I suppose that in the first posting for this blog I should introduce myself and present a forthright declaration of my motivation and intentions regarding this website and my plans, both in a general sense and more specifically as they relate to my efforts in Hawaii. My theories and teachings in the art of Taijiquan are increasingly available in books and articles, and serious technical efforts of this kind will be presented occasionally on this website.
My name is Robert Amacker, and I can truthfully say that I have made the study of Taijiquan the central focus of my life, and eschewed the serious pursuit of any other vocation. This was not a conscious decision so much as the result of uncontrollable fascination. From the age of eleven I have pursued the martial arts, first teaching myself Judo, and then being privileged to study Karate from the legendary Bobby Lowe and the manic Gojuryu master Peter Urban, and Aikido from Master Yoshimitsu Yamada. Ten years of such study equipped me with the necessary perspective to appreciate the extreme elegance and sophistication of Taijiquan, when I first tasted the instruction of Cheng, Man-ch’ing in New York City. This was only expanded and confirmed by my years of study with his two talented students, William Chen and Ben Lo, and deepened immeasurably through further years of study with another direct student of Yang, Cheng-fu, Chu, Ch’u-fang.
For the dedicated student of pugilism, of either the Oriental or Occidental traditions, real Taijiquan seems the practical actualization of many concepts and goals. This extends from the literal creation of taijis, a process that eludes the practice not only of most other martial arts, but of most professed masters of Taijiquan as well, to the development of the so-called “one-inch punch,” which is not only a goal of Taijiquan practice, but indeed so integral to one’s overall development that its acquisition is completely assumed as a condition without which much of Taijiquan practice simply makes no sense. Such possibilities were extremely exciting to me, and for over fifty years now I have had the wonderful experience of seeing Taijiquan deliver, decade after decade, on these promises.
However, in my experience the full fascination and resultant dedication possible are only realized through a complete picture of the art, and this is a picture the entire Yang Style curriculum is masterfully constructed to cultivate and reveal. Accordingly, the “mission” to which I previously alluded, and to which my efforts in Hawaii are primarily dedicated, is not only to teach the formal elements of the Yang Style, but to explain how these elements properly fit together to form the complete art.