Basic Stance Formation

Here’s another Tai Chi essential that is part of our SKD training that I covered in our Zoom online training on 11 Jul 2020.

I’ve talked about traceability in the past. In this instance when we do the salute we are not just doing a greeting.

In the salute there are a few things to learn including how to form a basic high horse stance with attendant structural arch.
This arch forms the two leg bows which provide the foundation for the type of power found in Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Tai Chi. In SKD I teach this concept as foundation habit.

With a proper leg structure we can move with proper upper body and lower body coordination, with good structural efficiency and economy of motion while keeping the body primed to generate power when required.

SKD Training Session 1

This morning we had the SKD online training on Zoom. I wanted to cover 3 topics but ended up covering only 1 topic.

Why this is so is because of our preferred method of teaching. Basically, there two ways to teach :-

a) Mass training – this way of teaching is more on getting everyone to do drills and having a fun time. If they really get it then its a bonus. If not, keep practicing

b) Focused training – this way is more for the serious, adult learner who knows what he is looking for. Its slower paced and the training is just as cerebral as it is physical.

In SKD we go for focused training. Its tougher to learn this way but you know exactly how to do it, why you are doing it and how you can use it.

Due to the massive amount of details it is not something you can latch onto right away. You still have to do your own training which is why we only have the training every two weeks to give you the time to practice.

To get the most out of the learning each participant should test their setup first. They should ensure that their entire body can be seen and give allowance for the ground in front to be captured in the frame as well. This allows me to check their stepping. I would recommend to use a webcam and a tripod to get the best angle.

The topic that I ended up covering today is the SKD salute. The salute is divided into three parts – opening movement, salute and closing. I had planned to run the class for 60 minutes but ended up doing it for 80 minutes and covering just the opening and salute.

Embedded in the SKD salute are the key principles that define the characteristics of Chinese martial art, at least the way I learned it from a few teachers.

From practicing the SKD salute we learned about efficiency of movement, the embedded possible applications, technique changes, setting up the body to generate power, etc. All this can be realized once the elements are adhered to and eventually put into play in subsequent practices.

The use of intent from understanding what we are doing can push us along the progress curve. Participants have seen for themselves that it is easy to just move the limbs but not so easy to move the limbs in a very precise and defined manner. This is why authentic Chinese martial arts can be said to be easy to learn but a bitch to train.

I missed out on recording the first half hour. However, I managed to record the last 53 minutes and have uploaded the video to the Slack workspace for The Tai Chi Solo Player.

The next training will be on 28 Jun 2020 at 8 am Singapore time. The full schedule is listed here.

SKD Online Training Begins

The SKD online training will be conducted via Zoom.

It begins this Sunday (14 Jun 2020) at Singapore time 8 am.

Participants will work on the key basics of :-

a) What is a proper posture

b) How to turn and rotate quickly and with power

c) How to step while maintaining the basics of (a) and (b)

Also covered is how to use the SKD salute to develop important essentials :-

a) How to train awareness and concentration

b) How to coordinate movements for combat intent

c) How to chamber and load power into the striking arm

d) How to develop the ability to step and change direction quickly

e) How to move between positions

5 Jun 2020 Update

Added more SKD training videos to the Slack The Tai Chi Solo Player workspace.

This round of videos includes how to train the well known principle of Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink to generate power by studying the first four movements of 24-blocks.

Below is the last few movements from 24-blocks :-

When training Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink to use for power generation our consideration is not just power only. Instead, we need to address the question of whether we can apply it fast enough against a constantly moving opponent.

For this reason we need to examine the issue closely as explained below :-

Ultimately, we need to seek a balance of power, speed and function in order to render the techniques of 24-blocks practical.

Update 2 Jun 2020

Shot some videos today. Though its been over a year since the SKD online training started I decided to revisit some old topics.

The most important are of course :-

a) Basic posture

b) Insitu body turning

These two exercises are important because with the proper configuration you can move quickly while delivering powerful and accurate strikes.

I did three videos, one for each force model. The lesson that I wanted to get across this time is how to do the two distinct rotations of the Chau Chui. These two rotations enable us deliver power in the Gwa Chui and Chau Chui, one after another in a quick manner.

I did one video on how to do the revamped 6-blocks. I also showed how to add on additional blocks to create the 7-blocks, 8-blocks and 9-blocks sequences.

Managed to trim some of the videos for uploading soon to the Slack app for The Tai Chi Solo Player.

Update 30 May 2020

Today is the last day of the month. Next week the lockdown will be over and its back to work, kind of anyway.

I’ve spent the last 12 days working on the Sam Kuen Do (SKD) manual and updating the learning syllabus. Right now we are at version 2.0. By next week we will move on to version 3.0. The challenge is how to learn more without having to have to learn too many things (expansive yet compact).

SKD version 3.0 brings some new learning areas such as :-

a) 3 different methods for generating power using the lower body

b) How to use (a) while stepping using Leung Yi Bo

c) Improved ways to learn the three basic force models

d) Incorporating (c) into the corresponding three strikes

e) Revamped 6-blocks and variations (7-blocks, 8-blocks, 9-blocks)

f) New strikes – linking three floating palms and linking two chopping strikes

Working on SKD has helped me to reorganize the teaching of the 8-step Health Form. I have not posted any videos to learn it step-by-step because when I tried making videos then I found out that what I took for granted, how I learned it, is not that easy to put across in self-learning videos. In fact, it could be confusing.

One example is from the topic of the 2 4 points. In Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s original pictures from his book on the 22-form the points are not even labelled – see below :-

In my post here (pictures also reproduced below) I labelled where the 2-point and 4-point is for ease of reference. But as you can see below the 2-point is the same whether the leading leg is the right leg or left leg and this can be confusing.

After deliberation I have come up with a simpler way to do this. For the purpose of learning the 8-step Health Form and for the teaching of how to step in SKD (yes, I am going to use this teaching tool in SKD also) we will just follow a straight forward, clear cut convention as shown below :-

So that’s the update. Now back to work on the SKD manual.

Daily Defense

This is a tool which I feel has potential to be a self defense weapon for ladies.

It can work well with SKD’s basic 6-Blocks and strikes. Something to keep in mind if you are on the lookout for a tool to protect yourself.

I know you can call the police but they do take the time to get there by which time its all over. Remember – your safety is in your hands.

First Day Blues

11 Apr 2019 was Day 1 of the SKD Challenge No. 2 which will run for three months.

The objective this time is to learn how to move between 6 blocks in a soft and flowing manner. Six movements do not sound like a lot but if you are not familiar with it then its a case of first day blues such as experienced by SKD member, M.

As with the Challenge No. 1 we will track members’ progress to see how they are getting on. M has performed admirably in Challenge No. 1 on the Yum Chui and even managed to make another breakthrough on Day 100. Kudos. M is made for SKD.

So the standard that I would like all SKD members to reach is as shown below :-

The end objective is to use the sequence to learn how to use the six blocks freely while defending and attacking whether with contact or without. Below is an example of how Yum Chui and other strikes can be integrated into the flow of the 6-blocks :-

Join the SKD Slack training group here.

Internal Not

Yesterday was the 100th day of our SKD Challenge No. 1 for 2019. The entire challenge was focused on getting the first strike, Yum Chui, correct.

As a system SKD does not have to pretend to be an internal art. What purpose would this serve? Instead, we focus on getting movements and applications correct.

For example, a sub-component of Yum Chui is the pulling of one hand back as the other hand moves out in a strike. This movement is simple to do once you get it.

One important lesson that can be learned from the pulling movement is how to neutralize an opponent’s power by diverting it. Below is a clip showing member from Malaysia learning SKD :-

When you can do the pulling properly you can make the movement very small until its barely perceptible. You can then use it to neutralize on one side and issue on the other; the exact same principle of how to do the strike in Yum Chui.

The minimizing of movements to neutralize and issue once it is used in a “Tai Chi”-like context can make it seem internal but its not. If anything, it is just two distinct external movements refined to the point of seeming like one movement. No Chi, no breathing, no meridian circulation, no mumbo jumbo, just plain ole precise movements.