Saturday, 28 April 2012

Sun Style Xingyi

For the past few years I have also been studying Sun style Xingyi.

It is powerful and direct. The movements appear less complex than Tai Chi but I find it more difficult. It is actually very subtle with lots of spirals.

Standing in San Ti posture is fundamental and the basis of all else that follows. Pi Quan ( Splitting Fist ) starts and ends with San Ti.

See the clip below.

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Bagua Taiji

Fascinating and rare form  combining Bagua and Taiji. I met with Heron Beecham today whom I have known for a number of years and who has translated and published a book on Bagua Taiji.

It is excellent and I find it fascinating as I currently study Sun style Taiji which also incorporates elements of Bagua.

Heron has been living and training in Taiwan for the last 14 years. Check out his site on Bagua Taiji

There are excerpts from the book and if you are interested  buy the book at

Here is a clip of the form.

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Where there is Left there is Right

Tai chi is full of opposites.

We talk about hard and soft, ful and empty, up and down and so forth.

Here is an example of left and right in the waist., using Brush Kneee and Push posture. As our weight shifts from the right back foot to the left front foot, the waist turns to the left. As we arrive on the front foot our waist should also be pulling back to the right. This produces a torque in the waist and has the effect of strongly rooting in the legs and feet.

The waist then unwinds as you transition into the next posture. The waist is constantly winding up and unwinding. Full and Empty, Hard and Soft.

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Cinderella Time

Cinderella time (midnight) or later is a good time to practise.

This is because the world around you is quiet and if you are in any way sensitive to energy you will note the difference.

John Kells used to practise in the middle of the night for this reason. Of course it helps if you don't have a 9 - 5 job.

The phrase " Cinderalla Time" is courtesy of the Kinky Friedman detective novels.

Pushing from the Feet

Don't push from the feet. This is external, too slow and can result in sticking out the backside.

Instead, the relaxed torso " loads " the legs and the waist controls the storing and release of energy like a spring being compressed and released.

Pay attention to the waist and the different ways in which it can move.

Saturday, 7 April 2012


A new window opened for me when John Kells spoke about dedicating his T'ai Chi practise to another person, for instance, who might be ill.

Doing your form is like a Prayer. The energy gathered can be sent to another person or purpose for healing, as an example.

At the time this concept had never entered my head. I was more concerned with getting the postures right, still caught up in my ego centred image. I had the uniform, the slippers, the books (still attached to my books!) , DVDs and magazines. I let myself be defined by them. Hey, I was a Tai Chi dude, right? ( Cue ridiculous laugher and sickening sounds).

This is fairly common, no matter what the discipline. Some never get past it. What matters most is access to some good teaching and practising / investigating it.

Drop the trappings of your delusion. Image does not mean substance.

Sincerely investigate Form as Prayer.

What have you got to lose?

Tuesday, 3 April 2012


I've noticed T'ai Chi people like to talk about structure.

Sadly, in my view, everything is reduced to a form of mechanics. And yes, T'ai Chi does have rules and guidelines about alignment.

But a human being is an energetic entity, not just a system of pulleys and levers. So I view my T'ai Chi as a structure for energy. The energy gives rise to the structure.

This is one of the investigative purposes of my practise.

Sunday, 1 April 2012


After the learning the left side form we moved on to Power training.

This consisted in the main of Pressing. This was in two postures, a forward bow and arrow stance with a lean forwards and the hands pressing. Your partner would do the same. As you both leaned forwards the pressing hands would connect. The  idea was to maintain the shape and absorb the force of the other person by sinking into the front leg. At no time should any actual force be used in the arms. The strength came from maintaining ward off energy and sinking, maintaing a positive structure.

The second stance was upright, sinking into the back leg, connecting the pressing hands with those of your partner. The mental intent was strongly forwards at all times.

These exercises developed rooting, ward off energy and a strong back. You would hold the position for a few minutes and then switch to the other leg, reversing the pressing hands. It is extremely importnat to relax and not hold the breath.

Once this had been grasped we would progress to "firing" the other person. The incoming force is absorbed and returned from your spine and legs, bouncing the other person off. An important point is to keep the mind focused forwards as the other person is bounced away.

The lotus root may be broken, but the mind intent is not.

More on this training in a later post.