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.



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.



A New Beginning

I have not written about Tai Chi for a while as I’ve been having fun sharing information and tips on the practice of the basics of Pok Khek Kuen at the BojiLite Study Group on Facebook.

Most online groups tend to be top heavy with lurkers but on our group we weed out the lurkers. So those who remain are members who sincerely and actually want to learn something instead of just taking part in gossips and meaningless arguments. Our group may be small but we have meaningful participation.

I think for me the rewarding part of theĀ BojiLite Study Group is see members actually make progress in their learning. It may be slow but it is sure. The basics look easy but members know after they try that it is not easy. There is more to it and the knowledge will reveal itself as they soldier on in their practice.

That theĀ BojiLite Study Group is making progress makes me wonder if such an approach will work for Tai Chi as well. I am thinking of making a condensed training program based on the form outlined in my eBook TaijiKinesis Vol 2 : Learning the Taijiquan Form.

Anyway, just an idea for now………..



Sixth Lesson is Up

Finally, I have written the Sixth Lesson of the 7-Brief Lessons.



Of Rootedness & Power

I am writing to my friend to answer his question about how to cultivate power and rootedness using non-standing posture methods.

I might as well write a general post on it since a lot of readers would be interested to know too.

To start off with I would say that :-

a) If you ask the wrong question, you get the wrong answer

b) If you make the wrong assumption, you travel the wrong path

c) Ignorance can impede your progress, so make sure you arm yourself with knowledge

d) Find a baseline to compare your practice to. Adjust and change the baseline when necessary

e) Keep your mind open to possibilities, including those that you know nothing about, never heard of before or beyond your current understanding

The first thing I want to address is can standing posture teach you how to generate power. I will say this – standing perfectly still will not allow you to generate power. Even when we use intent we still need to move, even if the movement is very little.

I once read a story of a Yiquan master who stood in a standing posture for three years to train the ability to mentally pull a tree in the distance to his hands and push it back. Some may point to this as evidence that standing posture teaches fajing.

I would say no, this is missing the point. The standing still is to teach you to calm your mind to the point where you can feel your body, and by forcing you to stand still to reduce the amount of unnecessary movements you are making.

It is only when you reach a state of calmness and elimination of unnnecessary movement that you are able to use intent to move your body in a different, more optimal manner. So you see you still need to move your body.

The form route basically uses the same method but approaching it from another direction. We keep training the movements using intent, moving from gross to fine, big to medium to small, until by compliance to the principles we are moving optimally.

But as I mentioned in another post today it is very difficult to teach kids to generate power by the use of standing postures. It is just as difficult to teach kids using forms.

Actually, to cultivate power it is not important which method you want to use. When I teach Tai Chi to students I would tell them not to focus on power but rare is the student who would actually listen because they think of fajing ability as a magic pill that would bestow martial invincibility on them. Actually, this is not true.

Good fighting skills are reliant on the person and his technical abilities. If a person’s heart is not in it he will still lose a fight. So will a fighter without good skills but the right heart. To be a winner one should have a good balance of personal and technical abilities.

As personal abilities are subjective we normally do not go into them. It is easier to discuss technical abilities as these are more objective.

The question of power and rootedness need not be the same, yet they can be.

Consider this – if you run fast and throw yourself at another person you will have power but will you have rootedness?

Similarly, if you sink really low into your stance you will have strong root but would this lead to stronger fajing ability?

My conclusion is that a balance of both would work best. I suspect this is why a lot of internal systems use small frame characteristics because it would allow them sufficient rootedness with minimal compromise on fajing ability.

So back to the question of how to use non-standing posture method to train power and rootedness. My views as follows :-

a) Basic rootedness – use the Pok Khek basic posture. The basic procedures are listed here.

They are necessary but not sufficient if you want to have a more internal way to do it. You may find it hard to believe but if you get the basic posture right you will have instant rootedness.

The problem why this does not work for most people is because they do not diligently follow the instructions nor try out as many times as necessary to get it.

b) However, nobody stands still in a fight. You need to move, and move while keeping your balance even as you are under attack or returning fire.

This is where you need to train yourself to move. In Pok Khek Kuen we learn how to move by learning the Leung Yi Bo.

There are a few other ways to move, however, the Leung Yi Bo teaches a basic, essential principle that we use in combat. So if you don’t get this principle then your ability to apply the techniques properly will be compromised.

c) The basic posture when applied to the Leung Yi Ma posture lay the foundation for a posture that will allow you to generate power in different ways.

The best part about the above is that in as little as 6 months you can generate decent power………… but only if you actually put in the training. Reading about it, fantasizing about it, intellectualizing about it is useless and for keyboard warriors.