A Day of Lessons

Another day, another lesson with another student.

Step-up, parry and punch was the focus of learning today. Actually, any movement could be used but this stood out so we went with it.

First lesson – don’t be a hook for me to hang on to. If you let me hang on to you then you end up resisting and waste strength trying to carry my weight. This is a symptom of incorrect setting up of one of the key structures of the body.

Second lesson – go with my strength. If you stop resisting you will go with my strength. By going with my strength you can then borrow it.

Third lesson – make big movement. When you are learning its better to make a big movement than a small movement otherwise you will not know how to use the natural curves inherent in the motions of the human body.

Fourth lesson – know your space and defend it. If you do not defend your space you end up chasing my hands. When all your troops (hands) are out in the battlefield who then is defending your home turf?

Fifth lesson – every part of your body must work together. If you twist too much you become like a length of pipe that is twisted and pulled too much, resulting in water leaking – this causes your windows to open up and you know what they say about flies when you open the windows in summer.



Experiment in Transmission

Interesting experiment. No new info here but its good to see this experiment to vividly illustrate the loss of information within a chain of “transmission”.

Moral – If you do not learn an art carefully the entire art can change even within a few short generations!

More so, when instructors teach assistant instructors who in turn teach senior students who are in turn tasked to teach junior students. This is why if a teacher wants to really transmit an art he would teach personally rather than rely on an intermediary instructor.

Now you know why the quality of Tai Chi that is taught in a group class is largely of poor quality.

I won’t even need to mention the other point here is that any master or school who claims to have unbroken, unchanged teaching all the way from the founder is either delusional or a liar!



TaiChiLite is my vision for an improved way to learn Tai Chi in a shorter time frame to gain the following benefits :-

a) Health through proper alignment, structure and balance

b) The learning of (a) will go side-by-side with understanding how the movements are used so that the limbs, body, timing, angles, etc can be properly performed. No more useless waving of hands, meaningless relaxation and breathing patterns, etc.

c) Gain a functional hands-on grasp of biomechanics without having to study physics, understand formulas, read through useless theories or listen to some wannabe master give lengthy lectures on the topic that cannot be translated to functional skills

d) Train the mind by learning to use intent to control movements and use techniques properly via the application of strategies

e) Be able to apply limited power (fajing) on the spot after learning and going through the movements a few times. You still won’t be able to use it in a free-for-all but at least you won’t have to learn Tai Chi for years before you can do it. No tricks here, just hacking physics, intent and biomechanics to unlock this capability that you already have in you


The above sounds idealistic, right but its not. Its a result of my learning, researching and teaching of Tai Chi particularly my curiosity as to why students who have background in Chinese martial arts seem to have a hard time learning Tai Chi forms. Was it because the forms were too complex, or its my teaching that is overly detailed.

For example, some readers may consider what is covered in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 : Learning the Taijiquan form as complicated. However, my actual teachings is easily twice if not three times more complex.

After much thinking, reflection and analysis I have devised another way to teach the basic Yang style 108 form. However, the big question is whether it will work. As they say if you don’t try, you don’t know.

The good news is I have tried and the results are much better than anticipated. Is this because of the method of teaching alone or also due to the student is a good question. I should say half half.

In the past trying to teach the sequence of Ward-off, Rollback, Press and Push is a killer. Now I actually get to see decent results within a short time. In one lesson I taught Press to a student. The result still holds after one week.

Today I taught Push with demonstrable fajing. Let’s see if the result will hold next week. The student is also able to grasp the logic of flow from one movement to the next. The ability to change from Ward-off to Rollback and retain the requirements to neutralize and apply power remains after 2 weeks.

TaiChiLite looks like the way to go as a method of transmitting traditional principles using updated teaching methods to enable the learning of more with less.



The Future

I designed the BojiLite training such that it can not only be learned online but actually yield good results.

So far the results are promising. However, this week the most surprising result comes from a member, S, who tried teaching it to his daughter.

S posted a picture of his daughter in the Leung Yi Ma posture. The picture is reproduced below. I have blurred her face and the background to protect her privacy.


When I saw the picture I couldn’t believe it. The daughter’s posture is correct. By comparison the last video posted by S 10 days ago showed that his posture needed work as it was off.

So how is it that S’s posture is off but the daughter’s is spot on?

I could only make a guess and say that S’s background in other arts has an impact on his learning of the Leung Yi Ma posture. By comparison, the daughter has not learned long enough of any art to be influenced by any particular body posture and hence can pick it up easier, more so when the Leung Yi Ma is a posture that is natural.

How good is her posture? I have drawn in a line to show that her body-hip-rear leg alignment is spot-on. I have also put my picture by the side for comparison.

Kids really are the future. Now I really feel old.



Tradition True & Untrue

I read this article today and have some thoughts on it as follows.

An innovative approach may not necessarily be a repudiation of the past and thus a threat to tradition. It may actually be a rediscovery of what is true and reveal tradition as preserved to be false.

However, some masters refuse, perhaps as an issue of face, to face up to the fact that they do not have a monopoly on the truth. In such instances, instead of preserving a true tradition they actually make a mockery of it and does injustice to students by passing off a distorted tradition as being unchanged and thus worthy of transmission when nothing could be further from the truth.

Thus, when a master claims his style to be unchanged I would recommend to thank him and quickly walk away because no style remains unchanged no matter what the master says.

Principles can be immutable but the expressions and characteristics that define a style will change because no two persons are alike. For example, I used to learn from a master whom many lauded as being recognized as so and so an authority but not many know that his ability at a certain practice that underlies his style is bad and even his own teacher said so. That being the case his transmission has already veered off the path.

No one likes to hear anything bad about the style that they go with. But then when one gains little from the practice it is one who pays the price. So if you value your time and money pay heed to the warning signs and sometimes you may want to listen to your rational mind rather than your emotional mind.

When necessary, do not hesitate to kill Buddha on the road when you see him. That or remain a prisoner of your own making.



Slow & Steady

It is not my intent to write this post. Instead, I wanted to reorganize my blog by removing the folders eBook and MyWingChun and creating a TaiChiLite folder.

Then I saw Paul’s comment to my comment to his latest BojiLite training video practicing the Yum Chui. I advised him to go slow in his practice. Interestingly, I also advised another student learning Tai Chi this morning to go slow also. So what the heck, let’s make a post about it.

Slow – when learning anything go slow. The priority is to get the steps correct instead of rushing to complete it.

When you go slow you have more time to see and feel what you are doing. If you go too fast you miss out on a lot of things, more so if the art is filled with fine details that cannot be readily sussed out, at least not with a lot of practice, research and investigation.

Steady – you should move at a steady rather than erratic pace. A steady pace enables your body to coordinate better in the early stages of learning, particularly during changes that involve turning and twisting.

As Lao Tzu wrote :-

To know harmony is called constancy
To know constancy is called clarity

Chapter 55 : Purity of the New-Born
Tao Teh Ching

Mastery will come when your hands are enlightened with the clarify of a mirror that only reflects what is before it in the present. So go slow and steady in your learning.



Paul’s Journey


The year 2014 was the first time I actually met Paul in the flesh after knowing him for 8 years. I tried to teach him a bit of Tai Chi but the results weren’t good. Too little time and an art too complex.

The next we met was 2017. Unfortunately, nothing much has changed and Paul was still the Paul of 2014 in the Tai Chi department. Despite having some practice Paul’s hands and posture were still large uneducated. Watching back the clips taken of our meeting such as the one below confirmed this :-

This state of affair clearly could not go on. If Tai Chi is the wrong fit for Paul then its time to find an art that Paul can learn in a hurry. No more long years of practicing an abstract form that has a low percentage of mastery.

Thus, was born the BojiLite Learning Program to see if I could help Paul to make some headway by hook or by crook. The objective is simple – learn, practice and master some functional basics of Chinese martial arts. For this purpose I decided to go with Pok Khek Kuen which was taught by one of my Tai Chi teachers, Master Leong, within the art of Tai Chi Chuan that he had learned from Grandmaster Nip Chee Fei.

Pok Khek Kuen’s training is as simple as it can get. If any art can be taught easily enough it will be this art. After all, if practitioners back in Master Leong’s day could train for a few months and then go on to fight, and even win full contact tournaments, then I guess this would be a good choice. To increase the probability of mastery, I decided to teach only a small part of the art to test it out. No point to jump in with a full fledged system only to fail. Better a small success which can be built on.

In Pok Khek Kuen training we normally start with simple basics like how to turn and how to step. And we would work with only one stance until we get somewhere before we try to do any punching. In this way we give ourselves a chance to ingrain the proper biomechanics into our movements.

I wrote up the necessary information in the BojiLite folder on this website and set up the Facebook BojiLite Learning Group to disseminate the information and allow members to post videos of their training. They can view their own progress and work on any corrections that is necessary. From the start we would make this an active group. This means no lurkers and no trolls. Everyone participates or they would leave the group.

I made Paul the first member and got him started on his training. The first thing to learn is simply how to train in the same place and turn the body as shown below :-

So how did Paul do? His first video on 21 Feb 2018 :-

It was far from what we wanted but better small baby steps than none. Paul took the corrections and on 8 Mar 2018 posted a second video :-

What a big difference between the first and second video. This shows that what the heart desires and the body is willing to train then the results will come.

The second thing after learning how to turn the body is how to step. This is how we do our stepping :-

Paul initially posted a video of his stepping on 17 Feb 2018 :-

The method was completely off. It was suggested that he focused on the body turning first before doing the stepping. Paul came back and posted a video on 21 Feb 2018 :-

The second stepping video was much better but still could be improved. So back to the drawing board for Paul.

The next time Paul posted the third stepping video was also the second time he posted the body turning video seen above. This time the improvement is so much better :-

The next thing for Paul to learn is how to do the first punch, Yum Chui, using the body turning as shown below :-

Paul did a first attempt on the 4 Mar 2018 but it was way off :-

But now that Paul got his body turning correct his second attempt at Yum Chui should show some progress. I shall wait and see.