Coordinate Hip-Fist

The stack of yellow chairs left in the void deck is proving to be useful again, this time to help me explain how to coordinate the hip movement to that of the fist.

The logic is simple – power comes from getting the body to move as one and also from being able to accelerate the joints internally using the 5-Count principle.

Here’s how not to do it :-

Okay, maybe my student is too tall for the chairs. That could affect his performance. Anyway, if the stack can’t get taller then one must go lower. Its just a coordination thing, not a combat exercise.

The right way to do it is by :-

a) Establish a base from which to tap the energy from the ground

b) Coordinate the movement of the joints

c) Pay attention to how the hip drives the fist

Video illustration :-

Finally, putting it together for a demo on how the power from hip-fist coordination looks like in a static demo :-

So that’s it – the key to coordinating the hip to the fist to generate power.

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Impermanence

Impermanence.

This is the fate that waits a living art. This is why I started taping some lessons to allow students to see better where they are lacking.

Some things you can see and some things you can’t. A video gives you a third party perspective of what you are doing.

I taped this fajing demo as part of a lesson. Even with explanation I noticed that some movements can’t be captured on video.

And even with explanation certain things are best felt rather than heard. This is why to learn Tai Chi you need to see it, hear it and feel it.

What can’t be seen clearly in how to neutralize the pressure by grounding it. You can only see the issuing movement. That’s like reading half the story.

Perhaps one day VR can be used to enhance distance learning. Until then treat our art as impermanent and pass it on to as many as possible to ensure its continuing existence.

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My Watermelon or Your Watermelon

We use push hands as a platform for training control. For this purpose we learn how to flow and use it to control our position.

In this respect, we can think of it as a game of your watermelon or mine where your opponent tries to take away your watermelon but you do not allow him to do so. You accomplish this by learning how to prevent your opponent from controlling your front gate by circling and flowing as per example shown below :-

Once you have the basic hang of it you can try implementing a principle made famous in Judo namely pull when pushed, push when pulled. Below is an example of how you can do it :-

Further along you can also test your ability to fajing quickly without going through elaborate set up and breathing patterns typically exemplified in fajing demos.

Our logic is simple – your opponent will not stand there and accept being fajing. He will fight back, he will turn, shift, resist and you have but a split second to fajing. Thus, you have to learn to do it on the fly or your fajing is not practical.

You should also test your defences by not fighting back but just holding your control. In the example below I allowed my student to see if he can get through. He tried to do so by moving faster but I adhered and rode along with his movement and was able to stop him from breaking through to grab my watermelon.

Another test we can do is to check the resiliency of our body structure. In the video below my student tried to move forward but was repelled.

There are a few reasons why this happened :-

a) His moving mass was not properly integrated

b) I have a structure that is resilient enough to absorb and bounce him without having to do anything other than to let him apply power and push himself off

c) He did not apply the principles of entering hence he ran into my defence

Finally, we should always keep in mind that how we move, where we put our limbs can be exploited by an astute opponent.

In the example above my student tried to enter but did not pay careful attention to where he placed his hand.

As a result, he got his hand caught in my arm and ended up locking himself. This is why keeping vigilance and awareness is important when doing push hands.

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24-Blocks

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.

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Single Whip Learning

Learning Tai Chi is fun. As for practice…….. yeah, it can be a bitch.

Here’s CG trying to implement what he learned about the 5 bows in Single Whip. He is working on one of the bows.

Looks kinda difficult to learn, right?

Difficult to learn, yes, but not impossible to master. Just gotta work on them details.

Below is my demo :-

Once you understand the 5 bows you can use the bows more flexibly. Below are some example :-

This example uses the bow of the striking hand to generate. Since the technique here is Push which uses two arms, we can then apply the lesson learned from the hook hand as well.

The video below shows the learning of the striking arm bow :-

When learning fajing do not overlook other important points because ultimately opponent is not going to stand there and take it. He will fight back. He will try to hit you.

So you better learn the technique side of Single Whip as well and not just become fixated with the fajing.

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Rubber Power

The ability to visualize and feel is important to learn how to use Tai Chi as an internal art as shown below :-

Imagination without a sense of qualia, of feeling of what is in the mind as real is the secret here. The use of an imaginary rubber band is incidental and a convenient reference tool.

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Musical Intention

CG learning how to use the Play Pipa application to learn about fajing.

As its his first attempt it is only natural that he moved more than necessary. But its a good attempt.

Below is example of how to do the Play Pipa fajing :-

The key point is where to put the intention so that you can minimize the effort and outer movements.

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