Friday, November 9, 2018

Video Link
Link: Pulling body back and forth...not pushing

     aka Momentum Force vs. Internal Energy
Master Stephen Hwa told me when I first met him that the Yang Style, Wu Style forms I learned were "rounded Square Form" as is the universe of Tai Chi out there...I had no idea. Here's that "rounded" square form in operation: You decide to drive down the highway alternately and indiscriminately pushing your foot on the accelerator and the brake You would be using your engine to give the vehicle kinetic energy/momentum then throw the energy away by pushing the brake, over and over. You would consume much less fuel if you only drove steadily...think "Round" form in ClassicalTai Chi. Master Hwa, a Ph.D. Engineer, talks a great deal about momentum force, aka pushing forward with the back foot, pushing back with the front foot, referred to as "other" Tai Chi and all are "rounded" Square form...look for yourself on Youtube. All of these contribute to a movement that has "stops and starts" in it, one way or the other. When it comes to Classical Tai Chi "round form" using a "pulling" coupled with internal energy, not momentum and that difference is a really big deal. One might say that Tai Chi relying on "pushing with a foot" is extravagant of energy, whereas "pulling with a foot" truly stores it and releases it only when needed.

Friday, November 2, 2018

Semper Fidelis Classical Tai Chi is "mind-boggling"

My own teacher Master Stephen Hwa tells me in so many words that being frustrated over students not sticking with the art is somewhat of a common occurrence. However, in no uncertain terms, he adds the caveat that when you teach this art " is also the life we have chosen...".  So, "Semper Fidelis", I'm still standing as both student and teacher.  My student Barry was learning the "Square Form" of Classical Tai Chi and is closest to the camera in this video. He told me that he taught defensive tactics to Parole officers based on "external movements" from "external martial arts".  I also taught largely "external movement defensive tactics" to U.S. Customs officers as an additional duty as a Customs Officer myself.  I studied Tai Chi with the Wu family in Toronto at the same time I was doing Tae Kwon Do in Buffalo.  My fellow officers thought my traveling once a week across the border for classes was a "hoot". As my student Tom says, learning Classical Tai Chi is "challenging" but what I think is the most difficult is being "Semper Fidelis" to the art over many years. 

As Barry said: "The difficulty in maintaining true fidelity to the "Internal Art of Tai Chi" is mind-boggling. After having been involved in the external martial arts for an extended period of time, and seeing the difficulty many students have in maintaining fidelity to external movements only, and how long it takes to become proficient in those movements. Now, combine that with incorporating true "Internal" movement ! And one should see how important it is to stay close to a teacher who can correct/critique one's movement up close and personal. Without that help, one will be sure to develop poor or inerrant tendencies, which only further "adds up" against you developing your skills to their highest levels."

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Classical Tai Chi is the epitome of "Neigong"

Neigong exercises by definition need to combine "special breathing" with movement and in most cases are indicative of the "large frame" Tai Chi needing additional exercises. When the Classical Tai Chi "Compact Round Form" is done correctly, each movement no matter how small is a Neigong movement and does not need special breathing techniques...the breathing is natural and without conscious/deliberate intent. From Wikipedia: "Neigong exercises that are part of the neijia tradition involve cultivating physical stillness and or conscious (deliberate) movement, designed to produce relaxation or releasing of muscular tension combined with special breathing techniques such as the "tortoise" or "reverse" methods."  

This Classical Tai Chi as a Neigong tunes the nervous system by using slow movement and sensitivity. Slow movement with sensitivity favors the nervous system with a more accurate and discriminating perception of the mechanics of the movement. Square form develops this. Yet, not all will have the aptitude or perseverance to develop the brains' ability to sense and correct any potential excess and unnecessary effort.

Learning "Round and Square" Forms

Classical Tai Chi as a Neigong refines the nerve signal in the body and is referred to as "Qi". Classical Tai Chi may be considered as a means to return to childhood. The Internal Discipline of the Form movements first tunes the nervous system in the body so that the complex and powerful internal movements will become natural and spontaneous. In China, a healthy and well-tuned nervous system is considered to be paramount to a healthy body. Physically, the internal movements penetrate to the deep recesses of the torso, stimulating and invigorating the organs and the circulation systems in the torso. 

Friday, October 12, 2018

You know several martial arts are they "offensive" or "defensive"?

Even a jury of non-martial artists would be hard pressed to find anything other than "guilty" when the defendant says:  "He was walking toward me in what I perceived as a threatening manner, using harsh language, so I launched myself at him first".  My common sense question as a juror might well be "Could you have gotten away in the first place, and why did you throw the first punch or launch yourself in order to "defend" yourself? 

My teacher Stephen Hwa, Ph.D. tells me that Classical Tai Chi is a pure "defensive martial art". In the video you see him explaining and demonstrating the difference between "offensive" and "defensive" with the catalyst explained as "jumping off" or momentum force. So the question is if you launch yourself in any fashion toward the opponent to "defend" yourself, how is that a "defensive" tactic?

I have taught quite a number of students that do external or what are called hard style martial arts. Certainly, one can be attacked by hostile people, hostile animals, etc. But the question for me is at what cost do you defend yourself?  I agree with Master Hwa that " a fight, anything goes..." But is your integrity, common sense, and training guiding you in "anything goes" defensively or offensively toward the attacker? From time to time, one of my students will remind me that that there are martial arts better, faster, stronger and quicker to learn that Tai Chi. So in that reasoning, could one learn to do several different martial arts, learning several times faster than Tai Chi and be several times better?  Many indeed, very pretty, even flashy but are these several arts "offensive" or "defensive" because if they have a hint of offense, then don't they cross the line? 

 In the 1990's I was contacted by a martial artist named John C. John had seen me doing Wu's style sword form and asked for lessons.  I told him I would teach him the sword if he learned the Wu's Square Form first. Note: This is not Classical Tai Chi's square form. John reminded me periodically that he had learned 7 different martial arts faster and appeared in an Inside Kung Fu article. He said that he learned those faster than he would ever learn Tai Chi and hence never did learn the sword. 

John, however, did not use internal discipline where one part in the core moves and one part does not move in any of the 7 arts, by the "jumping off" definition his arts were "offensive".  My student Barry who did Karate and taught defensive tactics as a parole officer did not use internal energy. Barry told me that he has learned several martial arts but that learning internal discipline has been the most challenging, by the "jumping off" definition his arts were "offensive" Another of my students Anh has done Wing Chun for a long time but says learning internal discipline is more challenging and sophisticated.

In conclusion Master Hwa makes a great point that there is a big difference in the use of force "offensively" as compared to "defensively". In another segment of the video he also states that Classical Tai Chi because of its dependence on a non-moving part of the body is a purely defensive art.  If one is not moving that one part of the torso in other words, then how can you launch yourself toward the opponent while maintaining that non-moving part albeit in full momentum?

Liked on YouTube: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Wu Style

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Wu Style
Classical Tai Chi Group Of Master Stephen Hwa & Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo Group of Sifu James Roach perform round & square form. In Chinese: Online School: First Online Video Tai Chi Class:
via YouTube

Liked on YouTube: World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Workshop

World Tai Chi & Qigong Day Rochester New York, Workshop Segments of workshop on internal discipline by Master Stephen Hwa - (In Chinese: See our website for other training: Introduction to Wu Style Tai Chi - Tai Chi Martial Arts Application - Sports & Classical Tai Chi - Tai Chi Internal Discipline - Tai Chi Health Benefits - Tai Chi DVD Library - Online School: First Online Video Tai Chi Class:
via YouTube

Monday, October 1, 2018

How do you know not "believe" you are doing "internal"?

It goes back some time but I asked a former Tai Chi teacher to show me an "internal" movement.  His answer was "I'm doing it but you just can't see it". Master Hwa shows you "internal" in this video. In Classical Tai Chi, you know that you are doing "internal" by self-examination (seeing) where the movement is originating in the torso of your body.  In fact, you know whether anyone is doing  "internal" by examining (seeing) their movements.  You can see these things for yourself in your own body but as you progress you can feel (tactile) whether the movement is originating inside or outside the torso.  

Master Wu Chien Chuan passed this on that every move has to have Yin and Yang (not moving and moving) parts of the body and those are either in the torso (internal) or they are not (external). The moving and not moving parts form a "junction" called a Yin/Yang pair. One part of the "pair" moves and the other part does not move. 

Much Tai Chi says it is "internal" but ask yourself the following question when you see it:  Is the movement originating in the torso or is it originating in an extremity outside of the torso such as arms, legs, etc. ? You also have to reckon with the fact that any "extremity" is the furthest point or limit of something and that internal is always situated on the inside. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Yi is not a "belief of mind", it is an "intent of mind"

It is not Master Hwa's "belief" that he is sweeping Toms is his Yi or "intent" on the edge of his right leg to sweep Tom. 

In a well-known book that uses prestigious academic/scientific credentials, the author states that there is sometimes a need to completely dispense with the scientific framework of Tai Chi. There is also a statement that rational thinking in so many words needs to be turned off and rely on intuition and imagination. The Tai Chi Classics are even quoted as saying "Belief or Mind move the Qi". 

I have to say the correct use is that Yi or intent of mind moves the Qi for it is certainly not belief, intuition or imagination that can get the job done.  One cannot say for instance my “belief” or even my “belief” in my palm allowed me to strike the opponent. However, If I say my intent to strike with the edge of my hand allowed me to strike the opponent there is undoubtedly a better outcome in the offing. 

There are big problems that occur and reoccur with this type of thinking which unfortunately permeates modern day Tai Chi.  Stephen Hwa Ph.D. addresses these problems in his book “Uncovering the Treasure”:

“ Modern Tai Chi teaching has been shrouded in ethereal language as if logical thinking and scientific analysis do not apply to Tai Chi. Without a rational framework, Tai Chi practice has degenerated into multitudes of forms with no relevance to the original intent of the practice. Many of them have movements that could cause problems for the practitioner rather than improve their health.”

Monday, September 24, 2018

Why one does not have internal motion, internal energy and internal discipline in everyday activities?

"Having good technique in Classical Tai Chi is very important. Learning forms correctly will gradually change how you move during your day for a more healthful posture." Master Stephen Hwa

It occurred to me  as I was driving the car yesterday and then today while washing the dishes that most people really do learn Tai Chi for other than martial art reasons. Then I remembered Master Stephen Hwa's article on "Yi, Martial Art Intention" from the Classical Tai Chi Forum, October 2003 Then today's practice with the "Square Form" really drove the nail home.  WHAT WE DO IN EVERYDAY ACTIVITIES MOST OFTEN HAS NO REAL "INTENTION" OF MOVEMENT AKA DOING THINGS MINDLESSLY, IT IS NO WONDER PEOPLE CANNOT INTEGRATE THE TAI CHI MOVEMENT INTO THEIR EVERYDAY LIFE.

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