Monday, July 22, 2019
Friday, July 12, 2019
Firmness & Relaxation
…… I understand the utility of redirecting incoming force, but when blocking, how is it that the arm remains soft and subtle (in order that we may listen), and not rigid as in external martial arts?
"Follow the opponent's motion until it dissolves into my own. Only when I can unite with the opponent to become "ONE", then I may prevail.". From an older article which may shed some additional light on what Master Hwa speaks about and demonstrates in this very recent video. I would encourage everyone to read J.T's quandary, try the "experiment" Master Hwa speaks about at the end of this article.
Master Stephen Hwa's response: In short, the rigidity in an external martial art is indiscriminate with every muscle in the arm stiffened up to the maximum. In tai chi, only the necessary energizing is employed. In addition, your blocking of the opponent’s arm should use a force just enough to ward off his arm. If you use too much force then it's no longer redirect, but push back, and you lost the advantage of redirect. Therefore your ward-off move is very fluid and delicate. This can only be achieved when you are not stiff or rigid. I have an experiment I want you to try: Try to press the back of your hand against say a door frame, just like you are blocking an opponent's incoming arm. Do you find that one side of your forearm muscle is energized while the other side, the muscle is relaxed? Let me know your results.
Posted by Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo at 2:03 PM
Monday, July 8, 2019
Thursday, July 4, 2019
The Power and Grace of Classical Tai Chi
Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo gets featured on page 23 of July's "In Good Health" magazine. In an interview with IGH at Buffalo State College, I explain what, how, why's, etc. of Classical Tai Chi. No, I never said I was a "Master"😉 the onus for that falls squarely on the reporter. Read the entire article at the link above.
Posted by Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo at 7:46 AM
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
I also recommend you view the entire video if you have the chance: Qi and Internal Energy in Classical Tai Chi Master Stephen Hwa: "At the beginning of the learning process, you are instructed to relax or forget about the shoulder and the arm, just concentrate on the abdomen and the back for the internal movements. This is to eliminate the common habit of moving from the arm or shoulder. The shoulder and arm just follow the movements from the internal core. (My student Ernie said that trying to relax the shoulder did not work for him, because of the act of “trying to relax” placed too much attention on the shoulder which kept the shoulder in play.) For most people, the difficulty here is to find the neural pathways in the core which can make the internal move you intended. After you practice the form in this way for a while you will develop some knack for moving from the core. Now comes the second stage of learning that is to integrate your arm with the internal movements and to expanding the circulating internal energy and qi from the torso to the arm, the palm and the fingertips.
I previously talked about the incorporation of “yi”, or martial art intent, in the movement. With practice, one will achieve the state where the arm and the internal core move as “One” and, that the internal energy and qi flow with the “yi” of the movements to the palm and the fingertips. By examining my own movements I found that, in this state, my arm constantly exerts a slight stretch or pull on the shoulder. This stretch firmly engages the arm to the shoulder. Since the elbow is always lower than the shoulder, there is a downward stretching force on the shoulder causing the shoulder to sink which in turn connects it to the core enabling the arm and the core moving as “One”. The stretching force involved here is quite subtle and small, just sufficient to achieve the engagement. Those of you who have already achieved such engagement in your practice probably feel this already. "
Posted by Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo at 8:33 AM
Monday, July 1, 2019
Youtube of Bruce Lee.
Stephen Hwa's one inch punch is similar to Bruce Lee's in terms of "time delay" (no time to step back from punch) it is different in terms of Bruce's "momentum force" and Stephen Hwa's "internal energy". Also different in terms of "explosion" vs. implosion", stance of persons giving the punch and stance of persons receiving punch. Although Bruce Lee's "1-inch" punch was an "explosion" on the outside of a body, the person had a "time delay" so there was no time to react, to step back to relieve the power from the strike (he hit the person on the solid chest, a large stance, back foot heel leaves the ground, seems "momentum" based). Stephen Hwa's is an "implosion" on the inside of a body, the person had a "time delay", no time to react, to step back to relieve the power of the strike (hit the person on the belly, an extremely small stance, both feet stay on ground, "used a quarter body move, no "momentum") What seems like "sci-fi" is the "implosion" involves a "time delay" and a "time constant". In visiting him in Florida I had a discussion with Master Hwa who is a Ph.D. chemical engineer. This got really interesting for me about terms like "time delay" that he refers to in the video. My layman's understanding is that all materials including human bellies also have a "time constant" in their elasticity. Well, in this case, the force is coming at Tom as Master Hwa later says with so much force, so much speed it creates a "time delay" (irrespective of the "time constant") in Tom's body going backward. Measuring how far the punch penetrates during and after the pad is really only about 2 or 3 inches of compact movement. Regardless of that it still penetrates into Tom's body and one might say completely. I call it an "implosion", on the inside of Tom's body as opposed to an "explosion" on the outside. He receives the whole force before his body begins to move back, so much for "pulling the punch", don't you think? It is aptly called a "spike" of power because like a spike, the opponent's body has no chance to get away from the full force.
Posted by Jim Roach Classical Tai Chi of Buffalo at 10:21 AM