Saturday, November 26, 2022
This link below shows a student’s dropped hand. It's repeated and corrected repeatedly in “watch whole video”. 1:16, Master Hwa repeats “…hands up…” several times. 😳There is a golden rule I learned in Freestyle push hands, Tai Chi and Karate sparring. And that is “Drop hand from guarding face and lose Face”! 👀 Teacher: “Keep you hand up”, Student: “I know that”, Teacher: “Ouch, that must have hurt, are you ok?KEEP HAND UP VIDEO CLIP
Thursday, November 17, 2022
There is a saying, "learning postures is easy; changing them is hard." Or, as Master Hwa says, "...sometimes it is more difficult teaching a student not to move than how to move..." This difficulty expresses the "stubbornness" of the mind and body in relying on preconceived notions in thought and habit.
Just as some students will find the following statements uncomfortable, most students will not endure the discomfort of proper training without consciously or subconsciously seeking relief. Constant vigilance on the part of the teacher is required to keep the student on the correct path.
However, in "staying the course," we can become aware of sensations and, thus, the effects of the errors of muscle actions. I speak of Yin and Yang: "…to achieve internal movements, the Yin and Yang are a pair to form a junction at the right place in the torso. If there is any movement in the Yin, the junction will be altered, resulting in an entirely different kind of move…." However, are you cognizant? Are you sensing when there is movement in the Yin?
An instance of this not perceived in muscle action is a medical checkup. You are familiar with the Doctor putting a stethoscope on your chest and asking that you breathe in. In doing so, the chest heaves up, and the body becomes top-heavy. While the body is in physical balance, our belly gets hollowed.
This hollowing of the abdomen weakens our waist as a support column, thus weakening the support of balance in body structure. Not that the Dr. would do it, but I think the body would fall easily with a gentle nudge. I confess I have been breathing from the abdomen for decades. When the Dr. tells me to take a "deep breath," I never "heave up" the chest, and the Doctor never says otherwise.
The body can learn from the top heaviness as an effect of the yin-yang imbalance of muscle actions. Do we know, do we notice, and if we see, do we care? In routine activity, we make internal imbalances in the body structure, such as when we raise a hand excitedly to attract attention. Honestly, can you say you use quarter-body movement all the time?
Many combinations of muscle actions underlying a body's posture and motion exist. The differences in support do not matter much for everyday activities, but in sports, they determine the performance outcome. Master Hwa has elucidated this in many YouTube videos. I notice that some people do not agree with this, but chances are none are proficient at Tennis, Football, Baseball, etc., much less Taijiquan.
Thursday, November 10, 2022
Ji is fajin with a longer power delivery than either Peng or Tsai. Why Tai Chi uses “follow the opponent” and how this is done with the proper footwork is explained. This video link, like several others, is on my private Youtube studio. channel. Its intent is not to compete with Master Hwa but to share my thoughts and experiences with his videos. It will not compete since it is private and is shown in this private group. I observe that Master Hwa is "following the opponent" by allowing his arm to be stretched. By doing that, he engages his core muscles and the source of his internal strength. In addition, Tom has his arm "crimped" against his side. This makes the issuance of "long-duration fajin" fairly straightforward, with little to no resistance from Tom. It behooves you to sit back and turn from the core when practicing push hands. Or else, thus losing the capability to neutralize "Ji." If one cannot neutralize in cooperative push hands, there is little skill to bring to "Ji" as an application. I suggest for everyone to practice pulling forward and sitting back, "pushing hands" with imaginary opponents as a separate exercise, and do it dozens of times in a row.
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-He8VVVBZqQ
Monday, November 7, 2022
The silk reeling exercise "turning + crunch" is very energizing internally. You will feel the intense energy circulation in the dantien. The “folding the body along the spine move” was discussed extensively in Forum 14. Several variations of “folding move” were tried in my class. The one shown in this Youtube video appears to be the most effective in training this move and also has great relevance to form practice. The movement gives strong stretching and contraction sensations at both the front and the back of the torso. Since it is carried out in square form, it is not a silk reeling exercise. There is not much continuous energy circulation. Because the folding movements exercise the muscle and tendon along the spine and stimulates blood flow in that region, it is a good way to keep the spine healthy.
Sunday, October 23, 2022
Are you fooling yourself?
Master Hwa is right,"…not everyone wants to be a proficient practitioner…." However, I meet many people who" talk a good game." about learning Classical Tai Chi. Years ago, I visited a hard-style Kung Fu master. He was very friendly and said he admired Tai Chi, although he did not do it. He was famous on the cover of" Inside Kung Fu" Magazine. He had perfected the art of drilling his index finger into a brick. I don't remember his exact words but his words were something like this as he did not specifically talk about how to" drill." "Do you want to learn "iron finger"? Go home for one hundred days and practice punching a bag with the finger for two hours each morning and night." How many people are willing to do that and that is quite a point he made. I question the value of using all that energy to perfect such an overly specialized art/skill. I would say that the so-called" secret" is sheer persistence.
I would say that type of "sheer persistence "is somewhat cliche. But, for the sake of argument, let's say you do that. You have what one might call" self-realization" from your persistence. But after 100 days, how have you changed? From my point of view, I have not "changed" over 40 years, particularly the last 20 with Master Hwa.
On the contrary, I have become a "changing" person. I have met many students over the years, and there seems to be what one might call a "hunger" for Tai Chi as "exercise." Down deep, what they don't say is "self-improvement." What many don't see is they are initially fooling themselves.
As a long-time proficient practitioner said recently, many do not see the difficulty facing themselves in starting Classical Tai Chi. Like the guy who stormed out of the Tai Chi, muttering," I already know how to walk." To paraphrase what the "…know how to walk…" student said in his estimation, he is personally knowledgeable of how his body works. So how should" walking" come from" inside" of himself? As the proficient practitioner wrote to me recently. I love their analogy regarding "inner experience." "We can end up looking for our glasses when we already have them on." Yes, not everyone who starts wants to be a proficient practitioner. Many fail to realize whether they wish to continue or not is still there. One could go around for a lifetime with "glasses on the forehead," blaming Tai Chi. It will always remain for the "long haul" as a sustainable way of life, as a long haul discipline.
In other words, I don't know how people feel that Classical Tai Chi merely supplies a sophisticated justification for personal and social inertia. What makes them think it dispenses happily with organized activity and serious effort?
Thursday, October 13, 2022
It occurs to me that "Ordinary Force" is also built into our everyday leg movement, all 7 billion of us. A familiar "Ordinary Force" example to explain Newton's third law of motion is the walking of a person on the ground. I say “explain” because Newton’s Laws are not intuitive and if they were, then excuse my wishful thinking, but so many more people might well have “internal discipline”. When a person walks on the ground, then the person exerts a force in the backward direction. However, as you see in the video by Master Stephen Hwa, there is a "backward" direction from an ordinary force arm push. This force applied is known as action.
In walking, kicking, etc., as a result of this force applied, an equal and opposite force is used by the ground to the other foot, and this force helps to move, kick, etc., in the forward direction. This force is called the reaction force. When you walk and are not using internal discipline, it is an ordinary force. When you do a Karate kick above the waist, your Wing Chun kick to the shin, etc., it is a force.
I did Tae Kwon do for years, and take my word for it seemed like 99% kicking. A typical incident was seeing novices kick a heavy bag with an above-the-waist kick and then are knocked backward. Of course, students in any art get better, but it is nowhere near the martial, internal skill, and "core" dexterity of a proficient student of Classical Tai Chi.
Wednesday, October 5, 2022
I will paraphrase Master Hwa from his book "Uncovering the Treasure" p. 110. "Many of the movements in the Form are designed this way. In other words, one limb practices a move for one purpose, while the others practice for some other purposes." He uses the example, "The hand movements in the pictures practice the Cai (Tsai sometimes spelled, pull, yank, etc.) move while the foot movements practice the kicking routine
Here's what I'm after and from the book. Hwa talks about "purposes," so in the case of the "walk" shown here, I'll take a little poetic and martial art license and delve into multipurpose. The "walk" is a Kick in disguise. "The forward foot with its heel firmly planted on the ground serves many purposes. It is useful for the balance and stability of the body. It is ready to kick the opponent, pull the body forward, or take a step back."
Now, besides the potential for "sweeps," the heel can stomp the opponent's foot, the toe can kick straight ahead to the shin, the heel can step back and stamp, and the foot can turn and kick with the edge of the foot or heel. I can take any kick I learned in 4 years Tae Kwon Do except the "skyscraper high ."My point is moving the foot not only with "walk" intent, but thinking Martial Intent when you practice walking or even in Form. Imagine an opponent in front, back, side, and angle and this step as your "kicking" all-purpose and foot itself as a "swiss army knife" capability tool.
Friday, September 23, 2022
Sunday, September 11, 2022
Grandmaster Young Wabu