Dim View of Dim Mak

Is Dim Mak for real?

None of my Tai Chi teachers ever talked of dim mak. Does this mean its not real?

I once got the opportunity to meet George Dillman, that Karate chap who was at the forefront of the movement to popularize dim mak, but he didn’t turn up. As it turned out he was not even registered for stay at the hotel where we were supposed to meet.

Years later I found out that before our meeting Dillman had demonstrated to the Shaolin guys and they showed him up. Bummer.

The next time I saw dim mak for real was when Master Cheong Fook taught me the dim mak forms. He explained that it was more of a delayed death touch in that you strike at a certain point, cause a blood clot and tomorrow the opponent dies.

Except there is a little bit of a logic issue here. In the meantime, if the opponent is still moving does it not mean that he still has the opportunity to continue hitting you?

So unless you can hit the person so hard or in such a manner that you can KO him on the spot then dim mak wouldn’t be of much use. But then if you want to KO a person wouldn’t the time spent learning dim mak be better spent on perfecting say Mike Tyson’s devastating hook punch?

I mean there are a lot of videos of Iron Mike knocking his opponents out so there are tons of proof that it works. But I have not seen any master actually do it against someone who was actively fighting back. And best of all, you don’t have to remember what the points are, their names, points to hit in sequence, and time to hit what points.

Master Cheong was famous for his fighting ability. However, it wasn’t for his ability to use dim mak even though he was giving me a demonstration of how it would work. No, he didn’t knocked me out. He just showed that there is an actual logic to it by demonstrating that if a certain point was touched it would affect another part of the body, kinda like if you depress a water hose on one end the flow on the other end would be slower.

If dim mak is that effective why have we not seen masters of dim mak get into a ring to show that it can work on a resisting opponent? Or maybe its a case of it would only work on a believing, complying dummy.

Master Lo Man Kam, the nephew of Ip Man, once explained why dim mak would not work. He said that its one thing to hit a particular spot on a non moving arm and another to hit it on a moving arm.

In the meantime, I would give a benefit of a doubt, a wee bit to those who say it can work, but I am not holding my breath waiting for a convincing demo against a resisting opponent.

P.S. – I wrote this after reading the account of someone who recently attended a dim mak seminar by a famous master. The cronies tried to work the dim mak magic on the attendee but it didn’t affect him. Maybe they need to brainwash him first………

The Killing Gung

I think my student has not expected the recent hard training.

Up, down, up down he wielded the mighty pole trying to nail the basics. One, two, one, two. Spear, slam, spear, slam.

Training to acquire power through pole training is basically persistence and prolonged training in mastering the basics. Whether we do a 1-2 or 1-2-3 sequence does not matter. Just keep on working at it.

Get the sequence down, familiarize with it, when the basics look set, refine it, repeat basics + corrections, nail them, refine again. Again and again.

Its still not bad yet as he is still using a light white wax pole. Using a wooden pole will be more tiring. Still its nothing as compared to using a 9-foot pole much later.

Basic familiarity. Basic process. Basic biomechanics. Add the small details. Find the spiral motions. Find the right timing for triggering sudden acceleration and sudden braking to create shock on impact.

As with the weapon, so it is with the body. The pole biomechanics transfer across to use of empty hand techniques. Basic techniques like straight punch is transformed with the body integration and gearing coordination of the entire body movement. Shoulder stroke becomes so much more forceful.



I woke up with this label stuck in my mind. To get this off my mind I wrote something earlier this morning on Facebook but by evening the label is still stuck in my mind. So I shall write a post here to exorcise it from my mind.

Why POLErobics?

Well, if you look at the video below this should be obvious.

By association this is a practice using the pole. If you keep moving and moving, faster and faster, non-stop, over and over, the speed and intensity of the movements will work your lungs and before you know it you will be grasping for breath.

The aerobics part is not obvious in this video because he is only moving at medium speed. Once he is familiar with the sequence he will be able to go faster. At that time the aerobics in this practice will come to the fore, and then we will be able to clearly see how pole + aerobics = POLErobics.

The pole is the first weapon I learned from my first Tai Chi teacher, hence it is my favorite weapon. However, this sequence here is not from him.

Instead, this sequence is from my Ngok Gar Kuen teacher, the late Grandmaster Cheong Fook, whom I consider to be my best teacher on the long pole. GM Cheong said that it is important to drill this sequence daily.

After years of playing with this sequence it is my opinion that the ability to apply the long pole hinges on the mastery of these three techniques that we term Arrow Pole, Killing Pole and Flinging Pole. Of the three movements I feel that Killing Pole is the most important with Flinging Pole coming second and Arrow Pole last.

Grandmaster Cheong Fook teaching the Arrow Pole

I taught my student this sequence to help him develop the skill of using the long pole form from my first Tai Chi teacher. In addition, this sequence can help to master certain key principles from the Tai Chi Classics which in turn can be applied to the practice of push hands.

Power Training 6

Most of the time we cannot relax because we are mentally tense. It requires the know how to make you relax mentally.

When you can relax mentally fajing is easy as shown :-

If you cannot then we make tricks to make you relax and let your tension go :-

After learning to relax and focus then its time to test if the requirements hold when we do fajing quickly :-

Power Training 5

True internal power is not just using the rear foot to push off the ground to generate power. Instead, true internal power is tapping the power from the ground and running it through the body before exiting the striking hand into opponent’s body.

The video below illustrates this principle :-

Close up of the internal process (if you can’t see it its because its “internal” get it?) :-

Internal training involves feeling carefully what is happening inside the body. Just externally moving the body is not internal. Moving the power through the nine crooked pearls is true internal power.