Sunday, November 19, 2017

Ottawa Workshop Notes Nov. 18-19, 2017

How do you evaluate if someone has learned the real taiji or not?
1. Time/Chronology (Does that person exist in the timeframe as the claimed teacher?)
2. Location (Is that person ever at the same place as the claimed teacher?)
3. Details (Does he talk about things that are unique (not common knowledge)? Does he talk about things that another person knows as well and can attest to it?)
4. If something makes sense, it is not real. (Is that person's story too perfect? Is that person try to prove something? Someone authentic will not feel the need to prove anything.)

Certificate is needed only for a special event. If you are doing the same thing often, you do not feel like needing a certificate anymore.

When someone asks about how not to deviate, he has deviated already.
When someone has deviated, there is no way to return because in his mind, he has not deviated.

Learning is very difficult. You need blind faith.
Most of the time, you think that you are learning from someone only because you happen to match his thought on the topic. You are really just acting out in your own desired way. When the time that he tells you to do something that does not match your desire, you will refuse to do it, which means you are not really learning from this person.

If someone tries to bully you, deal with it in a way that he can't continue.

Teacher is right.
If you can see it, you get it.
If you can hear it, you get it.
If you can understand it, you get it.
One thing right, all things right. Most people can't get even one thing right.

3 bows/triangles in structural power:
1) Hand, elbow, shoulder
2) Shoulder, kua, knee
3), Kua, knee, foot

What's the relationship between moving and non-moving? Stretch
What's the demarkation between moving and non-moving? Stretch
What's neither moving nor non-moving? Stretch

I need make my actions very big.
Don't power on the top, power from the bottom.
Throw the waist into the opponent.

Play with a stick. get someone to hold the middle of the stick and you fight with it on the outside.
Getting stuck is the position we want to start.  Pretend to get a stuck is a method decided by Master Chen 30 years ago.

Fix two ends, move the middle.

To pull your opponent into you, it is to push with the front foot.

Grandmaster Hong Junshen summarized taiji into ten Chinese words:
In with elbow no hand. Out with hand no elbow.

What is real?  It is not recorded, and it cannot be recorded.  That's the method to test if something is real.
e.g. If you wear makeup, the real you is that does not have makeup.

Master Chen emphasized pulling the opponent in using initial closing.

Getting in deep.

My bottom is getting shorter. watch out to make it bigger again.
We need physical size at first, later you need the structure to stretch to make it long.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Understanding "Rotation is the result of linear movements"

Recently, I understand more about the statement: "Rotation is the result of linear movements." Our actions are like on the tangent of a circle. The non-moving dot is the centre of the circle. Every linear action is very small. The direction changes all the time. The sequence of such actions along with non-moving dot cause the rotation. The actions are continued on top of each other, and they have a relationship with the non-moving dot. In the form, it is like dragging the flesh around some non-moving rod or dot. It is almost like someone pushes the arm on one side for elbow in, and someone else pushes the other side of the arm for hand out. This is related to the stretch that Master Chen Zhonghua showed on the inside or outside of the forearm. Another example is that if someone touches me in the front, I don't move the front, but I stretch the back over or around that non-moving front.

According to Master Chen, all of the above are actions of oneself, and yin yang separation of oneself. It describes the relationship of self-actions. Actions in relation to the opponent is done by regulating the distance between the self-action and opponent. It is achieved by the stepping of the feet, without ever changing the self-action. This is a more detailed explanation of Grandmaster Hong Junsheng's rotation vs revolution.

I realize that if I am able to 合 (he) (as if tied by a rope) with the opponent, my actions will have an effect on him. The better I become, the farther I can be away from the opponent without losing the 合. As a beginner, we start by getting close to the opponent, otherwise, it is too difficult to have any effect on the opponent. Master Chen always reminds us that we need to get in, get in, get in. Master Chen's analogy on this is about how a rotating circular saw blade cannot cut wood until wood is pressed onto the saw blade, or the saw blade is pushed onto the wood. Master Chen says that all of these are effort to resolve the riddle, "If it is too loose (lack of engagement), power is lost; If it is too tight (jammed together), power cannot come out."

Master Chen indicates that my understanding comes from knowing the theory, personal practice, and teaching. It is especially important that I am teaching people who are not combative, and I am allowed to push with thinking in it. The teaching has allowed me to think about how the actions are supposed to fit into the principle. If I don't do it quite well, I will just try again on the same person indicating that the last one is not good and why it is not good. 

Related article:

Friday, November 10, 2017

Reaching 22,800 yilus

Shifu's comments: You are taking a different approach now. Torso vertical rod is still not strong or clear enough.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

There is no reset for the turn of the waist

Master Chen has long been saying that during positive circle (elbow in, turn the waist, hand out), there is no reset for the turn of the waist.  Today while I was telling the students the same during the morning practice, I realized how to achieve this actually. With a central vertical rod, your stretch the front of the waist from right to left for a right side positive circle, hold that stretch, and then stretch the back of the waist from left to right. The students verified that the turn of the waist was done in a single direction only.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Pleasantly surprised by my student's notes

Master Chen has always emphasized the importance in writing notes. We should write two sets of notes: one for recording exactly what the teacher said, and one for our understanding at the time. When I read Suz' notes, I was impressed by her ability to remember the points. For the last point:

  • There are always 3 points, if you gave one point to your opponent, then lock/control the other two points

It was definitely something that Master Chen had said before, but I couldn't quite remember what I did and when I said it during the class, and yet she wrote it down. Transmission happened without knowing.

Reading my students' notes helped me understand what they got out of the lesson, and allowed me to make teaching improvements.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Using a stick to understand lever

I saw one of Master Chen Zhonghua's videos how he used to points to hold up an opponent at first, and later added his waist to the middle of the two points to get the opponent to fall. Since I didn't have any one to work with at the time. I took a long stick to pretend it to be the opponent. I put my right hand at one end, my right thigh behind the middle, and the left foot at the other end. This allowed the stick to stay slanted. I tested the amount of power applied on the stick by releasing the hold from the left foot. When I put my waist at a point between the high end and the middle of the stick, there was more power on the stick than otherwise. A point to note is that when putting the waist on the stick, I do not collapse the right (front) kua.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Brennan Toh's review on pushing hands with Kelvin Ho

Kelvin has gotten a lot stronger. Recently (past year?) he's gotten stronger than me, more clearly able to define a set line and consistently move along that line. Structure is more self contained, much less reliant on the opponent. Starting to feel a lot more like Chen Xu with a defined pole as centre. Good understanding of when the other person has over extended or is light on their front foot (quick switching move). Improvement at taking up space on the bottom by putting pressure on with the knees, also preventing opponent from moving their feet. Still lots of downward application of force, but rather than hanging off the other person as he used to it is now more relevant to keeping them locked and allowing him freedom of movement. Lacks mobility in feet (still primarily uses open stance), might be unable to move feet. Vulnerable to feints as he reacts very quickly to each movement (able to differentiate between empty and dangerous moves?). Better at sustaining single lines, but dependent on that line overpowering to prevent the opponent from holding that line while finding others.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Morning practice - Don't skip it

It is important for me to have a morning taiji practice session. I practice a certain number of yilus, they count towards a goal that I set.  The latest goal is 50,000 yilus.  Getting a few yilus done in the morning (currently 5) though is only 0.5% towards the goal, it is quantifiable and real. It gives me a sense of accomplishment right at the beginning of each day, and equips me to face the challenges for the rest of the day.  This is a reminder for me not to skip the morning practice.