Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Paul’s Learning Journey – Commentary on Video of 27 Feb 2014

Paul posted the following video which was taken earlier on 27 Feb 2014.


I watched him and sent some simple steps to correct the problem. After dinner he tried it again and I think the very first practice on the following video is the best. Its not to say that there are no more corrections. I still see one which can be fixed easily as this problem is only in the first two practice sets in the earlier part of the video. The problem is not there in the later parts of the videos. Paul just needs to be aware of this and bring the correct parts together.

Real Life Push Hands

Did I just see a lot of opportunities in this situation to apply the type of techniques we practice in push hands?

This is an example of what I have been telling students about how to take advantage of being shoved to apply some interesting techniques if you ever find yourself in this situation.

Sad that people have to resort to violence but its an opportunity to learn for the rest of us.


Fajing Basics

I frequently hear people say that it takes many years to learn how to fajing. True or false?

Actually, it doesn’t take years to learn how to fajing. The basics of fajing can be found in Beginning Posture. I frequently use it to show beginners (even those who are learning on the first day) that they can do fajing. They already have the means in them.

The problem is that they cannot maintain the physical requirements themselves. Hence, unable to fajing. But once they can get the requirements in place with a simple verbal direction from me they can do it right away. The moment they try to do it themselves without the verbal instruction they find that they cannot do it. Its not that they cannot remember the verbal command. Its just that their body won’t listen to the mind.

So how did I get their body to listen. Its no rocket science. I distract their mind from its normal tendency to wander and bring it to focus on something else. Then magically they find that without worrying about what they are doing they can do it. However, when they start to fret over what is correct, what they think is correct, inject in all sorts of things that have nothing to do with fajing that’s when they find that they cannot do fajing and they cannot understand it.

The Beginning Posture teaches how to align the body to connect the ground and how to convert potential to kinetic energy to fajing. But if you look at the way we move gently and simply you can’t tell that this is happening. Yes, this is the point – if we are doing an internal art then you can’t tell by looking. If you can see me doing it then its not much of an internal art to begin with.

Paul’s Learning Journey – Commentary on Video of 26 Feb 2014

Two steps forward, one step back.

This is what I felt of Paul’s video of 26 Feb 2014. Before I write more let’s take a quick look back at his learning journey.

OK, here is the video of 18 Feb 2013. A start, many parts off.


By the time of the video of 25 Feb 2014 he managed to fix a major problem in the way his left leg used to turn out. Not 100% fixed but an improvement. Still another area to fix a bit down the line.


Sent Paul instructions to work on the movements of his arms. Yes, he worked on it as can be seen in the video of 26 Feb 2014. Not fully fixed but somewhat. However, the left leg problem is back.

I should not be surprised as its too easy to overlook things as the information starts to pile up. But to make the improvement permanent we must be careful not to forget the key principles. Instead, we must diligently check that we are strictly adhering to the details each time we practice other we will take two steps forward and one step backwards.


Oh well, early days but not really. The end of February is almost upon us. Nine more months to go.


Paul’s Learning Journey – Commentary on Video of 25 Feb 2014

Saw the latest video from Paul. It’s an improvement from the video yesterday.

The left leg is not turned out as much though it is still turned out a bit. One more correction perhaps in front of a mirror should do the trick.

The hands’ lifting motion is better, more connected. Still the left hand is not coordinating with the right in that it is still moving ahead.

It’s not a difficult problem to fix. However, one needs to give up the body to the mind to correct it. I’ll send Paul the instruction separately.

Play the Game

I always say opponent not stupid. This is why we study game plans and probability so that we understand how to apply our Tai Chi Chuan techniques better. However, this does not require us to delve deeply into academic theories, just a working understanding of what it means.

At a certain stage of learning a technique is just a physical movement. As you progress in your ability to apply the technique the movement then becomes more than just a physical movement. At this stage it becomes an expression of the strategy you want to apply, your mastery of letting go, to go with the flow, to elicit certain reactions from your opponent that will facilitate your implementation of the technique etc.

When you understand this you don’t need to expand your repertoire of techniques. If anything, you will find that you can do more with less.

Its my theory that this is why the original 13 postures was expanded – to teach students by offering them a broader picture. However, at the advanced level it just comes back to the 13 postures or whatever are the core postures in your style. In this sense, a punch is not a punch yet a punch is just a punch. So all those crazy, nonsensical Zen talk do actually make sense once your mind clears up and you can see clearly things for what they are.


One time a student asked about using the raising of both hands to do fajing demo. My first reaction was why this demo?

Its not that we can’t have the occasional fun with fajing demo to entertain friends. Its that if we do too much of it we may end up believing in our invincibility.

A demo is just that a demo. To answer I said yes there are ways to do this demo. Some would demonstrate subtle skills whereas some show off functional strength.

I would prefer to focus on training a reaction that is more appropriate for use in a self defence scenario. If you do this type of demo once too often your first reaction when grabbed this way is to try to throw the person backwards. Its fine as long as its a demo.

However, when used in a self defence scenario it doesn’t do much to the attacker. He’ll just come right back and try something nastier.

So to train self defence work on combat type of reaction. To train fancy demo tricks join the circus.