Singapore Tai Chi Chuan

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The Mind Inside Tai Chi – Review 4

Continuing with the review on 2.3 Qi.

The author wrote that “The first element of mind approach in practicing taijiquan is qi.” I find this very strange. Shouldn’t the first element to using the mind be intention? We always say “no Yi, no Qi” but never “no Qi, no Yi“. I feel that the author has not explained Qi ……click here to continue reading.


If the question had come from a young chap I would not be surprised. But for the question to come from someone nearing his 70s it was interesting to say the least.

Someone, X, visited me to find out more about learning Tai Chi. The first question…… click here to read more.

Learning Tai Chi


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At Singapore Yang Style Combat Tai Chi lessons covering forms, weaponry, push hands, fajing and applications are offered. Lessons are conducted in English.

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The Right of the Wrongs 2

My student is exasperated because I am telling him what seems to be conflicting things to his ears.

I teach all students………..beginners particularly……… one way to ward-off because I want them to understand how to rotate and spiral the arm. In this manner they are able to connect what they learn in Beginning Posture.

However, I also point out that our GM Dong does not do it this way in his video of the long form. So whilst a student may be comfortable hanging on to the beginner’s way of rotating the arm it should not stop him from exploring and learning why GM Dong did it another way. After all, how would the student at present, in the future a teacher, answer to his own student’s query one day in the future about the difference in how we move the arm.

Thus, the beginner’s way is obvious, logical, easy to understand. However, the advanced method seen in GM Dong’s way challenges us to refine our movements without compromising on the principles. Yet if we are afraid to try it we will never move beyond our present limitations.

Without knowing our limitations we will have a hard time moving beyond the parameters of our art and remain trapped forever at this level. To the brave, once a different and more challenging aspect is understood we not only see a different alternative, we effectively experienced a paradigm shift and move onto a different level of mastery.

At every step as we challenge our learning paradigm we effectively learn the rules, bend them, break them and remake them. This is how we can master Tai Chi Chuan.

A Trend of Violence

It seems to me that violence is on the increase in Singapore. Various explanations have been put up to account for it.

The bad thing about this is that in training Tai Chi Chuan for combat we now have to move into the harder core type of techniques. This means that we avoid the training of movements that basically just shove each other around to no avail. Instead, we now focus on training those techniques that in the eyes of the uninformed seem to be excessively violent response techniques.

When I showed these techniques to a student who used to be a prisons officer he said that the technique could get the user into trouble with the law. Indeed, I know it is so. This is why I have avoided teaching these techniques until now when the winds of change indicate that there is a need to at least have the option to defend oneself effectively if the requirement truly arises.

To me there is nothing worse than a student learning Tai Chi  Chuan, be fed with the tales of invincibility of past masters, be given unrealistic expectation of the deadliness of the style, only to find that when push comes to shove he gets shoved.In the study of Tai Chi Chuan for self defence we consider three scenarios – proactive prevention, preventive control and go-ape-shit. For us, the best response is proactive prevention. However, you never can tell when and what would happen so the latter two options should be studied too.

The last option, go-ape-shit, is one we hope never to have to use, ever. It does not mean that we should not train the various techniques. We should. In that respect, we should also train to control our emotions, our self-control, etc. Knowing when to fight is every bit as important as knowing how to fight. The smart fighter is one who picks his fight, not just lash out at every other person like a rabid dog.

Training go-ape-shit techniques need not always be a life and death affair. Sometimes, it can be fun because to do such techniques properly one must also be able to master good control of the body. This can be an incentive to practice more diligently. For example, how do we issue force that is literally heart piercing? What is the best technique to use? How is the force generated? What are the key biomechanical motions that one must use? How does one maximize the chances of successfully using the technique? How can we implement it into a self defence response to discourage an attacker? Or worse case scenario to injure the attacker?

A rising trend of violence is bad for society. I am glad that our government has rolled out several initiates to control crime. For a long time I hardly see police around. Nowadays, not only do we have CCTVs monitoring our block but also I see police patrolling more often on bicycles. The winds truly have changed and blows colder nowadays on the law abiding citizen.

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If I was sitting on a chair when I received my friend’s email then I would have to hold on to prevent myself from falling off from laughing too hard.

Yes, the train has left the station and is rolling, chugging along. Before Grandmaster Wei’s untimely passing in 2013 there were not many videos of practitioners performing his Old Six Routines form on the internet even those based in China. Of those that I found they were mainly disciples of GM Wei. But today when I searched for videos of Old Six Routines they are everywhere; many of them performed in a manner that would cause my eyebrow to arch up.

Yesterday, my friend sent me an email with these two pictures :-

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The pictures with the drawings looked strangely familiar when seen at a glance. Of course, it looks like a version of the Old Six Routines except that the rings are all wrong as are the postures. When I enlarged the pictures its confirmed that the 3 Chi Rings are being used in the Tai Chi Chuan postures.

I was puzzled why the 3 Chi Rings were used differently. Then I clicked the link in the email and saw the following picture for an app in iTunes :-

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Of course. Now I understand the difference. The title says Wu Style Tai Chi Chuan Internal Method. Interesting. This is the first time I heard of Wu style using the 3 Chi Rings. I can’t help but wonder if the master in this app is promoting a genuine teaching of Wu style or just ripping off Grandmaster Wei’s method wholesale. He even has the signature elongated wrist principle in the picture of Press Jing but its missing in the picture of him doing the kick where he reverted to the conventional settled wrist.

I searched further and this master, Zhuang Yinghao, apparently has also released a book in Chinese which you can see at this link.

I have some other reservations about what is being shown but I won’t say more than this. Some things we should keep within so that others who try to copy us won’t be able to do so easily.