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Begin your mastery with our 3-step approach to learning the art.

a) Our teaching commitment

i) Step 1 – We tell you what you are learning; why you are learning it and how to learn it

ii) Step 2 – We teach you how to practice the principles using our forms. We also show you applications to help you understand how to do the forms properly

iii) Step 3 – We use push hands to train you how to respond dynamically using the forms you have learned

 

b) Your learning commitment

i) Keep an open mind to learning

ii) Commit necessary time to daily practice

iii) Be persistent to succeed

 

c) Lesson format

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

ii) Conducted in English

iii) Teaching customized to learning ability of each student

 

We are located in the south-west region (Yew Tee) of Singapore. Lessons in the evenings week nights or whole day weekends.

Contact us today using the form below to take the first step towards your mastery of Tai Chi Chuan.

 

LogoBegin your journey to master Tai Chi by clicking here.

 

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Coordinate Hip-Fist

The stack of yellow chairs left in the void deck is proving to be useful again, this time to help me explain how to coordinate the hip movement to that of the fist.

The logic is simple – power comes from getting the body to move as one and also from being able to accelerate the joints internally using the 5-Count principle.

Here’s how not to do it :-

Okay, maybe my student is too tall for the chairs. That could affect his performance. Anyway, if the stack can’t get taller then one must go lower. Its just a coordination thing, not a combat exercise.

The right way to do it is by :-

a) Establish a base from which to tap the energy from the ground

b) Coordinate the movement of the joints

c) Pay attention to how the hip drives the fist

Video illustration :-

Finally, putting it together for a demo on how the power from hip-fist coordination looks like in a static demo :-

So that’s it – the key to coordinating the hip to the fist to generate power.

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Impermanence

Impermanence.

This is the fate that waits a living art. This is why I started taping some lessons to allow students to see better where they are lacking.

Some things you can see and some things you can’t. A video gives you a third party perspective of what you are doing.

I taped this fajing demo as part of a lesson. Even with explanation I noticed that some movements can’t be captured on video.

And even with explanation certain things are best felt rather than heard. This is why to learn Tai Chi you need to see it, hear it and feel it.

What can’t be seen clearly in how to neutralize the pressure by grounding it. You can only see the issuing movement. That’s like reading half the story.

Perhaps one day VR can be used to enhance distance learning. Until then treat our art as impermanent and pass it on to as many as possible to ensure its continuing existence.

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My Watermelon or Your Watermelon

We use push hands as a platform for training control. For this purpose we learn how to flow and use it to control our position.

In this respect, we can think of it as a game of your watermelon or mine where your opponent tries to take away your watermelon but you do not allow him to do so. You accomplish this by learning how to prevent your opponent from controlling your front gate by circling and flowing as per example shown below :-

Once you have the basic hang of it you can try implementing a principle made famous in Judo namely pull when pushed, push when pulled. Below is an example of how you can do it :-

Further along you can also test your ability to fajing quickly without going through elaborate set up and breathing patterns typically exemplified in fajing demos.

Our logic is simple – your opponent will not stand there and accept being fajing. He will fight back, he will turn, shift, resist and you have but a split second to fajing. Thus, you have to learn to do it on the fly or your fajing is not practical.

You should also test your defences by not fighting back but just holding your control. In the example below I allowed my student to see if he can get through. He tried to do so by moving faster but I adhered and rode along with his movement and was able to stop him from breaking through to grab my watermelon.

Another test we can do is to check the resiliency of our body structure. In the video below my student tried to move forward but was repelled.

There are a few reasons why this happened :-

a) His moving mass was not properly integrated

b) I have a structure that is resilient enough to absorb and bounce him without having to do anything other than to let him apply power and push himself off

c) He did not apply the principles of entering hence he ran into my defence

Finally, we should always keep in mind that how we move, where we put our limbs can be exploited by an astute opponent.

In the example above my student tried to enter but did not pay careful attention to where he placed his hand.

As a result, he got his hand caught in my arm and ended up locking himself. This is why keeping vigilance and awareness is important when doing push hands.

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Locks Training

When we do push hands training we do not just shove each other around. Instead, we strive for a semblance of techniques which can range from strikes to locks.

Below is an example of how we can apply a lock in push hands :-

We try not to learn too many locks at the same time. The preference is on working with one lock and examining its various facets. For example, in the clip below we flow into the lock under study after failing to apply an elbow lock :-

Another part involves studying how to overcome the opponent’s resistance through the use of breathing method. I normally do not have to use breathing method but it can be useful under some circumstances so why not?

The study of locks can help you to understand how to ramp up your power by relaxing. Sometimes you find that you are unable to exert power and you try to move more to get power, except you can’t move much without losing control of your opponent. So what do you do?

The video below shows you how you can increase power by letting go of your own muscular resistance :-

Other ways of getting power includes using a rotary motion similar to turning a wheel as shown below :-

It goes without saying that this rotary motion will only work if you apply the principles of leverage properly. This means you have to fix the fulcrum which in this case if your left hand and use the right arm to apply the lever.

Finally, an essential key to being able to apply a lock is familiarity with grabbing as shown below :-

How to grab can be a study by itself. You can focus on the following areas :-

a) How to place your hand in the position to get a firm grip

b) Where to position the fingers

c) How to bend and twist the hand into a locked position

d) Where to position the captured hand

e) How to apply pain and amplify it

There are a few other things you can focus on but the above are the areas we normally examine.

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24-Blocks

The SKD syllabus is expanding to include a mid-range repertoire of movements which is taught through a simple form. Below is one way to practice this form :-

This form has 24 blocking movements (I am using the term block loosely here) plus 3 attacks. As such, I call it the 24-Blocks form.

The 24-Blocks form is built on my insights, practice and research into the Southern Shaolin arts. The practice is focused on the following skills :-

a) Soft but heavy whole body power using classical power generation principle of Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink

b) Relaxed arms that can yield to pressure yet adhere to detect openings

c) Use of change to control a position

The 24-Blocks form will be offered to students who are in SKD Level 2.

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Facebook Learning Playlists

I’ve been organizing the learning videos on Facebook page “Learn Tai Chi in Singapore” into playlists by Topic and Date.

This will serve three purposes :-

a) Ease of reference for my students to track their own progress and learning

b) They can also check out what other students are learning

c) It will allow me to evaluate their performance and learning

Together we will make progress in passing the art from one generation to the next. This will ensure that the art is passed on as a living art and not an art based on claims of history, lineage and style.

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The Secret

When Sun Lutang was lying on his deathbed his daughter asked him the secret to master his style and was told “Practice”.

Life is unpredictable and I will use today’s technology to leave videos for my students to help accelerate their learning. They should not have to ask me one day what the secret is when I am waiting for the Grim Reaper. If my students still have to ask me then I would have been a selfish teacher and unworthy to be their guide.

A living art involves 1-to-1 transmission. This means not just telling you what to do but guide you by teaching and providing the feeling.

Some parts of what we do will not be on video for various reasons. These are the parts the student must remember in his mind.

For example, at the end of today’s 9 videos on learning how to apply Wild Horse Parts Mane we have an additional teaching to amplify and broaden what was learned in the videos.

What I teach in these parts of the lesson is unique to the student. Of course, I hope that everyone will get exactly the same information but this is not possible since no one is exactly the same.

However, everyone learns the same principles and most of the techniques. When students view the videos they will know this is the truth. This is the least I can do in terms of transmitting the art if we are fated to have a relationship.

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