The Attached Mind

I just glance at the topic of a Youtube video “Israeli Study of Natural Immunity vs Vaccine” and my immediate thought was natural immunity earns big Pharma nothing but vaccine brings billions and opportunities to earn more in other ways.

This also reminds me of those Tai Chi masters who would sell you that secret Qigong packaged training, that secret meditation practice, the secret small frame fajing form, that secret this, that secret that.

Why can’t they sell you one form that teaches you how to use the techniques, how to push hands, how to fajing, how to meditate and so on?

Cause you earn more by breaking the knowledge up and selling them. That’s why.

Its more exciting for the consumer, I mean student, to know that there is a secret spinal whip, chakra fire or is it water qigong (or maybe call it tummo to sound more exotic, nah that’s Tibetan), tree hugging, tree rooting, bricks hanging from the balls methods that they can salivate after. The more money they pay the more they buy into the secret and defend it even they found out that they have been conned. That’s the psychology of the victim.

Telling a student that he’s got it is a downer. Whatdaya mean I got it? Already? Where? Like a horse he needs a carrot dangled in front of him to chase after cause the fun is in the chase rather than the getting there.

That’s why in big classes they need a common identify, to reinforce the brainwashing cause you know cultish behaviour leads to loyalty even if contrary hard evidence is presented. This is a kind of attachment, a reason why Tai Chi is difficult to learn. You have to let go of your attachment to resistance if you want to be able to flow like water. To be attached means the opponent’s pressure will cause your mind to be stuck and your body to freeze.

That’s why Tai Chi is easy to learn, difficult to master as you have to deprogram your habitual, instinctive reaction to mental and physical stimuli.

Restarting Teaching

This week I restarted teaching Tai Chi. I am taking this one student at a time. I have lost track of time but I am guessing that its at least a year since the last lesson.

This time I changed my teaching approach in that I aim to get a student moving first before finetuning his movements. To do this I held back some details. Its not something I would do in the past but it certainly made it easier to teach a bit faster.

It was all I could do to stop myself from saying more. I kept to straight forward corrections like remember to stretch out the fingers, point the thumb up, thumb touch the center and index point forward to apex, grab-hold-bring to waist level, secure as if pressing a big ball while squeezing a small ball, etc.

Despite the cut down in the number of details it was still not easy for the new student to remember every step in the process. Sometimes its the little things that are easy to forget. The mind just keep forgetting. But never mind, we will just keep at it until all the details fall into place.

Sometimes it is better to just enjoy the learning and keep at the practice rather than to rush it. As long as the student practices regularly while keeping the steps and details in mind he should get it.

A Practice A Day

There is an old saying that an apple a day keeps the doctor away.

However, I think a Tai Chi practice a day is better. This is because Tai Chi is not just an exercise for the body but for the mind too.

We say that if there is no intent then there is no Tai Chi. If you just stand there and breath then there is nothing different between what a normal person does and what you, a Tai Chi practitioner, does.

When we stand we are not standing we are activating our mind. In our mind we formulate a connection between heaven and earth. This is not some mystical shit for the New Age groupies.

Instead, it is a method to open up the body without moving visibly. The key phrase is “WITHOUT MOVING VISIBLY”. There is movement but its subtle, like a gentle ripple on the pond surface. You can’t really see it but you can feel it.

If you do it you will feel your spine lengthening as if it is reaching upwards towards the sky, hence connecting to heaven. You will also feel as if your feet is merging with the ground, developing roots that dissolve into an endless bottom, as if you are standing on quicksand.

With this connection set up then you can move into the preparatory posture with two feet apart. But you do not move without a reason. You have to use your intent to command your body to move in a specific manner so that you have an integrating between inside and outside, internal and external.

In this way when you stand in preparatory posture the way you stand is different from the way a normal person stands. You will also be standing in a manner that is not the same as the average Tai Chi practitioner.

This is only the beginning. You next have to use intent to configure the inside of your body. You don’t try to relax, you don’t try to control your breathing. This is where we approach the practice differently.

You don’t try to relax because we practice a specific method to bring about a state of minimizing the use of strength. This in turn will allow you to relax. This type of relaxation creates a state of pliant tension such that the body is like an inflated ball sans the attempts we see sometimes to be like a ball by splaying the elbows sideways.

This relaxation method is based on using the mind to tell the body to do something and this something brings about the relaxation. You don’t have to try to relax. Just doing the principle will bring about the relaxation.

We also don’t try to breathe in and out to bring about the relaxation. Doing this can cause the mind to be attached when we want to detach the mind, to allow it to quiet down, so that we can listen and feel how our body is responding to the series of commands that our mind will issue it to perform the subsequent movements.

The carrying out of the procedures to create the Ancient Bell Body will open up your body from within such that you can feel as if you are hollow inside like an actual bell.

The Bell Body will magnify the ballooning of your body like an inflated ball without having to make posture physically. This is a more natural approach. This is also why we say this is a true internal approach because you can’t see it.

We can also conceal the feeling of this internal opening of the body. When necessary we can demonstrate by letting another party feel how this opening of the body allows us to channel an external pressure into the ground without having to move the body a lot.

After the creation of the Ancient Bell Body then you can proceed to start going through the other movements of the form. You have to be careful not to lose the Ancient Bell Body. It has to be kept intact throughout the performance of the entire form.

The Ancient Bell Body is the foundation for freeing up your old habits so that you can tap and use the power that is already inherent in you.

Yes, you read correctly. We don’t have to acquire internal power, we merely have to remove the obstacles that is stopping us from being able to use what we already have all along.

Unless Newton’s Laws of Motion and Classical Mechanics do not apply to you then you already have internal power. Its just a matter of unlocking it.

Power issue aside, practicing Tai Chi daily with the Ancient Bell Body is beneficial for your health. For one it makes for good posture by opening up your joints. This is something that you will understand once you feel it.

The second point is that Tai Chi practice somehow energizes the body. This is why it is good to practice it in the morning and if possible, do it also in the evening.

Spiciness & Internal

Is your Tai Chi internal?

I doubt you would find anyone who would say their Tai Chi is not internal unless they know they are just doing the exercise version.

However, what does being internal mean? This is not an easy topic to tackle.

Let’s look at it another way, something that all of us can understand. If you don’t you can always find out easily.

Take the Ghost chilli pepper. Is it spicy? Definitely.

How about Carolina Reaper chilli pepper? It is spicy too.

What about a more normal chilli? For example, the Shishito pepper from Japan. It is spicy too to those that can’t take heat.

All the above peppers are spicy but that doesn’t tell us much until you put one in your mouth.

If you take a bite from a Shishito pepper you would go ah, not too bad. Then you bite into a Carolina Reaper, and find yourself practically jumping out of your seat and reach for water (actually you should reach for milk).

Then after this when you put a Ghost pepper in your mouth it would also feel spicy but not as bad as when you bit into the Carolina Reaper.

Taste is subjective. So is the ability to take heat. So what is spicy to one person may not be to another person.

As such, we can end up with arguments of this pepper is spicy and this is not. Its just like the way we argue about this Tai Chi being internal and another Tai Chi is not.

Except in the case of pepper we have an objective way to define the heat level. This is where the Scoville scale comes in to measure the concentration of capsaicin and record it in SHU units (Scoville Heat Units).

By using the Scoville scale it would be difficult for someone to argue that the Ghost Pepper (1,041,427 SHU) is more spicy than the Carolina Reaper Pepper (1,569,300 SHU).

We would also know where the Shishito Pepper (50-200 SHU) stands in terms of heat in relation to the other two peppers.

Now wouldn’t it be nice if we can develop something like the Scoville scale to define where a particular Tai Chi system lies on a scale from most external to most internal.

The problem with this scale is that everyone wants to argue that their approach is internal without being able to assign a specific and clear definition to what this means. It would be even better if there is a scientific approach to it.

Again, when we look at how science defines the Scoville scale they didn’t just leave it up to a board of tasters to define what is spicy and how spicy is each type of pepper.

Instead, they used a scientific approach to answering this question. This resuled in the Scoville Organoleptic Test in which a tester would extract the capsaicin oil from a dried pepper.

This extract is diluted with sugar water to the point where the heat can no longer be tasted by a panel of professional taste testers. How much dilution is required to get here would determine how many Scoville units is assigned to the tested pepper.

We can borrow an idea from this test by checking a number of factors. One of them would be how much movement is visible or better still, can be measured (whether by sensors or by a high speed camera) of a power generation process that is impacting a shock force on a consistent object (or person) that is giving a constant amount of resistance (or an amount of resistance that is proportional to the weight, height and muscle strength) of the person being tested.

That there are a lot of politics within Tai Chi not to mention the size of egos and money involved means that an independent means of determining what internal means will never be developed.

Shock vs Vibration

I remember reading about vibrating palm a long time ago.

The thing about terminology is that the person using it may not understand what the term really means.

Neither does the average reader like me. So I went on thinking that vibrating palm is like a super duper powerful strike.

A decade, maybe two or three, I have a better understanding of what the term vibration and by extension vibrating means as it relates to rotating machinery.

This is where I realized that those who called their palm strike by the name vibrating palm may not understand what vibration is about and as such has given a meaningless term to what they do.

There’s a study here on the impact on the wrist from playing different sports. Unfortunately, there’s nothing on the impact of striking though catching a ball would be closer to what impact would be like from striking. The author concluded that the three worst events are :-

i) Throwing a baseball
ii) Catching a football
iii) Hitting a volleyball

Of the three it looks to me that the football catch and volleyball hit would be the closest to what impact on the wrist would be like if you are punching with a fist as the motion affects the z-axis.

By comparison, the baseball throw sees the wrist moving more over three axes and is more like what a hand slap / relaxed palm strike would be like.

The author concluded that :-

a) The level of vibration affecting the wrist is low. Extrapolating this conclusion onto a vibrating strike by referencing baseball, football and volleyball I suspect that the term vibrating strike would be a misnomer!

b) Sports that are more damaging on the wrist are those that tend to cause the bones and ligaments to absorb a sudden high level of shock.

If this is true then I would think that the relaxed palm strike aka vibrating palm is actually generating shock force rather than vibration. If you study how the body moves when going through the motions of a powerful palm strike you are likely to see the entire body move in a sinuous manner, a movement pattern that allows acceleration to build up before suddenly dumping the accumulated force into a target in the form of a shock energy.

This is why the energy of a palm strike is sometimes compared to that of a wave motion. This being the case a vibrating palm should properly be termed a shock palm.

Dictionary Form

Open up a dictionary. Or even use an online dictionary.

Look for a word, any word. For example, APPLE.

You get a definition of what APPLE is which is that apple is a round fruit with firm, white flesh, skin of green, red or yellow.

Then you are given context in which the word APPLE can be used. For example, peeling an APPLE, plucking from APPLE tree, making APPLE pie.

You are also given examples of how the word APPLE is used in sentences. For example, he took a bite from the apple. Or an apple fell on Newton’s head and enlightened him to the existence of gravity.

The Wing Chun SNT form is sometimes referred to as a dictionary form. So as a dictionary form we would expect to find defined techniques, the context in which the technique is used and example of how it is applied.

For example, Fak Sau is a strike with the blade of the palm (definition). The context in which it can be used is as a chopping attack to the throat. In terms of usage we can parry the opponent’s punch as we sit back and turn the body, followed by which we quickly sit forward and whisk our palm to strike the throat.

As a dictionary form we have thus learn Fak Sau in the following manner :-

a) What is Fak Sau? How does the movement go? What is the body mechanics of the arm movement when our body is kept facing squarely, allowing us to study the movement of the arm in isolation.

b) What is body turning? Why do we turn the body? What are the biomechanical actions? How much should we turn the body? How does turning the body assist in executing the Fak Sau technique?

c) Why do we sit back and then forward? What stances are used here? What are the body mechanics? How does shifting the stance add to power generation?

So when you consider the above you can see why the Siu Nim Tao (or Siu Lin Tao in some Wing Chun styles) is a dictionary form. In the modern variant factors (b) and (c) have been eliminated. Instead, factors (b) and (c) are studied in Chum Kiu and Biu Jee but not in as clear a manner as when they are delineated within Siu Nim Tao.

When factors (a) to (c) are studied within Siu Nim Tao students can then go on to Chum Kiu and Biu Jee and examine the key lessons of each form instead of trying to seek that which is supposed to be in Siu Nim Tao in the first place but revised out.

I would say revising the form to a shorter version is not necessarily a bad thing. But when this shorter version is not taught with an understanding of how to use a shorter form then a lot of things will get lost in the transition from longer to shorter form.

So the basics learned in Siu Nim Tao are then practiced in Chum Kiu. As designed there are no new techniques in Chum Kiu that have not been learned in Siu Nim Tao. What is found in Chum Kiu are but the techniques of Siu Nim Tao rearranged to teach the application of the principle of seeking bridge as a fighting strategy.

By comparison, learners of the modern versions of Chum Kiu will now be learning how to step, turn body and seek the bridge. They are only given short samples of how to apply some of the techniques of Siu Nim Tao to carry out the strategy.

When you consider the prevalent learning in this limited manner it is not surprising that modern Wing Chun practitioners can learn an entire spectrum of techniques at the Siu Nim Tao level but when they try to apply what they learn in Chi Sau they are only able to use very few techniques instead of using all the techniques as they should. If Wing Chun is a smartly designed art it would have gotten rid of techniques that are not practical or hardly used. But that is not the case though in practice this seems to be it. That students or even teachers fail to see this learning logic is ironic.

At this point we are only considering the basics that should be learned. We have not considered that Wing Chun in the older variants also teach case studies relating to the application of techniques. An example would be how to apply the techniques to counter an opponent using locks.

On another level, the students are also taught to refine they way they move, the way they apply the techniques and so on. The practice of the weapons is meant to enhance and change the way the body is structured and mobilized. In today’s learning of the weapons these “it” factors are missing. They also happen to be indicators as to whether a person has learned the weapons properly.

The Wing Chun system is designed to be learned in a certain way. When practiced following the road map you should acquire certain body characteristics that allows you to apply the techniques in line with the strategy, principles and power generation methods of the system.

Being Relevant

At a certain time in one’s teaching career or even in one’s personal practice an important question will surface. The question is do you maintain, that is keep the status quo or do you evolve, change with the times. Or perhaps have a bit of both.

A traditionalist will insist on the status quo, keep everything unchanged. That’s admirable, however, such thinking ignores the fact that no system existed unchanged from Day 1 in the first place. If anything, every system started from the seed of an idea, an experience, a need which over time the compiled, tested, and consolidated knowledge was organized to become a system.

Even then chances are this system did not become encased in stone, unchanged intact as it was. To claim that this is so ignores the fact that it is impossible to learn everything that a teacher passed down or even if it is possible, to learn it with the same understanding and this is true even within the same family over several generations. This is due to the fact that each person’s intelligence, physical attributes and life experience will differ. You can approximate a similar level of understanding but never an exact understanding. Well, maybe if you have a clone of yourself this might be possible.

Because of this a system will change. Whether for better or worse is a different question. Take for example, an art that is steeped in tradition – Hung Gar. Can you say that the art has remained unchanged? From what I read the famous Wong Fei Hung added in the Tiger Crane form. Wong taught a number of disciples, one of the most famous is Lam Sai Wing. I read that Lam added in more knowledge to the system and also changed the basic stance. Despite changing the transmitted knowledge Lam’s version of Hung Gar is widely disseminated.

So whether changes are a bad thing or a good thing would depend on how we look at it. I think one question we can ask is whether the changes can help a student learn better and learn faster. I mean what good is tradition if you get stuck in the knowledge and take too long a time to master it. I am not saying that you can master an art without spending time to practice. You can’t. But it is not uncommon to see practitioners spend a long time with a system and end up still not getting it. Then we have to ask whether this is due to lack of practice or a problem with the teaching.

Sometimes a system has to change whether it wants to or not. Every system is a by-product of the founder’s need to address a problem. For example, if arts such as ground grappling, handguns or knives were common back then in China perhaps the system of say, Wing Chun, that we see today will look different, feel different and have techniques that are different. A “traditional” Wing Chun practitioner may argue that facing an opponent squarely is best but I wonder if this opinion will still hold once he faces an attacker with a live blade. Similarly, no Wing Chun practitioner today, or at least, those in their right mind would fight an MMA fighter facing squarely because that is a surefire recipe to be taken down to the ground.

So arts can evolve. When a famous master does it we praise him for being enlightened and forward looking. But when a student adapts it to his needs he is condemned instead. The message here is that every practitioner who wants to be able to use his chosen art would look to those techniques and principles that can work for him given his limitations, time and place. Certain principles are the same or similar regardless of style, system or the times that we live in. But others are relatable to the situation at hand.

For example, when you are faced with an attacker slashing and thrusting a knife at you facing him squarely is suicidal because you just gave him a huge area to attack. If you get a Wing Chun practitioner telling you that this is not true then ask him to try it against a 1-year FMA practitioner and see the outcome. It is common to be blinded to our own weaknesses because we have never see how the picture is from the other side. This is why every art has its strong points and weaknesses that makes it workable against certain type of attacks but not to others. Understanding what you lack or not seeing is what elevates your ability to use your art if you ever need it.

Bizarrely This Way Wing Chun Comes

Bizarre. But its more like cult-like behaviour.

I am talking about some of the posts on Facebook forums that I come across nowadays.

Bruce Lee inspired many to take up martial arts particularly Wing Chun. That’s a good thing.

Donnie Yen’s Ip Man movie series spurred the current interest in Wing Chun after interest in it became dormant in the wake of the rise of MMA.

The Ip Man movie series led to renewed interest in Bruce Lee since the character of Bruce Lee appeared in the last two movies in the series (if I remember correctly).

The generation that took up Wing Chun after the popularity of Bruce Lee exploded had their feet solidly on the ground when it came to training.

Maybe its because in those days there was no internet. There was scarce information then on Wing Chun. If you wanted to know more you either had to look for a teacher or read about it in magazines. Later came the instructional videos. Most of the information out there was on the Ip Man style Wing Chun which becamse synonymous with Wing Chun.

Today its different. The rise of the internet, video sharing particularly Youtube led to an explosion of information across the world.

If you had told me 20 years ago that one day you would have Wing Chun practitioners in India and Africa I would turn my eyebrow up. But today you find ardent practitioners and even teachers in India and Africa.

In the late 90s the world discovered that Ip Man Wing Chun wasn’t the only Wing Chun style out there. This was true not only in Hong Kong but more so in China which at that time we didn’t hear much about the Wing Chun scene.

I heard that some of Ip Man’s disciples had gone to China to visit the styles there but if they did they kept mum about it. I can only guess why they did so. Maybe it rocked their worldview of the art or maybe it threatened their dominance as the source of learning. Who knows.

Then one day we discovered that the approach to training Wing Chun is more diverse than we thought. Because teachers of such styles weren’t promintent outside of China their schools didn’t spread widely even in China much less to the outside world.

The Ip Man movie then hit the screen and a new generation discovered Wing Chun. But this time there was a funny problem.

The Ip Man movie fictionalized some aspects of Ip Man’s life to make it interesting to viewers. The subsequent movies in the series continued blurring the lines, turning Ip Man into a demi-god, superhuman, martial arts master.

I can see the impact of this semi-fictionalizing the life of Ip Man in how students today perceive Ip Man. Instead of a normal, hardworking, intelligent but flawed human being the grandmaster is worshipped as a deity. Many couldn’t even tell that some of the things depicted on the screen was pure fiction. For example, the scene where Ip Man fought many Karate practitioners. That never happened.

Along with Ip Man I find that Bruce Lee is also worshipped along the same lines. This is funny behaviour considering that Bruce Lee was about finding his truth in the combative arts, seeking to liberate instead of shackling one to tradition and truths that are not.

So if you are still hanging on to Bruce Lee’s every word, immortalizing it in stone, then you have not really learned anything. Instead, you are caught in a cultish behaviour, something that Bruce Lee warned about.

If you have looked into the life and practice of Ip Man you would also find a similar outlook. The difference is that Bruce Lee by not mastering a style to begin with had to look at other styles to master functional skills. On the other hand, Ip Man, being a master of Wing Chun looked within the style to liberate himself.

I suspect this is how Ip Man came to find himself using Wing Chun differently from his contemporaries in China. If you examine the other Wing Chun styles or even the style that Ip Man learned from you would find all these styles employ the use of snake hand to train the softness of the wrist-hand for use in close combat. Ip Man bucked the trend by discarding this practice from his Siu Nim Tao form and you won’t find this movement at all in the first form of any of his disciples.

We can see the remnant of the snake hand practice in the Biu Jee form where it is greatly simplified. Even then then the importance of this practice was not emphasized hence the crop of explanations (or should I say funny explanations) out there for this movement.

In the context of Wing Chun as a close quarter combat art this is puzzling. However, when we consider that Ip Man used his art as a long range kicking style then suddenly the lack of emphasis that he placed on the snake hand practice makes sense.

The learning of Wing Chun, or any other art, is meant to free you instead of imprisoning you in a mental trap whether of your own making or that of the school you joined.

The Wing Chun style like many traditional Chinese Martial Arts is designed in a certain way to teach skills. To master this skill you have to understand the core concepts and principles, what they mean, how to train them, and how they allow you to progress in your learning, shaping and reshaping your movements until you move in a manner displaying the characteristics of the style as laid out in the principles.

For example, the way you move at the Siu Nim Tao level should be different from the way you do at the Biu Jee level. Why? By the time you reach the butterfly knives level and have undergone its training the way you move will change once again.

This is how you can tell if a “master” has really mastered the butterfly knives or he is just going through the motions. One reason why it is rare to see today’s master demonstrating this type of understanding is because I suspect they have not examined carefully how the Wing Chun system is set up to teach the skills.

If you want to break free of your mental cell you should re-examine your learning, study the concepts and principles all over again, and drop the cult worship of Ip Man. Respect him as a giant of the art but not pray to him blindly as you would to a wooden deity tablet. Then you may be able to break out of your current boundary and see Wing Chun in an entirely different light.

As you can see there are no links in this post asking you to sign up for a training program or buy an eBook. I write this because within these few years Wing Chun has transformed into the MacDonald’s of the CMA world. Its mass popularity will soon obscure and eradicate in time that which is essential to that which is pushed by whichever popular master salesman is at the moment whether in line with the transmitted concepts and principles or not. If you really want to learn Wing Chun properly don’t get caught up by cult masters and other cultish truths no matter how convincing they are. Do you own independent checking and verification of what you are learning before you get trapped inside and can no longer get out because you have invested too much time and money in building your own prison.

Pieces of the Puzzle

A training sequence or kata or taolu seems like a linear sequence of movements. This is a simplified understanding of what it is.

In SKD the training sequence no. 1 is designed more like a puzzle palace in that what you see is not necessarily what you get. You learn the sequences. Then you learn how to decode them to extract the information that you are supposed to get.

Caveat – extracting the information requires you to practice until the movements are habitual, instinctive and flowing. When you reach here some of things you are supposed to learn will come out by themselves especially if you couple your learning with partner practice.

If we were to lay out everything we want a student to learn then he will end up with tons of drills to remember and this can be self defeating if the goal is to liberate him rather than enslave him. The question is how to learn less but end up with more instead of remembering a lot to learn less.

Nowadays when we go to supermarket and buy a chicken we are not given the intestines and internal parts, much less the curdled blood. However, in the days of past my mother would slaughter a chicken, keep the blood, curdle it to go with soup or porridge, then clean the intestines which is delicious deep fried or braised. Even the butt is eaten. Nothing is wasted.

In the SKD training sequence nothing is wasted. From the opening salute to the closing salute there is something to be learned. So when a students skips the salute part he is missing out on something.

In the salute part we put in the learning of the footwork pattern. There is the obvious stepping pattern. There is also the hidden pattern.

The obvious pattern is the side step, the step back and the lateral step. The pattern that is hidden is the step forward pattern and this is derived from the last three sequences. The logic here is that if you can’t get to the side position then you can’t step forward to continue your attack.

This begs the question – if we can side step how do we defend and attack with the hands. This is found in the fourth part where we work the Yum Chui, Chao Chui and Sao Chui if we want to use a long range aggressive response. We can continue the attacks using these three strikes or add in the movements from the three arm swinging drills from the second part.

If the preference is for a more sneaky, small frame movement type of response then the third part is where we should look. In this part we have finger thrust to the throat and groin slaps. The follow up here will be the 6-movements from the second part.

Everything learned from the first part to the fourth part is then used within the fifth and sixth parts.

The seventh part is where we can integrate our study of Kali into SKD. That’s one purpose. There is a secondary study that is hidden here. This study is an expansion of the use of Charp Chui as well as leading into the study of other things.

The Training of 6-Blocks

6-Blocks or technically Mid Range 6-Blocks is our SKD beginners training for learning how to use the hand to control the space in front of us. We also have a Long Range 6-Blocks and a Short Range 6-Blocks.

I call it 6-Blocks rather than some fancy, long name because its easy to pronounce and easy to remember. When used properly the blocks can be a hard block or a soft block. It all depends on the objective.

The 6-Blocks is a shortcut way to learn how to define a doorway, the doors and how the doors move in the manner of a swinging door panel. This is based on the traditional CMA principle of hands acting as swinging doors. We define the space so that we know where to position and mobilize our hands to when defending and attacking.

The movement of the 6-Blocks is designed such that it teaches us how to move circularly from Point A to Point B in line with the 6 directions of movement when defending.

In the beginning we learn to define the alignment of the arm in relation to the body. When necessary we can use a stick as a training aid to understand this principle. We strive to move exactly so that in time to come when our movement fall short or over extend we know how to quickly adjust ourselves to correct the problem.

Once we understand each of the six movements we learn to move them in keeping with the principle of up-down, in-out and left-right. We first learn to move using less strength so that we can flow by adjusting the brakes and accelerator in the course of moving.

With familiarity we can learn to move very quickly. We can also move out of sequence, to respond as required.

After the soft phase of movement we then learn the hard phase of movement. This is when we learn how to use the blocks as attacks. To be hard requires the ability to accelerate your movements from a low velocity to a high velocity and suddenly applying the brakes to stop the movement cold, producing a concentrated momentum force. Internal stylists require to this type of movement as fajing.

We can extend the solo training to learn about movements 7 to 9 which extends the basic usage of the 6-Blocks. We also learn how to block and punch whether by punching with the same blocking hand or with the other hand. We should also practice 6-blocks with stepping.

To learn how to apply the 6-blocks we then engage in partner training. We can start off by using the 6-blocks to do slower paced push hands and graduate to fast paced push hands. After this phase we can then attempt to use 6-blocks more freely, with or without contact.