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


Want to learn Tai Chi?

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

Send enquiry today at the link here.

New Website

I haven’t posted to this blog for a long time.

This is because I have a new website here. Please visit to continue reading my posts.

99% Wongs

I recently read this about the dangers of going to the ground in a real fight on a forum :-

Rorion Gracie noted about fighting on the ground in the U.S.A.: “In Brazil we fight Mano et mano. Americans are like dogs, everyone, anyone will attack you. It’s not a safe choice. Because of this, we are changing our training to include more stand up.


I read the above a few days after seeing this video (warning – do not watch if you can’t stomach seeing an actual murder happening right before your eyes).

A long, long time ago I had wondered why 99% of the combat arts in China focused on standup rather than going to the ground. After all, its not like there are no arts that based their core strategy on taking an opponent to the ground. So why no greater attention to ground fighting?

When a gang fight happens in Asia it can be like a swarm descending on the victim too. They tend to rush in with pipes and machetes swinging. I don’t know about you but the ground is the last place I would want to be. If anything, I would use the techniques from my newly created Wing Chun form Mo Lum Jow (if you didn’t catch the joke its on one of my FB posting) first. Failing which I would do what some of my teachers advised in the past. Sorry but I am not going to say what the advice is.

I think if you try to reason this out with a grappler he will laugh at you before demonstrating how he can easily take you down in a 1-to-1 fight. And he will be correct in having this perception except in the real world it does not always happen this way. I am guessing that if 99% of the combat arts in China does not focus so much on ground fighting its probably because they have a long time ago reached this conclusion. We may think we are correct but can 99% Wongs really be wrong? Anyway, in a number of the traditional arts they do have what they term as ground fighting which is not the same as ground grappling. If you are curious as to what this is go research it.


Kit Kat Moment

Taking a break now after releasing 2 Dots – Six Learning Steps to Mastering Wing Chun’s Kicking Model.

This is a useful primer for those who want to learn how to be able to kick without telegraphing as well as deliver penetrating power. Its not so much a book on how to perform kicks as what are the essential principles; the so-called body knowledge, that must be acquired in order to do kicks in a more optimized manner.

Students have asked and I have demonstrated how I can get my foot off the ground slowly and then suddenly whipped out power through the foot. Just last week I gave a student a tap on the stomach with my foot that bounced him off his feet. Too bad it was impromptu and hence wasn’t filmed.

The key to kicking is balance. If you don’t have balance you can’t get into a position to kick as and when you need to do it.

Also, if you don’t have balance you can’t generate the power.

Learning to kick the Tai Chi way is difficult due to the subtlety of the body movements involved which is largely governed by how the mind directs the body to move. However, if one understands the Wing Chun way of kicking it may well kick start one’s ability to kick. It won’t replace the Tai Chi method, just act as a short term solution for those who don’t want to wait to long to be able to do kicks.

Stop Resisting

This mentality of “I must resist” can be an obstacle to learning how to flow and react in a timely and appropriate manner.

When you first learn from a teacher you give resistance because you want to see if he has the skills you want to learn.

But down the road if you continue to resist for no other reason than you end up retarding your learning. We must remember learning is learning and not competition. When you work with your teacher he is feeding you movement, feeling, energy to teach you how to move.

So when you resist you end up not learning what he is trying to teach you. Thus, for example if you resist and run away from a simulated attack that’s all you did. If your teacher did not press the attack then you thought you got away with it. If he pressed the attack then you end up resisting more and not learning how to respond better. If the attack is faster you might end up getting struck many times and not see where the attacks came from.

The lesson to remember when learning is LEARN, not resist for the sake of resisting. There is a time to resist and there is a time not to do so. When learning to be pushed if you try to resist you end up getting pushed harder. If you can let go and tell yourself to enjoy the push you will become like the Daruma doll that cannot be pushed over. Like I said before the skill is already in you. You just have to let it out. To resist is to keep your natural skill imprisoned and prevent you from progressing.


On the news last night the story of an old curry puff seller was mentioned in Parliament as an example of skill arising from pursuing a craft. This was part of the debate on the de-emphasis on pursuing a university degree in favor of other paths to a career.

I saw in The Straits Times today that the story of Jiro Ono was also mentioned. This is the famous sushi master in Japan for whom the Michelin panel said that awarding them 3 stars was the very least.

What was left unsaid and unmentioned in Parliament is that the meal that the Michelin panel tasted was not prepared by Jiro himself but by his eldest son!

It is good to encourage students to take up a craft. However, learning a craft is like requiring two hands in order to clap. You may have students who want to learn but unless you find masters who are willing to teach then the sound of one hand clapping will be ……………. silence.

Given the typical Singaporean mentality of wanting to learn everything fast I wonder if encouraging craftsmanship is reaching for the stars. Even if the masters are willing to teach fast mastering a craft still requires a lot of practice time not to mention additional research, trial and error, and so on. So no matter how fast you want to go sometimes you just can’t go fast until you have put in the practice time.

Sometimes when I show students a movement I tell them that its really very easy to do. It is certainly not an impossible movement to master, more so since I can explain how to do it step-by-step. However, the student will almost, always never really get it. The reason is predominantly due to the fact that they do not listen and observe carefully each step in the process. They will inevitably try to do the movement faster and faster before they get the sequence in the correct order with the attendant timing without which they cannot express the nuances that are vital to the workings of the movement.

So the root cause of failure to learn is really very simple. The student must take the time to learn and then give himself the time to practice. He must then test the movement and be prepared to fail. Then he must go back and investigate where he went wrong. Then he must practice again and test yet again. Over and over until success.

Doing Tai Chi is not difficult…………over time once the foundation skills fall into place. If you want to succeed don’t keep thinking of the end like everybody else. Instead, focus on the means because the means by themselves can be an end. Add together all these ends and you will attain the final destination.




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Muscle Me 2

In the first post Muscle Me I didn’t mention anything on what muscling someone is like.

In the video below you can see an example of muscling someone looks like.

When you try to muscle someone you are trying to pit your strength directly against him. If he is weaker than you then no issue. However, if he is stronger then you have to use a lot more strength to move him. This is not efficient use of strength.

If you want to move someone easily you have to find a smarter way to do it. For a change in the video we are exploring how to use the 5-Points to unbalance and send our training partner off. 

In the video above, I am using the 2nd movement from our 13-movement form specifically GST(iii) to GST(vii) as shown on page 138, TaijiKinesis Vol 2. We are exploring a more physical application of the biomechanics explained and illustrated on page 151-152.

Learning fajing requires a lot of hands-on finetuning. As simple as the method used here it is still not as easy to grasp without a good foundation. You can push someone away from you using forward momentum but to literally shoot someone away like an arrow requires a better use of the body to leverage its strength and prime it to release force like a bow. An example is right at the end of the video below.