Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Notes for Clevenger Private Lesson Online Video


  1. 4:42 - For the jump after Flash the Back, use the right leg to push your body like throwing a rock.
  2. 10:24 - High pad on horse: Get to the other side, and then push down.
  3. 11:05 - White Ape Presents Fruit: Master Chen explained the real intention of this move.
  4. 16:38 - Sweep with the heel, not the toe.

Friday, November 15, 2013

Light Sparring

Today, I went for the first time to a sparring event called Toronto Throwdown. The reason I wanted to go was to experience someone punching and kicking at me, and see how I would handle the situation. People there were nice, and respectful. The fighters could agree to a specific way to spar, and this format allowed the training to be progressive. This experience was very positive.  I could really see the potential of Practical Method.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Discovery during yilu practice

In the last few days, I am starting to feel a more solid fixed point at the kua. It seems to be important to keep that point fixed when moving other parts of the body, e.g. for touch blocking coat, while the right elbow-in of the positive circle, the left elbow-in of the negative circle, and the shovel-out of the right heel with a striaght knee all happen at the same time, the left kua needs to be fixed, and that seems to be made possible by creating a stick between the left kua and the left heel.  This discovery seems to be related the lower stance, which allows the frame of the body to be more rigid. Since the frame is more fixed, I can try to move the "inside" more. The lower stance at first seems to cause more muscle tension, as my body tries to keep it together by tightening the muscles. That has made yilu practice much more tiring. The same thing still happens with the first few yilus each day. However, after those several yilus, I am starting to experience that I can let the structure (bones) to take the load (weight of the body), and the fixed point at the kua becomes more apparent.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Notes for Toronto Workshop Sep 19-22, 2013

The following are my raw notes from the workshop:
  1. Create the arch in different segments of the body from hand to foot
  2. Don't move the hand, stretch the elbow from the hand.
  3. Always aim at the largest part of the body since we shoot all over the place, and it's useless. For now, the torso, later the spine, even later something smaller.
  4. Stretch to the extreme, so that when it rotates it can't be stretched anymore.
  5. First half of positive circle, elbow in, rotate the shoulder, rotate the waist (3 parts). 3 parts to every move.
  6. Keep the outside (hand, back of head, outside of rear foot) fixed, and push and pull from inside.
  7. When you rotate and can't rotate anymore, you have to switch, so that you are not restricted anymore. There is no looseness in that switch.
  8. Vertical switching is sink the qi to the dantien (气沉丹田).
  9. During yilu, move each your body part to its designated spot, then move the next body part.
  10. There is something at the back that touches the front.
  11. Mirror your opponent to be full, so that you can match your opponent.
  12. You need the range of motion to become the mold of the your opponent, so you fit your opponent perfectly with no gap in between.
  13. Hand, elbow and shoulder form a triangle. You can't change the shape of the triangle, you can only turn it any way you want.
  14. To add weight after you run out of size. To add weight is like to squeeze toothpaste through the mouth (bottleneck).
  15. We need to physically go down to create a differential in height between the hand and the shoulder at this time.
  16. Six sealings four closings separation - elbow in, bring the torso down (without the hands/shoulders going down)
  17. Coffee table elbow exercise - split the elbow around half forward towards the hand, half backward towards the shoulder, cave in
  18. Direct push from your opponent, react with another part that is not the contact point, e.g. someone pushes your chest, bring back my rear foot, and then step forward with the front foot.  The key is no direct reaction. The chest is forward only because of another part of the body. It is a result of an action that takes place somewhere else.
  19. Contact point - location device, aim at the opponent's spine, find the counterpart and split them apart/stretch those two points in opposite direction.
  20. All movements are used to move in, use torque to fight. Torque is to use indirect power to fight against direct power.
  21. When two dots align, there is no distance between them.
  22. Stickiness is created with pressure and vector. My understanding: the pressure and vector need to be created with two different body parts. The problem often is the pressure is changed when we try to add the vector.
  23. Power naturally goes up, we need to learn to control it and always make the energy go down. My problem: I may go down, as soon as I move, the energy goes up.
  24. Double Heavy means no yin-yang separation.
  25. I realize how I want to learn now is to simply follow straight forward instructions, and no explanations. I fully believe in following the method. I hope to get real taiji someday.
  26. Stick with the principle, and hope that your opponent doesn't do what he is supposed to do. Always measure yourself against the principle, and not against someone.
  27. There is no counter move. We are training a move to make it work every time against anyone.
  28. A lot of the principles don't make sense, but you have to follow them. There are too many who just refuse to keep trying, thinking that was impossible. Real learning comes when you are able to do something that seems impossible.
  29. Cai is about creating differential in speeds of two points, e.g. pull a rope back at a speed faster than the speed used to throw it out.
  30. Master Chen can tell you what it should be like in an externally measurable way, but to do it I will need to figure out a method myself. To figure out a method, I have to try and try/train and train.
  31. Find a method to have a breakthrough every year.
  32. People often identify the first three years' progress as learning.
  33. Hardwork is a must, but it really doesn't guarantee any meaningful results. Continuous examination of your body against the principle must be done.
  34. Never satisfy with what you can do today.
  35. Do not believe that you have got anything.
  36. Separation of yin and yang is never what you think it is.
  37. Constantly watch Master Chen's videos and sort out what you need to work on next. This also applies to how yilu should be practiced.  I need to pick a focus on my daily yilu practice. Once I am able to do the particular action with ease, I will need to pick another focus. Don't just go through the motions, or else the yilu practice doesn't yield the desirable effect.
  38. Exercise 1: Space - Look for and occupy your opponent's empty space without pushing him, e.g. just put your hand in that empty space.
  39. Exercise 2: Two Pieces - Find a way to separate your opponent into two independent pieces, e.g. holding the opponent's leg not moving, and pulling his hand away from the leg.
  40. I found that it helped me focused by keeping telling myself a keyword during the exercise, e.g. "space" and "two pieces". Otherwise, the exercise may just turn into free push hands, and loses the point of the exercise.
Photos of the workshop can be found on Facebook.

These notes are also posted on

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Adding "one"

Today, I practiced with some of the people from the Toronto workshop group. After 10 yilus, we did a push hand drill.  The first drill we worked on was to create a stretch with the hands and arms, and use another part to add "one" (a separate action that is not related to the stretch with the upper body).  The problem I observed was that as soon as they attempted to add "one", the stretch was lost (the first "one" was lost) because of either of the following:
  1. they pushed with the hand or the shoulder blade, which was already involved to form the stretch,
  2. as they pushed from the foot, they forgot about the stretch with the upper body, and they loosened up.
I suggested to use waist, kua or the foot as the 2nd part. At this point, it needed to be some part that was far away enough from the hands and shoulders, as it would be easier to separate those two parts.  However, with a lot of practice, one should be able to separate the action of the parts that are closer together. When two parts are acting the same way (this is called merged together in terms of action), they are considered to be just like one part.  Remember, one body part can only do one thing (action).

As they had a hard time keeping the first "one", I kept the stretch for them, so they could focus on adding the second "one" from the lower body. I then came to realize that the opponent could initiate the first "one", and I just needed to add the second "one" myself. Of course in fact, I had to take part in maintaining the first "one" too. My second realization came when we had the first "one", my opponent started the second "one", I followed that action while maintaining the first "one" and continued with it to complete his second "one" to make it mine to return that energy to him. When this drill was on me, I felt that the stretch created by the first one became longer.

The second drill was to have the opponent held my forearm, I needed to adjust and align my hand/fist towards the centre of the opponent. While maintaining the alignment and structure (which was equivalent of having the first "one"), I pushed with the rear foot to add "one".  The aim here was important to make it work even if your own body alignment was there from rear foot to the front hand/fist. The problem I observed was when the aim was not precisely at the centre, e.g. one could easily be pushing towards the opponent's shoulder and the energy would get stuck there, and the action would not work.  I could see that having the precise laser-beam like aim was very important, and how quickly one could establish the proper alignment and aim would highly affect the effectiveness of the action.  If I could establish the proper alignment and aim quickly enough, when the opponent came pushing at me, his energy would be directed to the ground and bounced right back at himself.

Everything I described above was all taught or shown by Master Chen at some point in various workshops and videos available at Thank you, shifu.

These ah-ha moments were wonderful, and what a great way to start the day.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Move in a different dimension

This was originally posted by Paul Janssens on Facebook.

From the 2012 Canberra workshop with Master Chen Zhonghua - ON DIMENSION
The key here is called "If it is unrelated, you can't get dragged into it"
So, if it is relating. See? Touch me here (students pushed upper L hip of Master Chen from the side).
When you push, although his hand is touching me, his push has a direction.
So, his direction is this way (into the hip) But whatever I do, in (pushes back), out (brings hip back), here (moves to the back - butts out), or here (moves hip forward), it is all related.
But see this here? (moves differently) This is not related to you. Because of that, my moves are unrelated.
And, the more you get into that thinking, the more you can force yourself into that unrelated area. (Then) you got the Taiji action.
The Taiji action used to be called 'shadow boxing', like, you can fight anyway you want, I am not there.
It is my shadow.
And you can't look at the shadow and say, 'But next time I am going to be stronger'.
Sure! Be stronger! But I am standing here, and you are fighting the shadow (points to other student)
Stronger, what does that have to do with me?
This dimensional thinking means that, because you think you are fighting me, and I am not there, you think you can improve.
You can improve all you want, you are not fighting me!
So, now you realize when you push,you see, push me a little bit. Just push me anywhere, right, ...
See? As long as I am interacting with you, it is whoever has the most skill (that wins).
But when you are doing that, see? (Master Chen changes the way he interacts and unbalances the student that is pushing) I am not in your dimension.
And, it is VERY, VERY difficult. Because as soon as you do a move, you can draw me back to your dimension. Because I want to go into a different dimension.
And see? (Student pushes in a different direction) I am in your dimension again. And so it is more a mind control, the will to totally separate. I am going to stay here, whatever happens!
But we always want to DO something.
And that I call 'Trigger happy' or 'The Candy Jar syndrome'. Whatever you say, the kid is going to put their hand in the candy jar.
And we think, and you know the theory. But your body always wants to go back to it.
And what are we training?
Based on that, .... Habit.
So, if you understand that, you have to totally wipe out this thinking (that) you can DO something. If you don't care about that anymore, you are not trying to do something anymore. You only try to train your habit. (And then) You can make progress faster. Because as long as you have one little bit in the back of your mind that you can do something, that something can take you back to your old way.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Aligning the kua to the heel

From early on, I knew that I needed to align the kua to the heel in certain postures in the yilu, e.g. white crane spreads its wings.  Today, all of a sudden, I tried to align the kua to the heel in every move. It could be the front kua with the front heel, rear kua with the rear heel, front kua with the rear heel, somehow I didn't do rear kua with the front heel, maybe I did but it would immediately become front kua with the rear heel after the switch. This alignment seemed to create a very strong stick, it also allowed the hands to become more solid, and the fajin was not as wobbly, and became more precise. It seemed to allow a lower stance too without straining the knee. I would need to test this more in tomorrow's practice.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Notes for Carlos Hanson Yilu Correction Video


  1. 6.06 - In order to turn left to step up, if someone is preventing you to do that by pressing your chest, you need to stretch to rotate around it.
  2. 9.24 - Every move needs to become longer.
  3. 22.14 - "Bei Jie Kou" - Lock the left knee. Lock the right wrist, right shoulder, and right kua, and stretch them against the fixed left knee. The demarcation is on the left kua.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

18 yilus a day

On Jul. 30, 2013, I started to do 18 yilus a day.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Notes for Zhuo video

Notes for this video:

  1. Don't change the pressure on the contact point.
  2. Don't change the direction on the contact point.
  3. Don't move the contact point(s). Move body parts that are outside of the contact points.
  4. Practical Method system doesn't show a lot of applications because in order for the application to work, a lot of concepts need to come into play.
  5. A power action needs to be a lever.
This is a very important video.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Notes for Yilu Correction Paul Janssens Online Video

Notes for this video:

  1. 6:16 - Step back and twirl arms - Lock the front, and move the back
  2. 7:17 - Brush knee - Left just enough the catch the opponent. Too much inside will get myself into trouble.
  3. 8:15 - Straighten and touch the centre
  4. 9:23 - High pad on horse - Switch from the left kua being the front to the right kua being the front. (I am seeing "Adding one".)
  5. 17:27 - Flash the back - After you pull, put it right back into emptyness. 

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Notes for Bruce Schaub Private 2012 Volume 2 Video

Notes for this video:
  1. There are two ways to handle an incoming force:
    1. Bring it to the ground and the rear foot becomes the fixed point.
    2. Build up the falcum, so that you do something from the rear side of the falcum.
  2. When the opponent moves my arm, there is a point that will pass his back. I just need to wait for that point, and shoot towards it when the passing happens. It's just like I hold up a rifle and aim at a spot, then wait for the object to appear.
  3. We need to know the point to shoot at, and we need to be able to shoot with any part of our body.
  4. We cannot learn once we are told the answers right away. Once the answer is told, our minds are satisfied and would like to know what's next.

12 yilus a day

On Feb. 28, 2013, I started to do 12 yilus a day plus the following foundations:
20 Positive Circles
20 Negative Circles
20 Twisting the Towel
20 Fetch Water
20 Six Sealings Four Closings
20 Pulling Myself In

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Notes for Toronto Workshop Jan 17-20, 2013

  1. Time never goes back. When we move in positive circle, use 3 different parts to complete the 3-count circle.
  2. You can do whatever you want as long as you don't move.  (Joke: You can give your money to anyone as long as he is me.)
  3. Power goes to movement. Water goes down. Heat goes up.
  4. Find the source of power, and put a wedge in it.
  5. Rules of Engagement: Think about how you will put a screw into the wall. Tap a bit to get the tip into the wall. Align the screw driver. Don't move the handle of the screw driver, Don't deviate, and rotate into the screw into the wall.
  6. 车轮飞转不离中轴
  7. Train the part that normally moves to not move. Train the part that normally doesn't move to move.
  8. When pushing hands, focus on the opponent's ming men.
  9. Making the opponent fall forward is a mechanical (real) fall, making him fall backward is a mental fall (because he is scared to fall backwards as he has no eyes on the back of the head).
  10. Stepping up requires the use of the toes to grab like a claw, and stretch the knee to make the knee not move.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Notes for Body Part Functions 2012 Video

Notes for this video:
  1. The energy will be floating with no root unless the front knee goes backward and the front kua goes forward.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Notes for Toronto January 2012-1 Video

Notes for this video:
  1. You have to know the application, otherwise you will make things up in your form.
  2. The body appears to move together, but there is always one leader.
  3. Hands and feet are for set up to make your moves meaningful.
  4. At 7:25, "Punch to the Chest" exercise to train for timing of contact.
  5. Turn with pressure, don't get away, never retreat.
  6. It's the opponent's punch that turns you, not you turning yourself.
  7. Fighting requires a surface that your opponent can attach to. If you are a ball, there is only one dot in the foremost point of the ball surface, the above, below, right or left of that point is 45 degrees to the incoming force.
  8. For training, wherever you touch don't move it, move something else to cause 45 degrees.
  9. Creating a centre on the opponent, rather looking for one. Force one to be there, so the opponent can't escape from you.  How to create a centre? Two ways: Push or Pull. When the opponent is weak, you push. When the opponent is strong, you pull.
  10. Don't change the words given to you. In fact, you are allowed to change it however suitable as long as when it is passed to others, others can still replicate the action that the original words are meant for. It is really safer not to change it.
  11. Taiji moves are in a different dimenion than normal moves.  Yin and Yang are in different dimensions.  If someone is coming horizontally, we need to react vertically, so that the horizontal force is irrelevant to the vertical action.
  12. The Practical Method movement is 3 dimensional, and is like a ball with a fixed centre.
  13. The centre gate (中门) is a projection of dantian to the floor.
  14. 5 points are outside and everything else is inside. Inside must stay inside, outside must stay outside. Inside has surface, and outside has no surface (a ball has no surface that one can hold on to).  If inside comes out, one can hold on to the surface. If power regardless of being large amount or little has nothing to attach to, it becomes irrelevant.
  15. The knees aim outward, but the knees don't move.