front and back.
- Developing relaxed mindful presence to your movements.
- Initiating and guiding all movements of your body from your hips and legs.
Master Frantzis will teach those aspects of the Golden Thread which he thinks will be most useful given the group’s tai chi knowledge and skill. This teaching will include the principle of Separate and then Combine, which is a core method in learning Golden Thread teachings.
Track 3 – Medium Form, Neigong and Golden Thread Instruction
By Application Only
Prerequisite: On the first day of the course, you must demonstrate that you have embodied in your Short Form the list of material to be taught in Track 2. You will not benefit from this course if you cannot do the foundational material that precedes it.
Consistent with this focus, this track will be open only to those who are accepted and then meet the prerequisite. You may request to be accepted for this track by completing the application form that you will receive via email after checkout. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with questions. Your application must be received by July 1, 2020. Participation in this track is solely at the discretion of Master Frantzis based on his assessment of your capacity and what will most benefit you.
All Level 2 Certified Wu Style Tai Chi Short and Long Form Instructors are accepted.
In past years Master Frantzis generally taught neigong (“internal development”) techniques within Wu Style Tai Chi in an open course format. In those years his purpose in doing so was to help people develop better health and, for those interested, martial power and skills. With the establishment of the Training Center, he has turned his neigong teaching focus toward helping people use neigong as a stepping stone to and tool for Taoist Water Tradition spiritual development, including spiritual martial arts.
In Track 3, you will:
- Learn Medium Form movements you do not already know.
- Refine the ones you do know, including Short Form movements.
- Learn the sequence and flow of the Medium Form.
Master Frantzis will especially focus on teaching the movements of the Medium Form that are not in the Short Form. He’ll explore for each of these moves how the internal energy (neigong) work is developed in the Medium and Long Forms, including how to use the joints and spine in these moves.
Master Frantzis also will teach those aspects of the Golden Thread which he thinks will be most useful given the group’s level of tai chi, neigong, and meditation knowledge and skill.
Training Progression: 2020 to 2022
This summer marks an inspiring shift within the Energy Arts community that will create opportunities to study more deeply than ever before! Events will now be more intentionally grouped from year to year, allowing you to receive the preparatory and reinforcement training necessary to grow your skill set and take your practice to the next level.
This summer’s course has been designed as the first installment of a two-year progression that will be offered at the Center for training in Wu Style Tai Chi. Learn more about this progression here: A New Training Model to Deepen Your Experience.
Registration/Check-in: August 3 (Monday), 9:00-10:00AM – First class session begins at 10:00AM.
Prerequisites: Please see Course Structure above
Approximate daily course schedule on July 20 to 31 is 9AM-5:30PM with a two-hour lunch break. Course schedule may be subject to change depending upon group dynamics.
This training course is not recommended for those with any kind of mental health issues or major medical problems. We simply do not have the resources to handle these needs.
Please note: The practice of Taoist energy arts may carry risks. The organizers are very concerned to ensure that the training is a positive experience for every participant. If for any reason whatsoever Bruce and/or his assistants deem that there may be any potential safety risks for you during this training, you will be asked to leave the course and suspend training immediately.
If this occurs you will be refunded a prorated course fee. All other expenses that you may have incurred, including lodging and travel will be your sole responsibility and Energy Arts will not be responsible for these expenses.