Singapore Tai Chi Chuan


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Paul Learns Tai Chi – Day 2

I am glad Paul made it out here. As I have been telling him some things are difficult to try to write about; it so much more easier for him to actually learn how to do it.

Our objective was to go through the 13 movements described in TaijiKinesis Vol 2 but in the end we managed to only do two and a half movements. I was willing to push on but it was really tough on Paul’s mind to have to learn, remember and absorb so much in so little time.

But all was not lost as we at least now understand a common terminology when discussing Tai Chi and we have established a simple way to describe how to move about. This will be useful for learning through the internet.

Today the focus was more on doing ward-off. Here I am pointing out where to focus the mind and what the body should be doing in response to the intention.

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And of course, how to get the power off the ground; a key fundamental that is in accordance to the principles of the Tai Chi Classics.

 

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Rollback follows the movement of ward-off. Getting the arms in the correct position is necessary for being able to eventually use it as a technique.

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Good positioning of the arms in rollback makes it more difficult for the opponent to try to escape.

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Though rollback looks like a defensive technique, it can also be used for attacking as I demonstrated here on Paul and surprising him with a quick and sudden attack which was too fast for the video to be able to stop at that position for me to do a screen capture.

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After rollback we moved on to doing the transition that leads to press.

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A properly executed press can be performed with one arm and not necessarily with two arms. When the position is correct even Paul can fajing me as seen here.

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The end position of press calls for two arms to be used for a stronger fajing.

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Here I am pressure testing Paul’s press. With the correct amount of pressure when I try to push him his expanded posture allowed him to bounce him back.

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A second pressure test and Paul does it better this time, sending me further back.

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This is how I do it, press with a dash of ward-off energy thrown in.

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Then we move on to separating the hands, a movement that precedes push. I am showing Paul how to use the separation of hands to pull the opponent off his feet.

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Here we move on to learning the biomechanics of push. Not as simple or straightforward as one would think. The 5-Count comes into play here to enable the body to generate elastic power by using the ground.

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Even as we move forward in our learning the key principles must not be forgotten. For example lowering the elbows in one such principle. This is because the elbow joint is part of the 5-Count mechanism.

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Here I am testing Paul’s learning of the 5-Count in doing push. Some times he got it and sometimes it was a off. But when Paul got the mechanics correct it made for a great photo moment as can be seen here. It proved what I have been saying all along, that all of us have it in us to do fajing. You don’t need to train low stances, thigh strength, this strength or that strength for a long time. Just get the mechanism correct and you can do it right away.

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Learning so much in such a short time is tough for a virtual beginner like Paul. I’ve been through it and I understand how the brain at a certain point starts to go into overload. Finally, we take a rest and just do light discussion. Here I am talking about the different ways to play Single Whip.

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Its fifteen minutes past midnight now. Its been a long day and time to hit the sack.


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Paul Learns Tai Chi – Day 1

2006. Has 8 years really passed since I first knew Paul?

Anyway, finally, today’s the day Paul has come to learn Tai Chi. The weather’s kinda funny today. Overcast, then sunny and finally rained.

But before the rain came we made it out to Maxwell Hawker Center for the famous Tian Tian Chicken Rice before adjourning to Haw Par Villa for the little ladies to have a walkabout whilst we parked ourselves at the entrance and just did our thing.

We began the learning of Tai Chi by examining how to do Beginning Posture. In this photo I was delivering the instructions on how to posit the intention to develop one’s proprioception for use in confronting an opponent.

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After the first movement we then move on to grasping the sparrow’s tail. Here the focus is on getting the balance correct so that we can move lightly like a cat.

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Moving like a cat means that we have to be deliberate when moving. If not, our foot will land on the ground like an elephant trampling the ground.

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Once, the foot is on the ground we then move to grasp the sparrow’s tail. Again, where to place the intention is one of the keys in mastering Tai Chi so we need to emphasize this part of the learning and not just pay lip service to it.

 

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From grasping the sparrow’s tail we move on to ward-off. To avoid moving the hands about without purpose we train our mind to cultivate a sense of enemy. In this way our intention will be martially inclined.

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The movement in this part of ward-off can be used in this manner at the short range.

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Opening and closing the doors is part and parcel of learning Tai Chi as a traditional Chinese martial art. This movement in ward-off teaches us about this aspect.

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The correct timing, the correct angle, the correct coordination -these are stuff we need to pay attention to when doing Tai Chi.

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Being able to move the arm in tandem with the leg is an ability trained using the 5-Count. When this is learned well our coordination will look easy and effortless.

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Once we can move easily then we need to learn how to position ourselves in the best position relative to the opponent. For example the leg positioning of ward-off teaches us how to penetrate into the opponent’s space. Once there we can apply a palm strike (not shown) and follow it up with a derived elbow strike as shown below.

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After ward-off we moved on to rollback and press. Here I am giving Paul a bit of pressure so that he can feel if his structure has substance.


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We ended by a short look at how to do push particularly the science behind the conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy through the use of 5-Count.

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