Learn Tai Chi Yang Style

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Welcome to Singapore Tai Chi Yang Style.

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a) Style

Our method of Tai Chi is known as TaijiKinesis and is based on the key elements from three Yang style lineages made famous respectively by Grandmaster Wei Shuren, Grandmaster Dong Huling and Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei.

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b) Learning

What we offer to the serious Tai Chi student :-

a) A defined method of practicing Tai Chi involving forms and push hands

b) Analysis of the root causes hindering your progress; how to fix them to master Tai Chi

c) A no BS learning path. Know what, why and how to master Tai Chi

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c) Lessons

Teaching approach :-

a) 1-to-1 private lessons, minimum once per week

b) Conducted in English

c) Learn form, do non-cooperative, resisting push hands

 

LogoBegin your journey to master Tai Chi by clicking here.

 

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BojiLite Module 2, Lesson 5

Learning to execute the Yum Chui with power is the next level of learning after Module 2, Lesson 4.

At the base level power is derived from the formula F = ma whereby :-

F = Force
m = Mass
a = Acceleration

 

Translated into physical requirements this means that :-

a) You must be able to get the body’s mass behind your fist at the moment of impact

b) You must be able to move from zero speed to the top speed that you are able to achieve without compromising the coordination of your moving mass

 

So if you have a problem doing the above I would recommend that you go through the previous lessons again because they lay the foundation to enable you to perform at the level that this lesson requires.

Assuming you do not have a problem with the requirements of previous lessons we now move on to learning how to punch with power

(to continue)

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BojiLite Module 2, Lesson 4

After you have gone through Module 2, Lesson 1 to 3 we next move on to learning how to execute the Yum Chui.

The learning of how to throw the Yum Chui is divided into three levels. In this lesson we look at the first level.

At the first level we bring together what we have learned in Module 1 including the following :-

a) Use of the mental center as covered in Module 1, Lesson 1

b) The body alignment, coordination and timing learned from Module 1, Lesson 2

 

Therefore, the fundamental learning of the Yum Chui is basically an extension of the above lessons from Module 1.

Procedures for performing Yum Chui at the basic level :-

i) Assume basic posture

ii) Begin practice by turning to your right into a Leung Yi Ma and executing a left Yum Chui

iii) Repeat 50 times

 

Now do the exercise for a right Yum Chui.

Repeat the above exercise in the following manner :-

i) Assume basic posture

ii) Turn right and execute left Yum Chui

iii) Come back to the basic posture

iv) Turn left and execute right Yum Chui

v) Come back to the basic posture and perform left Yum Chui and so on for 50 times each side

Note – it is important that you take the time to execute each punch with proper form

 

End of Module 2, Lesson 4. If you have questions or feedback post them to the BojiLite Learning Group on Facebook.

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Keeping It Real

Are you still dreaming of mastering that elusive topic called fajing?

Fajing is power generation. It is but one topic in the study of internal arts. Correction, it is but one topic in the study of any Chinese martial arts.

So why do people make such a big deal of one topic to the almost exclusion of other topics?

I guess practitioners love a good mystery, one that they cannot figure out so easily. They also want something they cannot get. And the more they cannot get it, the more they want it. Of course, the more you want it, the more elusive it becomes except for those willing to pay the steep price to get the knowledge from unscrupulous masters out to milk the unwary.

Unfortunately, such sellers of fajing give the combat arts a bad name. Oh, they also forgot to tell you that fajing ability is useless unless you can deliver it to the intended target. Guess what is required to deliver the power?

Techniques! You need techniques. Along the way as you are moving in to deliver the payload you gotta make sure your opponent doesn’t hit you first with his bombs.

Take a look at the video below of actual full contact tournament where the focus is on striking.

How many internal arts-like striking do you actually see? Now, look again and see how many basic strikes such as straight punches and curving punches such as hooks?

Plenty, right?

In fact, you see a lot more basic strikes than anything else. You barely see display of fajing which takes a while to set up. Why do you suppose this is so?

No prizes for guessing that the opponent will not give you the time to get ready to fajing. If you can’t hit him within the next second he will not be there. And all this while he will look for the opportunity to hit you back.

I’m not saying there is no value in learning internal arts or fajing. I’m just saying that we should remember to keep our eyes on the ball, to remember to keep our learning practical and relevant, rather than engage in useless fajing demos that will fail the moment you try to actually use it. Remember the case of the China master going against an MMA upstart? In case you forgot here is that fight again (Xu Xiaodong vs Wei Lei) :-

This is why I salute Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei’s foresight in creating the Pok Khek Kuen system to enable his disciples to handle challengers who came calling to test his Tai Chi students.

However, Grandmaster Nip did not create Pok Khek for his students to fight challengers or full contact tournament. Instead, his reason for creating the art as told to me by my senior was for a simple purpose – to knock out people he was tasked to catch for the China government in his day.

These people would resist capture because of wait awaits them – harsh interrogation, possibly torture and execution at the end. As such, Grandmaster Nip expected them to fight tooth and nail to resist capture. He did have a gun but in the event the opponent managed to grab it Grandmaster Nip did not want it to be turned on him. Grandmaster Nip may be conditioned to take strikes but bullets, no sireeeeeee………

As Grandmaster Nip mentioned some of the people he had to catch were also martial arts practitioners so he can expect a fight. It was one thing to fight one person and another to fight a few. Since a real fight is different from a tournament fight in that you don’t get points for scoring hits, the logical and smart thing to do was to take out the opponent as fast as possible (see video below for example of one versus a few). This was what Grandmaster Nip had in mind for the application of Pok Khek techniques and why the strikes look simple and straightforward.

When I first saw Pok Khek I wasn’t impressed. Too crude. Too un-internal arts like. Looking back, I think Pok Khek wasn’t agreeable with me then because it was unfamiliar rather than anything else. But now, I see its value and I teach it to my regular Tai Chi students at a certain stage in their learning, just in case they have to deal with push hands partners from other schools who turn nasty when they are pushed out. I remember seeing one old man wanted to fight when he lost what was supposed to be a friendly push hands exchange in a public park a long time ago.

For those who are curious to learn more and start at the ground level I created the BojiLite training to make it accessible by keeping it simple. However, the bread-and-butter techniques that you see in the above videos are there. Even our basic stepping, Leung Yi Bo, looks a lot like the stepping used by Xu Xiaodong to chase the Tai Chi master, Wei Lei, as shown from 1:52 to 1:54.

Just because Pok Khek techniques are simple and straightforward does not mean that there is no complexity in them. There are but it is not something we get hung up about. The value of Pok Khek is that you don’t years of training to gain basic competency.

From the members’ videos in our Facebook study group here we can see that it is possible to pick it up reasonably one step at a time even from watching videos. Its time to restore some reality to our training. By all means learn fajing but not at the expense of picking up proper techniques. If you ever forget this remember the lesson of Wei Lei.

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Of Rootedness & Power

I am writing to my friend to answer his question about how to cultivate power and rootedness using non-standing posture methods.

I might as well write a general post on it since a lot of readers would be interested to know too.

To start off with I would say that :-

a) If you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer

b) If you make the wrong assumption, you travel the wrong path

c) Ignorance can impede your progress, so make sure you arm yourself with knowledge

d) Find a baseline to compare your practice to. Adjust and change the baseline when necessary

e) Keep your mind open to possibilities, including those that you know nothing about, never heard of before or beyond your current understanding

The first thing I want to address is can standing posture teach you how to generate power. I will say this – standing perfectly still will not allow you to generate power. Even when we use intent we still need to move, even if the movement is very little.

I once read a story of a Yiquan master who stood in a standing posture for three years to train the ability to mentally pull a tree in the distance to his hands and push it back. Some may point to this as evidence that standing posture teaches fajing.

I would say no, this is missing the point. The standing still is to teach you to calm your mind to the point where you can feel your body, and by forcing you to stand still to reduce the amount of unnecessary movements you are making.

It is only when you reach a state of calmness and elimination of unnnecessary movement that you are able to use intent to move your body in a different, more optimal manner. So you see you still need to move your body.

The form route basically uses the same method but approaching it from another direction. We keep training the movements using intent, moving from gross to fine, big to medium to small, until by compliance to the principles we are moving optimally.

But as I mentioned in another post today it is very difficult to teach kids to generate power by the use of standing postures. It is just as difficult to teach kids using forms.

Actually, to cultivate power it is not important which method you want to use. When I teach Tai Chi to students I would tell them not to focus on power but rare is the student who would actually listen because they think of fajing ability as a magic pill that would bestow martial invincibility on them. Actually, this is not true.

Good fighting skills are reliant on the person and his technical abilities. If a person’s heart is not in it he will still lose a fight. So will a fighter without good skills but the right heart. To be a winner one should have a good balance of personal and technical abilities.

As personal abilities are subjective we normally do not go into them. It is easier to discuss technical abilities as these are more objective.

The question of power and rootedness need not be the same, yet they can be.

Consider this – if you run fast and throw yourself at another person you will have power but will you have rootedness?

Similarly, if you sink really low into your stance you will have strong root but would this lead to stronger fajing ability?

My conclusion is that a balance of both would work best. I suspect this is why a lot of internal systems use small frame characteristics because it would allow them sufficient rootedness with minimal compromise on fajing ability.

So back to the question of how to use non-standing posture method to train power and rootedness. My views as follows :-

a) Basic rootedness – use the Pok Khek basic posture. The basic procedures are listed here.

They are necessary but not sufficient if you want to have a more internal way to do it. You may find it hard to believe but if you get the basic posture right you will have instant rootedness.

The problem why this does not work for most people is because they do not diligently follow the instructions nor try out as many times as necessary to get it.

b) However, nobody stands still in a fight. You need to move, and move while keeping your balance even as you are under attack or returning fire.

This is where you need to train yourself to move. In Pok Khek Kuen we learn how to move by learning the Leung Yi Bo.

There are a few other ways to move, however, the Leung Yi Bo teaches a basic, essential principle that we use in combat. So if you don’t get this principle then your ability to apply the techniques properly will be compromised.

c) The basic posture when applied to the Leung Yi Ma posture lay the foundation for a posture that will allow you to generate power in different ways.

The best part about the above is that in as little as 6 months you can generate decent power………… but only if you actually put in the training. Reading about it, fantasizing about it, intellectualizing about it is useless and for keyboard warriors.

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Power Generation for Kids

Here’s an interesting question – how do you teach kids how to generate internal power?

Certainly this is a big challenge because if adults have a problem learning to do it then teaching kids will be a huge hurdle.

I have a friend who is trying to teach his daughter self-defense. Part of the training involved learning how to stand for long period of time. I am not sure if this will work for kids because of their shorter attention span, not to mention that one must fight the pain to continue standing.

This is what I think :-

a) The requirement to learn how to stand in order to cultivate the ability to generate internal power is a myth.

b) Standing still can be counter-productive because you never see any high level master spar without moving at all. Even the no-touch kongjing masters have to move!

c) Power generation is not a matter of internal or external. Instead, it is a matter of classical mechanics plus intent.

d) Teaching classical mechanics via drills is the easiest way to learn. However, the fastest way to master power generation is via the use of intent.

e) The problem with learning how to use intent is that :-

i) Very few people are able to keep their focus long enough to do it.

ii) Most people either don’t believe it and refuse to devote enough time to learn it properly.

iii) Some people fall in love with the how of the method and end up intellectualizing it rather than actually practicing it.

 

I believe the reasons above are why I have yet to see any kids demonstrate internal power. In fact, most adult practitioners are actually demonstrating what should be properly known as external power.

There is nothing wrong with having external power so I don’t know why people are obsessed with calling it internal power when it is not. Doing so and being in denial will only cause one to miss out on what actual internal power is really about.

So how would I teach a kid how to generate internal power?

I wouldn’t. Not directly anyway. If I were to do so I would so a combination of methods :-

I) External method (physical)

a) Learn the simple Leung Yi Ma in-situ body turning to unify the rotation of the body

b) Expand the exercise to Leung Yi Bo to unify the body in stepping

c) Learn to generate whipping power by learning how to do Sao Chui

d) Increase heaviness of Sao Chui by using hand weights

e) Refine the rotating of the body to increase acceleration of striking arm

f) Test the power of the Sao Chui strike

II) Internal method (intent)

a) Train simple intent by using relatable examples

b) Fix the intent through lots of repetition

c) Test result of intent training by checking power through striking of pads

d) Integrate method of movements using intent into self-defense techniques

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BojiLite Module 2, Lesson 3

Power generation in Yum Chui originates from three sources :-

a) Push / pull piston-like motion of the arms

b) Rotation of the body

c) Thrust off the ground from the rear leg

 

The pictures below illustrates the process above :-

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Below is another view of the power generation process for Yum Chui :-

ConvergenceYumChui

When you practice the Yum Chui using pads or bags as mentioned in Boji-Lite Module 7 this process will become clearer so do not worry too much about it if it is not clear as this moment.

This is one of those things you have to do to understand rather than sit there and try to intellectually think through it.

If you have questions or feedback post them to the BojiLite Learning Group on Facebook.

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BojiLite Module 2, Lesson 2

An inch longer, an inch stronger” so goes the Pok Khek Kuen maxim.

In this lesson we explore the primary arm configuration for linear strikes.

To optimize our punching power we want to do three things :-

a) Line up the three major points in the arm

b) Twist / rotate the body

c) Stabilize and ground the body to minimize power leakage

In this short lesson we will just consider the configuration for (a) since we are covering basics.

M1Lesson2-Arm

To explore the arm configuration follow the procedures below :-

a) Hold a fist and straighten your arm as if punching

b) Straightened the arm until the three points of Shoulder, Elbow and Wrist are aligned in a straight line

c) Lock your elbow so that the arm cannot be bent

Try the above procedures a few times until you are familiar with it.

Got it?

Get a volunteer. Do a “before” and “after” test. Give the volunteer a punch “before” you learn the procedures above.

After you made a few attempts at learning or give yourself half an hour to go through it. Then try an “after” test and see how it goes.

As usual, post your feedback to the BojiLite Learning Group on Facebook. If you want comments on your peformance post a video of you attempting the test.

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