Friday, April 21, 2017

"Hand Push Forward" as a quarter body internal movement

Video link to "Hand Push Forward" as a quarter body internal movement Published by Jim Roach on behalf of William C. and Master Stephen Hwa, excerpted from Classical Tai Chi Forum, March 2003.

I have been working with the classical tai chi tapes for a couple of weeks now and as a twenty year practitioner of the Yang family style I want to make the following comments. I have never been so clearly informed on the differences in moving the waist while the pelvis and hips are still. I feel like a towel that is being wrung out with the center of the wringing out dynamic is in my abdomen. Also I have never been instructed in pulling from the leading foot. I was having a hard time with this until at last in practicing the walk I had the feeling at first in the backwards walk that there was a suction force pulling me back and it felt quite effortless. It is taking some time to get used to but my practice formerly was to play the form with such big steps, now I really need to think a new dynamic and remind myself to place my heel near the toes of the other foot. It's amazing that this small step produces such a good whole body stretch. I am finding ways to practice the quarter body movement in a repetitive manner in many situations including the physical work that I do. Mainly though in repetitive single tai chi moves. I have never been shown the difference between the internal discipline and momentum before..I am interested in the history of this form, not to prove its validity, that is borne out in the practice. Thank you Master Hwa for the wonderful instruction! William C.

Response from Master Hwa: Your method of practicing the quarter body internal movement is right on. Students in my class tell me that they practice such a single movement when they are driving, standing in the line, during working. One could therefore concentrated on learning the external aspects of the form movements initially, without worrying too much about internal discipline, keeping the learning of internal discipline .offline.. Later on, one can integrate the external aspects with the internal discipline. The history of this form is well recorded up to the Yang family founder. There is a very interesting article talking about large circle tai chi and small circle tai chi, and how Wu, my lineage, learned the tai chi from the Yangs.: . Earlier history about the form which passed down from the Chen to the Yang is not quite as clear. The form I am teaching is actually an intermediate circle, simply because small circle or the compact form as I mentioned in the video, should not be taught to beginner. When one is proficient with the intermediate circle, you will be able to evolve into small circle naturally. 

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Tai Chi is Tai Chi is Tai Chi is Tai Chi...In my classes and discussions I hear comments that "Internal Discipline is LIKE belly I will dust off my belly dancing dvd", "Internal Discipline is LIKE isometrics or IS Isometric exercise", "Tai Chi is LIKE Yoga, like upright Yoga", etc., etc. These are all wrong because the art is not an "analog" and therefore is not subject to "analogy"...this is due to the concept of "Yi", the martial intent of movement. Read on gentle reader to see what my teacher Master Stephen Hwa says to Lori N. when she calls it dance and subjects it incorrectly to being an "analog" and therefore analogous to dance. 

From Forum 6, October 2003, Lori N. writes:
"I just completed my first lesson -- the walk. Very tricky but also very
fun. This is going to be exactly what I have looked for so long. I have always loved to dance but never enjoyed performing for people. This dance of Taiji will be that dance I have been needing for so many years!"

"I am glad you have made a good start. It is important that you feel fun and challenged while you doing it. Your comments about Tai Chi as a kind of dancing is what prompted me to write about the topic Yi  click here for article on "YI" (martial intent)– the martial art intent. I remember my teacher became unhappy when someone referred to Tai Chi as an exercise. Again, the “intent” is lost when it was called as an exercise. "

Monday, April 3, 2017

My student is entering his 2nd year in a Master's Degree Occupational Therapy program. He is also very good with anatomy because he is a teaching assistant in the dissection lab. He tells me these "pnf" PNF stretching, or proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation stretching techniques look very similar to movements in Master Hwa's "10 exercises"...and I think they do as well, for instance "d1" flexion (click lower left picture) looks like exercise e8. In discussing this with him he made the point that OT in general works upper body while PT works lower...yet Tai Chi works both ends of the spectrum in a holistic manner.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

"Sometimes an illusion..."

Sometimes an illusion  (a link to video)

At some point a student needs to realize that teacher's know what they are doing and not second guess them, it will be a long difficult journey otherwise. It can be very embarassing for some after arguing with a teacher to see a video of oneself doing something incorrectly and/or Master Hwa doing the same thing correctly...particularly after saying "...I watched the video at home, you are wrong.." I can play and replay all sorts of videos at the studio location. Upon correction for "bobbing up and down" the student in this video told me "...I watched the video and when Master Hwa lifts the pelvis with the core, he straightens his leg and stands up..." I showed this video along with a video of Master Hwa and explained to the student that bobbing up and down/straighten the leg and stand up is not the same as lifting the leg with the core. Master Stephen Hwa has said before: "You need to remember “sometimes the appearance of reality is actually an illusion. My students in class often told me that they thought I was moving a certain way and tried to do the same. Later they found out that their observation was not correct. That was the reason I incorporated different views in my dvd video so you could see my moves at different angles to lessen the chance of wrong impression. Using a fresh eye to review the lesson video could also uncover any misinterpretation of my movements. "

Master Hwa doing correct walking (a link to video)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Is Classical Tai Chi so "new" you are freaked out but yet so "familiar" you are still attracted?

We certainly know what a Buffalo is but it is doubtfull we know what Yin and Yang might be. Yet consumer culture seems to be based on being torn between two opposing forces. I see that new students are curious about the Tai Chi but in the same breath they have a fear of something so new. It makes more and more sense that Master Stephen Hwa now introduces the 10 silk reeling "exercises" from day 1. as an essential precursor to learning the Tai Chi form.
We want people to like the Tai Chi and I often think it should be like opening a christmas present...a nice surprise. Yet it has to have some aura of being familiar so that people are not too freaked out. If it is too "new" it seems to tank, if only slightly "new" it seems to appleal a little more. It is appealing for its "newness" but acceptable for its "familiarity".
The "Exercises" are new on the whole: the "walking", "upper/half/quarter body" turning, the "internal discipline" . Yet there are several other movements/postures that seem immediately recognizable as being Tai Chi...not so "new", but familiar. People recognize those slow, configurated movements like "swimming in air" as being very familiar.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Liked on YouTube: Classical Wu Style Tai Chi Square and Round Form

Classical Wu Style Tai Chi Square and Round Form Classical Wu Style Tai Chi. Square and Round Form
via YouTube

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Special Fall Sale on Classical Tai Chi DVD's

Classical Tai Chi DVD sets at Master Stephen Hwa's  website

Special Fall Discount!

  • Special ends October 31, 2016, 
  • save $15 for Volume I, 
  • save $80 for Volume II, 
  • save $100, if you decide to buy the complete set of 8 DVD's.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Liked on YouTube: Classical Wu Style Tai Chi corrections to forms

Classical Wu Style Tai Chi corrections to forms
A 2011 Workshop by Stephen Hwa, student of Grandmaster Young Wabu, student of Great Grandmaster Wu Chien Chuan. The subject is on the Classical Wu Style Tai Chi corrections to the forms of individual students.A good resource for this can be found in the DVD series available at: . See the blog at for the important points of this video. Also you are invited to subscribe. Please visit for more discussion and information.
via YouTube

Monday, September 26, 2016

Tai Chi and the Dark Ages

Tai Chi and the Dark Ages

We may well be in the "dark ages" when it comes to sophistication about the core, Tai Chi and the core. It is more than disillusioning to put in a search to Professor Google on "core of the body", etc. and see how many hits come back on how to super strengthen the core, aka "rock hard abs", "six pack abs", "washboard abs", etc. Other than "hits" on Classical Tai Chi I don't see anything on how to get in touch with the core, how to do subtle movement with the core, how to do intricate movement with the core, how to improve the dexterity of the core, how to extend the walking movement of the legs into the core, how to first tune the nervous system instead of one hundred situps in order to make internal core movement spontaneous, how to take subtle and intricate movement of the core and improve the robustness of the internal organs, how to tune the nervous system to develop a stronger "qi" (rather than having the right "mental/spiritual" state of mind to do so)

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Liked on YouTube: Classical Wu Style Square and Round Form. Produced June 2016

Classical Wu Style Square and Round Form. Produced June 2016
Classical Wu Style Square and Round Form. An brief video introduction. For more information, see
via YouTube