Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

The Real Internal Skill? 6

I told my student that his rendition of Cloud Hands is wrong. Because of this he would not be able to apply the technique much less express the power.

He asked how to do it correctly. I had to sigh first before replying that the solution is to use the 5-Count as I have said many times. That his movement – the angling, the timing, etc – is wrong because his 5-Count is wrong.

Internal skills is developed from knowing the basics and then finetuning them. If the basics are wrong how then to get the skills. Students tend to have this delusion that just because they seem to get the 5-Count correct in a few movements they have mastered the 5-Count. This is so wrong.

To master the 5-Count means being able to express it correctly in each and every movement in the entire 108 form and then be able to use it in push hands. Anything lesser means non-mastery. Period.

The logic is if you have already mastered the 5-Count in a few movements then why is it that you fail to do it in the other movements? The answer is that you have not mastered it in the first place. I know that most of our ego does not allow us to entertain the thought that we have yet to master something so simple. Yet, this is the the truth of the matter. You can delude yourself but the reality will not change.

To wake students up to the reality of non-mastery sometimes the teacher must give them the room to make mistakes until they see the mistakes for what they are. Otherwise, even if the teacher points out the mistakes the student would not believe it and just brush over the comment. The student reading this might dispute it but their body language is unmistakable.

So going back to Cloud Hands the first problem is that the feet are positioned wrongly. The root cause can be traced back to …………… Beginning Posture! The arm-body positioning problem can also be traced back here. Thereafter, the problem with where and how to move the arms properly, when to step etc is a problem with using the 5-Count properly.




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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