Monday, October 12, 2020

The Yin and Yang of Classical Tai Chi

Yin and Yang video





I have rarely seen this move done correctly in large frame Tai Chi. If you have more questions? Please go to classical-tai-chi.teachable.com and take the "Health and Strength with Tai Chi" course for $27. To elucidate further: I would say that one can certainly see how the body is twisted in this picture with the back foot at a right angle and body turned to the front. This occurs when you do not follow Wu's edict of 6 harmonies "hand follows foot, elbow follows knee, shoulder follows hip", Ironically the Tai Chi Classics is frequently touted by large frame practitioners and "harmonies" is outlined in the "Holy Writ" of Tai Chi Classics. Actually, I have rarely seen the edict followed correctly in a large frame. The catch is that those are "external harmonies" applicable to large frame and use just the extremities in the reference. A small frame follows the external harmonies but they originate from the core and not the extremities. One has the thought that the core is like a centralized drive train that controls the wheels and not the wheels controlling the drive train.

Learning how to focus your muscle movements within your torso can help in stimulating your blood flow and lymphatic flow. It begins to teach you how to maintain the “springtime of your life”. Student comments echo their questions and difficulties but they need to understand our bodies are stubborn in lifetime habits of using muscles externally but now they are recruiting "new" uses of those same muscles. One needs to understand until those muscles in the process of becoming useful for internal movement, often temporarily turn out to deter the intended purpose of the movement. To resolve this during training, Classical Tai Chi with eminently rational logic has to develop skill in the traditional concepts of yin-yang and it's the delineation of movement and stillness to instill principles of inner balance of muscles in the body.





Sunday, October 11, 2020

Liked on YouTube: Yin and Yang of Classical Tai chi

Yin and Yang of Classical Tai chi
Learning how to focus your muscle movements within your torso can help in stimulating your blood flow and lymphatic flow. It begins to teach you how to maintain the “springtime of your life”. Student comments echo their questions and difficulties but they need to understand our bodies are stubborn in lifetime habits of using muscles externally but now they are recruiting "new" uses of those same muscles. One needs to understand until those muscles in the process of becoming useful for internal movement, often temporarily turn out to deter the intended purpose of the movement. To resolve this during training, Classical Tai Chi with eminently rational logic has to develop skill in the traditional concepts of yin-yang and it's the delineation of movement and stillness to instill principles of inner balance of muscles in the body.
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZCPDzJsqMk

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Training for Fajin


Video link: Classical Tai Chi walking exercise and Internal Discipline in Tai Chi Walk




A civil conversation about training for Fajin I had with Louis Swaim, a former editor at North Atlantic Books and author of The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan:

Louis: "I think I understand what you are proposing; however, I still find the emphasis surprising. I should say that although we talk about the legs generating Jin, it is true that the waist, arms, and hands also do something. They cannot be limp and may even provide a substantial amount of energy. One of the ways in which I teach as I try to translate my understanding of the classics in everyday terms is to say that we should always generate power with the biggest and strongest muscles available and let smaller muscled do supporting work. According to at least some definitions, the muscles controlling the thighs and pelvis are the strongest. They certainly have more range of motion than the muscles controlling the lumbar spine. I would say that the waist can add power to the legs, but not the other way around. I would say that the legs are the heavy springs and the waist has the medium springs. Once the heavy springs have stored the maximum energy they can, they can share some with the medium springs without loss of collective power; however, if you try to maximize the storage in the medium springs before the heavy ones, you will steal energy from them and limit them."

Jim R: "The compact and tight compact Forms use “pulling” with both front and back. The step size is quite small in a compact Form very small in tight compact…much smaller than even what Wu Gong Yi showed in the Gold Book. That pulling is accomplished by the “engagement” of contracting (abdominal, back, buttock) core muscles with the legs. The style does not eschew pushing with the legs, it uses it with discretion. For instance, it can use pushing once the opponent’s balance is offset, then a pushing movement, even with a larger step, can be added opportunely.
As far as elaborating on the reasoning for “rooted in the feet, generated by the waist, controlled by the legs and manifested through the fingers” as you have talked about in the Classics.iThis statement may be applicable to certain Large Frame moves which use the leg to generate the pushing force. But, it is not applicable in the Compact Form which generates power from the torso, and is important to remember not only the difference in a frame size that I speak of here. It is important to remember how equal and opposite force will be sent from the waist down through the pelvis to the leg, finally absorbed by the ground through the foot. During that instant, the buttock and leg will naturally energize to transmit the force to the feet, thus firming the lower body structure to support the fa jin."

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Liked on YouTube: Internal Discipline from beginning form

Internal Discipline from beginning form
Silk Reeling Exercise and Offline Exercise One might define silk reeling exercises as a continuous symmetrical simple internal movement or movements. When it is done correctly, one will achieve a continuous energy flow in the body. It is a "neigong" exercise. The I 08 move long Form in the hand of an advanced practitioner is a giant, complex silk reeling exercise with internal energy circulating continuously from beginning to the end of the Form. However, for less advanced students, it is best to start with a few simple moves converting to a continuous symmetrical exercise to practice. With that, one will be able to learn gradually how to move with internal discipline and enjoy the sensation of internal energy circulation. Many movements in the Long Form can be extracted and converted into silk reeling exercise. For beginning students, we often start them on the Body Turning move and an exercise alternately raising right and left arm from hanging down position to the waist high position and then lower them to complete the cycle. The Turning Move is the easiest to teach and to be appreciated. The raising arm silk reeling exercise looks extremely simple, but is a challenge to achieve as an internal move.
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=revEBzDGSrk

Friday, October 2, 2020

Small moves necessary but not sufficient in "Small Frame" Tai Chi

 Small Frame v. Large Video

 

At Master Hwa's 75th, 2007, 2 years after becoming the first certified teacher of Classical Tai Chi




Wu's Style Discipleship ceremony, circa the 1980s



Ambulocetus said about the video: "It's the same for all martial arts; Jujutsu, karate, aikido... Start with big moves and gradually make them smaller."

Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo said: @Ambulocetus "Thanks for the opinion, but it is considerably more complex than that and I think you miss the point here. Big moves of the arms and legs can indeed be made smaller in Karate, Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu but this story has more chapters. BTW Master Stephen Hwa taught Classical Tai Chi for years at a Karate studio in Rochester, NY and one of my students is a Jiu-Jitsu "Professor", owns an Aikido, Jiu-Jitsu Dojo and learned the Wu's Style Mid- Frame from me. I taught the Wu's Style Mid- Frame (learned from Wu Kwong Yu, Eddie in Toronto) to the owner of a local Karate Studio who first saw me doing the Wu's Style Sword Form. Eddie Wu never once mentioned "make them smaller" to me about the movements and I was a disciple. The Karate teacher, may he rest in peace, was featured in Black Belt Magazine for the sheer number of martial arts that he practiced, but I don't recall him mentioning "gradually making his martial art movements smaller". Master Hwa's own teacher's daughter has a black belt in Jiu-Jitsu and teaches the Classical Tai Chi at the Jiu-Jitsu Dojo in Chico, California. Nevertheless, to continue, the bigness of limb movement being made into the smallness of limb movement is a necessary thing but not a sufficient condition when it comes to the presence of the "internal discipline" he speaks of seeing at 1:40 where sophisticated movement originates in the core.

Thursday, September 17, 2020

Patience can be learned particularly in order to "fight"

Patience can be learned when learning to fight  a video link:




From a student and Master Hwa responds: "I have become impatient with the slowness of the learning curve regarding Classical Tai Chi for this reason alone: the forms playing does not seem to be leading to the martial application, and there does not seem to be any partners out this way who know Classical Tai that I can practice. So, I am enrolling in a Win Stun class (Jim R. said, I think you mean Wing Chun) through a park district close to where I live.
"By the way, how long does it take to be a Tai Chi fighter? Have you had a sparring experience?
Hope all is well with you and your family."
Jim R. said: Needless to say, there was more to this narrative and J.D. complains that the Wing Chun Sifu severely throttled him. Master Hwa responded thusly:
Hi J. D. There is no mystery to be good at martial art application. This is discussed in my book and video.
You need to go through three steps:
1. Develop internal energy or power through Form practice, so that one can deliver the power at any angle and position.
2. Practice the form such that the ability of delivery becomes instinctive, no need to think.
3. Practice push hand and sparing to develop sensitivity and finesse.
As I recall when you visited me in Florida, you were not close to master step 1. You were able to use internal discipline at several moves but not all angles. From your description of your sparing experience, you still need to think when you move. No wonder you were always one step behind, and being controlled by the opponent.
Step 3 needs a partner to practice. There is no short cut to that.
I hope I have answered your questions.

Jim R: Years ago, I taught students Taekwondo at Kim's Dojang in Buffalo. It was somewhat horrifying to see a Taekwando student I was teaching go through the front window of Kim's Dojang when he missed the heavy bag with a flying sidekick. I use the fictitious name "Cato" for that poor guy with tongue in cheek. Cato was the Pink Panther's "sparring nemesis", always destroying furniture in the home for Peter Seller's character. I had warned the student to be very careful after I noticed him excessively hopping around in the lineup of students waiting to kick. The heavy bag was always hung too close to the front window in the Dojang. The student's lead foot did not hit the bag on target and the weight of the bag redirected him through the window and onto the sidewalk outside. He only had a minor scratch on his ankle but the large window was totaled. An elderly couple exiting the drugstore almost was almost hit by the flying glass to say nothing of the student. What an incredible amount of momentum can be generated by a flying body. I am thankful for internal with heels on the ground as a wonderful progression from external. One certainly cannot do a one-inch punch with even a 1/4 inch of play in the heel and floor. It is important to have power but equally important to not have "loss"

Finesse is the watchword in the video and something the "Win Stun" guy and Kato flying through the window guy are too impatient for (patience can be learned). Notice Hwa Laoshi's statement that this is a good intro. to sparring. In either of his pulling OR following, he is Yielding to Jason's force. This is directed particularly to the "Overview Videos emphasis that "Fajin" is useful only when you detect an opening in an opponent's movement, such as taking advantage of his body's momentum or deficiency in his rooting and striking without any forewarning. It is not a move with brutal force but with finesse and sensitivity. That is the reason why (JD, Kato, and many impatient others may never "get it") training a Tai Chi fighter is much more difficult than training an external martial arts fighter."

Paraphrase and excerpted from Page 93:  Uncovering The Treasure: Classical Tai Chi's Path to Internal Energy & Health Paperback – May 12, 2010


Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Liked on YouTube: 2020 09 09 13h59m28s Classical Tai Chi Forum 16 tai chi walking mp4

2020 09 09 13h59m28s Classical Tai Chi Forum 16 tai chi walking mp4
The last move involves primarily the use of the power of the core (described as contracting abdominal muscle inward) together with the pull of the lead foot to move the body. This is the crucial step for converting the walking motion into an entirely internal movement. Notice Geri Shea's abdominal motion it is very clear to see as she "contracts" in order to pull forward and back.
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2LmfniUX-M

Tuesday, September 8, 2020

Liked on YouTube: Minds of Our Own clip1

Minds of Our Own clip1
i think that the quarter body movement of an arm is so subtle that it's difficult because people don't think that way. People don't think that their arm could move without moving in isolation, They don't think that their arms should go forward without actually moving their arm itself. So if you see something like that, people will think that they're moving their arm and they absolutely have to be moving their arm. It's just such a one-minded way of looking at things. They're not open to the fact that you can move your arm forward without actually moving your arm at an elbow or a shoulder junction point. It's like the previous experience colors what you are you're viewing and closes your perception
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DlrnXYOBLAE

Friday, September 4, 2020

When one does external, they are not necessarily doing internal

Link: When one does external movement, they are not necessarily doing an internal movement.

This is even though you fool yourself into thinking that you are doing internal. Can I get you to think that you can move your arm without moving your arm? Well, you can if you can think outside the box with me for 4 minutes of video. Some things are just too subtle, however. Examples are live classes and even videos where one can repeat even a dozen times. The video however may well be the best "illusion" breaker. You really need to stop thinking in terms that "flashy" means better..."flashy" should be defined as illusionary. It's been hard as a teacher for me to realize Classical Tai Chi movements are just too darn subtle for many folks that can't think outside the box of their previous Tai Chi, Karate, etc. learning. Finally, this video is an illusion buster and hopefully will change everyone's mind about learning from video vs. live classes. Anyhow, who wants to take a live class in these current times?





Liked on YouTube: Benefit of Video

Benefit of Video
Some things are just too subtle. Examples are live classes and even video where one can repeat a dozen times. The video however may well be the best "illusion" breaker. You really need to stop thinking in terms that "flashy" means better..."flashy" should be defined as illusionary.
via YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6pafzt4L91A