Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

The Complex Behind the Simple

I read this paragraph last night. Instantly, I thought of the Chen style versus Yang style argument particularly about how watered down Yang style is because it lacks the more obvious combative flavor of Chen style.

We kept going back to the beginning again and again. Do we need that part? Can we get it to perform the function of the other four parts? It became an exercise to reduce and reduce, but it makes it easier to build and easier for people to work with.

Reduce and simplify? This wasn’t typical tech industry happy talk. In releasing new products, companies tended to add more bells and whistles, not take them away, but here Jony was saying the opposite. Not that simplifying was a new approach; its Design School 101.


For some funny reason when its comes to Design Tai Chi 101 people need to see complex movements. They can’t see beyond what is obvious. If this thinking was applied to smartphones we wouldn’t have the iPhone today.

This is also why I keep telling students not to underestimate Beginning Posture as so many principles are concealed in what seems simple and useless. Yes, in Beginning Posture that which can be reduced and simplified has been reduced and simplified to this one stark lone movement.

However, I think without the bells and whistles, the externally pleasing turning and spiral movements 99.9% of students would not get it. Yet, when I see how many people get the iPhone I cannot help but shake my head. Therein, lies the paradox in that we can’t get what is in us but can get what is outside of us.

The quote above is from Jony Ive : The Genius Behind Apple’s Greatest Products by Leander Kahney.





Author: ZenMindSword

Mushin is a practitioner, researcher and trainer for Yang style Tai Chi Chuan. He is also author of The Ip Man Koans, The Ip Man Questions and TaijiKinesis series of eBooks, as well as co-author of Complete Wing Chun.

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