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 :-

Wealth is Health

Wealth is health. Regular practice of Tai Chi is good for you. It gives gentle massage, trains your ability to concentrate and if you are game, use the techniques to play push hands, treat it like a game of physical mahjong if you like. But no gambling OK?

Today with short attention span trying to play a long form can be daunting. The way we play the long form will easily take at least an hour to go through.

OK, for me I can easily finish it in 10 minutes and still keep the principles intact at that speed. This is because I know the form well enough.

But sometimes when I don’t have the time or the space guess what I do? That’s right, I just practice one technique repeatedly and that’s my Tai Chi practice.

Or alternatively play part of a sequence of the form (whether from long form or short form) and if your form has the key principles in it you still get the same type of workout you would get from doing the long form.

For example, in Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s 22 form there are, well, 22 techniques. I can play just a few movements from it repeatedly and get a good workout.

Instead of 22 movements I just shorten it to 8 movements for one round or 14 movements for a 2 rounds sequence.

One Round Sequence

1) Beginning Posture

2) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

3) Play Pipa

4) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

5) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

6) Cloud Hands

7) Single Whip

8) Abbreviated Closing

Two Rounds Sequence

1) Beginning Posture

2) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

3) Play Pipa

4) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

5) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

6) Cloud Hands

7) Single Whip

8) Left Wild Horse Parts Mane

9) Play Pipa

10) Repulse Monkey (left, right)

11) Grasp Sparrow’s Tail (left, right)

12) Cloud Hands

13) Single Whip

14) Abbreviated Closing

One round takes about 4 minutes, two rounds 8 minutes. If you play it 6 times you get about 24 minutes worth of exercise.

Note – I actually play the form a bit faster here so it won’t put the viewer to sleep. I also exaggerated some movements so that the flavor looks more interesting.

Otherwise, the form will look very boring as the external movements makes uninteresting viewing though to those practicing the form the exciting part is actually the feelings that are running through the entire body as the mind is playing out the practice script mentally, you know the internal feel ………..

Lockdown Learning 2b

Continuing from the previous post Lockdown Learning 2a here.

The 3rd sub-movement is explained below :-

The study begins by learning how to step out of the way. The first movement teaches out to step out of the way by using a triangle even as we are using our left hand to either gently guide (or forcefully parry in actual application) a linear strike out of the way.

A more detailed learning of this part would involve :-

a) How do we train our ability to accurately parry?

b) How do we parry with power when we need to?

c) When and how do we step to get out of the way of the attack?

In this section I mentioned the rationale for the name of the techinque aka Grasp Sparrow’s Tail. The concept bears close examination as it teaches us how to stick and neutralize. At this point this is something we can keep in view and not worry too much about the learning.

What is important however is to practice a technique in the way that we would actually use it. Only then is the practice of form useful and meaningful.

Finally, the concept of hidden kicks is mentioned. I highlighted this to bring the point across for our fussiness in learning how to control the vertical axis in the first post here.

Lockdown Learning 6

The last movement sequence to learn is Single Whip.

Below is an introduction to how to perform Single Whip :-

I have not tried to explain the more difficult cultivation of the 5 bows in Single Whip. Sometimes its best to keep things simple.

Single Whip contains the techniques of :-

a) Two handed uprooting pull

b) Grind and repel

c) Hold-detain and strike

I have not really discussed much about the two handed uprooting pull in the video. There are two ways we can do this. In the video I just showed one way.

The movement of grind and repel is more like a variation of Press. You use a 2-speed movement with gravitational drop to obtain a heavy grinding feel in the right arm movement.

Hold-detain and strike is what we normally view as the technique of Single Whip. The hook hand is the control hand, used to detain opponent’s arm and prevent it from trying to strike you. The left palm movement is shown here as a palm strike but it can be expressed as a palm cutting strike also.

Lockdown Learning 5

The last technique is Push.

I feel that Push is a mistranslation of the Chinese term An but that’s another story.

Here’s how to do Push :-

Push is often perceived as a double palm attack but it can well be a single palm attack.

Separating the hands comes before Push. This is a neutralizing movement and can be used whether on the opponent’s side gate or inside gate.

The hands after separation on the side gate can attach to the opponent’s arm to repel him. Alternatively, if on the inner gate you can attach the hands to the opponent’s crook of the arm. There you can jerk him off balance, followed by the double palm attack.

The energy of the double palm attack is like that of a pouncing tiger. To generate this power you must learn to coordinate the movement of the wrist-elbow-shoulder and waist-leg in the manner of a hammer hitting a nail.