image adapted from Smith & Pittman's excellent book


Brian Milani is longtime student of internal martial arts, particularly Tai Chi and Bagua, but also strongly influenced by the standing practices of Yiquan (Mind Fist) and the philosophy of aikido. 


More of my specific martial arts influences are explored further below.  But first I should mention more general influences. Spiritually, I've drawn on the 'in-the-world' practices and perspectives of Taoism, Mevlevi Sufism, Zen, Krishnamurti, Gurdjieff, and others.  Philosophical influences have included Karl Marx, Lewis Mumford, Thomas Berry, Christopher Alexander, George Leonard, Sri Aurobindo, Dane Rudhyar, Jacob Needleman, E.F. Schumacher, and Ken Wilber.  Ecologically, politically, and economically, my many influences have included Barry Commoner, Angela Miles, Fred Block, Wayne Roberts, John Todd, Ken Geiser, Paul Sweezy, Murray Bookchin, Hazel Henderson, Genevieve Vaughan, Ed O'Sullivan, David vmo0750.jpgMorris, Maria Mies, Michael Shuman, Paul Hawken, and Delores Hayden. Culturally, people like Abbie Hoffman, Bob Marley, Pee Wee Herman, Bob Dylan, Rev. Billy, Bruce Cockburn, Mel Brooks, Bobby Seale, Gilles Arseneault, and the folks at Sunnyvale Trailer Park, have probably had way too much influence on me.  For more information on my political-economic and environmental ideas, see my homepage for some of my essays and the courses I teach:  www.greeneconomics.net  

      A consistent concern of mine has been in exploring the interconnection between individual and social change—especially in a historical and evolutionary context. 

      This webpage is intended to bring together some favourite thoughts, clips and links relating to the "internal martial arts" of Chinese boxing, like taijiquan (tai chi chuan, or "Great Ultimate Fist"), baguazhang ("Eight Trigrams Palm"), and xingyiquan ("Form of Mind Fist").  They are elements of what have been called "transformative martial arts" (mind-body disciplines geared to change—personal, social or both) that can include many martial arts, traditional and otherwise—from capoeira to aikido to escrima and more, depending on how and why they are practiced.  

      I am a former carpenter-builder and social activist who writes and teaches on green economics, green business, and community development at York University's Faculty of Environmental Studies, and at OISE of the University of Toronto.  I currently study Jiulong Baguazhang with the Mind-Body Training Institute in Toronto, and attend tai chi sessions at Cecil St. Community Centre. 

This page is mainly for fun, and will evolve sporatically, but any suggestions or comments are welcome:  bmilani (at) web.ca


Writing and thinking somewhat relevant to martial arts

"Kung-Fu Crisis: Martial Arts in an Age of Transformation,"  forthcoming essay


"New Productive Forces and Emerging Human Potentials,"  Chapter 4 of Designing the Green Economy: The postindustrial alternative to corporate globalization, Roman & Littlefield, 2000


"The New Ecology of Politics," Chapter 5 of Designing the Green Economy: The postindustrial alternative to corporate globalization, Roman & Littlefield, 2000


"Transformative Learning and the Tao of History: Spirituality in the Postindustrial Revolution," Into Mountains, Over Streams: International Journal of Qigong & Taiji Culture online; (in 3 parts) May 18, 25 and June 1, 2011; [essay originally written for the OISE TLC, spring, 2001]


Paths Beyond Domination: THE WALK OF LIFE: Centre, Circles, Power & Blending in Bagua and Tai Chi, powerpoint presentation, Transformative Martial Arts seminar, OISE-UT Transformative Learning Centre, July 2, 2008


Principal Martial Arts Teachers








Tchoung Ta Tchen (Sifu T.T. Tchoung)

Yang style Tai Chi Chuan

Vancouver 1980-82





Master Yau-Sun Tong

Yang style Tai Chi Chuan

Nova Scotia 1984-87


early 80s: Master Tong (right)

with his teacher Grandmaster Gu Liu-Xin