Tuesday, September 22, 2009


A fellow student at pushing hands class asked me if pushing hands is the only way to learn how to apply taijiquan. I told him what I have written about before, that besides pushing hands, there is also the use of sparring routines and learning tecnique application. However, these methods train us to react to certain movements, ie. when the opponent moves in this way, I will counter using this move. This is "有招".

Pushing hands trains in the principles of taiji, the fundamentals of taiji as a fighting skill, which is to know force, redirect it, and use it back against your opponent. There are no fixed moves in pushing hands. Yet without fixed moves, by feeling your opponent's force and sticking to the principles of taiji, you are able to counter your opponent's moves. This is "无招".

So which is better? I think pushing hands will bring us to the higher level, because we will not be restricted by fixed movements. If we learn the applications of fixed movements, when our opponent moves in an unexpected way (which we have not trained to counter before), we will not be able to handle it. But if we train in pushing hands, even if the opponent moves in unexpected manners, we will be able to discern the direction of his force, redirect it and use it back against him. Thus, "无招胜有招".

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Gentle Lock 2

Previously, I have written about my teacher gently locking my arm. Yesterday, during taiji class, he was explaining taijiquan to a few beginners, and was demonstrating arm locks (one hand at the wrist, the other at the elbow). A student commented that the lock felt very strong, which my teacher explained that it was because she was struggling. So she was actually feeling her own force. To show that he wasn't using any force, my teacher proceeded to demonstrate the same lock (one hand at wrist, one hand at elbow), but this time, instead of using his hands, he placed one index finger at the wrist, and the other index finger at the elbow. He was using his index fingers to lock the student's arm!

It will indeed be a long way before I can even get near his level of proficiency.

Yang (Dong/Tung) Style Fast Form 杨(董)氏快拳

Terry asked about the Yang style fast form that I practise. Yes, it is also known as Dong/Tung style fast form, since it was created by Dong Yingjie based on Yang style taijiquan.

This is Master Lin Bo Yan (my teacher's teacher) practising the fast form. You can find more about him here (where I took the video).

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Chinese Martial Arts CCTV Series 《中华武功》 and 《武林传奇》

《中华武功》is a CCTV series on Chinese martial arts that was showing in Singapore a few months ago. For those of you who missed the show, it is now available on DVD. I saw a shop at Bras Basah Complex selling it. Of course, if you don't mind the resolution, it can be viewed on the Internet as well.

CCTV 中华武功 page
CCTV 中华武功 videos online

Another series is 《武林传奇》, which you can find here under the broader series《走遍中国》, introducing the history and development of different Chinese martial arts.

CCTV 走遍中国 page
CCTV 走遍中国 videos online

Friday, September 11, 2009

Imagine The Opponent

A fellow student said something which I felt was very good to share with everyone. When you are practising taiji, you need to imagine there is an opponent there. When you are pushing hands, you need to imagine that there is no opponent there.

I think the basic mentality is correct. However, as with all things in taiji, the "between the yes and no" is very important. So while practising taiji, you should imagine that there is an opponent there, you must not be overly focused on the imaginary opponent. This should allow you to instill spirit/meaning into your movements, without them becoming overly stiff. And when pushing hands, while you should imagine that your opponent is not there, you should not be overly focused on ignoring the presence of your opponent. This should allow you to relax while pushing hands, without becoming limp.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Yang Style 13 Movements 杨氏十三式

For those interested in Yang style taijiquan 13 movements (杨氏十三式).

1. 起势
2. 云手
3. 单鞭
4. 肘底捶
5. 白鹤亮翅
6. 搂膝拗步
7. 手挥琵琶
8. 高探马带穿掌
9. 撇身捶
10. 搬拦捶
11. 拦雀尾
12. 十字手
13. 收势