Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Notes for Go Around the Centre Online Video


  1. Do you change Master Chen Zhonghua's words. Try to understand his words.
  2. The principle is don't move the dot, go around it.
  3. Do not show your most important thing until the last minute.
  4. The Taiji Method: Never attack people, never fight.
  5. A tiger's power and a sheep's power are useless when falling into a cliff.

Sunday, December 21, 2014


Sunday, December 14, 2014

Ling Zili's Notes

1  分阴阳是大原则  
不动和间接力是核心概念    对拉也是分阴阳的  
2  公转和自转配合好,就分了阴阳,就是有了掤劲  练到最后就是协调
3  最难的不动是中点不动,两边反方向对拉
4  不搭界  用了三脚架的伸缩管做了不搭界的比喻  更形象的展示了间接力 力从腰出来,反复练,在接触的点上不使劲  推手时要注意进,快速进入对方的空里

1  整个身体的不动,脚移动多少头就移动多少,等于头没有动过,就像汽车,从上到下不动,只是轮子动。中正在拳里很关键
2 满进去不是发力,是让对方无处可去,其外无大,其小无内。
3 力不要有碰撞,像水一样顺进去
4 转了方向,不变位置。 手只管瞄准,腰胯发力,手不要晃悠

Daqingshan Training Schedule

7:00-8:00  十趟一路。
8:00-8:30  大杆,橡皮筋,单杠。
8:30-9:00  推手。
9:00-9:30  推手单式、两人配合练习动作。

Daqingshan Training Schedule
5:50 am, Mark Attendance, 10 yilus
7:00 pm, Mark Attenance,
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm: 10 yilus
8:00 pm - 8:30 pm: Pole Shaking, Rubber Band, Single Bar
8:30 pm - 9:00 pm: Push Hands
9:00 pm - 9:30 pm: Push Hands 2-Person Drill

Master Chen Zhonghua's Quote


Sunday, October 19, 2014

Notes for "What is to get it" Online Video


  1. Gravity is the natural energy, which means we should strive to confirm our actions to that.  We normally move horizontally which is not conforming, so we get tired.
  2. We are naturally afraid of falling, but animals are not.
  3. We didn't come from earth. We want to go back up to heaven.
  4. We normally use energy that comes from food. We don't tap into our natural energy.
  5. People who meditate eat very little, and don't eat meat. They want to train that natural energy.
  6. Babies hear everything in the womb, but after they are born, they make connections to those sounds. When the connections are made incorrectly, they have trouble when they grow up (mentally). We can live with most of these connections made correctly, and can tolerate not being 100% correct.
  7. You have to trust your teacher. There is a risk, which is what if the teacher doesn't know. Well, since you don't know, you can't really tell if one knows or not. My thought: If you know what you are looking for, you really know already, then you don't need to learn from the teacher.

Practical Method Toronto Pushing Hands Training

Monday, September 22, 2014

Cannon Fist Complete

I started learning cannon fist through the detailed cannon fist instructional video about a year ago, and had been working on it on and off. I probably had watched the moves in the first half of the routine multiple times as I had not been constantly practiced what I learned. Every time I tried to pick it up again, I would watch the video from the beginning again. So I never seemed to be able to finish it. Today, I finally finished learning the cannon fist choreography and completed 9 times of the routine.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Notes for Bypass Strong Point Online Video

I have heard phrases like "go around it", "3-way split", "trust the system" multiple times in Master Chen Zhonghua's workshops and videos before, but I am enlightened by this particular video. It is such a gem. No one should miss this.


  1. 2:10 - We can understand how a lever works, but to make it work in the body is highly difficult. I have trouble recognizing the lever, needless to say to use it.
  2. 2:30 to 3:35 - Find the strongest point, go around it.
  3. 5:45 - Master Chen Zhonghua talked about that we had to reverse our thinking. He emphasized this over and over in his teachings. The participant was saying that Master Chen controlled the powering point, in contrary, Master Chen moved everything else but the powering point, and that caused the participant to forget about the powering point. Master Chen used the powering point and did not control it. The result might seem to the participant that it was controlled.
  4. 6:55 to 8:00 - We don't look for the point, we triangulate. I look up what triangulation means, it means if we have one side and two angles for both ends of the line, we can locate the third point of a triangle. Master Chen said he didn't need to look for the (third) point, he just needed to perform the demonstrated action, one point went here, the other point went the opposition direction, the third point had to be there. The fact that people looked for the point, it was the reason taiji was lost. The opponent would not be standing still to let us find the point, something must be done by us to cause the point to appear.
    With the A-B-C triangle in this diagram, A and C are the two points that are being moved in opposite directions along the A-C line, B is located through triangulation because it is connected to both A and C physically. In Master Chen's demo at 6:55, the participant's right hand was point C while the participant's right foot was point A, and point B (the dot) was created somewhere at the participant's waist, and it would come to the A-C line.
  5. 10:15 - We need to trust the system. The form and foundations are the methods. We need to build confidence in the system, such as that we will keep using it and make our actions better and better.
  6. 11:24 - Master Chen drew the above diagram in the air explaining 3-way split.
  7. 11:49 - Each part can only do its designed job. It cannot go into another place. A, B, and C each has its own job.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Notes for Two Lines and Stretch Online Video

  1. Develop two different channels/paths for the incoming and outgoing energies. That is separation of yin and yang, which must happen at the same time. It is not yin and yang when you have one path coming in and then one path going out. Two paths must exist at the same time.
  2. The two paths are developed by stretching outside of the arm at a time while keep the inside of the arm fixed, and vice versa.
  3. For a stretch to happen, there must be a fixed point. We first practice by keeping one point fixed, and another point moving. The non-moving and moving parts are yin and yang. We must eventually be able to stretch with any part of the body at any time. At higher level, two points can go in opposite direction on the same line. When you can stretch while your opponent is moving, it is said that you know how to fight.
  4. We don't necessarily need to train every part. Once we truly know how to do it with one part, we will know how to do it for any other part.
  5. Grandmaster Chen Fake used to put his hands inside his sleeves and continuously practice the stretch of the fingers from the elbow. Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated that when he stretched his fingers, his hand would come out of the sleeves by a little bit.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Notes for Yin Yang Separation Oakland Online Video


  1. Yin and Yang must exist at the time. Their existence came from separation.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Notes for Singapore 12-6 Online Video

  1. How to the find the dot?
    • The dot is the opponent's centre, the point that the opponent's doesn't want to move. Since he doesn't want to move, it can be used as the centre of the rotation that you want to do.
  2. Direction of Power
    • Once you know the direction of the push of your opponent, align yourself such that the push through you goes to the ground. You can adjust your front side or your back side. If the opponent's power is less than yours, you can adjust the front side (e.g. your front hand), if the opponent's power is greater than yours, you adjust the back side (e.g. your back leg). You don't move the front hand when the opponent's power is greater than yours because you need to keep the peng. Putting the opponent's direction of his power on the line connected to the ground, is to bring his power to the ground.
  3. Level of power and distance
    • We need to establish 5 points on the opponents. It is like establishing a perimeter for the opponent, so he can't get away. We start with 2, then 3, and so on.
    • 力要发出,劲要合住。
    • All the points can't merge to the same point on the opponent. Each must has its own direction.
    • With 1 point having lots of power, it is very difficult to control. With 5 points, each has less power, and it is easier to control. We need to practice between 1 and 5 points, and eventually we can use them. (I don't understand this at this point, and I am just writing it down).
    • If the opponent only has 1 point on you, you move around it easily (NOTE: don't move the point itself).
    • To issue, bring all points back to the line (to one point).
  4. Switching of Power
    • At first, we need to big actions (exaggerate our actions) to achieve the goal. In this case, it is to get under the opponent. Later, you can get under without physically going lower. You need to learn to control your body to achieve. The demonstration was that the student was bending quite low and Master Chen Zhonghua was standing taller than the first student, and his hands was top of the student, and yet he made the student feel that he was under the student. The next student pushed his belly, then his thigh, and finally his ankle, and yet he was always under the student.
    • Joke: 鹰抓趾功, A real eagle's claws are on its feet, Master Chen Zhonghua's are on the feet too while other people's Eagle Claw is with the hands. This joke came from the above point about how he was able to get under the opponent, like always holding on the ground.
    • Six sealing four closing: Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated how he used his hands to hold/catch the opponent to cause him to tense up, and at that moment he turned his waist, and the arm would be broken. An arm couldn't fight the power from the waist.

Notes for Segmented Moves Online Video


  1. Segmented moves avoid double heavy. Why? When we only move one part at a time, there is something else not moving. The two parts are not moving at the same time, and therefore, it is separated. Separation means no double heavy. It can be "moving hand and not moving waist", or "moving waist and not moving hand". By "moving", I mean to move from Point A to Point B.
  2. That's why we perform our yilu in a robot fashion, in order to train the ability to move any of our body parts at will without affecting another part that shouldn't be affected in an involuntary way.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Practical Method Practice on July 20, 2014

The Sunday Practical Method Practice included Ernie Aleong, Bing Sum Lau, Dominic Lo, Linda Lui, Aeda Ho, Steve Man, and myself today.  With Ernie and Bing Sum pushing us, we finished foundations and 10 yilus without a break in 1.5 hours. We also invited someone who was watching and imitating on the side to join us. He ended up doing the foundations and following 3 yilus with us.

Photos on Facebook:

Later, we focused on Step Back to Double Shake Feet today, and we broke it down to 9 steps as seen in this video:

Here are some points to remember:
  1. Right hand does positive circle, while left hand does negative circle as one steps backwards.
  2. Don't let the right elbow come out first, and the right hand leads the stretch.
  3. The left hand stretches to the back, and the left elbow pulls the hand over the left shoulder to bring it to the front.
  4. Just before the jump, convert the horizontal force to vertical force. Line up the left kua on top of the left heel, like you are sitting on it. The left kua, left knee, and left heel form a triangle. There is an invisible line between the left kua and left heel, and it is the rod/stick.
We also covered the triangle, double lock and single lock. Ketong Lin wrote an excellent article on this topic:

Double lock means truly not moving the point in the 3D space. The solid line means that the two points are physically connected, while the dotted line represents that two points are not physical connected (there is as if an invisible line connecting them).
Figure 1
By creating a double lock at point A and C, and forcing point B towards the invisible link, we turn an "A" into an "Arch". Points A,B,C can present different parts of the body, e.g. Shoulder-Elbow-Hand, Foot-Shoulder-Hand. Right Foot-Dang-Left-Foot. For the Right Foot-Dang-Left-Foot case, this is how we make a dang rounded as supposed to be pointy.
Figure 2
Single Lock means the point is allowed to move along a specific direction, like running on a train track. By turning point C from double lock to single lock, and point B towards the invisible link, point C will shoot out allong the A-C line. Let's use A-B-C for shoulder-elbow-hand as an example, the hand is squeezed out while the shoulder does not move.

Figure 3
Consider the following mapping:
A - Right Foot
B - Right Knee
C - Right Kua
D - Right Shoulder
E - Left Shoulder
F - Left Elbow
G - Left Hand
In order for the shoulder not to move, it needs support from other triangles, so the left hand can find a connection to the ground for the true support. Each invisible line is a rod/stick that we need to realize in our bodies. Instead of using the E-F-G triangle, we can use the C-E-G triangle instead. Essentially, with this concept, we can create a triangle with any points having 2 solid sides, and 1 invisible side.

Figure 4
Earlier we talked about turning an "A" into an "Arch". Figure 4 shows the S-Curve (Taiji Symbol). It also shows that our internal actions (color arrows) are different from what the opponent will perceive (black arrows). Often in reality, we are affected by our opponent's actions, and we lose these internal actions as soon as contact with the opponent is made. We need to train enough such that we can maintain these actions regardless of what happens externally.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Open Kua Video in Chinese


  1. 当你真正的懂的时候,你可以用不同的方法说同样的东西,也即是做到万变不离其中。When you really understand it, you can express the same thing in many different ways.
  2. To open kua, you can need to fix your knee, like in fetch water.  Is that the only way to open kua? No, but it is an important way.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sunday Group Practice

Practical Method Toronto Sunday Group practices at Oriental Centre from 8:00 am to 10:30 am. Today, we focused on not moving the knee.

  1. 1-2-3 stepping exercise: push out with left heel (body weight stay on right leg), shift your body forward until the left knee is on top of the left heel, pull the right foot forward closer to the left foot without moving the left knee at all. Repeat with right foot forward, and continue to alternate between left and right feet.
  2. Hold onto a bar with the left knee on top of the left heel. Without changing the shape of the arm or moving your left knee forward, pull up the right foot with the ball of the right foot touching the ground all the time. Repeat with right foot forward.
  3. Practice yilu with focus on which knee shouldn't be moving in each step of each move.

Why do we need to practice this?
In push hands, we often need to adjust our leg positions, or get closer to your opponent without him detecting our movement. We want to pull ourselves up, and not push ourselves up.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

100-yilu-in-a-single-day challenge

After hearing Chen Xu and Ling Zili finished 170 yilus in a single day on June 29, 2014, I was inspired to challenge myself to do 50 yilus in a day myself the next day. I completed the challenged with 52 yilus. This is my personal best at this time.

I lost 2 pounds after the challenge, and my kua was aching, The muscles behind my right leg were quite tight, but I had always had tighter muscles there compared to the left leg. Of course, I felt tired, but actually not too bad. My time:
07:50 - 8:45: 7 yilus (55 mins) - 7 mins 51 secs per yilu
10:10 - 12:46: 18 yilus (2 hours 36 mins) - 8 mins 40 secs per yilu
13:37 - 15:48: 15 yilus (2 hours 11 mins) - 8 mins 44 secs per yilu
16:15 - 17:45: 10 yilus (1 hour 30 mins) - 9 mins per yilu
19:30 - 19:45: 2 yilus (15 mins) - 7 mins 30 mins per yilu

Chen Xu and Ling Zili's time:
06:30 - 11:50 80 yilus (5 hours 20 mins) - 4 mins per yilu
12:30 - 18:30: 70 yilus (6 hours) - 5 mins 9 secs per yilu
19:50 - 21:30: 20 yilus (1 hours 40 mins) - 5 mins per yilu
These are very, very fast yilus.

In the Chinese QQ group, Master Chen Zhonghua gave some history about the 100-yilu-in-a-single-day challenge in Practical Method:
When Master Chen Zhonghua went back to China in 1991 to visit Grandmaster Hong Junsheng, one day, he and his senior taiji brother Yi Wei (以为) discussed with Grandmaster Hong Junsheng about how many times of yilus should be practiced. Grandmaster Hong Junsheng asked Master Chen Zhonghua how many he practiced, Master Chen Zhonghua replied with 7 yilus. Grandmaster Hong Junsheng said 7 was too few. The senior taiji brother asked Grandmaster Hong Junsheng how many he was practicing before. Grandmaster Hong Junsheng said not fewer than 20 when he was still a student, and it was also the same with Grandmaster Chen Fake. When the senior taiji brother asked how many one should practice per day, Grandmaster Hong Junsheng didn't answer directly, and but said the key was perseverance. He then said that he heard Grandmaster Chen Fake used to practice 100 yilus a day, and asked if that was real. Grandmaster Hong Junsheng again didn't answer directly, but asked the senior taiji brother and Master Chen Zhonghua why they didn't give it a try. Not sure if the senior taiji brother even tried it, Master Chen Zhonghua didn't try it until 10 years later in 2001, which was the year when Master Chen Zhonghua resigned from his day job, and started teaching taiji professionally. Since then, he started asking his full time students in the last month of a 3-month training program to challenge themselves to do 100 yilus in a single day. From 2001 to 2005, he took the challenge with his students every time. Note that Practical Method did not require students to do a certain number of yilus per day. When the students passed the mark of 100 yilus in a day, there was a lot of negative comments about it. Others assumed it was about asking students to do 100 yilus every day, and would simply say that it would be bad for the students. The following are the people who have made it so far:
Carl Lindberg - 103 yilus
John Dahms: 103 yilus
Todd Elihu:104 yilus
Dave Dahms: 114 yilus
Steve Chan - 124 yilus (and he has gone over 100 multiple times)
Brennan Toh - 150 yilus
Chen Xu - 170 yilus
Ling Zili - 170 yilus

Friday, June 27, 2014

How to handle the teacher's teaching?


For the first 10 years, believe everything the teacher says without any doubt, with no changes to any word.
Beyond the first 10 years, verify everything the teacher says without missing any word.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

20 yilus a day for 20 years

Master Chen Zhonghua says if you want the real gongfu, you will need to give up something. To have real change, you will need to find someone who you can't defeat no matter what you do today. 20 yilus a day for 20 years are also needed to get real taiji.

If you don't understand something, write it down in your notebook

Master Chen Zhonghua: "If you don't understand something, write it down in your notebook." (Don't just remember it in your head, or say that you will not forget it, literally write it down)

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Notes for Every Move Must Be Adjusted


  1. Every right move we make, we will make a wrong move as well. We need to strive to conceal or eliminate the wrong move.
  2. 5 parts must disappear: wrist (same as ankle), elbow, shoulder, kua, knee.
  3. Open one door, close it behind before opening another one. (I see sequencing in this description of actions).
  4. Train enough to the point where you can do what you are supposed to do automatically. Training means following a procedure repeatly until you get it. No need to think about why you are following that procedure. When you can do it, you will know why you did it the way you did it.

Notes for Todd Elihu and Wu Shaozhi Testing Energy Online Video

  1. If you don't know how to squeeze (ji), you cannot start, and are just fighting (i.e. not doing taiji).
  2. By comparing how Master Chen Zhonghua did the squeeze himself to how the two students did it, I can see the difference between the correct and not-so-correct ways, and hopefully in due time, I can get closer to the ideal. 
  3. Take note of Master Chen Zhonghua's commentary while the two students were trying the squeeze action. It is important to associate what he said to what was happening at the time, so one can start to recognize the deficiency in one own's action during training. The ability to recognize the issue paves the path to a higher level.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Notes for How to Create a Hole in the Opponent Online Video

This video is a refreshing way of looking at separation of yin and yang. This first half talks about a theory, and the second half is a push-hand demonstration on the theory.


  1. 2:04 - If there is no hole or tunnel in a rock, when you push on it, you hand can't get through, and you will just move the whole rock. Now if you with the hands held in front are the rock, the fact that the hands can come back without you moving, it is because that you (the rock) has a hole, which the hands go through.
  2. 2:59 - Your opponent fights you (the rock), he is going to find that there is a hole in you, and his energy will just go into it without him knowing why. With Practical Method, when you do it correctly, you are totally stealing your opponent's energy or it's like you put a virus in your opponent's software, and his brain starts to listen to you and he doesn't even know why his brain listens to you. It's because you are activating the opponent's muscles without going through his mind. This is called indirect power. You access your opponent indirectly by creating a hole.
  3. 4:55 - Master Chen Zhonghua pushed against the opponent (creating a rock), and then he moved something at the bottom (creating a hole in the rock). The opponent then fell into it. This definitely required repeated watching and trying.
  4. 5:44 - Another way of creating a hole, it is called a sand pit. It is like you standing on a boarding, and someone digs a hole under the board, and you will eventually fall into it.
  5. 9:00 - Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated how the stepping part of Brush Knee created a hole.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Notes for How To Move Without Losing Power Online Video

This video showed clearly what it meant by losing power while doing the circle. Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated it to each of the students in the workshop. For people who haven’t had the chance to attend any of his workshops, this is how one gets the hands-on transmission of taiji.

  1. 0:52 - In order for the gears to work, each gear (disk with teeth) must be made of the same material, i.e. one cannot be made of steel, while another is made of cotton or other softer material.
  2. 3:10 - There is no slack as the opponent pushes or put force on you. In other words, there is no free move. You must carry the force, e.g. if you are moving a box of china from the table to the floor, you must carry the weight the whole time during the transfer.  This just reminds me of another lesson from Master Chen Zhonghua, who said Grandmaster Hong Junsheng said one must do yilu like carrying a 5-lb ball all the time without dropping it.
  3. 7:30 - The problem is when you are loose, the opponent attacks you; when you are strong, you can't move. What we want is when you are strong, you can still move. "Strong" is the peng energy.
  4. 16:28 - The power is in all the joints.
  5. 17:00 - Yin and Yang are distinguished while you have action.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Notes for How to Apply a Lever Online Video


  1. To make the lever work, we need to anchor the end point which is the fixed point, make sure that the contact point with the opponent does not move (called Zhuo), and lastly the hand or the powering point does not slide on the lever or change position.
  2. We need to train to change the quality in our bodies. We need to be strong enough to be the crowbar/lever that can be used to pry the opponent.  If the lever breaks or changes shape, the action won't work.
  3. Some people train for speed, some train for muscle power, we in Practical Method train for structure and the ability to adjust the structure.

Master Chen Zhonghua's Biography

上世纪 80年代中后期,随着中国对外开放的发展,对外国专家的需要越来越迫切,成立了中华人民共和国外国专家局,专门负责招引外国专家,并为他们提供服务。陈中华就是外国专家局第一个北美地区全权代理人。
三岁,因为麻疹治疗不利,得了一种皮肤病,一到冬天,就全身奇痒无比。十三岁,得了猩红热,给他留下了风湿症和关节炎。十五岁,被诊断为先天性心脏移位。 病魔缠身,这些病又都不是大夫可以治好的。他小小的年纪开始“习武”,希望能通过武术强身健体。
报效家乡 发展大青山

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Notes for Slow moves to train the core Video


Our movements need to be clear to ourselves and to the teacher. Practicing slowly is a method to get the core movements ingrained. This simple, yet very important, point is key to learning taiji.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Notes for Foot in Ground Dragon Video

1) The sequence is powered by the rear foot/leg, the front foot/leg, and then the waist.
2) Do not pull the opponent when it is supposed to be pushed by the front foot.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Notes for Three lines of entry: Berlin 2013-2 Video

  1. Turning of the joint - When one pulls the opponent, one often pulls roughly perpendicular to side of the circle. This becomes a power struggle. We should pull along the tangent of the circle, and this can turn the circle easily.