Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Paul’s Learning Journey – Commentary on Video of 12 Mar 2014 Part 2

Here is a follow up clip from Paul after I commented on the clip that was in this post.

To date, I have looked through all twelve of Paul’s clips on attempting to get the first Grasp Sparrow’s Tail movement correct.

He’s managed to eliminate the robotic-like turning fairly quickly but now is stuck on getting the principle of empty-full down pat. This has resulted in a rigid lifting of the toes of the right foot off the ground subtly and gently. But it is good to note that he has eliminated more of the rigidity in the clip above.

The key to nailing this illustrates to us the importance of details. If you don’t know how to do it exactly it’s going to be an uphill battle. However, even knowing the details won’t spare you the work. There’s simply no running away from it. I wrote about the key principles and the use of 5-count in TaijiKinesis Vol 2. Those are the key details and mind tools that must be used to learn the movements of the form. One must catch the relationship between the theory and description of how to perform the form in order to avoid just waving the hands about meaninglessly.

To return to GST (i) – (iii) one of the reasons why Paul couldn’t transfer the weight so smoothly from his right leg to the left leg can be traced back to the very first movement of Beginning Posture. This was when a key principle which is used throughout the form was introduced. So though the Intention for BP(i) on page 128 seems simple there’s a lot going on once you really go through the practice. I highlighted this point under Qualia for BP(i). Thereafter, BP(ii) describes the process as clearly as I could put it into words though reading it is meaningless with practice to feel what the words mean.

In short, a good grasp of the mental control required to empty the weight and shift it cleanly is essential. Otherwise, one’s balance will come off awkward and requires more effort to move about. You cannot minimize effort if every movement involves more motions than is necessary.

Hence, one shouldn’t practice blindly but constantly question what one is doing. I know many fear to question what is perceived to be the orthodox way to do things. However, without daring to challenge one’s belief system one would not achieve the insights necessary to make a breakthrough in training.

The logic is outlined clearly in TaijiKinesis Vol 2. However, one must still read carefully to catch the central message. It is too easy to think you know what you are reading when your assumptions could be way off course. So constantly pay heed to the details because they are the keys to solving the puzzle of the form.


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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