The Secrets Of Our Kung Fu

One day my big apprentice brother told me a story.  He said that our sifu once did a demonstration at a festival where many people were gathered to watch.  After performing the demonstration, our sifu addressed the crowd, and began to describe our kung fu in great detail, even revealing the most esoteric secrets of our art.  Big apprentice brother looked on in shock, and when sifu came down from the stage big apprentice brother confronted him, saying “I can’t believe you just gave away all the secrets of our kung fu in front of hundreds of people!”

Sifu said, “Yeah, but nobody listens.”

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Posted by on December 29, 2013 in Kung Fu, Philosophy, Teaching


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When Do You Turn Your Tai Chi Off?

While practicing, you are relaxed, aligned, your movements are smooth, deliberate. In other words, you are actively maintaining your tai chi composure.

The question is, when do you stop?

Do you turn your tai chi on when you practice the form, and turn it off when you stop? Do you turn it off when class is over? Or when you get interrupted or distracted?

Why turn it off deliberately at all? Why not at least try to keep it on all the time?

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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Tai Chi Practice


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How Yoga and Tai Chi Complement Each Other

Yoga and tai chi have several elements in common, but they also provide distinct benefits. This is how they are alike and different:


Both are mind-body arts that work by regulating and integrating body, breath, and mind, and are suitable for people of all ages and physical conditions. Practice is meditative, and benefits include reduced stress, improved balance and posture, elevated awareness, and enhanced healing and immune function.


Yoga emphasizes range of motion, tai chi emphasizes fluidity of motion. Yoga focuses on opening the joints as much as possible, tai chi focuses on freeing the joints as much as possible. Yoga tends to make the joints exposed, tai chi tends to keep the joints protected. Yoga is practiced solo, tai chi can only be practiced fully with a partner. Balance in yoga is mostly static, balance in tai chi is mostly dynamic.  Yoga develops more external strength, tai chi develops more sensitivity.  Yoga inverts the body, tai chi does not.  Yoga evolved from devotional practices, tai chi evolved from healing practices.

How Yoga Can Benefit Your Tai Chi Practice

If you already practice tai chi, yoga will reinforce the benefits, as well as provide an extra degree of external strength, range of motion, and breathing capacity to complement your internal energy development, all of which will make your tai chi more powerful and effective.

How Tai Chi Can Benefit Your Yoga Practice

If you already practice yoga, tai chi will reinforce the benefits.  It will also help to develop fluidity of motion and active relaxation in addition to stability of structure.  It will help you to maintain your balance and poise in the face of interference, such as while moving and being pushed around by another person.  It will teach you to avoid joint posture vulnerability, as well as how to issue and absorb large amounts of force.


Posted by on December 15, 2013 in Exercise, Health, Tai Chi


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Healing With Tai Chi

There’s an old joke where the patient says, “Doctor, it hurts when I do this…”. Tai chi gives the same response as the doctor, who says “Well, don’t do that.”

Tai chi engages the body’s natural healing mechanisms, which depend on both sensitivity and activity. If a movement makes you feel light-headed, aggravates an injury, or otherwise triggers negative internal feedback, then don’t do it. However, this is not a license to be passive or stagnant; instead engage what you can engage, and move in ways that don’t trip your body’s internal alarm systems. It is not a matter of enduring, but rather discovering the freedom you have within your constraints, which lets you gradually expand your range of motion and strengthen your body’s weak points. Practice moving in such a way that you could continue to do so for an hour, even if you actually only do so for five minutes. If you find a movement that you can’t endure, ease up, slow down, make changes until you are comfortable, but don’t simply give up. It is within a state of comfortable flow that you will access the resources that will accelerate your body’s healing capacity.

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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Health


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Why Block?


230px-The_Smiling,_Proud_Wanderer_(笑傲江湖)“Grand Uncle-Master, do you think this random slashing and chopping style sword form of mine will enable me to block his fast knife chops?” Linghu Chong asked hopefully.


“If you want to block, of course it won’t help you much. But why do you have to block?” Feng Qingyang said.


Jin Yong, Smiling Proud Wanderer

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Posted by on December 1, 2013 in Combat, Kung Fu


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Structure, Balance, Flow

Tai chi teaches us to move with structure, balance and flow.

Structure is alignment of the joints that takes forces into the bones, giving muscles mechanical advantage.

Balance is alignment with gravity that provides central equilibrium, keeping the body planted and upright.

Flow is complimentary muscular activation, allowing us to move without stress by literally getting out of our own way.

The combination of structure, balance, and flow gives rise to effortless power; deficiency in any one gives rise to powerless effort.

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Posted by on November 24, 2013 in Flow, Tai Chi


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Moving With Chi

Doing tai chi is often confused with doing forms.

Forms are a means to an end.

The end is to move with chi.

Can forms help you to move with chi?  Perhaps.

Are forms required to move with chi?  Certainly not.

When doing forms

and when not doing forms

the question tai chi asks is

“Are you moving with chi?”

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Posted by on November 17, 2013 in Chi, Tai Chi



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