Friday, May 17, 2019

Liked on YouTube: Sports & How Tai Chi Can Improve Mechanics (Enhanced)

Sports & How Tai Chi Can Improve Mechanics (Enhanced)
See more tai chi instructional videos at: Examples of top athletes using Internal Discipline in Classical Tai Chi to generate power in their movements: Roger Federer's tennis, Jose Bautista & Prince Fielder's baseball, & Manny Pacquiao's boxing. Online School: For more information:
via YouTube

Saturday, May 11, 2019

Feel Qi or Feel evidence of Qi?

Feel Qi or Feel evidence of Qi (video on Qi)

Sifu Jim Roach said: Master Stephen Hwa, Here's my question: At 7:30 approx. of the "...Qi...internal energy..." youtube video you state in so many words "...the qi is something you cannot feel...but you do feel the energy..." To sum this up might it be correct to say one does not feel the qi, one feels the evidence of qi? I'm thinking of an analogy to electricity like "one does not see electricity but one does see the evidence of electricity when a light bulb goes on". Or, one does not feel electricity but one does feel the evidence of electricity when they get an electrical shock.

Thanks for that video, as some would's "awesome" as far as a down to earth explanation and how to do things.


Yes, Jim. You may feel finger tingling, but you will not feel the Qi flow. Because it is there instantly. Other people may feel your Qi when you touch them. Sometimes works quite well. .

Monday, May 6, 2019

Barbara and I visited with Sifu Jason Bulger who has been my student for the last 8 years. He is graduating top of his class at D'Youville College with a Masters Degree in Occupational Therapy. Congratulations Jason! Here he is giving a presentation of his current research on May 2 along with 120 other presenters. His research is on "How Effective is Tai Chi in Reducing Hospital Readmission Rates for Heart Failure Patients. With patients, there is a positive impact on psychological, psychosocial and physiological needs. For Healthcare providers it is an immediate cost saving intervention.

 It is interesting what happens with the Heart when we talk about "internal motion", "internal discipline" and "internal energy" in Classical Tai Chi. In facilitating the compression of the abdominal cavity it massages the internal organs. In particular the abdomen is drawn upwards towards the chest cavity, this compresses the intestines, liver, pancreas, spleen, gall bladder, kidneys and above all the HEART.

The activity of internal movement from Classical Tai Chi creates what I believe is a veritable tidal flow of blood, qi, etc throughout the body. It would seem that along with this inreased blood flow the HEART does not have to work so hard don't you think?

 In addition to the "internal massage" of the heart enabling it to operate more efficiently, people doing internal discipline report feeling "warm". One can say internal heat also helps to activate heart muscle and in addition to the increased blood flow we mentioned improves the tonus of the heart muscle also making it more capable of doing work without undue strain

Monday, April 22, 2019

Liked on YouTube: Pair Tai Chi - Left-Right Hand Player in Mirroring Position

Pair Tai Chi - Left-Right Hand Player in Mirroring Position
Left-Right hand, small circle tai chi are played from a mirroring position.
via YouTube

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Movements require 2 complementary parts of the body

When an infant simply moves an arm the whole body reacts and starts to move...this kind of uninhibited movement is of no help in Tai Chi, yet millions of students do it. Master Wu Chien Chuan's words are simple, unremarkable and yet fall prey time and again to "run of the mill" reasoning found in much modern Tai Chi. This is called "if one part moves, everything moves" ..."everything goes" faulty logic. In fact, without logical reasoning, it never occurs to students that holding "one part still" (inhibiting neural activity)is actually more of a skill than simply moving the other part which even an infant does constantly without inhibition. "As discussed before in "Uncovering the Treasure", Stephen Hwa, Ph.D., to achieve internal movements, the yin and yang must be paired to form a junction at the right place in the torso. If there is any movement in the yin, the junction will be altered and result in an entirely different kind of move. The Classical Tai Chi Square form provides a drill to tune the neuromuscular control of the student. Most beginners cannot keep their neural signals focused on a narrow segment of their body. The diffusion of the signal creates unintended movements. This is called sloppy movements. The correct Square Form movement should look crisp and robotic. To be able to keep part of the body still, by itself, is also important training to eliminate unwanted habitual movement. A good example on the importance of stillness (yin) is the sweeping leg move in which one stands on one leg and sweeps the other leg outward to kick the opponent's feet out from under him. During this move, if the body moves slightly with the sweeping foot, the power of the sweep will diminish. In addition, the knee of the standing foot will feel pain. Since that foot is firmly planted on the ground with the entire body weight on it, so any turn of the body above will result in torque in that knee joint causing pain or injuries (see Picture). In other words, the yin part of the body's alignment has to be instinctively maintained.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Get a crease while sitting back

Get a crease while sitting back

Sitting back see video at 30 seconds with a prominent "crease" in the clothing comes from sitting back correctly. It is very easy to get rusty with push hands and crimping (bending) your own arm at 60 seconds in if there is no opponent to practice with. Reasoning logically, however, shows that is a "red herring" since "sitting back" correctly comprises half of the movements in the Tai Chi form...quite an implication. I practice it while waiting for water to boil, the dog doing business, in line at the supermarket, etc. It is logical to think that we all have a subconscious fear of losing balance. Good to lightly touch something which relieves subconscious fear of losing balance and frees up the mind to check your structure so see the picture of Master Hwa's at the post which shows legs even with one another. He tells me Wu Chien Chuan told Young Wabu to constantly check this point during sitting back by examining the upper part of both legs to see if they were even with each other. I quote: "Sitting back and turning is an important move to neutralize and ward off an incoming thrust and destabilize the opponent. If the body is not facing the opponent squarely, one will not be able to turn the upper body on the weak side sufficiently to be effective."

Friday, April 12, 2019

Keep good structure while lower body moves

Internal Discipline and good structure

Sifu Jason Bulger is demonstrating a practice I devised for the internal movement in the core that takes place right before you take any step in Classical Tai Chi whether "walking", "Form", etc. Note he turns the foot to several angles, has toe down when lifting, toes up when "stepping". But actually, he could be kicking at any angle. Also, a signature sign that internal movement is taking place in any movement is the "crimping" movement that one's clothing in the torso makes before a limb moves and that can be seen by even the uninitiated. There is a definite "crimp" and not just slight movement. This is why Master Hwa has on repeated occasion, urged me to wear close-fitting shirts in order for students to not only see the movement but to see that internal precedes external. In other words, in the case of Classical Tai Chi walking the core movement precedes/leads the lift and lower of the leg, arm, etc.

In Uncovering the Treasure p. 16 by Stephen Hwa Ph.D., re. health benefits of Classical Tai Chi: "We often see the elderly walking with a shuffle -- the walking movement no longer extends into the may assert that the onset of internal rigor mortis actually precedes death!"

Additionally, not only is the "internal rigor mortis" he speaks of an issue, but being challenged by balance problems with everyday walking is an issue as well. When we consider that putting one foot in front of the other requires balance, when we consider that day to day walking requires us to balance on first one foot then the other...aren't we always doing this with the risk of losing our balance?

Monday, April 1, 2019

"Preparation Posture 太極起式" Martial Application

 Preparation posture

See "how to do it" in the link You are invited to learn this and more at absolutely free Classical Tai Chi classes Buffalo State College. Sunday, 10 A.M - 11 A.M. Rockwell Hall, Room 302. Cold weather we are inside at BSC but during warm weather also across Elmwood Avenue and outside at Marcy Casino. Free parking either location. Please register: and/or 716-241-1845, Information:

The teachers are Sifu Jim Roach with Sifu Tom Kostusiak and Sifu Jason Bulger. Master Stephen Hwa Ph.D. is doing much more in online instruction at
 The preparation Form 太極起式 Posture 1 – The Preparation Form although called "preparation" really feels and looks like 2. Raise Hands 提手上勢, using relatively the same "internal discipline", engaging the core where the difference can be seen and felt in the angles of the arm. Of course, the "form" is done slowly as seen here not done by using such a burst of energy as in martial application. We are using this as a martial application to "ward off" an opponent and illustrate the "form". Here the bending of wrists being used first "forward" "Z" axis then on a vertical or "Y" axis, then forward on a "Z" axis is beneficial as opposed to what we spoke about in the previous Facebook discussion of Master Hwa's "Fundamentals of Push Hands" Without the inward contraction of the abdomen and stretching down of tailbone to raise the arms using other Tai Chi one is relegated to an "external" motion of the body even actually tilting forward and back to move the opponent.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Turning at the waist for push hands

Fundamentals of Push Hands (turn at the waist)  Click link for video

Jim R. Wu's Disciple and then 1st Certified teacher of Classical Tai Chi

“When you teach or demonstrate the internal move “turning at the waist” in Classical Tai Chi, you likely will encounter questions “why not using kua/hip”. Most external martial arts and large numbers of tai chi schools practice the use of kua or hip for that turning motion.

Jim Roach, the author of this Blog is the  first certified instructor of Classical Tai Chi. Jim spent his early years of martial art training using “turn with kua/hip”, then switched over to learn Classical Tai chi using “turn at the waist”. He has good insight to the many discussions whether one should use  the hip or the waist in push hands. Here’s his comments regarding such discussion.” Master Stephen Hwa
Jim Roach on Turning at the waist vs. turning using Kua/Hip 

It is said nowadays in Wu's Style that one cannot develop any power (to do such things as punch) from turning at the waist, that one must “use the hips”. 
Another Wu Style says one must "turn the body around the waist not using the hips.” 
That commentary says one will lose their balance if they turn in those postures from the hip. 
"Ma Jiangbao: This is connected to the last question. In the Wu style, the feet are often parallel. If you turn in these postures from the hip, you will lose your central equilibrium. So we turn the body around the waist. In this, it is also easy to divert an attack and let it fall into the emptiness without losing your own central equilibrium."
Anatomically, the hips and waist are different but one could certainly turn the waist without turning the hips but the reverse is not possible. "Distinguishing the Hip and Waist"
May I humbly submit, I have direct knowledge of that apparent conundrum. I studied with both sides of that question with the Wu Family, then with Master Stephen Hwa. 

Not stated is how frame size has such bearing on whether unjudicious, called “overturning” hip causes feet to move upsetting the balance. Also, one can indeed turn such amounts of hip in a larger stance. What is also not mentioned is that the legs play a major role in such movement. What really happens is that one leg is literally pushed down at the ground resulting in the body moving into the other leg. However, in the smaller frame of Classical Tai Chi, one leg is used to pull the body into the other leg.

Left unsaid is proper “timing” use of the hips. For instance one can turn the waist, THEN turn the hips in a follow up movement. Another example is the fact that the hips always turn by default when one does such movements where “hands follow the feet, elbow follows the knee”
Proper use of hips in coordination with waist as shown in the cooperative push hands (although push hands is not shown in this clip one can certainly see the up close "fa jing" power and it is minus ANY hip it not?) training of Tao of Martial Applications DVD . This is indicative that turning the hips is not eschewed, it just means that it should be done with the right timing. For example, one could offset an opponent’s balance in a close-up confrontation using internal discipline (internal movement) then a much larger step (stance) could be taken whereby the opponent is thrown to the ground using the motion of the hips in the process (external movement). The motions of the "Repulse Monkey" section of the form come to mind there as an example "Repulse Monkey"

Monday, March 18, 2019

Push Hands or NOT to Push Hands, that is the question!

Push Hands
Push hands is really an application of Tai Chi form practice. Usually, a student is not taught push hands until the student has practiced tai chi form for a while and has a feel about the form movements, in particular: a. The sitting back movement appears very frequently in the tai chi form and is not easy to master. It is the defensive position in the push hands. b. The forward movement when you move your body weight to the front foot, such as in the walking forward brush knee is the offensive position in the push hand. c. Turn of the upper body with pelvis essentially not moving as shown in the section of Internal Discipline in the Tai Chi Overview is the ward off move in the defensive position and push off move in the offensive position. d. There are several other more subtle moves. All these moves you will learn in the form practice. What is unique about the push hands is that it provides the opportunity for extended contact time with your opponent, so-called stick to your opponent, when you can learn how to control your emotions, your body, and how to detect your opponent's intention and respond accordingly. Other kinds of sparring exercises all have such short contact time with the opponent. There is no time to learn such subtle aspects about yourself and your opponent in sparring as opposed to push hands.