Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Intent

Today, there was a discussion among some of the North American disciples on intent. What is it? What does it mean?

The discussion allowed me to solidfy a couple of things.

In 2019 Iowa Camp, shifu mentioned:

Spencer's notes:
The camp’s lessons this time were pervaded by the idea of “intention”. Intention in PM is what we call “to lead”. For example, in the positive circle, the elbow in is the “lead” Intention has no meaning in itself, but it changes everything. I am starting to realize this is one of the reasons Master Chen’s form looks so much different than mine and I can never figure out why. Your eyes can only see movement. The act of leading translates to intention, and when intention is used, the action is different. In with elbow, turn at waist, out with hand… You have to be clear about those intentions. Say them aloud! When the intention is clear, you produce a very thin line. From one large thing, you pull out one dot. This is the concept of silk reeling.

My notes:
Lead - Intention
Intention can only be seen if there is movement, or change in structure.
When the intention is different, the result is different.

In with elbow, turn with waist, out with hand.
We need to say it out loud.
They make a triangle.
Isolate the three lines.
The triangle becomes a circle because of the rotation of the centre (which is an illusion)
3 independent ways to lead
3 intentions

Hugo mentioned water drop rolling down the window.

Shifu also mentioned before, "Real intent is no intent".

My thinking at the moment is that it is about the inevitable consequence when something is done.  Nothing needs to be forced by me.

If A is done, B must become the result, then A is an intent.  However, there is a relationship between A and B that must be maintained, otherwise, A is not an intent. e.g. A is your push on a revolving door, B is the resolving door rotating and hitting you back. The relationship is that the solid door with a non-moving axis that it can rotate on. With that relationship, you know that when you do A, B must become the result (there is no other possibility). A is indirect with B.

The word "lead" means going first, e.g. every section of a bicycle chain must go through the same spot one after another. The first one going through is the leader. This is also related to the concept that our actions must be vertical (going in the direction of the length of an object) and not horizontal.

Monday, July 1, 2019

Taiji Postures

Block Touching Coat

Single Whip

Taken at Trent-Severn Waterway Lock 38 on June 30, 2019.

Shifu's comment:
何家伟的两张照片显示出来筋的力。开始用筋之后,自身必然能够合住劲。
Both of Kelvin Ho's pictures displayed the power from tendon. With the use of tendon, the body will be able to hold the power (without collapse or leakage).

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Sensing the energy in the opponent

It has been a while since I notice how students are powering up when they engage with each other while I am watching from the side without touching them. I am not yet sure how I can tell. Is it their subtle movement, body language or something else? E.g. I can tell if they are pushing from the heel or toes, if they are powering up with a back muscle, at the shoulder, or with the kua. This information is useful in identifying the fixed dot in the opponent's body. It allows me to help the students understand their bodies, and what they are actually doing. They ask me how I can tell, however at this point, I honestly don't know how I know, I just do. It just seems like the energy is running through the body.
Today, I was teaching a student how to kick with heel. The focus was to stretch the back of the leg and not let the energy get stuck on the knee. I was telling the student the difference between the proper and non-proper ones. I realized that I was not using my eyes or any touch to tell if she was stretching or not. The leg might be extended but not necessarily stretched. We did a test with me looking a way to see if I could tell if she was stretching or not. We repeated the test a few times, and somehow I could tell. Was I using some sort of sound? I was not sure, I just felt it in my body somehow. This was written for the sake of recording the incident.
One of the ways to learn to locate the fixed dot is to put some pressure on the opponent and see how he reacts to it, e.g. how he resists it. The same person tends to react the same way, the more you work with a person, the more you are used to his actions and can anticipate what he will do. The more people you work with, the more developed the skill. It eventually helps in dealing with you have never met before.

Saturday, April 6, 2019

Drilling Down

This week, I found myself able to drill the opponent down causing him to eventually fall vertically to the ground.  The particular exercise was about me putting my right hand on the opponent's right shoulder, and my right thigh behind the opponent's left thigh. I pulled my elbow down his back and towards my right kua to lock the opponent (This would cause a compression on the opponent's spine). I realized a fixed dot at the opponent's left ribs. I opened my right kua upwards, and ended up taking out the space in the opponent. The result was that the opponent left leg would fly straight out, and I would be like drilling him straight to the ground with the original fixed dot going straight down with no tossing. Note that it was important not to thinking about rotating myself or the opponent at all. The rotation was only the result, and not my action. When I opened my kua, I opened it with a straight aim in a particular direction tightly in front of the fixed dot on the opponent's front. At the same time, I did a separate stretch tightly behind the fixed dot on the opponent's back. This was just like putting the hands on the stick of a rattle drum in order to spin it. I did the same drill the prior week with the same person. He commented that it felt different this week. He was falling with my action, and it was more crisp. I tried the exercise with a different fixed dot. This time it was on his right ribs. The result was the same. I drilled him down on that axis.  I tried this exercise with another person. Besides doing it by opening the kua as described above, I did it also by stretching the head/neck to the other side of the dot. It was like tipping the lever on the other end of the lever compared to what was done with the kua. I remembered first time creating a similar result a few years ago with Master Chen Zhonghua providing step-by-step verbal instructions on the side. Not until now (9+ years of training), I am able to do it in a controlled/limited manner on my own. Master Chen said training taiji was like boiling water. Water at 30 degrees, 70 degrees, 90 degress, etc is still water (H20 in liquid form), not until it reaches 100 degrees, it would become steam (H20 in gas form) and have fundamental change.  However, we must keep boiling, and not stop the fire.  This is known as huo hou 火候 in Chinese.

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Get myself to where I am about to fall

I have realized the spot/cliff where I need to put myself at along with the opponent after tying him up with me. That is the spot/moment where I need to rotate. Another way to say it will be the spot where gravity is matched. That is the spot that I am vulnerable, about to fall, I feel fear, so I don't want to get there, and often stop myself too early before I get there.

Friday, February 15, 2019

John Upshaw's feedback on my sword form


  1. The right elbow/hand rotates inward and sword hand rotates inward and towards direction it is going before you step. 
  2. The right elbow/hand rotates inward and sword hand rotates inward and towards direction it is going before you step. There is a little bit of a positive before going out and striking with another positive circle.
  3. When stepping forward with your left foot, it lands in an invert manner causing your body to coil. The sword is the released, powered by the release of the coil.
    When you cut the grass to seek the snake....the rotation is on the left knee....it is like a hinge...the rest of the body is like a door. I see your right knee stepping and thus collapsing...that should be one piece, like the door, that rotates on the hinge.

Saturday, January 26, 2019

Fetch Water Challenge Jan 12, 2019 to July 24, 2019

John Upshaw created a challenge for himself to do 600 fetch water (300 on each side) from Jan 12, 2019 to July 24, 2019 to focus on opening the kua before the North American Training Camp 2019. A few of Master Chen Zhonghua's disciples, including myself, and students supported him and joined the challenge. My students from the weekday morning practice also joined in the fun.

Jan 13, 2019: I am also using the rubber cord to do fetch water on some days.
Jan 26, 2019: Two weeks into the challenge, I noticed that my chest and abdomen muscles became more developed. They felt tighter.