What’s in a name?
When Josefina and I were beginning to think about a name for our Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong school, we immediately turned to A Mnemonic of Thirteen Tai Chi Chuan Movements for inspiration. The Mnemonic is an ancient poetic treatise that speaks of the profound art of Tai Chi Chuan. From the beginning of our studies, our teachers, Masters Donald and Cheryl Lynne Rubbo, had encouraged us to make a study of the Mnemonic, impressing upon us the importance of every syllable. Their teacher, Sifu Kuo Lien-Ying, had recited it every morning before his own practice. The Mnemonic continues to be a daily part of our ongoing investigations, and it is something that we share with each of our own students, as well.
Near the conclusion of A Mnemonic of Thirteen Tai Chi Chuan Movements is the phrase: “The end purpose of these exercises is to prolong life and endow it with the youth of eternal spring.”
The youth of eternal spring. That phrase had always been pure magic for us.
Eternal Spring! How about Eternal Spring Tai Chi Chuan and Qigong for the name of our school?
We looked the name up on Google, and learned with disappointment it was already being used by another school.
Back to the drawing board.
A few days later I was meeting with Cheryl Lynne, and she asked me how the search for a name was going. I told her about our first thought and the outcome. She nodded, paused for a moment, and then told me about a video memoir she had just seen created by their tai chi brother, Randy Fung. This beautiful film is centered around Randy’s personal odyssey in the martial arts, and more specifically, his time at Portsmouth Square with their legendary teacher, Sifu Kuo Lien-Ying.
Cheryl Lynne described a particular section of the movie featuring archive footage from the 1970’s. A local television host was interviewing Sifu Kuo and he was speaking about Tai Chi Chuan and the cultivation of internal strength. Cheryl Lynne told me how later in this same footage Sifu Kuo describes The Universal Post Standing Practice, one of the pillars of our lineage, as the way to cultivating eternal strength.
“I think you should use the name Eternal Strength,” Cheryl Lynne said.
I thought about this conversation as I drove home from our meeting, remembering another quote from Sifu Kuo that our own beloved Sifu had often shared with us over the years:
“Before you can be of help to others, you must first be strong within yourself.”
Arriving home, I was immediately drawn to The Ancient Poem of the Universal Post that is contained in The Tai Chi Boxing Chronicle, compiled and edited by Kuo Lien-Ying, and translated by Guttman.
I had read this poem many times, but I was seeing it now with new eyes.
© 2010 Elizabeth Meloney—All rights reserved. Links are appreciated, but copying or distributing any portion of this article without written consent is prohibited.