Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

Hidden Blade

It was just like a scene out of a movie, perhaps a yarn called The Secret Flying Sword. But it sure was funny.

We use telescopic straight swords for practice. It’s not ideal but a poke won’t hurt much nor a splitting cut.

Here I was talking and showing, repeating something I said before about the importance of keeping a distance whilst the swords were moving when my student’s sword broke and half a section flew at me. It missed me by a lot since I followed my own advice to keep a distance and safe, angled position.

But it sure was funny. Right away the notion of secret flying blade popped into mind.

This was the second sword we broke in practice though we tried to avoid doing hard contact this time around.



Sometimes I have no words to say other than if you want to master Tai Chi the easiest thing is just to try it out. If you don’t get it the first time have some faith and try again and again. Some things are not easy to explain and even if explained would still be difficult to understand.

For example in a previous post I mentioned about this particular shaking ruler method from the Tai Chi Ruler style. I told my student that the principle of fajing here is that you shake the ruler to vibrate the dan tian.

Once the dan tian is awakened and shaking it should take over the shaking motion used initially by the arms. You can say that when you started the external shakes the internal. Now that the internal is there the case becomes the internal shakes the external.

As you keep shaking the ruler there are more interesting effects that can be observed. One of them is how the shaking of the dan tian can produce fast and powerful fajing like movements that seems out of your control. The arms will shake violently for some time before it slows down and stops.

Over the years, the practice will allow you to internalize the shaking. Now even if you want to shake your arms violently like previously you won’t be able to do it. At this point you have movement within stillness. If you test your fajing now your partner will feel a strong vibrating force coming from your arms to throw him off balance.

How to explain this scientifically? I have no idea other than the Tai Chi Ruler shaking has somehow enabled the body to release the force in a rapid, short span sinuous wave-like manner that approximates the feeling of being shaken suddenly and violently felt by the partner.


P.S.- I tried to find a video on Youtube that shows this ruler shaking exercise but cannot find one. I came across a number of clips on Tai Chi Ruler basic circling exercise and they look more like normal physical exercise whilst holding a gadget rather than use the gadget (the ruler) to engage the intention to train the body’s internal force. This is why the Tai Chi Ruler is also known as Steady Intention Needle. In this case the word “needle” means indicator. Thus, it is a gadget that indicates to you how to train your intention to be usable by focusing it (i.e. keeping it steady).




Did I detect a note of skepticism in my student’s question?

If there was a hint it would not be out of the ordinary. After all if you were to tell me that your arm and thigh muscles would relax instead of tensing up when you apply power I would be very skeptical.

But there is nothing like feeling for oneself to see if this was just a BS claim or for real.

Checklist 1 – his right hand pushes my right arm whilst his left hand is placed on my upper arm to feel if there is tensing of the muscles as he applies force and I send him off balance

Checklist 2 – his right hand pushes my right arm and at the same time he places his left hand on my right thigh to check for tensing of thigh muscle


(Note – the above checklist is from the draft of “The Mind & The Power : An Introduction to the Intention Method of Generating Force from Grandmaster Wei Shuren’s Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan“)


Afterwards he can only shake his head and wonder how this is possible. Yes I know that despite all the talk of relaxation if you actually touch the thighs of many famous masters you would feel the muscle tense up. Case of say one thing but do another. Not to mention that its going against the principles.

However, if you persist in training relaxation in line with the principles you will find that when you receive and apply force you will relax even more instead of starting to tense up. Just because the majority can’t do it does not mean it cannot be done.


1 Comment

Tai Chi Ruler

2 + 2 = 4.

Earlier in the training session I got around to mentioning about the fajing effect of Tai Chi Ruler system to my student. This is a very little known method of doing Tai Chi. But after knowing it for a long time, I have discovered what those Tai Chi Ruler methods of using training implements and solo exercises mean in terms of fajing.

The method of the long ruler partner exercise is good for focusing the intention and transmitting power over an extended range whilst the shaking ruler method is great for issuing a sudden, vibrating force with an effect as if the person demonstrated on has been given a sudden electrical shock.

After the lesson I heard a tale of sickness and later in the night I remembered that my teacher, Master Leong, mentioning once that Tai Chi Ruler can also help in curing illnesses. True or not, I have no idea as I did not learn it for health reasons.

However, it is my opinion that for those whose health is partly caused by stress doing Tai Chi can be helpful because it calms the mind, massages the internal organs and provides gentle exercise for those whom hard, sweaty and high impact exercises may aggravate rather than help the health.