Dr. Noel Bormann

Martial Arts

Martial Arts

I have an interest in Chinese and Filipino Martial Arts, as well as Modern Combatives.

I am a student and an Aprrentice Instructor in the School of T'ai Chi Chuan.

Our School has an international presence and a web page:

The School of Tai Chi Chuan

From an article published by the School of Tai Chi Chuan there is the following information:

What is T'ai Chi ?

T'ai Chi Chuan is an exercise which embodies ancient China's most profound concepts and principles. Practiced at a slow and even speed, the T'ai Chi Form promotes relaxation, straight posture and good balance while developing internal strength and coordination.

For thousands of years T'ai Chi has been recognized as a method of self-cultivation and an excellent health exercise. T'ai Chi's application as a non-agressive martial art is based on the principles of balance, timing, softness and awareness, rather than force and resistance. As water can overcome rock, so can these principles be used to overcome strength. The movements calm a person's emotions and focus the mind, helping to improve bodily functions and prevent aging and disease. Over time, daily practice of T'ai Chi draws us closer to our essential nature and produces a respectful attitude towards all life.

The Chinese say that man is the connection between heaven and earth. Anyone who sees a person practicing T'ai Chi will recognize an internal grace and beauty that is rarely found in daily life. The slow, focused practice of T'ai Chi becomes a meditation in self-knowledge leading to that happiness which comes when we are aware of our true nature and place in the universe.

T’ai Chi in its purest form

"T'ai Chi in its purest form is nothing less than the manifestation of a human being in perfect harmony with the environment, be it nature or culture.

It is a way to reach the highest evolution of consciousness. Starting with an awareness of one's own movements on the physical plane, T'ai Chi soon becomes a journey of self-discovery. Teachers and fellow students are a necessary source of progress and inspiration. Every waking moment - whether one is engaged in physical, emotional, intellectual or spiritual activity - offers the possibility of new insight."

Another Description of Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan

Tai Chi Chuan is a Chinese martial art which most people know simply as a series of slow motion exercises. In fact, Tai Chi is a complete system of self-defense, involving lethal full-contact techniques, and several related systems of weapons training. It is also one of the most effective martial arts in terms of maintaining health and longevity.

The Chinese characters for Tai Chi Chuan can be translated as the "Supreme Ultimate Fist" or "Supreme Polar Opposite Boxing." To break the characters down, Chuan means fist, and Tai Chi means supreme polar opposite, or literally "big polarity," a reference to the Taoist principle of yin and yang. Yin and yang are essential concepts in Taoism, signifying the universal principles of dynamic duality (male/female, active/passive, dark/light, forceful/yielding, etc.). Applied to Tai Chi Chuan, the idea is that to fight effectively, one must be able to harness both yin and yang, yielding with maximum softness and striking with maximum hardness, and bring offense and defense into seamless balance.

In fact, the term Tai Chi Chuan refers not to a single martial art but to a vast family of fighting systems, including many subsets, such as Yang, Chen, Wu, and Sun, among others. Each of these systems is further subdivided into literally thousands of "family styles." Nearly every village in China developed some variation on Tai Chi, and although different books list various lineages, hence it is nearly impossible to speak of the "history of Tai Chi." (See bottom of article for more details on the history of Tai Chi.)

There are thousands of so-called forms (sometimes also called 'sets') which consist of a sequence of movements. Many of these movements are originally derived from the natural movements of animals and birds. While most systems of Tai Chi emphasize slow and graceful movements, there are some styles, such as Chen, that make use of explosive force and speed. There are also many systems of Tai Chi that practice "fast forms," and emphasize the combat applications. One of the most integral concepts in Tai Chi is the "Chi." Traditional Chinese medicine is based on the idea that the body is animated by chi, an invisible life force, which can be compared to electricity. The more chi you have, the healthier you are. One of the goals of Tai Chi is to stimulate the development and circulation of chi within the body. Chi circulates in patterns that are close related to the nervous and vascular system and thus the notion is closely connected with that of the practice of acupuncture and other oriental healing arts.

Because Tai Chi is often practiced slowly, it also provides a meditative component. Learning Tai Chi correctly develops balance, flexibility, alignment, fine-scale motor control, rhythm of movement, the genesis of movement from the body's vital center, and so on. Because most forms connect the physical movement with the breath, there is also a deep relaxation that can be derived from practicing the forms. The slow twisting movements and emphasis on suspending the head as if from above, stimulate the central nervous system, so that one is simultaneously relaxed and made more alert. The basis of Tai Chi fighting is called "push hands," a two-person exercise aimed at developing maximum sensitivity. Unlike some martial arts, in tai Chi, there is very little use of blocking or aggressive attack combinations. The fighting aspect of the art is based on the classic Taoist principle that one can win the war by losing the battle, which means using tremendous sensitivity to yield and stick to an opponent, and then counter attacking from the side, much like a bullfighter.

Tai Chi is rooted in the philosophy of Taoism, based on the writings of Lao Tzu, an older contemporary of Confucius. He wrote and taught in the province of Honan in the 6th century B.C. and is believed to have authored the seminal work of Taoism, the Tao Te Ching, although there is some scholarly debate about this, and whether he even existed. As a philosophy, Taoism has many elements but fundamentally it teaches transcendence of all dogma, emphasizing instead adherence to the laws of nature. The essence of the Tao could be summed up as: know who you are and be who you are. By learning to see through preconceived social, philosophical and religious dogma, Taoists learn to go with the flow of their own self-nature and live in greater harmony with the world around them, bending to events like a blade of grass in the wind rather than struggling against reality. In keeping with this idea, one of the classic treatises of Tai Chi advises fighters to "let the opponent attack with all his might, use four ounces to deflect one thousand pounds." Although Tai Chi is a term that refers to a vast system of disparate fighting styles, there are a few basic principles that can be identified:

Keep your head suspended, as if from above. Your mouth and teeth gently closed, tongue resting on roof of mouth, Your lower back must be tucked in at all times. Never arch your back. Keep your chest concaved. Opening and closing the chest vertically at the sternum develops additional power. The entire body should be loose and relaxed. Be aware of your two hands linked together and of body rounding. In general, all movements should be continuous and at an even tempo, like reeling silk. Don't pop up and down; maintain one height. Keep the weight on the outer edge of the foot. The knee should be on top of toe. Keep your abdomen loose. Breathe deeply down into the dan tien, through the nostrils. Keep your fingers gently stretched. All movement should originate form the dan tien. This aids in developing waist power. Your hips should shift straight back and forward. The upper torso should twist separately from the lower torso. Your head should remain centered with the torso and not move independently. Drop your shoulders and elbows.

With regard to the history of Tai Chi, there are so many arguments that it is nearly impossible to say with anything certainty. For example, as Peter Lim, a renowned Tai Chi expert and scholar, said when writing about the Chen style of Tai Chi alone: "there are two main historical lineages, the so-called Old Frame of Chen Tai Chi developed from Chen Chiang-hsing (who taught Yang Lu-chan) and his student, Chen Gen-yun, and the New Frame of Chen Tai Chi developed from Chen You-heng, another student of Chiang Fa and developed via Chen Chung-sang to Chen Xin [a.k.a Chen Pin-sang] (1849-1929), the foremost latter- day exponent of this style . The Old Frame Chen Style of Tai Chi bears a close resemblance to the New Frame Chen Style and also to the Zhao Bao and Hu Lei styles. Apparently it is not based on the classic '13 postures' which are central to the Yang and Wu Styles of Tai Chi and so it varies considerably from them." Obviously, one can easily get lost in historical discourse about the intricacies of ancient Chinese history, especially when considering all the different styles of Tai Chi and their various lineages.

For readers to whom such distinctions and historical information are of interest, much has been written, but be advised that unlike some martial arts-where a single individual is clearly recognized as a founding figure-there is little or no agreement about who created Tai Chi, or when. The main point is to find a qualified teacher and enjoy the practice, day in and day out. There are no belts or rankings in most Tai Chi schools, and generally uniforms are not required. The main thing-as with all marital arts--is practice, slow, consistent, and long-term.

Filipino Martial Arts

Filipino based Martial Arts are more focused on combat techniques than many other tradional Arts.

I am also an instructor in Common Sense Self Defense/Street Combat

In the image below, I was working with another student, a Lotus black belt, in a Clinic presented by Master Bram Frank In Spokane in June 2000. Bram Frank is based in Clearwater Florida and is the founder of Common Sense Self Defense/Street Combat


Master Bram Frank is shown instructing on the left. The other gentleman pictured is a skilled Martial Artist in Spokane, Ajarn Roy Harrington, 5th Degree, who teaches Muay Thai Kickboxing and Lotus Self Defense, which is a art that uses karate, Muay Thai, akido and jujitsu.

Lotus Self Defense


There is a relationship to how well any technique works and how relaxed you are in performing the technique. It is clear from the image below that I need to be more relaxed, and that will increase the effectiveness.


This is the inevitable class photo from that clinic.

The correct understanding of why people spend effort learning Martial Arts, it seems to me, is development of a persons character. The development is enhanced by being forced to practice with your own integrity.

You can not 'fake' your understanding in any Martial Art.

This use of Martial Arts as a laboratory of character has helped me in my teaching of engineering, and improved my ability to relate with my students.

The Tai Chi Chuan I study and teach was presented by Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing. This is the Yang Style Short form as taught by the School of Tai Chi Chuan. This school is represented world-wide with over 200 teachers in many countries and all across the US.

The School of Tai Chi Chuan

Professor Cheng Man-Ch’ing (1900-1975)came to the U.S.A. in 1964 by way of mainland China and Taiwan. He was a recognized Master of the Five Exellences: poetry, painting, calligraphy, medicine and T’ai Chi Chuan.


His mastery of T’ai Chi was such that he was able to reduce the more than 100 moves of the traditional Yang Form, which could take more than 30 minutes to do, into a shorter version which retained all the classical principles of the Long Form, now known the world over as the "Yang Style Short Form" or the "Yang Style Long Form with 37 postures", and which takes 7-10 minutes to perform.

Grand Master Cheng then further distilled the essence of T’ai Chi , coming up with 8 simple exercises from the Form, which could be used by those unable to learn even the short form (the elderly, sick, or the injured). "The Eight Ways of T’ai Chi Chuan" can be practiced by anyone who can stand up, even if they need support to stand.

A History of Arnis
Art of War
Art of War II Chp. 1-5
Art of War II Chp. 10-13
Art of War II Chp. 6-9
Filipino Martial Arts FAQ
Moving 1000 pounds with 4 ounces
Perseverance Furthers Learning T'ai Chi.
Tai Chi Links
Tao Te Ching by Redneck