Thursday, 18 July 2019

Working with different partners

This is a good post from Devon Boormaster's blog:


One of best parts of training under John Kells' were the Sunday sessions where you could be pushing hands with people of all levels and experience.

You could learn such a lot - equally from beginners who didn't know the rules as well as long term students who simply yielded leaving you fumbling.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Motivation and Discipline

This is an interesting article. Enjoyment is a big factor for my continuing practise, still going strong after 38 years and hopefully for many more.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Motivation and Discipline: Happy 4th of July! Below is an excerpt from a post at The Art of Manliness. The topic is the difference between motivation and discipli...

Saturday, 29 June 2019

Visayan Style Corto-Kadena Eskrima:The Sikaran & Moro influenced footwork

Really interesting clip highlighting the importance of footwork. With John Kells we did sticky legs although it wasn't emphasised much. but I think it is an important drill for balance and sensitivity.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Hands lead the Body

I've written before about the hands leading as opposed to the waist. This was first mentioned to me by my late teacher John Kells when we started learning the two person fighting form.

This is an interesting article from the Slanted flying website on this topic.

Read it here

Saturday, 1 June 2019

Tai Chi Stepping

Good post on Tai Chi stepping from Keith Graham's " You can't diddle the Tao " Blog.

Read it  here

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Soft Push

Great post from Scott Meredith's blog about pushing, trigger and reaction.

Step Aside

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The Best Exercises for Health - Chinese Therapy Balls - Lesson #1

Love this. John Kells taught us that the hands weren't these lumps at the end of our wrists in our Tai Chi. Instead they were active and alive.

Mostly these exercise balls are quite light. John gave myself and other students some large steel ball bearings instead and you could just about fit two of the smaller ones into your hand. Working with these really opened and stretched the hands.

Sunday, 5 May 2019

From the Ground Up

We build from the ground up.

So in Tai Chi we relax and let our weight drop to the feet. We become heavier and supported by the ground.

Next we place awareness in the belly/pelvis/lumbar region.

Then we suspend the headtop. This is not being suspended by a thread from the crown of the head but awareness of a point in the head. Click on the link below for an earlier post discussing this.

suspending the headtop

Friday, 3 May 2019

孫劍雲 孫氏太極拳98式

Terrific older footage of Sun Jian Yun performing Sun style Taiji. This is my main practise these days.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Sunday, 21 April 2019

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Why She Practices Tai Chi Chuan

Why do you practice? When I first started Tai Chi there was something mysterious about it; this ancient Chinese art moving in slow motion. Then I wanted to be really good at it and poured hours of practice into it. Tai Chi was my life. Parenthood, ageing and cancer changed my perspective and priorities somewhat.

After 38 years of Tai Chi I no longer think about why I practice. It doesn't matter if I'm any good, whether I've mastered the techniques or not. The spiritual ramblings - time wasting and irrelevant.

I just do my form. The journey is more important than the destination.

Below is a link to a lovely blog post that got me thinking about why I practice.

Cook Ding's Kitchen: Why She Practices Tai Chi Chuan: In this beautiful little essay on her blog, Joan Lauri Pool explains why she practices Taijiquan under Maggie Newman. An excerpt is below....

Saturday, 20 April 2019

No strength

The upper body/torso is along for the ride, sitting on the legs but ultimately sitting on the ground through them.

Empty the upper body, your arms, hands of the idea of using conventional strength so the ground can be directed through the body to wherever your intent is.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Energy Sandwich

As per the teaching of John Kells, energy moves up the front and down the back.

I experience this as if being sandwiched by the two. But this is not a circuit in my body, rather a constant simultaneous flow/experience as I stand or move.

You immerse yourself in this stream. Two becomes one. One becomes nothing.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Friday, 22 March 2019

Whip-like strikes

The spiral figure 8 movements are in some instances similar to what I learned form John Kells except there was a different emphasis - join, enter, assist, raise, lower rather than strikes like this. But interesting to consider in a different context.

Close Range Kicks

Interesting figure 8 foot movement

Monday, 18 March 2019

The Skills of Excellence

This post from Devon Boorman's blog is just as applicable to our Tai Chi practise.

The post " Skills of Excellence" can be read here

Saturday, 9 March 2019

SpiralFlow Method of Joint Mobility

There are some really nice exercises in this clip. Quite a few are very similar to ones I have learned in Tai Chi and elsewhere.

Monday, 25 February 2019

Mental Minefields

Tai chi is 5 % physical and 95% Mental, so here is an article from the Slanted Flying website about mental minefield.

The article can be read here

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Saturday, 16 February 2019

Shen Cph 5 loosening exercises

This is a long clip. Note the importance of the lumbar spine as the axis.

Monday, 11 February 2019

Double Pushing Hands

It is always interesting to push hands with people who don't do it your way. In this clip I'm working with a student of a friend and it was alien to him to try this version of double push hands.

When I have tried doing his methods I found it equally challenging at first. Yet all involve sticking, following, joining, adhering etc.

Principles in action as opposed to slavish form for the sake of it.

Saturday, 2 February 2019


Sleep is an important aspect of your training. My late teacher John Kells had a special sleeping position in which he connected the lower tan tien to the bubbling well points.

Later he changed this to the thymus chakra and the bubbling well points.

The link below is from Devon Boormaster's blog on the importance of sleep.

The Best Psoas Release

This is a great clip. Very useful for those of us who have desk jobs. I recall reading that the Psoas actually strengthen whilst we're sitting at a desk and not stretching/releasing causes imbalance.

Sunday, 13 January 2019

Yang Cheng Fu - Daily Personal Training

This is from Mike Garofalo's Cloud Hands Blog:

"Tai Chi Chuan is the art of letting hardness dwell within softness and hiding a needle within cotton; from the point of view of techniques, physiology, and physics, there is considerable philosophy contained within it.  Hence those who would research it need to undergo a definite process of development over a considerable period of time.  Though one may have the instruction of a fine teacher and the criticism of good friends, the one thing which is most important and which one cannot do without is daily personal training.  Without it one can discuss and analyze all day, think and ponder for years, but when one day you encounter an opponent you are like a hole with nothing in it - you are still quite inexpert, lacking the skills (kung fu) borne of daily practice. This is what the ancients meant by "thinking forever is useless, better to practice."  If morning and evening there is never a gap, hot or cold never an exception, so that the moment you think of it you proceed to do your training, then young or old, man or woman, you will alike be rewarded with success."
-  By Yang Cheng Fu, A Talk on Practice, 1925

The link to his excellent Tai Chi resources is

Friday, 11 January 2019


Great stuff!


Sometimes, in amongst the plethora of pseudo esoteric/spiritual claptrap spouted in relation to Tai Chi, we should just do our Form.

Nothing more, nothing less.

Saturday, 5 January 2019

You are here right now

Loved this series.


When people talk about the Kua in Tai Chi they generally mean the inguinal crease for pelvis/hip interaction.

However it is worth thinking of every joint as a Kua and exploring this concept in your form practise, then in partner work.

Tuesday, 1 January 2019

Tai Chi Smart-form&push hands - Nitsan Michaeli

Finally someone points the way to integrating the smartphone and tai chi :)