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”.



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.




This is the fate that waits a living art. This is why I started taping some lessons to allow students to see better where they are lacking.

Some things you can see and some things you can’t. A video gives you a third party perspective of what you are doing.

I taped this fajing demo as part of a lesson. Even with explanation I noticed that some movements can’t be captured on video.

And even with explanation certain things are best felt rather than heard. This is why to learn Tai Chi you need to see it, hear it and feel it.

What can’t be seen clearly in how to neutralize the pressure by grounding it. You can only see the issuing movement. That’s like reading half the story.

Perhaps one day VR can be used to enhance distance learning. Until then treat our art as impermanent and pass it on to as many as possible to ensure its continuing existence.



The SKD syllabus is expanding to include a mid-range repertoire of movements which is taught through a simple form. Below is one way to practice this form :-

This form has 24 blocking movements (I am using the term block loosely here) plus 3 attacks. As such, I call it the 24-Blocks form.

The 24-Blocks form is built on my insights, practice and research into the Southern Shaolin arts. The practice is focused on the following skills :-

a) Soft but heavy whole body power using classical power generation principle of Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink

b) Relaxed arms that can yield to pressure yet adhere to detect openings

c) Use of change to control a position

The 24-Blocks form will be offered to students who are in SKD Level 2.


Single Whip Learning

Learning Tai Chi is fun. As for practice…….. yeah, it can be a bitch.

Here’s CG trying to implement what he learned about the 5 bows in Single Whip. He is working on one of the bows.

Looks kinda difficult to learn, right?

Difficult to learn, yes, but not impossible to master. Just gotta work on them details.

Below is my demo :-

Once you understand the 5 bows you can use the bows more flexibly. Below are some example :-

This example uses the bow of the striking hand to generate. Since the technique here is Push which uses two arms, we can then apply the lesson learned from the hook hand as well.

The video below shows the learning of the striking arm bow :-

When learning fajing do not overlook other important points because ultimately opponent is not going to stand there and take it. He will fight back. He will try to hit you.

So you better learn the technique side of Single Whip as well and not just become fixated with the fajing.


Rubber Power

The ability to visualize and feel is important to learn how to use Tai Chi as an internal art as shown below :-

Imagination without a sense of qualia, of feeling of what is in the mind as real is the secret here. The use of an imaginary rubber band is incidental and a convenient reference tool.


Musical Intention

CG learning how to use the Play Pipa application to learn about fajing.

As its his first attempt it is only natural that he moved more than necessary. But its a good attempt.

Below is example of how to do the Play Pipa fajing :-

The key point is where to put the intention so that you can minimize the effort and outer movements.