The DragonTail form is a Slow, Moving Meditation practiced with a 36″ wooden, magnetic cane, also used for massage. The form was passed on to me by a great, second generation teacher from Taiwan; Ann Thomas. The form, originally taken from the tai chi 13 form is still analogous to it but not identical.
I have been practicing and teaching the form for about 12 years. It consists of very simple movements and the basic form is easy to learn. Like learning ‘chopsticks’ on the piano. Iv’e heard some very beautiful, classical versions. However to become ‘One’ with the form, as the saying goes, it takes many, many, hours of committed, mindful, practice. Just like the piano or for that matter, anything else in life you feel is worth doing.
When Ann started teaching me the form I already had over 22 years or so martial arts experience, including several years of tai chi. Even so, I lacked proper balance, coordination, and breadth control. It actually took over a month of constant coaxing to have Ann work with me! She was a great gift for me and an extraordinary teacher. We spent well over two years and and countless hours together learning and practicing, The movements themselves are graceful to look at but that isn’t all the form has to offer. It is a Mindfulness form. It is taught to bring the student or practitioner into the present; Fully. My student, or myself may come to practice with a thousand mental distractions. As practice continues, one by one the ‘mind static’ just disappears.
Focus. Proper breathing. Balance. Fa Jing or Explosive,‘Penetrating’ Power. All of this is done slowly, relaxed, and with a smile! The Spirit; relaxed and ﬂowing. The Mind; calm and focused. The Body; strong , responsive and moving freely. Everything moving together! Just as Nature intended.
This releases endorphins making one feel happy and care free. Different students come to learn with different goals. Stress relief. Better body harmonics, Balance, Focus, Breathing or any one of the other many beneﬁts of this unique, Moving Meditation.
As the DragonTail form has evolved over the last 12-13 years, so has my martial arts (Wing Chun).( Since 1987) and for the last 12 yrs. or so with my friend, practice partner, and teacher, Uriel Wong. ) Because Wing Chun was ﬁrst developed by a woman, a Shaolin Nun, the ‘real’ power has to come from within and not sheer muscular ‘force.’ The DragonTail form, when learned and done correctly promotes this Power vs. Force. As I teach the form I keep learning from it. It keeps revealing me to myself. One of the best beneﬁts for me is watching a student’s progress. Youths, Women, or Men without any experience as well as accomplished martial artists, will all beneﬁt from the form.
The DragonTail is a great vehicle for the process of Self Discovery. Ann is back in Tai Wan. She’s still practicing tai chi and last we met a couple of years ago she was very pleased with how the 13 form has transformed.
DragonTail Mindfulness, LLC
Ronald A. Zelman