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Bob Boyd - Bao Tak Fai Tai

As the Disciple of Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak and founder of the International Snake Style Association (ISSA), Bob Boyd ( Bao Tak Fai Tai) is teaching the Snake Style tai chi system world wide. If you would like to know more about organizing a snake style tai chi workshop in your area, please contact him here.


Chi Running -- the snake style way!

Tai Chi has been heralded recently for its use in combating fibromyalgia and Parkinson's Disease. And many studies have proven its effectiveness in helping the elderly with balance issues. But this has taken the image of tai chi in a direction away from it's original image of a powerful exercise for health, strength, flexibility and martial skills.

Now, a new study, has shown that tai chi can help runners maintain their running habit with less chance of injury and wear and tear. It is a breath of fresh air for me to see tai chi brought into the fitness culture, because the snake style (the tai chi I learned as Grandmaster Ip's Disciple) is the tai chi the best supports fitness and core strength development.

A friend of mine who studies and teaches Somatics is a lifelong runner. He and I are on the same page when it comes to human locomotion. He believes that runners should run from their ribs and not their hips. I totally agree, because the snake style of tai chi is all about creating movement from the spine. Thomas Myers, a renown Rolfer, who has written a book, "Anatomy Trains for Movement Therapists," is also on this same page. He describes human locomotion from the perspective of myofacial connections from the foot to the occipital point of the skull that unite to creative healthy and efficient human locomotion.

I used some of the illustrations from his wonderful book in my book -- "Snake Style Tai Chi Chuan - The Hidden System of the Yang Family." In this book I describe the principles of posture and movement that are used in tai chi to create flexible strength and powerful martial skill.

Snake Style tai chi chuan stands with yoga and pilates as direct core development exercises. But tai chi is a core exercise involving movement, and we are creatures of movement. Cultivating strong and flexible internal muscles is the answer to many affliction that face the our culture today including bad backs, stiff joints and poor balance. Walking, running, or just standing waiting for the bus, can be enhanced by snake style tai chi practice. It is a benefit that stays with you from rising in the morning to retiring for the night.

 To learn more about chi running, follow this link:


Yang Snake Style Tai Chi Versus Yang Tiger Style Tai Chi.

In 2001, I became Grandmaster Ip Tai Tak's Disciple and received the Chinese name Bao Tak Fai. The first thing Master Ip demanded of me was that I forget everything about the Yang style tai chi of my past  because he was now going to teach me the snake style, the inner system of the Yang family.

What could be the difference? Confusion reigned for a couple of years.Then slowly I began to feel a dynamic strength growing inside of me, awakening parts of my body that had been dormant for a very long time, and these parts began to unite into a powerful force for stances and movement. It was unlike anything I had experienced before and I knew I was on to something big!

I grew up a weak and asthmatic teenager who transformed himself into a flexible and strong young man thanks to Karate. But, by my my thirties and forties, I had become a slope shouldered, hunched back, tail tucked, round bellied man -- all as a result of seventeen dedicated years of Yang style tai chi practice! I was beginning to suffer injuries to my shoulders and back. Had I made a poor choice in choosing tai chi over karate? What was wrong? Master Ip finally gave me the answer to the puzzle.

Now in my early sixties, after eleven years of training in the snake style,  I am stronger and more flexible than I was in my twenties. My martial skills are better than ever and I have rehabilitated myself from some of my injuries.

I have now dedicated my life to creating an awareness in the tai chi community that the snake style exists and that it fulfills in every way the promise of tai chi that lured me away from karate. I transitioned from the tiger style to the snake style and so can any other tai chi teacher or practitioner who wants to discover and explore the depth and wonder of the "original" Yang family tai chi chuan -- the snake style!







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