Why Emptiness

In today’s post I touched a bit on the training of emptiness.

The training of emptiness is actually simple and straightforward. But it can be maddeningly difficult to catch like trying to grasp water.

I guess this is where the fun of learning is. And when you get there it can be incredibly satisfying because you have something that most Tai Chi practitioners will never understand much less be able to acquire.

You will be able to have a glimmer of understanding why the first two generations of Yang family, Yang Luchan and Yang Chienhou, were said to have high level skill.

Clarity

This CB lockdown has one good thing going for me – time to practice in the morning before I start work at home.

For some reason, I think it is the way I have to focus on the tons of fine details that is embedded in the Tai Chi form as I move through it, that clears up the mind and help to perceive things more clearly.

Sometimes too clear a thinking is bad, cause I end up writing a post like “WTF” here.

Split Mountain Intent

In this new post here I give an example of the use of intent in Yang style Tai Chi training.

I also use a video of Grandmaster Wei Shuren demonstrating the power that can be cultivated from a sub-movement of the technique of Fair Lady Works Shuttles.

Hand Shapes Training

One topic that is not addressed enough in Tai Chi training is the use of hand shapes.

This topic is part and parcel of our training of Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Tai Chi.

In the training of 8-step Health Form I am addressing this topic here by explaining how to train the hand shape to issue power.

The video below is a demonstration of the use of the palm hand shape :-

Feel, Connect, Expand

A teaching emphasis this week is the use of the movement of turn body, left heel kick to learn about slow compression, sudden expansion to utilize fajing in the heel kick.

We start off by turning the body 180 degrees nice and gentle. Left arm closes in, right arm follows with the same.

Feel the movement, feel the timing, feel the body closing.

Now open up by expanding the body, feel the unity, the connection. Nice and easy. Do it slowly first to feel.

After a few tries its time to do it the way we usually do it. Turn body, close arms……………… now suddenly expand body, arms and away the left kick goes.

Is it correct?

Let’s do a test.

Both arms closing in. Slowing down. Partner puts each hand on each of trainee’s upper arm. Apply some pressure, hold the pressure constant.

On completion of arms closing, the trainee suddenly opens up both arms and kicks. If the arms opening are correct the power will be strong and send the partner off balance. If not, nothing much will happen. The trainee will struggle to knock the partner off.

Huajing & Fajing

Our Yang form trains subtle ways of huajing and fajing. You need to be able to control your movements to access them.

Huajing requires you to hold back, to control your movement. If you lack the control you end up resisting and you waste your strength. Worse still the opponent’s position is still intact and he can carry on attacking you.

A good huajing causes your oppponent’s strength to roll off smoothly with minimal, optimized movement. At the moment his strength is neutralized then your chance to attack is there.

When the opening is available then you must fajing quickly. If you take too long to set up your fajing then the opponent will have time to fight back. You need to practice doing fajing naturally so that you can eliminate movements you do not really need. Once you have deleted the excess movements you should be able to fajing quickly in the blink of an eye.

When you fajing you must take care not to push hard but to strike hard. A hard push is not necessarily a strong fajing. A hard, forceful strike is the result of a strong force impulse resulted in the focusing of concentrated power at the point of impact. Such a force is injurious even when it does not look powerful. This is what old timers call an internal strike.

So pay attention to your practice and the skills mentioned in the Tai Chi Classics will come alive in your hands.

Move Less to Move More

Learning how to use the intent to control the movement of the body takes a lot of effort. The question is how to have economy of motion while being able to generate a functional force.

To solve this problem requires an examination of key issues such as :-

a) Difference between pushing and rotating

b) Addressing the key components of structural alignment and connection

c) How to rapidly and efficiently deploy the power

This video shows the learning of the above and the effort required to do a lot internally while moving very little outwardly. This is how we define our “internal” approach to Tai Chi.