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.



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………..


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……..


BojiLite Drill 3

Our third drill is the Sao Chui drill which tests your mastery of in-situ body turning. This is because if you do not grasp the key principles of moving the body it would be difficult to execute the Sao Chui forcefully.

On top of this if you may find yourself losing balance if you try to perform Sao Chui with power and speed particularly when stepping in the Leung Yi Bo.

The Sao Chui is our knockout punch due to its forcefulness. When I first learned it I didn’t like it because I thought a circular strike would leave me exposed to a straight punch. But then I saw how Master Leong did it and it intrigued me.

So I put aside some time to investigate and play with it more over the years and here is the result of my learning to share with those who are interested in Pok Khek Kuen.


BojiLite Drill 2

This is actually the third BojiLite strike, Chau Chui, but I number it as the second drill because it is easier to perform than Sao Chui in terms of power.

As with the Yum Chui every move must be expressed clearly. Outwardly, it seems like we are training how to strike but there is more to it than meets the eye.

A drill that only trains one thing at a time is not a very good drill because then we would need a lot of drills to train different things. It is much more efficient to have a drill that can train several things even if some of the things we are training is not clear at first.

On the other hand, to have a complex drill to train several things can be counter-productive because it makes the learning more difficult. In Chinese martial arts drills can be designed to look as if they are teaching one thing when they are actually teaching several things.

Usually, these non-obvious things that a simple drill teaches will only be revealed once the beginner can perform the drills to meet basic requirements. In this way, learn more by training less.