A Day of Lessons

Another day, another lesson with another student.

Step-up, parry and punch was the focus of learning today. Actually, any movement could be used but this stood out so we went with it.

First lesson – don’t be a hook for me to hang on to. If you let me hang on to you then you end up resisting and waste strength trying to carry my weight. This is a symptom of incorrect setting up of one of the key structures of the body.

Second lesson – go with my strength. If you stop resisting you will go with my strength. By going with my strength you can then borrow it.

Third lesson – make big movement. When you are learning its better to make a big movement than a small movement otherwise you will not know how to use the natural curves inherent in the motions of the human body.

Fourth lesson – know your space and defend it. If you do not defend your space you end up chasing my hands. When all your troops (hands) are out in the battlefield who then is defending your home turf?

Fifth lesson – every part of your body must work together. If you twist too much you become like a length of pipe that is twisted and pulled too much, resulting in water leaking – this causes your windows to open up and you know what they say about flies when you open the windows in summer.



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!



TaiChiLite is my vision for an improved way to learn Tai Chi in a shorter time frame to gain the following benefits :-

a) Health through proper alignment, structure and balance

b) The learning of (a) will go side-by-side with understanding how the movements are used so that the limbs, body, timing, angles, etc can be properly performed. No more useless waving of hands, meaningless relaxation and breathing patterns, etc.

c) Gain a functional hands-on grasp of biomechanics without having to study physics, understand formulas, read through useless theories or listen to some wannabe master give lengthy lectures on the topic that cannot be translated to functional skills

d) Train the mind by learning to use intent to control movements and use techniques properly via the application of strategies

e) Be able to apply limited power (fajing) on the spot after learning and going through the movements a few times. You still won’t be able to use it in a free-for-all but at least you won’t have to learn Tai Chi for years before you can do it. No tricks here, just hacking physics, intent and biomechanics to unlock this capability that you already have in you


The above sounds idealistic, right but its not. Its a result of my learning, researching and teaching of Tai Chi particularly my curiosity as to why students who have background in Chinese martial arts seem to have a hard time learning Tai Chi forms. Was it because the forms were too complex, or its my teaching that is overly detailed.

For example, some readers may consider what is covered in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 : Learning the Taijiquan form as complicated. However, my actual teachings is easily twice if not three times more complex.

After much thinking, reflection and analysis I have devised another way to teach the basic Yang style 108 form. However, the big question is whether it will work. As they say if you don’t try, you don’t know.

The good news is I have tried and the results are much better than anticipated. Is this because of the method of teaching alone or also due to the student is a good question. I should say half half.

In the past trying to teach the sequence of Ward-off, Rollback, Press and Push is a killer. Now I actually get to see decent results within a short time. In one lesson I taught Press to a student. The result still holds after one week.

Today I taught Push with demonstrable fajing. Let’s see if the result will hold next week. The student is also able to grasp the logic of flow from one movement to the next. The ability to change from Ward-off to Rollback and retain the requirements to neutralize and apply power remains after 2 weeks.

TaiChiLite looks like the way to go as a method of transmitting traditional principles using updated teaching methods to enable the learning of more with less.



Slow & Steady

It is not my intent to write this post. Instead, I wanted to reorganize my blog by removing the folders eBook and MyWingChun and creating a TaiChiLite folder.

Then I saw Paul’s comment to my comment to his latest BojiLite training video practicing the Yum Chui. I advised him to go slow in his practice. Interestingly, I also advised another student learning Tai Chi this morning to go slow also. So what the heck, let’s make a post about it.

Slow – when learning anything go slow. The priority is to get the steps correct instead of rushing to complete it.

When you go slow you have more time to see and feel what you are doing. If you go too fast you miss out on a lot of things, more so if the art is filled with fine details that cannot be readily sussed out, at least not with a lot of practice, research and investigation.

Steady – you should move at a steady rather than erratic pace. A steady pace enables your body to coordinate better in the early stages of learning, particularly during changes that involve turning and twisting.

As Lao Tzu wrote :-

To know harmony is called constancy
To know constancy is called clarity

Chapter 55 : Purity of the New-Born
Tao Teh Ching

Mastery will come when your hands are enlightened with the clarify of a mirror that only reflects what is before it in the present. So go slow and steady in your learning.



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………..



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.