Power Generation

On rumsoakedfist there is a link to “Essence of Combat Science” by Wang Xiangzhai as translated from Chinese by Andrzej Kalisz. Click here to go to the file.

Wang Xiangzhai wrote :-

In shi li there shouldn’t be partial, superficial force, especially there shouldn’t be unbalanced one directional force. You should observe if the whole body force is round, full or not, if it is possible issuing force at any moment, if there is feeling of mutual reaction between body and surrounding air. Intention shouldn’t be broken, spirit shouldn’t be dispersed. Light and heavy are ready to be used. If one moves, whole body follows it. Force should be unified, swift and solid at the same time, round and full. There shouldn’t be anything forgotten or lost on any side.

The above is good advice to keep in mind when practicing how to issue power.

In our Tai Chi tradition we have additional requirements such as :-

a) Have defined intent to control body movements

b) Align and tune the body internally to allow power to flow like a spring gushing out of the ground

c) Prime the 5 bows strongly to enable quick conversion of energy from potential to kinetic

An example of using these three requirements is shown below :-

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The First Step-3

I know some masters are reluctant to demonstrate power, claiming (whether true or not) that they are afraid of hurting the student. I wonder if this is true or they just want to hide the fact that they can’t do it well.

You can’t teach how to use a technique without showing how the power is applied or at the very least what it feels like to be tapped, even if lightly. This method of teaching is known as “feeding power” in traditional circles.

To me the concept of “feeding power” is just hands-on teaching. Nothing mysterious about it.

The First Step-2

Have you ever been taught by teachers who made it seem that fajing is something mysterious, that you need to learn some secret breathing method, knowing how meridians flow, etc in order to fajing?

You would probably be told that it takes years and maybe initiation into discipleship before the secrets can be taught. Guess what? You don’t need secrets, you don’t have to be a disciple and you don’t need years to learn how to fajing.

In fact, you just need to follow SOP (standard operating procedures) and you can do it. Of course, you can’t apply it freely but that’s just a matter of practice.

Once you keep your mind open and you follow SOP you can demonstrate the ability to fajing even on the first lesson. Below is an example taken on the first lesson :-

In fact, beginners who have not learned Tai Chi before can pick it up faster than a student who has experience. The reason is that a total newbie is not saddled by habits, prejudices, opinions and what have you that prevent them for learning properly.

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.

Shape & Intent

In our method of Yang style Tai Chi we use forms to utilize the intent to train how the body moves to apply techniques and generate power.

In this respect, we don’t go for showy movements, big movements, sudden jerking movements and so on. For us the objective is to fulfil the requirements of the Tai Chi Classics in form play, power generation, push hands and combat application. Then only we can say we are doing Tai Chi. Anything else is but self deception.

I did this short demo to show how we use certain procedures to get the intention to train a host of essential elements that is listed in the Tai Chi Classics to render the art what it is as defined in the old writings.

As an example, when we play form we must demonstrate :-

Step like a cat,
Move like a mountain;

One part moves, every part moves;
One part stops, every part stops;

Intent and body must be distinguished,
Yet move as one with clear separation

Of substantial and insubstantial
Yin within yang, yang within yin;

Concealing the power within
Like a ceaseless pounding wave

When we can truly express the principles then we can demonstrate how the intent is a critical element in the generation of power in Yang style.


In the clip above I can explaining how to do the Peng Jing of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Tai Chi method. The full clip can be viewed at my Facebook page “Learn Tai Chi in Singapore”.

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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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