Friday, November 23, 2018

Classical Tai Chi is Internal Discipline

Laoshi Stephen Hwa Ph.D. performing compact round form "brush knee" utilizing "internal discipline", Rochester, NY

 Since post-Qing Dynasty, about 1911 and the "popularization" of Tai Chi in China the few Tai Chi Grandmasters "simplified" the "forms." This "simplification", circa 1950's was avidly and no doubt promoted as "Beijing 24 movement Form"  with appropriate governmental intrigue per the PRC. It was taught to the general public but also to internees in the many Communist "re-education" camps.In simplification, they removed more than the "internal discipline" that you see here: Internal Discipline  

In removing what the essence of Tai Chi movement was, they also did away with the need for explanation. The learning was made more difficult in doing this because it became an act of constant memorization of a sequence of movements with no explanation of rationale. In so many words i
n teaching the "internal discipline." people were told and to this day are told to "just follow along, and you will get it."    

Internal Discipline enables you to initiate movements specifically and exactly from the torso above the hips, the internal core of the body (abdomen and back) rather than from the external parts of the body (the limbs) and even the hips in some cases since they are a major joint of the body.  It cultivates and mobilizes your internal energy for health benefits and martial arts applications. 

Classical Tai Chi or Tai Ji utilizes the philosophy of yin and yang in every aspect of its practice. For every internal movement, a moving part of the body "yang" works against a stationary part "yin" that provides support and power. There then exists what is called a "junction" between yin and yang and it always is located in the torso. When an internal move is performed correctly the practitioner feels sensations of stretching and intense energy flowing across the junction in an otherwise relaxed body. 

Thursday, November 15, 2018

"In a fight anything goes"

Link:  Classical Tai Chi in a fight ...Not

and here's all the  Link:  speculation why "not" and the speculation is way off the mark

From Master Stephen Hwa: "Now if you know Tai Chi like in the fight between Wu Gong Yi and the other guy, Chan Hak Fu. Now both sides know each other's art very well.  Now, I'm sure they both developed a strategy to counteract the other guy's strength. Now the other guy, if you watch the video (click here for LINK). Now I know (pointing to Jim Roach) you watched it many times, you find (the other guy an "external" White Crane martial art)  changed the way he moved.  In other words, he doesn't use momentum, body momentum at all. He knows the Tai Chi is really good to counteract momentum, body momentum. Body momentum, that is what Tai Chi is really good at.  And he just chopped away, just using his arms, so there is no body momentum...remember that? There was just a flurry of arms without any body momentum. Certainly, in that way, he cannot develop all the power and so forth. At least he tried to avoid being thrown by the Tai Chi. In that case, Wu Gong Yi is not using Tai Chi, you cannot blame him, because the guy is not using body momentum. 

So at that time (and even today on Youtube) people are saying how come Wu is not using Tai Chi?  So he is not using Tai Chi and so everytime, he has to block.  So he is using this (side of the hand)  and hitting him (on the arms) and after awhile.  So after a while, the guys' arms got tired because the muscle got hit.  So he, himself, goes in and hit his nose (he walked into Wu's blocks and his nose started bleeding profusely).  You cannot blame Wu for not using Tai Chi because the other guy does not use body momentum (he moves, I move, if he does not move, I do not move).  So the guy did this with his arms and Wu did this to block him, block his chops. One of his hands he cannot raise or something." It is to be noted that in subsequent interviews Chan Hak Fu talked about the soreness of his arms and difficulty in moving them after the fight. 

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."