About Mushin

Wing Chun researcher and teacher.

Beginning Wu

Open. Close.

In our style of Tai Chi we call the Wu (Hao) style long form Kai-He (Open-Close) because its main training theme is the principle of how to open and close the body to generate power.

Our form is from Hao Weizhen who taught it to Li Xiangyuan who in turn passed it to Dong Yingchieh who then made it part of his family’s style of Tai Chi Chuan.

Below are two drawings depicting the Open and Close concept from Hao Shaoru’s book on Wu style Tai Chi. Hao is the third generation lineage holder of Wu style. His father Hao Yueru is the son of Hao Weizhen.

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Wu (Hao) style trains a different set of characteristics from Yang style. So when we first learn Wu (Hao) we should pay more attention to the differences so that we can bring out their outstanding flavor.

After learning Yang style it is natural to gravitate towards a Yang-centric flavor as demonstrated by my student on his first lesson in Wu (Hao) style.

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But after developing a foundation over years it is also easier to tweak his posture and made it more Wu (Hao)-centric after a few tries as seen below :-

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You can compare his posture to that of Liu Jishun who is the adopted son and disciple of Hao Shaoru below :-

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Learning something new is never easy when it can be diametrically opposite of what one is used to. A bigger posture to a compact posture with internalized movements can be a challenge but at least my student can now understand why this form is sometimes known as hard style Tai Chi.

Yes, you read it right. Kai-He is our version of a “hard” style Tai Chi. After training for a while my student felt stiff. This is normal for beginners who have not learned to seek internal relaxation within a “stiff” structure.

I used the term “stiff” here within the context of mechanical engineering. This is because our version of “stiff” is not so much a tensed body but more like a body tightened like a highly strung bow. This specialized training is what enables us to send-off our push hands partner on contact.

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Despite having a high, small stance we must still develop a strong root through the use of intent. By adjusting our body we can then prime the 5 bows and keep tweaking them until we can generate the forces of Peng, Lu, Ji, An as desired.

The Wu (Hao) form represents a significant shift in paradigm for those used to Yang style type of flavored movements. With sufficient practice I am sure students will grow to love this alternate approach to applying the principles of the Tai Chi Classics.

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Mind the Push

Slowly, mindfully does it. This is how we train Tai Chi in general rather than wave hands, look graceful devoid of intent, qualia and biomechanics.

Here is how one student does Push with deep awareness :-

Overall, it looked acceptable but to us being acceptable is not good enough. What we want is compliance to the principles of the Tai Chi Classics that enables us to have health, fajing abilities and control of our body so that we can apply the techniques.

To achieve this we must stringently and rigorously work towards compliance. How to do so? By making sure that each time we move we do so in accordance to prescribed steps as shown below :-

It goes without saying that part of learning how to rectify problems goes hand-in-hand with knowing what the possible problems are. Some problem areas identified are discussed below :-

Tai Chi is a multi-layered art so there are many layers of refinement that we go through to get there, very much like how a katana is created by folding it many, many times.

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Everyday Kung Fu

Today when we learn kung fu its not uncommon for punching pads to be trotted out. And if we are in a gym there would be even more toys to play with.

Yet, traditional kung fu took some inspiration from everyday life. In this way, a normal everyday move becomes a movement for training Gung Lik.

A versatile movement is one which allows you to extract more usefulness or skills from it. In push hands using the palm to vertically slam the chest is not out of place.

As such, in the absence of a striking bag to train power and condition our palm all is not lost. We can milk the posture White Crane Spreads Wings for another skill we can train as shown below :-

When not trained well the technique looks powered by arm movement. But add in the right ingredients and you can use gravity, compression and whipping to train heavy, fast strikes. Below is an example of how this is done :-

The details for training the general principles of moving the body is already in the form. Its just a matter of getting it right. Below I touched on what my student did not get correct :-

After you know what you are supposed to do you can train the small details without having to lift up your arm. You can do this in public and no one will be the wiser.

If you feel like putting your arm up just like what is shown here you can also do so in plain sight. This is how I managed to train my Tai Chi a lot even when I don’t appear to be training – by using an everyday movement to do so right in front of everyone.

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Sample BojiLite Corrective Video 3

The main topic of this video is the quality of the parries demonstrated by members of the Facebook BojiLite Learning Group.

In a nutshell – they lack the short and sharp quality that brings with it a shocking power when the parry slams into the opponent’s arm.

But then hold on, what if the opponent throws a fast jab. Can you still use the parries?

Good question – there is a secondary lesson here which I will reveal to members in the future about this point.

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Sample BojiLite Corrective Video 2

The second video is on the disease of going for a powerful but slower Yum Chui.

This internal-like habit is prevalent among those who have learned Tai Chi before. It is not a good habit to have. Granted, it might look nice in a public demonstration, vowing those who don’t understand what combat is about.

However, in combat if you can’t get your strike in quickly when the opponent is in your sight then chances are you will not be able to hit him. This video is meant to eradicate unnecessary punching movements in favor of a lean, minimal, straight to the point movement.

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Sample BojiLite Corrective Video 1

I have uploaded a few videos to the BojiLite Learning Group on Facebook.

These videos are mainly aimed at correcting common problems which I have observed in members’ practice. I have uploaded three of these videos to share to this blog.

The first video in on how to perform the first punch, Yum Chui, properly.

A very common problem is to punch in an unbalanced manner, resulting in lopsided energy, loopy, even flaccid-like flicking punches. A good Bojiquan punch should not be like this.

Instead, the Yum Chui should fly like an arrow released from a high strung bow. The power should be mighty and penetrating. This video highlights a key factor which is lacking in member’s Yum Chui.

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Anatomy of a Fajing

Here’s a fajing demo I did to explain something about something :-

Watch the demo and listen to the sounds. Noticed anything about the fajing demo?

Yes? No?

Take a look at another example from a different Tai Chi style :-

The fajing is powerful too. But noticed that the mechanism employed is different? This is what we term the back leg thrusting fajing model.

Its too bad I didn’t managed to tape whole body as I just propped the phone on a chair and ended up with half body. But all is not lost. By using screen capture of the video we can also get a better idea of what is happening. You’ll have to click on the picture to get the full view

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After you have a look or a few more looks then I will give some comments.

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