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