Randy Johnson brings 5 Element Tai Chi to the US

While visiting China Randy Johnson practiced Tai Chi at the Beijing Institute of Whu Shu and Tai Chi.  The breathing and relaxation techniques are prominent parts of the 5 Element training.

The basic postures of the Five Element form can be learned in a couple hours then one can spend a life time developing the health benefits by learning to breath, pace, and smooth the forms movements

Click the here to see an outline and drawings of the form’s postures.

 

The following article on corrections professionals explains much of the background for the 5 Elements of Tai Chi taught by Randy Johnson and edited here by Dr. Bobbert who studied with Randy  as a friend and teacher.

Tai Chi “is one of the best self-awareness exercises there is, because you really have to concentrate on yourself… as simple as it is, it takes all your mental and physical energy to do it.”

Corrections Professionals Turn to the Martial Arts to Cure Their Stress 
www.Corrections.com    By Tyler Reed,

One human resources officer in a corrections department in Louisiana suffered from migraines every night for 20 years before taking Randy Johnson’s Tai Chi class.

Another man who blew out his knee, and whose doctors told him he would never walk normally again, “was running around like crazy a few months later, Johnson said.

And Johnson himself, who had suffered from chronic lower back pain, was cured two months after he started practicing
Tai Chi.

That was in 1976, after a decade of looking for someone in China who would teach Tai Chi to a non-Asian. He got the training. But it wasn’t enough for him.

In 1994, he returned to China where he saw a Tai Chi class focusing on anger management.  He had his inspiration.  Back in the U.S., he began teaching classes, and eventually his class made its way to corrections.

“Corrections has got to be one of the most stress-related occupations that there is,” said Johnson, a former warden at a privately run prison, now non-existent, called Marion Adjustment Center. “The mental game that inmates play with you is incredible.

Johnson, a certified trainer of the Chinese martial art, has seen first hand the positive effect that Tai Chi can have on the stress levels and multiple physical ailments that can plague corrections professionals. In his home state of Kentucky, and across the country, he teaches Tai Chi to various groups of more than 80-including some at corrections-industry conferences-and gives them the tools
to live a healthier, more balanced life, free from pain and stress.

Johnson says Tai Chi can be just the thing to help corrections professionals deal with stress. He teaches people the slow breathing techniques, the five basic movement physical routine, and the balance that combine to provide what many say is the ultimate physical and mental exercise.

“It’s one of the best self-awareness exercises there is, because you really have to concentrate on
yourself,” Johnson said. “As simple as it is, it takes all your mental and physical energy to do it.”

Johnson said the roots of similar exercises date back to ancient Egyptian and Roman times, when
people would start their days or prepare for a gladiator fight using Tai Chi-like breathing techniques
and movements.

As legend has it, Tai Chi was born when a Daoist monk sat by a river in China and observed a snake
and a crane fighting. The monk was struck by the manner in which the smaller snake was able to
evade the strikes of the larger crane. The physical movements of the two animals became the origin
of Tai Chi.

And even though Tai Chi is not part of the Daoist religious tradition, according to Johnson, it shares a
common theme: the yin and yang principle.

One of the basic tenets of Daoism is this principle, that everything in the universe has an equal
opposite. And in Tai Chi, opposites are also apparent, Johnson said. While on the outside a person
performs slow, deliberate movements, inside he is concentrating intensely. And a long exhale follows
a long inhale.

While it took Johnson years of practice to hone his skills to their present state, he insists that the
basics of Tai Chi are simple and easy to learn.

Easy to Learn Tai Chi

Johnson teaches his basic four-hour course in four stages.

In the first part he gives a short overview of Tai Chi, shows a background video that he produced
himself, and gets feedback from individuals in the audience who might have a specific ailment, such
as back pain or headaches. With this information he can tailor a training regimen to suit an individual’s need.

In the second part, he uses a video that he produced to show the basics of Tai Chi breathing
techniques. What in Tai Chi is called the “complete breath” is really a longer, deeper version of a
normal breath. Johnson explained that while some people will take over 20 breaths in a minute
during exercise routines, he tries to get people down to only five or six breaths per minute.

In the third segment, Johnson teaches the five basic movements of Tai Chi. The slow physical
movements combine with the breathing techniques to create a routine that can be completed in less than 10 minutes.

In the final part of the class Johnson puts everything together, into one continuous routine. He
teaches the routine to allow people to customize the period of time they spend exercising.

Johnson’s version of Tai Chi breaks the routine down into four parts, based on North, South, East and
West. Traditionally, each Tai Chi movement is associated with one particular direction. With each
short routine the person completes, he turns 90 degrees to the right. If he begins facing North, he
then turns to the East, then the South, and then finishes facing the North again. The whole routine
takes eight to 10 minutes. Each of the four turns takes only a couple of minutes. And Johnson felt it
was a simple way to approach the exercise.

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Our friend Randy Johnson is now deceased but lives on in our memories and our practice of the 5 Elements we studied with him.

Healthy Tai Chi

Master Sensei Ron Boyd,*  head trainer of ACT,  Aikido Control Training for law enforcement  professionals,  has trained over 170 Aikido Black Belts and has several Kentucky Schools, reacted to the Five Element form by saying,

What I learned was to do five very simple movements of balance, which allow me to practice deep breathing and relaxing techniques.
The movements help my posture and my whole sense of equilibrium. All of these things lead to a more balanced person,”
 Boyd said.

In addition to teaching Tai Chi and Aikido classes, Boyd does Tai Chi exercises on his own everyday.

Boyd said Tai Chi strengthens bone structure, improves balance and lowers stress. He said it works well for elderly people because it lowers the chances of them falling.

The older you get, the easier and the simpler and the more effect it has on you,” explained  Johnson.

Johnson said two of the instructors he had during one of his visits to China claimed they were 85 and 109 years old.

But you wouldn’t have known it by looking at them.”They could have been 65,” said Johnson.

And Tai Chi should prove to have great benefit to any serious student or practitioner.

For more information on Master Boyd click the following link to Ronin Bushido Aikido