Saturday, September 29, 2007


My teacher always likes to describe peng as being like a balloon. Your arms should not flatten, they should be round. Yet, taking this to the extreme makes the arms rigid, something which goes against the taiji principle of relaxing.

Balloons are not balls of steel or concrete. They are filled with air, and are thus elastic. When pushed, they do deflate, but then bounce right back into shape. Thus, while the idea is not for our arms to flatten, it doesn't mean that they cannot flatten. Just like a balloon, we must allow it to "deflate" and then bounce back into shape. Otherwise, we are rigid and using brute force, a big contradiction to taiji's basic principles.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Win the Battle, Lose the War

Sometimes, we are so fixated on gaining a certain advantage, attaining a certain objective, that we don't realise that we have lost more than we have gained. Like when pushing hands, sometimes we try to achieve a certain effect, and we become so focused on achieving it, that in the end, when we do achieve it, we don't realise that our opponent actually managed to defeat us in another way. We may think we can win by pushing our opponent away, but actually, even if we do push him away, we have actually lost, because we were so focused in pushing that we ended up using brute strength.

In winning, we have actually lost. That small little gain in ego has resulted in effort lost in trying to master taiji.

The important thing is still not to fear losing, to concentrate on achieving the principles of taiji, to focus on your movements as a whole, to use your opponent's strength against him, and if bested, to learn from your mistakes.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

A Good Foundation

A good foundation is very useful. After weeks of not practising, I am picking up my training tempo again. And a good foundation served to make it easier for me to get back to where I was. While the lack of practice has left my legs weaker than before, with constant practice, I am sure my legs will grow strong again. With the good foundation, where I know what are the requirements for each movement, once my legs are strong enough again, I am sure I will have no problems getting back to where I left.

In fact, today's practice made me very glad that I spent time to build a good foundation in the past, when I had time to do so. If I had not, and spent my time trying to learn more styles rather than concentrate on improving one, I probably will have a lot more problems today trying to get back to where I left off.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A Week For A Week

I haven't been practising regularly for some time, due to work. In fact, I had a gap of more than 3 weeks during which I didn't practise at all.

Based on past experience, every week not spent practising requires one week to get back to where I left. I could feel the difference today. I seemed to have forgotten a lot of what I have learnt, my legs are not strong enough to properly practise the whole form. I used to be able to practise my forms two or even three times, but today, I could barely finish the first set without having to stop. The second set was horrible; I was unable to carry out most of the basic requirements like keeping my back straight, or even shifting my weight properly.

I guess this time, it is going to take me a whole month before I can get back to where I left... Unlike computer games in which you can save and come back another day to the very same spot, training gaps set you back.

Friday, September 14, 2007

National Wushu Display 2007

Does anyone know what are the highlights for this year's National Wushu Display? Thinking about whether to go or not...