The SKD syllabus is expanding to include a mid-range repertoire of movements which is taught through a simple form. Below is one way to practice this form :-

This form has 24 blocking movements (I am using the term block loosely here) plus 3 attacks. As such, I call it the 24-Blocks form.

The 24-Blocks form is built on my insights, practice and research into the Southern Shaolin arts. The practice is focused on the following skills :-

a) Soft but heavy whole body power using classical power generation principle of Swallow, Spit, Float, Sink

b) Relaxed arms that can yield to pressure yet adhere to detect openings

c) Use of change to control a position

The 24-Blocks form will be offered to students who are in SKD Level 2.



Minimizing Training Problems

I wrote this post after reading a posting from SKD learning group member, AY, today.

Apparently, he is hurting his thumb and feeling uncomfortable from rebound shock when striking a pad (thanks to Sir Isaac Newton’s 3rd Law of Motion).

As usual, the same problem he faces applies to my Tai Chi students also.

The root cause of most training problems can be attributed to :-

a) Weak foundation in basics

b) Overdoing a movement to compensate for a weakness

c) Misunderstanding the principles

What the above means :-

a) Each style is configured to work a certain way in line with the way the style is designed.

If your basics is not performed properly then you would not be able to work and apply the techniques in the way it is intended to.

In SKD the way we hold the thumb minimizes injury when striking not just the pad but when playing with a live opponent. I’ve had my share of painful reminders why the traditional way of placing the thumb does not work.

For example, when we train moving at a faster pace such as shown in the video below we can end up bumping our thumb accidentally against the training partner’s arm especially when we strike and he blocks. When this happens the impact will jar our thumb from its holding position and this hurts.

b) When you are not ready to do something and you try to do it and you can’t get the result you may try to force your way through. You might then get the result but there will be a cost.

As an example, if you hit a pad you should be using whole body, relaxed movement. However, you may find that it is difficult to punch harder yet be relaxed at the same time. Yet, you desperately want to punch harder even though you are not ready.

But what the hell, you go ahead and do it anyway, thinking you know better. Your enthusiasm and eagerness is re-paid with rebound shocks that can give you headaches cause not correct is not correct no matter how you cut it. More so if you are punching a pad that is tied in front of a solid, unyielding post.

c) Paying close attention to basics, principles and core requirements can reap positive dividends. If you rush through the learning you can end up misunderstanding vital information.

For example, in SKD we say that the basic linear strike is like releasing an arrow? Why do we say this? When you examine all the information out there you will start to understand why the analogy of an arrow in flight is appropriate.


Summary – when your basics are in place some of the things that look inaccessible when you first started will become doable.

For example, some will claim that it takes a decade of study to be able to do Tai Chi fajing. I don’t think this is true. If it is true it is due to a number of factors, some of which is due to the student and some due to the teacher.

However, if both parties are willing to work towards it then there is no reason why the ability to fajing cannot be achieved earlier. In the video below the student has only learned for 3 years and he is attaining slowly but surely the ability to fajing.

Even then this is not as impressive. Some other students can do it after a few months of learning. They might not be as impressive but they can do it.


Stupid is the New Smart

I was writing this for the SKD learning group but this can be applied to my other students so here it is.

I was thinking of why some students make good progress and some don’t. The ones that don’t make good progress typically over-think something. Instead of doing it they like to make theories.

And when they finally get around to doing it they do it wrong and then they wonder why they didn’t get it. They may think that knowledge is being withheld from them when the reason is so much more straightforward.

The ones that do make faster progress tends to do more than think too much. With doing they have feedback that can be used to make improvements and progress. Without the doing, without the feedback you will veer off the path too easily.

Some things don’t look right to the “normal” thinking mind because they are not able to see far or deep enough to know better. This is where the not so smart student will be stupid enough to actually try it and in the process make discoveries and attain insights.

Asking too many questions too early is another way not to make progress because too much information is confusing. The student who makes progress is the one that asks the right question after putting in practice and reflection on his practice. Of course, this begs the question – what is the right question?

A subject can be broad and deep. Many techniques make for a broad subject. The details that make a technique work is defined by its depth. If you don’t know what you are looking at then you end up fooling yourself because then you think in one direction while failing to consider another direction. Its what I call solve one problem but create a few more problems.

So for example, when you swing your hand in a certain way to slap your body you may think it would be better to say slap the shoulders because it makes sense to you for whatever reason. But you missed out on another crucial point, one that tells you why you should not aim at the shoulders. If you can’t figure this out then you don’t know enough to make assumptions of what is right and what is wrong.

Finally, don’t look for praise when learning. This is what I call an American entertainment disease. I see it all the time on reality TV. Someone fails but told he should be proud of what he has achieved. Seriously, what has he achieved? He failed. What is there to be proud of? Instead, he should just get up and go back to basics. I don’t know about the entertainment field but that’s how you make progress in learning CMA.

A traditional teacher doesn’t praise the student much not because he does not want to but because he knows that too much praise is detrimental to learning. Praise can make a student stop or slow down his learning since he thought that he has already achieved it when the truth is he has just scratched the surface and that the real journey is from that point on. In not receiving the praise the serious student then works harder because he is looking for approval.


Release Arrow 2

This clip actually comes before the clip in the earlier Release Arrow post.

The power generation showed here is an example of the 5 Bows model.

The 5 Bows model is normally practiced using Single Whip. The post here will explain a bit more.


The Stanley Sessions

Date. 31 Aug 2018.

Time. Evening.

Place. Southwest Singapore.

Event. Meeting with FB BojiLite Learning Group member Stanley.


Topics. Talked, demo and reviewed Sam Kuen Do (三拳道) basics.

Review. Stanley’s post on the meeting. Yikes!!!


Follow-up. Video that Stanley put up.

Comment. Fun night and from the video it looks like Stanley picked up something too.

Note. To view the videos shot from the meeting visit our Youtube channel here and look for videos marked with Stanley Session 1 to Stanley Session 11.


The Effort of Your Sweat

Here’s a latest clip from a member of the Sam Kuen Do (三拳道) FB learning group.

The clip is short but it shows that it is possible to pick up Sam Kuen Do from mainly online videos.

In Sam Kuen Do we don’t become obsessed with fajing and other esoteric stuff. Its just plain ole, good ole kung fu – work them body, work them strikes, work them steps – and the result is plain as day.

If we were a cult we would be shouting Hallelujah! followed by shouts of praises and songs of worship. But we aren’t.

We are just plain ole kung fu of the common man. No uniforms, no belts, no ranks – just the skill from the sweat of your own efforts.


Procastinately Yours

Time is a precious commodity. It is also the real cost of training Tai Chi.

If you are learning Tai Chi for fitness and exercise then this is not a consideration. However, when you are trying to learn Tai Chi for combat then this is a different issue.

This is when the cost of time is expensive particularly in its alternative use. Economists put a value on time by considering its opportunity cost, that is the value you could have gotten if you had spent the time doing another task that has economic returns.

For example, I had a student who was embarking on a career in real estate at the time he was learning Tai Chi. In the end, he made a choice to put all his time into his career and today he is a success, having his own agency. If he had put the time into Tai Chi he might not have mastered the art yet. This is the reality.

Today those who work will struggle to find time to train. Those on a career fast track will have little time, if any, to train. Some like me chose a slow career path in order to have the time to train. It took many years but in the end I got what I wanted.

So what do you do if you have little time yet want to master a combat art, if only for basic self-defence. I created, actually more like, extract and reorganized material from an existing system and repackaged it as Sam Kuen Do (三拳道). It is not Tai Chi. You can’t reach core competency in Tai Chi in say 12 months.

However, it is possible to be competent in 12 months with Sam Kuen Do (三拳道). The trick is not to learn too much. Instead, learn core elements and learn in small chunks, become competent before try to bite more off. And it goes without saying train regularly, train consistently and don’t be lazy, don’t make excuses like not having time.

Find the time and do it. Put aside 12 months and start. If you procastinate pretty soon the 12 months would have gone by and you still have nothing. Blink and soon it will be 10 years gone and you are still nowhere. The gods favor those who actually do something about it instead of complaining about no time.

If it is to be, it is up to me. So if you want it get on with it.