About Mushin

Wing Chun researcher and teacher.

The First Step-1

Too often I see Tai Chi being taught in a manner that is devoid of its original roots as a combative art.

If you learn a form without understanding how the movements are used then your movements, the placements, the timing and so on will be out of whack. This in turn begins a vicious circle of learning useless movements. But why should it be like this?

I can’t answer for others but learning a technique should be accompanied by some explanation of its usage. In that way the learner can understand the importance of keeping correct distance, having the right positions, using leverage, maintaining a stance to have stability and so on.

Below is an example of learning the form on the first lesson :-

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Seeing with Touch

I sometimes wonder why I can visualize and map out certain things in the mind when doing push hands.

Now I have an interesting answer why this can be so – we can “see” with our sense of touch!!!

Discovering Point Mass

I first came across the book The Body Builders by Adam Piore some time back but I didn’t buy it. However, when I came across it again a second time I took a closer look and this time I bought it.

The chapter that made me buy the book is the very first chapter “The Bionic Man Who Builds Bionic People”. I mean who can resist reading this chapter particularly when I grew up with the television series The Six Million Dollar Man, a series running from 1974 to 1978 about, yes you guessed it, a bionic man.

However, there was a deeper motivation for me to read the story of Hugh Herr, the MIT Professor, who is a real life bionic man. Aside from being interesting and giving hope to the disabled there are a number of Tai Chi-related concepts in the chapter.

One particular concept, the point mass, describes :-

This approach worked because, like a single spring, the force of a limb could be compressed to varying degrees: ………… the total amount of weight converging from different parts of the body and exerting downward or outward force on a single point in space. In physics this is called a “point mass”

This “point mass” is the key to how we can generate explosive force in our Yang style with minimal outer movement.

One of my FB friends thought I had heavy arms because of huge forearms but I don’t have big forearms. Instead, what I have is the ability to concentrate and focus my body mass onto a single point of contact which I now learned is termed “point mass”.

We use the form to train how to use “point mass”. The training is much more than just gathering together your mass onto a point in space. There is a second more important part that we teach in the form.

As previously we did not have a scientific concept to explain it this secondary part sounds like a bit of mumbo jumbo. Now I know it is not. It is solid science which with the right concepts can be easily categorized and explained. Anyway, this is a separate issue.

Below is a talk by Hugh Herr on bionics. As with the book there are Tai Chi-related information here.

A second talk is even more interesting. Would we see augmented Tai Chi players in the future? Or even Tai Chi cyborgs?

Use Your Mind-4

And finally, a power that you can train from the Beginning Posture of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s 22-form.

It is the use of the intent to release the Small Qi Sphere into space and have it return to your hand in the next instant.

This helps you to let the power out of your body quickly and with less expenditure of effort.

Use Your Mind-3

This fajing trick demonstrates the feeling you will get when you first feel the distinct separation of mind and body.

If you can make this intent work you will understand what it means to bring the power to the fingertips.

Use Your Mind-2

If there is a difficult student to fool with tricks it would be PL. Why do I say this?

I said this because he is a scientist in the field of neuroscience. If anyone is qualified to know about the workings of the brain he is.

But here I am fooling him again with another trick of the mind. It is a variation of the trick I used in the video in the earlier post Use Your Mind-1.

The trick is to isolate the working of the mind from the body, sort of establishing a master-slave connection, to borrow a computer hardware terminology.

Once you can separate the working of the mind from the body then your intent to perform a movement will be clearly defined. At this point you can perform this trick.

Use Your Mind-1

Whenever I see a video that claims to show internal power all I see are biomechanics. To me internal is about using intent, not just overt biomechanics.

Fortunately, for many demonstrators the average viewer can’t see to see the biomechanics involved, be as obvious as they are to all but the blind or those who chose to believe and be blind.

Below is an example of what I mean by using intent :-

You might notice that I am standing in a stance. I stood this way to make a point to my student about taking the body structure out of the equation to isolate the intent.