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!



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.


Kid Yourself Not

Slowly, ever so slowly my students begin to understand my point about not being caught up with fajing.

I think the message is hard to ignore when they get hit so many times despite trying to put up a fight when they play push hands.

Fajing is a tool and a tool has its use at the right time tackling the right problem. Fajing is not a universal tool that can tackle each and every problem.

Fajing is only useful when the opportunity is there to use it. Otherwise, it becomes a waste of energy to uselessly expand your strength on trying to use it.

If fajing is the only solution you need then why do all martial arts have techniques?

In fact, if you learn your techniques well you will find that firstly fajing is no big deal and secondly, if you don’t roll over and be a dummy the other person, master or otherwise, will have a hard time trying to fajing you.

Believe me or not, try it the next time someone tries to do a fajing demo on you. Don’t stupidly comply, or give passive resistance. Instead, react, actively resist, and so on and watch the epic fail.

Once you can put aside the thought of fajing as the solution to everything then you are on your way to learning a martial art properly.



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.



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.



Quick Way to Condition the Forearm for Sao Chui

Sao Chui can be a great strike in that if you hit a person in the head with it you will literally knock him down if not out.

However, before you actually try to hit someone with Sao Chui there is something you need to do first and that is to condition your forearm. If you don’t then you may hurt your own arm when you hit someone hard.

In Pok Khek Kuen training conditioning the forearm with an iron bar or barbell is a must. Alternatively, you could use a sledge hammer as shown below :-

A suitably weighted sledge hammer can do the job of conditioning your forearms nicely. Its probably cheaper than a barbell plus if you ever need to relieve stress you can use it to go pound a truck tire ……..



How to Generate Power in Sao Chui

A photo essay on generating power in Sao Chui :-


The source of the photo sequence is the first Sao Chui performed in the video BojiLite Drill 3 – see below :-

Though I have tried to explain the process using scientific terms, however, the learning of how to generate power Sao Chui is best accomplished by actually practicing. Make your share of mistakes and learn from them.

As the noted author Henry Petroski said in “To Engineer is Human” :-

He learned to make things that work by steadily improving upon things that did not work. He learned to learn from mistakes. My son, at eleven, had absorbed one of the principal lessons of engineering……..