Thursday, September 15, 2005

Thoughts Before Started Blogging
1.The Taiji player, starts from emptyness. When starting the routine, in the wuji position, be totally relaxed! Think of nothing. Just let it all flow.. Gather yourself. Get the postures right. Align your body parts. Relaxxxxx..... 2. Mother to ying and yang, when it moves it spilts, when in stillness, it returns back together. Start to move, open your legs, raise your hands, keeping your mind in stillness. Watch the posture, lock in the balance! That's all for the first few lines of the classics that i can ling wu so far.... posted by Eman Rohe | 10:08 PM |

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Thought before Started Blogging 2: Knee and Feet Alignment
To make sure one's posture is strong, the upperbody must be supported well by the legs. Thus, the legs must in the correct alignment to support the body. The knee must be supported by the feet. If the upper body's weight pushes against the knee, and the both knees are too wide open, the strength from the feet is not transferred to the knees. The knees then easily collapses upon pressure. Imagine the letter A. The feet and knee must have such an arangement. So lets say a force is pressed on the apex of the A, the letter is stable due to its structure and won't collapse. That is the idea between the knee and feet alignment. At the same time, the knees must not go past the toes, or else it would be bad for the knee and one can get pulled over easily. With the A line sturcture of the knees coupled with the knees not exceeding the toes, one can have a stable and strong lower body structure. However one query that i have is that, if they say that the knee does not go past the toes,

do they mean this: Where the blue line is the line of sight by which to judge if the knee exceeds the feet. This is because many of the pictures of the masters that i see practise with their knees like this, meaning 90 degrees. And personally i feel this is the correct way.

Or should this be the correct way? Where the knees do not exceed the perpendicular line drawn from the ground starting at the tip of the feet. posted by Eman Rohe | 1:38 PM |

Monday, September 19, 2005

Thoughts Before Blogging 3: Elbow and Kua
In Fu Zhong Wen's book, he always says to move the elbows here or there or, he would say to draw in the kua. This is extremely important i think as in Lan Que Wei(Grasp the Sparrow's Tail), for the arms, it is important not to place too much emphasis on the eventual position of the palm as that tends to segregate the movement of the body from the arms and can easily lead to the shoulders being hung up and not sunk. Thus by placing emphasis on the elbow instead, 1. You can always ensure that the elbows and the shoulders are sunk. 2. You will not use your arm muscles to resist an incoming attack. 3. It is easier to deflect someone else's energy away by pulling back or moving the elbow forward. 4. Your body will be in the correct position to transfer the power from the body into your arms and hands. By placing emphasis on the kua, you train the kua to be strong. Thus, as in the lu of Lan Que Wei(Grasp the Sparrow's Tail), you do not use the forward leg's muscles to push yourself back to the sitting position as this would compromise your safety if someone trips your forward leg. Thus , you should draw in your kua to move yourself to the backward, sitting position, and the forward leg changes from a full stance(Shi) to an empty stance(Xu) in a split second. posted by Eman Rohe | 1:19 PM |

Friday, September 30, 2005

Looking at you hands
When i first started Tiaji quan, they always say that where the eye looks is importand and it can either make your break your routine. At first i thought it would be good if i get my body postures and alignment right first, then i would go on to do my eye coordination. Well, that's what i did! However, half way through getting my postures and alignment correct, I started to realise the use of the eyes. The eyes actually help in getting the postures and body alignments correct! At the same time, it helps you to watch where your attack is going to land and helps you to focus your energy. By always keeping your hands in sight, you can sometimes observe the movements of your hands to every last turn or twist and can thus improve your routine. One of my teacher says it can even be used to improve your eyesight!!!I don't know if that is true though... However after learning taiji, i realise that i can respond markedly better to catch things that drops accidently. I wonder if it the result of better hand eye coordination. posted by Eman Rohe | 11:12 AM |

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Taiji for Health
Hm..recently i have started to increase the frequency of my taiji practice from once a week to about 2 to 3 times a week. And strangely, the days which i wake up with a stuffy or runny nose has decreased! Just to let you know, i get stuffy or runny nose everyday before this. That is why i think it may be due to the increase in taiji practice. I am starting to believe in the health aspects of taiji..... posted by Eman Rohe | 12:01 AM |

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Shi Xiong's corrections and Efficeint Movements
Today in calss, my shi xiong decided to give me intensive 1 to 1 correction of my strokes. my mistakes include: 1. During transition of the Starting motion to the start of Xie Fei Shi, the right hand movement should be like that of Cloud Hands where the palm starts by facing towards you then ends by facing outwards(a little towards the down left in this case. My original motion is from the starting position, i push straight away to the right. 2. Next mistake, he says that for Lan Que Wei(Grasp the sparrow's tail) the waist should turn until the hands are past the right knee cap before i start on the lu. Which i disagree, because i believe that if it passes the knee, the strength would not be there anymore. However, i still have to follow because he is the Shi Xiong. 3. Next, it is my Ti Shou Shang Shi, the right hand should be facing up while the left hand down. I originally did it opposite. Hee, hee. 4. Next is my Bai He Liang Chi( White crane spreads wings), when i do the movement, my right leg extends until it is almost straight, not really very straight but like what he says, i tend to 'stand up ' a little. But i like to do that because when i close the movement, i tend to go down a little to make up for it. And it has a opening and closing feel to it(kai he). Another reason why i like to stand up is because after the kao(lean), i like to think that the crane is spreading his wings and extends its whole body and when i close the movement and squat a little so that my left just touches the ground, it gives the feeling the the crane has stretched itself and is ready for flight. What i originally did would have that kind of feeling. But my Shi Xiong does not want me to stand up so much so i will have to do all this with a lower stance. 5. Next, he comments that when i do backwards hand movements like in Lou Xi Ao Bu( Brush Knee Twist Step), i tend to bring my hand too far back which he says is inefficient for fighting purposes as it take too much time. However i feel that as long as i look out for that hand, it would be fine. And moreover, it would not be a smooth motion(to hit forwards) if i did not bring my hand back far enough then towards the ear. As for how far i bring it back until, it would be around the south east direction and not more. But he wants me to stop at the east area and continue with the movements which i disagree as i feel this would break the flow of the motions with the next hit. It also loses much strength and power compared to my method. 6.The other mistakes include keeping my hands too straight after the punch in Ban Lan Chui. 7. After the lu, my left hand turns too big a circle to form the ji, which he finds is inefficient movements.

8. Then there is the transition movement between the Bao Hu Gui Shan( Carrying the tiger back to the mountain) and Zou Di Chui(Hammer Fist Under Elbow). Where i am missing( or rather it is too small) the inward then outward turning motion of the left hand. 9. Then there is the part where he says for my Bao Hu Gui Shan(carrying the tiger back to the mountain) my back ward An should be in th same direction as my right foot which is technically correct but i find that if it is done that way then the left foot placement would be a bit off. 10. Oh yeah, there is still the part of the Lou Xi Ao Bu where during the interchange between the right Lou Xi Ao Bu an left Lou Xi Ao Bu, where i sit back on the back leg, the turn the left feet out then sit ion the front leg and continue with the motion. He tells me to cut out the sitting back motion as it is only used in the Xinjia( which is the performance version rearranged by China). Well, i think it is good as it is more efficient but a little harder to execute than my original version. 11. Another mistake is that he finds that the hand movements in my Dao Nian Hou(Repulse Monkey) are too large and tells me to keep them in small, just in front of my body. Hm...let me think if there is anything else more.... no i think that's all he said! Until next time! posted by Eman Rohe | 2:44 PM | Saturday, October 08, 2005

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Lou Xi Ao Bu( Brush Knee Twist Step)
This is what is got from looking at my shifu and what he taught me. He says, "In Brush Knee Twist Step, as one hand brushes downward, and the other hand is placed near to your ear, there is a slight twist in the waist area. It is chou(pulling and collecting), which causes the eventual hit to have power." In my opinion, it is like storing energy in the side of the body which the hitting hand is on. In actual fact, i feel it is like shifting the centre of gravity to that side of the body and like throwing it all out in the hit. As the waist turns, imagine it is a spring and it stores up energy, ready to release it all out at one go. From what i observed of my shifu a few days ago, when my shifu's hand moves from the ear area to the front to bring in the hit, his belly moves from the side to the front together with his hand(quite obvious as he has a big belly). From my point of view, it seemed like his whole centre of gravity was linked to his hand and if someone got hit by that palm, it would feel as if he was hit by my shifu's whole weight and momentum. Another thing to mention here is when the hand is placed at the ear, ready to go in for the hit, some people(my shifu 2ic) usually places his hand with his palm facing forwards and outwards. Then as the palm moves forward, it slowly turns in until the palm's final position is with the fingers facing upwards( meaning the palm is upright). The rationale behind this method is that the palming method is the corkscrew method commonly seen in Chen Style with Chan Si Jing. While from my readings and insights, the palm is usually placed near the ear, with the palm facing inwards, forwards downwards, like sort of facing the forward leg. Of course maintaining a seated palm(Zuo Wan). Then it slowly rotates to the upright position as it pushes out. I think that the use of this is so as to be able to deflect any incoming hit to any other direction (downward or sidewards) it may even be used as an entry into another Brush Knee Twist Step. Then if it is a successful straight blow, it delivers the Chan Si Jing in a reverse corkscrew movement. One thing worth noting is that in any of such palms, your palm cannot go out with the palm being directly perpendicular to the ground i.e. solid. It must have sort of a solid yet not solid kind of character so if a solid hit comes, you can still absorb or deflect or redirect it. Basically, if your palm starts out solid and encounters a solid, both are sure to suffer. posted by Eman Rohe | 5:08 PM |

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Stick Taiji
Well, today i realised one thing. My taiji is not the same as the taiji practised by the masters. Mine is Stick Taiji. My taiji is very stiff and is still far too fast. Taiji of the masters is having the hard in the soft. While my taiji looks more like having nothing in the hardness. And the hardness is wrapped in a just a dash of softness. To compare, the master's taiji is like a feather bolster with a dense heavy metal rod in the middle.

While mine is an egg with a thin layer of cotton around it. This is terrible, after learning for a year and this is my standard of taiji. I think the problem lies in Song(loose, relaxed). When i songed, my taiji immediately looked different. I think that should be it so i'll continue to work on it. Wish me luck! posted by Eman Rohe | 8:50 PM |

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Long Time No See
Well, it has been a long time since i posted anything on so i'll write something today. Recently i was surfing the net when i found many interesting stuff! The first one is video clips of members of great Dong family performing their taichi from They are simply incredible! You can see that they are really demonstrating what we always read in the books and old writings! The push hands practises were really incredible too! It is said that Dong Hu Ling was welcome to any challenges when he set up school in Thailand and never fell to even one. That shows his skill. The next was of Don Doherty. The guy who was a student of Cheng Tin-Hung, the Taichi Bodyguard. What he says and teaches sounds incredible and i would really want to see it. He also mentioned a push hand duel he had with Chu King-Hung which the latter lost terribly. Although i don't know much about Yang Sau Ching, I think it is safe to assume he has a considerable skill since he trained directly under his father for 19 years. However i feel that the disciple's skill is not a reflection of the master's skill as the master may not be a good teacher or the disciple not an observant one. So when he expressed doubts on Master Yang Cheng Fu's skill and tradition, i believe that it is unfounded. Nevertheless, kudos to him for being able to spread the message that Taichi is really a formidable martial art around the world. This article also got me interested in Cheng Tin-hung and i'll be researching on him. Recently, i was at the Tiancai International Chen Style Taichi Competition, and it was quite an eye opener. Pity i missed the second day of the competition and the performance part as i had to do some lousy guard duty in camp! Although my fellow senior only managed to clinch a silver medal, my fellow junior who has only learnt for 6 months managed to beat my senior who has practised for like 10 years by 0.01 points in scores! Quite incredible huh! My fellow junior has not even finished learning the whole Yilu routine! Looks like there is still hope for taichi as genuises emerge all the time! Which means i'll have to work doubly hard so as not to loose out to them! In the competition, there were even small kids competing in the weapon section. In due time, i think they will be so damn good! What potential! As for me now, i am in a sad state, sick with fever and a terrible cough, i could not practise taichi for nearly a week now. But sometimes, i find a period of break actually helps me to get new insights on taichi. While normal practices strenghten the basics. Hopefully i can recover soon enough to get on with my practise! posted by Eman Rohe | 11:35 AM |

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Dan Bian (Single Whip): Large and open or compact?
Today while at class, my main teacher did not come as he was off to be some competition judge so my secondary teacher took over. He sounded out a problem with my Single Whip as he felt it did not look nice. Basically he said that my Single Whip was not wide enough and my left hand was not extended far enough and was also too high. This is how i usually do it:

Usually when i practise, the hands of my Single Whip are about 125 degrees apart. The direction which the arms face are the same as the directions which the legs face. My left hand would be just above my left knee and not exceeding the knee. The height of my hand is usually around my mouth level with the tip of my middle finger at the height of the tip of my nose. Note that I learn the Yang style here. However he told me to extend my left hand until it is almost straight and bring my right hand back to about 155 degrees. Bringing my hand that far back would cause it to deviate from the original direction of my back leg so naturally, my back leg would have to shift too. This is when i realised that my Yang style has started to take the characteristics of maybe the CMC style or the Wu Style where the postures are more compact and not so large and open as is traditionally done by Yang Cheng Fu. I don't know if it is correct but i don't like to keep my hands too far away from my body so as to be better able to block off any hits from the enemy. This point is also advocated by my Da Shi Xiong (Eldest Senior) who is more combat oriented. But this second teacher of mine follows more closely to the the guidelines of the Yang Style, or rather, Yang Cheng Fu Style. I once read an article stating that Yang Cheng Fu used large and open movements due to his large physique when he was older. It is said in the article that because of his large physique, he could easily use large and open postures in combat as his sheer weight and power would be able to push through any small resistance the enemy offered. Moreover, i feel, keeping a compact form would be more defensive which he did not really need due to his sheer power and it may even hinder his movement. Thus i feel he used large postures to put his weight and mass to good effect. Another good point about large and

open postures is that it is healthier as they allow smoother qi flow as the body is stretched. This is emphasized by his son, Yang Zhen Duo. I think that is why he standardised his form with large open movements ultimately. Comparing the pros and cons, i am quite confused as to which style should i use. Should i continue doing it as how i have always done it, compact? Or should i do it the traditionally the Yang Cheng Fu way? Because, after all, i am learning his form! posted by Eman Rohe | 1:38 PM |

Saturday, December 31, 2005

Looks All Right, But Not Up To Standard, Every Move Is Lost To The Opponent!
Recently, i got the chance to perform my Yang style form in front of my teacher. And he told me, "Well, to people who don't really know taiji, your form looks all right, but it is still not up to my standard. You are giving every move to your opponent." What he actually means is that although my form looks okay to the untrained eye, it is not practical (for fighting purposes). So he told me to demonstrate my form from the start to the first Cross Hands(十字手)and he would start to correct. However, when I was done, he told me that there were too many errors and told me to perform the from the start up to the end of Grasp the Sparrow's Tail (揽雀尾). These are my errors: 1. When I did the starting posture, I tend to lean back a little and I did not sit into my kua(胯)enough. 2. When I lower my hands, I tend to draw my elbows down back towards my body. This is not right as i should keep my hands almost straight and lower it down in that manner so that the qi can flow freely. If you do it in this manner, you can feel as if your hand has sort of expanded(膨胀). 3. When doing the press (挤) My left palm should directly press onto my arm. There are 1 or 2 other errors but they are hard to describe so i will not add them in here. But luckily, there were no problems with my leg postures and foot work. I was really happy to know that there are no problems with them as i have really spent lots of effort on my footwork! The first error also got me thinking that actually taiji trains the qi too but as i am sometimes so caught up in having the correct structural alignment and having correct timing for each move that i forget about the qi aspect of taiji. I was thinking that taiji could actually be done as a qigong exercise where the emphasis is on letting the qi flow to every part smoothly and training the yi at the same time. Maybe i would incorporate it into my daily training, performing one sequence with emphasis on qi! posted by Eman Rohe | 8:12 PM |

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Rounded postures: Full of Chi
It worked! After trying to do the routine with emphasis on qi, i am starting to feel the qi in my arms and hands. Looking closely at the pictures of Cloud Hands in Mastering the Yang Style Taijiquan, i also found some errors in my movements. The Cloud hands should be rounded and have the idea of Peng(Ward off). This is very important. It should not be done with hands like a car wiper, or with the forearms almost 90 degrees straight. The forearms should be about 30 to 40 degrees from horizontal. I also realised that doing it this way enhances the feeling of the qi running through your hands! Thus giving you a better Peng. This made me try out the positions and i found out that doing rounded postures create better qi flow. posted by Eman Rohe | 1:18 PM |

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tui Shou(Push Hands)
After one year and 2 months of Yang Style Routine practice, i have started learning the art of tui shou (push hands)! First lesson was full of being pushed around and locked in position by my teacher and classmates. However, it was an enlightening experience! Everyone's hand had a different weight and style. It seems to me that everyone in my class had a different method of shifting back and forth. Quite confusing here, not knowing who to follow....Nevertheless, it was great fun but was also very tiring for the hands and legs. After some time, i ended up moving only my hands. When i concentrated on listening using the hands, i forget to move my legs and waist. When i concentrated on my waist and legs, i forgot about my hands! Seems like i have some psychomotor problem. Second lesson: more pushing, pulling and being thrown, less locking. My coordination improved and i could start to feel some of the people's lax in defense and intent of attack. Very fun! Haha! I even managed to lock one guy down twice after feeling for his lax in defense. However, to all the other classmates, most i could find no break. Strange, how does teacher always manage to have them in his grasp???? It is also interesting how different people neutralise or peng. It is only after i chanced upon a video clip of Erle's a few days ago that i realised that some of them are using the yang push hands techniques while others are using yin push hands techniques. According to Cheng Man Ching, we should invest in loss first and then learn to attack. However, i find this a little selfish. As the people in my class are rather new, some of them are really investing in loss and neglect to push or press when it is their turn to do so. If they don't do that, how is their opponent going to learn neutralisation skills? Thus i feel, when it is time to attack, learn to attack well, when it is time to defend and neutralise, learn to defend and neutralise well. Only then can there be a good exchange of knowledge. posted by Eman Rohe | 11:40 AM |

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Point of Force
I once read somewhere that practising taiji is a method to allow you to train yourself to refine the strength and power of your whole body such that it is released in single explosive attacks, as opposed to the strength of only one part e.g are(biceps). It is said that when fighting an experienced martial artist, you can feel that the power of an attack is concentrated while that of a novice is dispersed. Recently, i started learning the Yang Knife/Sabre Routine. Usually, I use a wooden knife to train and it is rather heavy so some of the cutting motions are a little straining to the wrist. However, i realised that the secret to using the sabre is to know very clearly where you want to project your force to. If you just swing without thinking, you would surely injure the wrist as the force is dispersed and you have to tighten your wrist to grip the knife well to stop the momentum of the knife.But if you swing thinking where exactly you want the power to be, you just have to grip normally. There is almost no strain on the wrist. I was thinking, since taiji is about refining this force, the power transferred to the knife can actually be regulated and controlled by you. The position of the power through the knife is also determined by you. Thus, this opens many doors to the methods of using the knife. In the Singapore Zhu Tian Zai Chen Style Competition i saw recently, some guy broke his knife in his routine. My teacher was saying that looking at how he handles his knife, it was obvious that his knife would break. I think it was because of the wrong emphasis of force on the knife that caused the knife to be on the receiving end of the force that caused it to break. The knife has to be a tool that is used to project the force out . It is not the target of the force and power. If the force is not refined enough, the blade of the knife or the whole knife or your hand or your wrist would take the brunt of the force and would shake vigourously or get injured. In normal barehand routines, this is also important. There is a video clip on Melissa Ng's website where she shows how a punch is used to put out a candle from a distance. I think that may be one of the things that the routines are used for: to learn how to project a force correctly, the taichi way. I wonder what the other things may be hidden in the routines........I am still unable to pick out from the routine the things i learnt from the push hands and vice-versa. It seems i have to work harder...... posted by Eman Rohe | 3:05 PM |

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Taiji's All Round Defence
While i was just strolling, on the streets today, it suddenly dawned upon me that the Yang Style taiji form has really good defense, not even one of the move neglects defense. When attacking, defense is not forgotten(see Brush Knee Twist step and the kicks). When turning, it is also not forgotten(see Bring Tiger Back to Mountain, Jade Maiden), not to mention Cloud Hands. Thus it is one should keep in mind the defense properties of the various moves and how to use them well to build a continuous and impenetrable defense. posted by Eman Rohe | 11:53 PM |

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Push Hands?
Recently, I have sort of awakened to the thing of pushing hands. 1. Pushing hands is not about the ritual of pushing in circles. It is just a guideline. 2. Pushing hands is not a competition of who is stronger. It is about using the correct amount of force efficiently and at the right time. 3. Pushing hands is not about resisting your opponent strength. It is about going with it all to find its weakness. 4. Pushing hands is about feeling the intent of your opponent. Know what your opponent wants to do. 5. Pushing hands is about using the strength of your opponent. It is said, "When he is still, I am still. When he moves, I reach there before him." When he pushes, I retreat. But I reach there before him. He loses his target, loses his strength. When he retreats, I push. But I reach there before him. He loses his balance. When moving forward and backwards while following, use the kua and legs. When pushing around, use the waist. When doing anything, maintain a good centre. Do not ever give your buttocks to your opponent. In push hands, one must always follow closely, so that there is no gap for him to take advantage of. In push hands, one must always follow closely and create a gap when a chance is available to retaliate. Whether in attacking or defending, one is always reading, feeling, listening to your opponents force and intent. Never lose concentration! When having read your opponent's strength and intent, respond to it! Don't daydream! Or else it will be all over before you know it! When following, watch for tricks, watch for traps, watch for holes! Do not follow him straight into the hole!

When wrist is caught, throw in the elbow. When elbow is caught, throw in the shoulder. When shoulder is caught, throw in the chest. When chest is caught, throw in the waist. When waist is caught, throw in everything else. Continuous, never stopping. When the wrist is neutralised, use the elbow. When the elbow is neutralised, use the shoulder. When the shoulder is neutralised, use the hip. When the hip is neutralised, use the knee. When the knee is neutralised, use everything else. Continuous, never stopping. This is what I can gather so far from my practice. Hopefully it can get better. posted by Eman Rohe | 9:16 PM |

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Tai Chi Books, Video, Knowledge, Practice
Nowadays, push hands practice has been going quite well, but it was never as good as that day. But still quite close, so it seems i have only awakened for a moment. With more practice, just need more practice. Another thing, I am currently looking for a cheaper version of Dong Ying Jie's (Tung Ying Chieh) book: Taiji Quan Shi Yi(太极拳释义). The one selling on the Dong family website is awfully expensive!!!! Other than that, i saw a video the other day on v=7YPhhGPgCiY&search=zhong%20ding where Chen Xiao Wang was demonstrating Zhong Ding(中定) Central Rootedness. It was quite incredible! The guy could not even move Chen Xiao Wang while he was standing on only one leg!! Yesterday, I did a group demonstration for Queen Elizabeth! And when she was looking at our demonstration, i overheard her saying that she has also just started learning taiji(Disclaimer: Don't quote me on this!) However, although we were there doing the routine from start to second White Crane Spread Wings(白鹤亮翅) for like an hour with a short break in between, she only looked at us for about a minute. During our demonstration, My knees were aching at first but at the end of the hour, the aching was gone and their movement was much smoother! This reminds me of something Dong Ying Jie said, of always practising the routine 3 times in a row. The first time for warm up and stretching, the second for corrections, improvements and getting into the mood and the third for solidifying the corrections and doing the routine perfectly with your body and mind as one. Only so can you improve rapidly. And then he said, that would make up to 10+ times per day(not possible for the normal working man!!!!). posted by Eman Rohe | 7:13 PM |

Saturday, April 08, 2006

More Push Hands
Recently, it has been quite a barren time for push hands for me. Haven't had any really great discoveries. However, I realised that this is all part of training. My aim now as a beginner is to learn to follow. I once read that in taichi push hands(tuishou) training, first you learn how to stick to your opponent. I split this into: 1. How to stick to your opponent, How not to lose him. 2. How to sense Sense for his strength, speed and direction. 3. How to react to that, Keeping the first principle in mind. Next: 4. Learn to recognise situations. Know which situation is good for him and which is bad. Know which is good for you and which is bad. 5. Know not to follow blindly, If going into disadvantageous situation, respond! However, the most important thing is to concentrate on sensing! Once you lose your concentraion, he has the advantage. Well, basically i am here. So i figure the next level is the neutralising followed by issuing, which i would delay first until i feel that i have reached an approriate level. Oh yes, another thing, Benefits of loosening the shoulder: Your opponent can't pull your whole person over that easily. You won't get that irritating ache in your shoulders while pushing hands. You can last longer. You are so light that your opponent usually stretches out too much without realising it, giving you an advantage. Recently we had a new student in class. he was very stiff all over and he was questioning if tai chi principles can really work. Well, in the end, he was forced to move around to maintain his balance while we were just doing our usual circles. posted by Eman Rohe | 12:00 PM | Sunday, April 16, 2006

A lesson on Sun Style
Today in the Sun Style lesson, my teacher told us to demonstrate the Single whip for him to see. Mine had problems right from the opening and closing of hands. Open to shoulder width Close to face width Next, for Single Whip(dan bian), while i did it, he said i did not have the required opening "look". This is when i remembered that sometimes in his demonstration when he closes, he seems to be absorbing everything around him. It is that kind of "look" that he wants me to have. It is a qi shi, a sort of impression that you project. It is not easy to I'll just have to work on it......This kind of thing cannot be taught in words, only in action.... posted by Eman Rohe | 10:07 PM |

Sunday, April 16, 2006

To push or not to push
That day i was pushing hands in class with my teacher and he told me something: When guiding the enemy's hand back using lu(roll back) or peng(ward off), do not guide it too far back or too far out as it opens up an opportunity for an elbow attack directly to the chest or solar plexus! Just a note, to give balance to my comments on the last post about the loosening shoulders part. My teacher always says, there are 2 parts to push hands(tuishou). One is technique and the other is kungfu(depth of skill). Technique is knowing how to place your hands and how to move such that you would not be caught in a disadvantageous position. Kungfu(depth of skill) is how developed is your listening, sensing and timing skills are. Technique and kungfu go hand in hand but if you concentrate on one and neglect the other, then you are doing tai chi the wrong way. posted by Eman Rohe | 10:29 PM |

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Gone Away? Gone the right way
Today's push hands practice was terrible! At first I still had it but I seem to have lost it half way through the session. At the first part of the session, I could still feel opportunities within the push hand practise and was still sticking quite well to the opponent's hand but half way through the practise, I kept getting locked down by my seniors! After reviewing my practise, I have these conclusions: Was I daydreaming, not responding to the incoming force? Was I using the wrong techniques? Or was it simply because I have been sick this whole week?? One of my seniors even said that i kept using my elbow in practice! However if he has pushed my right hand across my chest to my left side, doesn't my elbow naturally come up in front of him??? It's in the physiology of man! He was also saying how unethical it is and how this could injure people in push hands practice. But I remember reading that the Dong family used to train with people flying all about the house! Nevertheless, I still learnt something today. Today i was pushing hands with Poet Saint/Cissyn of fame. His push hands was slow;my teacher always tells us to push slowly, first time someone in class did it! He taught me how to feel when someone is using the elbow in single hands push hands and how to keep it in check in the single hands push hands. Which is by pushing out with your palm on the forearm of the opponent. Doing so, his elbow is immediately checked in position. posted by Eman Rohe | 11:12 PM |

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Fu Zhongwen and Hao Shao Ru Videos! And even more downloadable taichi videos!
That day when I was doing a random search on videos, I found Hao Shao Ru's video at: docid=4799565770272737492&q=hao+shao+ru&pl=true While Fu Zhong Wen's video can be found at docid=2684733084214920600&q=fu+zhong+when&pl=true But the guy who uploaded it spelled the great Fu Zhong Wen's name wrongly!!! How could he! Anyway, my senior was just commenting that Fu Zhong Wen's video looks a little like a scene out of The Ring, haha! Next in line, I have found a site with many nice downloadable old taichi videos of famous masters like Sun Jian Yun, Liu Gao Ming(Yang), Li Bing Ci, and many more! Other than that, it has videos of Wudang style martial arts, Bagua, Tongbei and a few other eclectic chinese martial arts. Its address is: posted by Eman Rohe | 12:45 PM |

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Relating form practice to push hands
I remember that in my previous posts, I wrote that I had no idea how form practice is related to push hands. But now, I am gaining a bit of insight.

In form practice, 1. Imagine you are facing an enemy 2. Relax like in push hands 3. Be ready 4. Listen for your opponent 5. Know the uses for every move 6. Move and act decisively
In push hands, we learn to relax, and listen for your enemy's jin or force. A form is a compendium of moves you should use in a real situation against real enemies, so listening should be implemented into form practice too! Taiji functions by feeling your enemy’s jin, it is originally part of the form, Feel for your enemy, be ready! Every taiji move has an attacking and defending part to it. While doing these moves, be clear about the uses of all the moves and how best to execute with taiji principles. When moving in and out, know where, when and how you are defending, know when where and how you should attack. Have in mind a back up plan if the opponent should dodge your attack or attack you from somewhere else. When in front, be ready to move backwards according to the opponent’s force. When behind, be careful of your opponent who is attacking. React according to your opponent’s force always.

Next, push hands helps in using the form. · Know how to approach your opponent
After undergoing push hands practice, you should clearly know how to approach your enemy, where is the best position to place your hand or attack so that your enemy will be locked down, pulled away, diverted away, will lose balance etc. You should know how to stand, how to retreat, how to advance, how to move. You should know how to best use the moves in situations, you should have these not in you mind, but in your natural reflex. This is the use of push hands in form practice. Push hands makes form practice useful. It is the brain behind the body. While forms are the ways to express push hands. They go hand in hand and are inseparable for taiji practice. posted by Eman Rohe | 9:08 PM | Saturday, May 13, 2006

Shen (Spirit) Yi (Intention)
The other day in class, I just realised that when performing the taichi routine, there are 2 aspects to it: 1. Technical 2. Psychological or Spiritual The technical aspect is like having the correct body alignment, feet to knee, knee to kua, kua to waist, waist to back, back to shoulder, shoulder to arms, arms to hands. This is important for one to have a strong body structure. The psychological aspect is that of Yi(Intention) and Shen (Spirit). In chinese there is a saying, 全神贯注, which literally means to do something with your whole Shen(spirit)\concentration. In my opinion, this is should be the motivation behind all the movements of the taichi routine. To do every movement with your full concentration, with your whole heart and soul, with your whole mind, with all your intention. That's why everything is done slowly, to focus your Yi (Intention), to focus your Shen (Spirit) to focus your Qi, to give a focused punch, kick, throw, hammer, whatever! And in every movement, your Shen and Yi should follow through with the movement. I think that would definitely improve the attack. I cannot say for sure, because I have never really sparred using taichi....still not good enough. Train! Train! Train! posted by Eman Rohe | 4:25 PM |

Sunday, May 14, 2006

对拉 (Pulling in Opposite Directions) Sun Style
Recently, while we were performing our Sun style routine, my teacher came up to us and told us about this 对啦:Pulling in opposite directions. He demonstrated this with Playing the Lute(手挥琵琶 ) where, as he moves his left hand forward, and his right hand backward, his back area actually seems to be moving backward, centralising his body. Next, when he does the Block Parry and Punch(搬拦捶) this is also shown. He says it is the pulling in opposite phenomenon in taichi. According to him, the benefits of this pulling action is: Stablises the person Keeps you with rounded shoulders and in the Contain your chest, Stretch your back (含 胸拔背) position. Gives you a better structure, be it for defense or attack purposes. Actually, he says this is applicable not only for Sun style, but througout all taichi styles. But as you can see from how I am writing this post, I don't really get the whole idea of what he is saying. So those who know, please enlighten me, and those who don't, food for thought! posted by Eman Rohe | 10:11 PM |

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Mystery of the Turning Waist
The other day, i was reading through a post on wujimon's website about the waist being independent of hips: Experiment time! Now, as you sit on the chair, try turning to your right, does your hip turn as you turn as you turn your waist?? No right? So this is how it should be or at least how it is taught to me. Turning of the waist should be turning of the waist only and not turning of the hips or buttocks. These should be kept separate. In the classics, they always refer to the waist and not the hips. If they wanted you to turn your body by the hips, they would have said so! Imagine a rod and a rope of the same thickness, a rod, when you take one corner of it and swing it around, the whole rod gets swung around. But this cannot be considered as " when one part moves, all parts move" right? On the other hand, if you take a rope at one end and swing it, when one part moves, the power is passed through the whole rope and the whole rope moves! This is what we are looking for. every part of the rope can move independent of all the other parts but can also move together with all the other parts. Similarly, we should be like that, we should be so song until we are able to control and move all the different parts of the body individually but yet maintaing the link with all the rest of the body. One thing my teacher always demonstrates from his leg up to his kua, waist, chest, shoulder, arms, hands...etc. Which causes us to look like stick men doing taichi. The reason it is kept separate so that the turning of the waist would not affect your overall centre of gravity or your leg base when you neutralise so that your opponent would not be able to catch your base and throw you whole. The thing is to be dynamic and fluid in your structure and not stagnate in one structure, although it may hold up quite well to attacks. However when you attack, the power should come from your leg base(kua included), passing through and ampifying by your waist all the way to your hands. However this should be done in a split second motion after you listen well to your opponent and see a chance. But then in attacking, you must listen too, at the same time, for any changes in your opponent's movement and deal with it appropriately. posted by Eman Rohe | 8:54 AM |

Monday, May 29, 2006

Thoughts of a Sickly Taiji beginner!
For the last 2 months, after I started working, my schedule have been as such: 5.50am Wake up, brush teeth 6.00am Start taichi practice 7.00am Breakfast 7.15am Shower 7.30am Out of house to work Result: Frequent bouts of flu and fever Well, if you notice, shower is just 15 mins after practice and everytime I turn on the shower, I get goosepimples. So those of you who want to try something like what I did, I warn you:

posted by Eman Rohe | 9:21 PM |

Monday, May 29, 2006

Slow motion Kungfu: Tai Chi Chuan
Recently, I have laid hands on the english translation of Yang Cheng Fu's 太极拳体用全 书 (Tai Ji Quan Ti Yong Quan Shu)/The Essence and Applications of Taijiquan, by Louis Swaim, which cost me 30+bucks by the way! A high price to pay for a book of that length! But what the heck, it is a classic! Reading through it, I found myself slowing down tremendously in practice. It can't be helped! In order to do every move correctly, following the name of the move, with the correct 意念, intention, with the correct jin, which goes through the correct pathway, which ends at the correct place, it can't be helped! I had to go slower! But the experience is totally different, it is total immersion, Total 100% Taiji!! posted by Eman Rohe | 9:33 PM |

Monday, May 29, 2006

The Empty Leg, The Full Leg
After reading one article by Dong Ying Jie a few weeks ago, I started thinking about this 虚实, empty and full thing. I think I have got something, but still not everything....... In every movement, be clear where is empty and where is full. I realised this is very important, especially in transition movements. The thing is when you are stretching out your leg to take the step, is your leg stiff and full? Or is it empty and pliable? When you first put your feet down, before you transfer your weight over, is your leg stiff and hard? Or is it soft and pliable? When you transfer your weight over, is it quick? Is it smooth? Does your leg immediately shift from empty to full? Your intention shift from leg to leg? Did you leave anything behind? Was there reluctance in your movement? Was the transfer just nice? Did you go overboard? posted by Eman Rohe | 10:04 PM |

Monday, June 05, 2006

Correct, Correct, Nothing wrong with it!
Sometimes, as you practise the routine by yourself, you tend to add in new elements and your own style. However, sometimes, these things that we add in are not correct and would lead to inefficient movement or imbalance etc. So, yesterday, as I was thinking about my routine, I realised that I had forgotten the way he taught us to do High Pat Horse(高探马) and decided to ask him about it. As I demonstrated, he corrected a part of it. After that, I demostrated Left Split Leg(左分 脚) and High Pat Horse With Piercing Palm(高探马带穿掌) from High Pat Horse and asked him how were they. To my surprise, he said, "Correct, correct, nothing wrong with it!( 对,对,没错!)" I was estatic! It was the first time I got away with a such a positive comment after this past one plus years of taichi. It felt like a recognition of the effort I have put in! I was happy. I was glad. posted by Eman Rohe | 9:05 PM |

Saturday, June 10, 2006

the-empty-leg-the-full-leg-puzzle from Zenmindsword
I refer to the full leg and empty leg puzzle on ritualcat/zenmindsword's blog: I had to post my comments here because somehow I have to 'log in' before I can post any comments. I can't really see the pics clearly, when i click to save them they are always too small for me to figure out anything. But the empty leg part, I take it that the guy is tripping the back leg(weighted leg)? Well, I think as a taiji player, we have trained to and should know the opponent's movements quite well and should not let him have a chance to do so. The weighted, unweighted leg technique is used to increase our mobility so the transition time should be short. However, in the case he does so and the other leg is still not down, jump? The full leg part. In taiji, my teacher always tells us to attack till 70%, and save 30% for yourself. And when retreating, do the opposite, do not sit back all the way, so the thing is to neutralise before you reach the 100% mark. But in the case if we do reach, then it is good luck man! And thanks for the kind compliments form zenmindsword. But from the short meeting I had with him, I realised that my depth of technique and skill are still very far from his. Especially when he was demonstrating his techniques, his eyes looked very different from that of normal players. You can really see the concentration from the eyes, sort of reminded me of the descriptions of the eyes of Yang Cheng Fu and Wu Jian Quan when they did their forms or pushed hands. posted by Eman Rohe | 9:35 PM |

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Why do I have Shaking hands?
I am really liking the Sun Style more and more, especially the movements, which are close and fluid. The opening and closing hands which brings your mind back to what you are doing and concentrates your intentions. I don't know if anyone else has this experience, but it almost seems like some kind of qigong to me! However, when practising Sun Style very slowly, my hands tend to shake uncontrollably and my movements tend to be a little jerky. It sort of resemble machines which have parts that are not sufficiently oiled. I wonder where the problem lies......Does anyone know of this or experienced this before? posted by Eman Rohe | 9:47 PM |

Monday, June 26, 2006

Back from Hiatus; Push Hands with a vengence!
At the lesson just before I left, I decided to try out Sinking energy(沉劲), or whatever of it that I have. The results turned out to be quite positive! When you want to sink, just project the sinking into your hand and it makes a difference! The guy I was like tired out after just a few rounds! Hehe! Asking me how I managed to keep all his movements in check. Seriously, I did nothing much! Just mentally have my Intention focused on the sinking part. However, when doing so, a common mistake is that the hand will tense up so look out for that. Remember the secret is to be relaxed! Although here I say to have the Intention focused on the sinking part, I think with much practice, the sinking part will sink into your taiji without much focused Intention. During that lesson, my teacher was also explaining about the circles in push hands. He was saying that just in a small circular motion of the hand, the opponent's move is neutralised....I started to get something, but..........I need to try it out....until next time! posted by Eman Rohe | 9:57 PM |

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Relax cleanly, Relax fully.
Relax cleanly, Relax fully, Relax deeply, Relax thoroughly, Relax and sink. Once strength is used, you become a solid structure waiting to get beaten and broken.
Last Sunday at lesson, my teacher was saying that he noticed we were all still too stiff and hard with our movements. Like while we were performing our motions, he could see the muscles in our arms all tensed up. Not good! So he demonstrated some moves and his arms were really relaxed, muscles not showing! Damn! Another thing, he said that in taiji, your true intention is hidden, so do not display your intention explicitly in your moves. You must be like " want, don't want, want , don't want", and not show them like, ok i am going straight for your chest here!(Step Forward into Seven Stars) So I reflected on myself and my form. I found that, true, my muscles were not exactly tensed, but they were taut throughout. And I sort of tend to tense them up a little like maybe at the end of a movement or something, or when I try to stretch my arms in some motions or when I try to focus my intention at that point. But then I realised, ya, focus intention does not mean to tense muscles! A common pitfall. So today, I decided to try his method. Leave the arms as arms, relax them, go through the motions, enjoying them, like you are moving through the clouds. Then I realised, hey, some of my movements now have to be generated by my waist, for it to be effective. And so, I start to train and move with my waist and not my arm muscles. Then I realised, hey, the power is going straight into my arms and expressed in them! Incredible! As such, my movements became slower, fuller and more complete with substance. posted by Eman Rohe | 11:02 PM |

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Circles of Push Hands
Disclaimer: This is not a tell all post of the circles part of push hands! I am just starting on it! Please correct me if I am wrong! This lesson done with the intention of experimenting how moving in circles have to do with push hands. Experiment: When the opponent pushes , I sort of draw a circle with my wrist, arm, waist and kua. Findings: Lets say in a Right hand Single hands push hands situation(haven't learnt double hands), I press(按), opponent wards off (Peng), I get ready to receive and feel for the direction of his incoming force. Let's say it is towards my chest from my left. He comes in in a horizontal circular motion with his right hand and drives my right hand out to the left as far as possible. I grab the exact opportunity when he decides to attack to my chest. I relax and sink my arm and my kua relaxes, ready for any shifting motion required. I then then ride on his attack while creating a slight circular twist with my waist, shoulder, arm and wrist. This releases the tension between his hand and mine and his hand seems to lose what he was initially pushing on. This is the opportune time, while riding, I do a slight circular twist of my forearm and brings his arm to an empty spot created by my empty kua. He feels his strength is falling into emptiness, he withdraws, I enter. I do a circular twist originating from my leg, to my kua, to my waist to my arm, and brings it out through my forearm and wrist. I neutralise his arm aside and enter immediately. Conclusion: Well, you can say findings were quite positive and the experiment was a success. The test targets were well neutralised. posted by Eman Rohe | 9:49 PM |

Friday, July 07, 2006

Why didn't you just LISTEN?
Damn! What was happening yesterday???!!!! I was supposed to be listening but whenever people pushed I just pushed back! Should have listened, should have looked inside, should have felt for opportunity! Damn! But when someone pushed, I just pushed back.... Sorry, just venting frustrations! Back to more practice........ Oh yeah, there is a nice article by Li Ya Xuan here posted by Eman Rohe | 8:50 AM |

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Forms: Different Masters, Different Standards, Different Viewpoint
Recently, I acquired a copy of the Zhu Hai Taiji Conference DVD. Many famous Masters were featured in there, including Wang Xi An, Chen Zheng Lei, Ma Hong, Yang Zhen Duo, Fu Sheng Yuan, Lin Mo Gen, Sun Yong Tian and Wang Hai Zhou. In class, when my friend asked my teacher how he felt about the performances, he commented that he liked Ma hong and Lin Mo Gen, and added that Fu Sheng Yuan was not too bad too. As for me, I liked Fu Sheng Yuan the most. I feel his form has the "soft outside, hard inside" quality. And looking at his form, you can hardly find any technical weakness. when he wards off(peng) or pushes(an), it looks strong with power and backing. You can really feel the strength behind it, body alignments all in place. Impressive! As for the Chen style, I thought Ma Hong's form looked a little too hard and fierce. However, he does have many nuances in his form that the newer generation don't. Wonder why my teacher liked him that much though..... Actually, of all the famous Chen Style stylists, I like Chen Xiao Wang the most! His forms are always smooth and all his fajings are crisp and packs a punch. Comparatively, although Chen Zheng Lei's form is also very smooth, his fajings are just not as great as CXW's. After the reading the article by Li Ya Xuan the other time, I did a check on him and found out that other than his daughter Li Min Di and her husband, another one of his famous disciples is Lin Mo Gen. And when my teacher said he liked Lin's form, I had to get the DVD! However, when I saw him perform, his form looked very soft, very volatile I would say, like the moves could easily change and transit into another at any moment. I think this maybe because of the elusive song we have always been chasing after. However, the way he moves, it seemed to me that he was treading on the thin line of technical/structural weakness agaainst volatility of form. Nevertheless, if masters are performing such a form, they would know their stuff. If taiji beginners like me are performing such a form, I am asking for trouble. Sometimes when I try to relax(song) to a similar stage as him, I find my hands to be "floating" like there is no substance. Usually it would be called relax and sink(Song Chen), as opposed to relax and float. But the sink part still eludes me at times. In this DVD, I find that there are 3 ratings of masters: average, above average, good and excellent. For example, Fu Sheng Yuan, Ma Hong, Lin Mo Gen and another guy performing yang style with the surname Li would count as excellent. Chen Zheng Lei , Wang Xi An would be good.

There are some masters whom I think still lack the inner kungfu part of things but have excellent smooth forms which takes a lot of practice like Cui Zhong Shan and I would classify them as above average. But there are some masters who really look quite average like Sun Yong Tian. Nevertheless, all of them are much better than me and it would take years before I reach their level. With my present limited knowledge and experience, this is as much as I can gather so if anyone could point out my mistakes and correct me, please do! Thanks! posted by Eman Rohe | 11:02 PM |

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Pulling the proverbial silk through the pearl?
The other day during lesson, I had a new insight! I don't know if it can be considered as the proverbial pulling of silk, since I have never seen a nine holed pearl, not to mention pulling silk. However, I think what I have understood may be quite close to it. When doing the Grasp the Sparrow's Tail that day, keeping the hands relaxed, with the waist leading the movements, keeping the the kua loose and relaxed(song), I suddenly felt that I was not "moving" very much, my body sort of preferred to just be in that position. However, somehow or rather, it still moved, but very slowly, like a trickle. To want it to move more, I have to put my mind to it. Even so, it moves slowly, but I am relaxed......... In the first step of the move, after my leg steps to the left, as my left hand splits to the left, it felt like bales of heavy, soft, smooth silky cloth hung from left hand, while I held it down with my right hand. As my left hand splits to the left, the heavy slippery silk cloth slided along it, I had to hold it down firmly with my right hand, I had to sink my right hand, but the cloth was too heavy, I had to use my waist to propel my hand to pull it along. But that was not enough, my right hand could not move together with with my waist and left hand at the same speed, if not the cloth would not be "pulled". My right hand had to stay in position, but the heavy cloth is pulling my right hand along with it, I had to force my right hand down(intention only)! Both my hands had to pull in opposite directions(Dui La 对拉, my teacher talked about the other time! Damn!). This pulling in opposite directions had to be generated in the waists and the arms also have to be in the correct biomechanical position and alignment for it to have the maximum effect in pulling the cloth. I feel the resistance, but not the weight of it, that's why i am still relaxed. And so I pull the cloth, it coordinates with my breath automatically, it is heavy, whew! I feel a surge of heat come through to my back, body, right through to my arms, it is stretched, stretched to the far corners of my body. I cannot pull faster, I just cannot, its resistance is too strong. I cannot pull slower, if not the cloth will sag downwards. Everytime I pull, it is like pulling the dough when making noodles, the ingredients are mixed evenly and stretched, repeatedly stretched, till the strands are fine and pliable. Not too fast, not too slow. And so I pull, pulling what is within me, without really pulling very much physically, both arms relaxed, all is relaxed. And that's what the pulling is all about for me. As you can see, it is more of an internal feeling which actually makes you look incredible when doing the form! So try it! posted by Eman Rohe | 11:16 PM | Saturday, August 05, 2006

Incredible push hand video!
Here's an incredible free-style push hands video, where everything moves at a fast pace with good neutralisation between both parties, both handled each other rather well: Recently in push hands practice, a fellow student brought 3 friends to class to introduce them to tai chi chuan. And I was asking him how he managed to get 3 people to come, when all the people I know just shut off when I start talking about taichi. His answer was in the methods of taichi push hands, to slowly lead the people in rather than use strength. To slowly give them snippets of interesting taichi info rather than bombard them with stuff on taichi everyday(which I tend to do, making them think that I am a crazy taichi fanatic). That day, in class, there was a new student who had previously learnt taichi push hands from another club. He trained mainly in double hands push hands so when I asked him to push single hands with me, the game got quite interesting(I don't really know how to do 2 hands push hands yet). While pushing hands, his other hand would come up very often to seal my elbow and it made the game rather different as I had to negotiate his 2 hands with my 1 hand. Furthermore, in our usual training, we seldom use elbow in single hand push hands but since he was trained somewhere else, he tended to use the elbow a lot which brought new elements to the push hands and it was quite refreshing and fun as i got the chance to explore new attacks and defenses. At the same time, I got a chance to test if my neutralisation skills was up to the task of adapting to new and unfamiliar moves. A rather interesting session! That's why my teacher always says, don't always push with the same people, push with as many people as you can, everyone has a diferent hand. posted by Eman Rohe | 12:41 AM |