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 :-
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.
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.
Too often I see Tai Chi being taught in a manner that is devoid of its original roots as a combative art.
If you learn a form without understanding how the movements are used then your movements, the placements, the timing and so on will be out of whack. This in turn begins a vicious circle of learning useless movements. But why should it be like this?
I can’t answer for others but learning a technique should be accompanied by some explanation of its usage. In that way the learner can understand the importance of keeping correct distance, having the right positions, using leverage, maintaining a stance to have stability and so on.
Below is an example of learning the form on the first lesson :-