Singapore Tai Chi Chuan


Borders in Westgate is gone and replaced by Popular.

No matter, we went in and had a look. Saw a book on Physics, flipped it and showed to my student some models and the advantage of understanding them in order to improve one’s Tai Chi Chuan skills.

This model is about how to apply force in physics. I asked my student to see if he can apply it to enhance his power. It is also a good way to test his practical understanding from practice.

The test is simple. The partner extends his stronger arm and holds it as firmly as he can to resist your force. If you stand in front of your test partner and push at his palm or fist directly its normally more difficult to push his arm because his body is aligned naturally.

So we will stand by the side so that our body is facing the extended arm perpendicularly. In this direction most test partners will find it difficult to resist a force applied on the wrist because they do not know how to align their arm in this manner. Thus, most readers who read this test will say its no big deal and they can even move the extended arm with their index finger.

If the test partner cannot resist the force on the wrist from the side then it proves that he has not learned anything from practice.

It is possible to hold the arm strongly to resist a force applied on the wrist perpendicularly from the side. Do you think I am bluffing or b#$%sh*@#ing here?

If you think I am bluffing then it means that you seriously need to brush up on your understanding of physics because the principle that can enable you to resist a force from the side is analogous to the principle that is applied to the building of a balcony. If this is not a sound principle then the balcony will collapse as soon as a person stands on it. You can apply a similar thinking to that of cranes that are used in construction, something that I also pointed out to my student as the train we were in passed by construction sites on the way to Westgate.

Do you know what this principle is?

OK, if you don’t get it you can read about it in the eBook I am writing now about Internal Power of Wing Chun.

So coming back to the test. After practicing the 3-Count in Tai Chi for years even my student can put up quite a strong resistance to a force applied on his wrist from the side. I had to put my body weight into it to move his arm. However, this makes for poor understanding of the internal power of Tai Chi. So how do we apply force such that we use the minimal strength possible yet can move his arm effortlessly.

This is where I said that knowing physics alone can help somewhat but not enough. To do it really effortlessly one should understand some basic anatomy and how to use the intention to energize one’s applied force.

The use of physics + anatomy + intention results in the test partner’s arm being moved effortlessly and towards the end of the pushing movement the test partner, my student, found himself being spun out of his base. This was intriguing because most people who are pushed will just find themselves being pushed off their base and may take a step to recover their balance but not spun off balance. And you don’t even have to take a step forward to push the test partner’s arm.

Some people who see this type of demo would think that its an example of Chi. To me its just physics at work though to explain it fully requires a much more indepth explanation. To be able to do it one does not need to read about physics or anatomy but it can help one to understand what is going on and dispel notions of hocus pocus at work.

Thus, the skills of Tai Chi is attainable by anyone who studies it as long as one has a workable learning and practice plan. Just remember not to be too smart about things you don’t know. If you already know it all then don’t waste your teacher’s time by taking lessons. When you open up your mind then you learn about possibilities that you never knew existed, that the skills are already within you and you only need to unshackle your mind to access the skills. This is what being internal is about.



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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