Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Paul Learns Tai Chi – Day 1

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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.



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.



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.




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.




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.



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


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.



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


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.



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.



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.



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.



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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