Sunday, May 15, 2011

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Dare to Shorten Your Tai Chi Training for 10 Years?

I have been searching for different training methods to improve my Tai Chi since day one.

I learned a number of ways from Tai Chi Kung to sparing which has improved my skills dramatically.

They all work. Those are insights of different grandmasters from Chen, Yang, Wu, and Wu-Tang Tai Chi family. But, it will take another life time to just understand it.

However, I found one simple technique which is quite useful and powerful. I learned this from William C.C. Chen when I asked him about the correct way to breath.

“This is how you should breathe when doing the Tai Chi. This will shorten your Tai Chi Training for at least 10 years.”

I was amazed by what he taught me. It’s so simple yet not too many people outside of his circle will even believe him as we always want MORE. I believe it works, not because he is a big name teacher, but because I have learned similar technique when I was a kid.

This is how it works.

1. Focus on your hand when you inhale and focus on your one point (Tan Tien) when you exhale.

2. Inhale when you are raising (Open) your hand and body. Exhale when you are lowering your hand and body (Close). He called this open and close. (Note: This is the same as what has been taught in the Tai Chi Classics.)

This is it. No more struggle.

Now, you have to make a choice whether you will just ignore this technique, or incorporate it into your training and see if this will actually shorten your time of training for 10 years.

However, there is no guarantee.

“If you want a guarantee, buy a toaster.” --- Clint Eastwood

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Let's Push Hands!

Every time I talk to people from the Tai Chi circle, most of them will say, "Let's push hands."

In fact, this is a polite way to challenge someone or to test your own skills in Tai Chi.

Sure, it's true that most of the great Tai Chi masters are all excellent at pushing hands. It's also true that all of them can fight, but that's a long time ago....

Of course, the number of Tai Chi practitioners fighting in tournaments has sharply increased in the last ten years. However, they all fight like they have been trained in Muy Thai or Jujitsu.

I once asked William C.C. Chen, one of the best students of Professor Cheng Man Ching, whether you needed to be good at pushing hands to be good at fighting.

His answer was simply "NO."

He also told me that he was once beaten in a tournament when he was still a teenager, even though his pushing-hands skills were among the best in Taiwan.

"You still need to learn how to fight." said William Chen.

In a nutshell, while it's true that learning to push hands is a major part in understanding the art, you also need to immerse yourself in a variety of fighting scenarios to develop your true ability in Tai Chi. This has helped me so many times since I was a kid.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Grandmaster Cheng Tin Hung in Action (60s)

I found an old clip of Cheng Tin Hung doing the form and spar training with his students back in the 60s. I believe this will be an eye opener for both westerners and Chinese alike on the effectiveness of Tai Chi as a martial art.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

1954 White Crane Grandmaster VS Wu Style Grandmaster – A Real Fight

I was fortunate enough to find a link to the video of a fight between the White Crane Style Grandmaster (Chan) and Wu style Tai Chi Grandmaster (Wu) which took place in 1954. Please note that Wu was already in his sixties and Chan was around 31 at the time. According to the description in the video, which is in Chinese, both fighters had signed an agreement to relieve any liabilities to each other, even if they were killed in the battle. The result of the fight was a draw.

One comment is that I would like you to defer your judgments about the fight until at least a month later. You will understand what I mean when you are done with the video.

Here is the link:

Saturday, August 05, 2006

How long will it take before you can use your Tai Chi for fighting?

Jet Li made the following comment in a recent interview:

"Chinese martial arts are so extremely profound that most of the Chinese don't even understand the power themselves. It will take a long time to learn and practice."

Is this all true? Is that the reason why all of the so-called Sifu, with only a few exceptions, are all old and fat? Is that why most of the people who have studied Tai Chi for a long period of time still do not have a clue about how they can use their kung fu?

This brings up a good question: how long does it take for a Tai Chi student to apply the technique in a real encounter?

What's your answer?

I know that most of my friends are thinking what their teachers and classmates have been telling them: it's going to take a long time.

You must be complaining now, “But, I don’t have the time.”

I remembered William C.C. Chen once told me that he could train any normal housewife for three months and he would be confident that they could defeat most of the big guys in hand to hand combat. And, there is no magic. It’s all about learning how to relax, how to develop the skills, how to apply the fighting art, and finally, and the most important part, practicing with an open mind.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

What can we learn from the Million Dollar Homepage fenzy?

A British college student has a simple, but outrageous idea a few months ago. It’s so simple that he just asked anyone who were interested to pay him one dollar a pixel on his website. That was four months ago. And today, he is a millionaire. (

Wait a minute. Don’t leave yet! It has everything to do with Tai Chi.

While he was receiving tons of money everyday and participated in all the interviews you can think of, he still attended his classes. This type of calmness is a very high level of tai chi achievement.

Don’t argue with me yet!

Consider this: when you practice pushing hand with your classmates, do you feel frustrated when you were being shoveled away all the time?

Now consider this: if someone pissed you off and pulled out a knife to threaten you, can you keep your cool? Will you be calm and focused all the time?

The basic ideas of Tai Chi in martial application are using calmness against distressed mind and using softness against hardness. (This is my own understanding and translation.) During the course to achieve your goal in tai chi practice, can you maintain your mind like the British college student?

There are tons of million dollar homepage copycats out there. Even a California high school kid came up with a catch phrase “The evolution of the Revolution” and invoked our founding fathers and Lindsay Lohan recently. ( However, none of them can make a big impact so far, what do you think are the reason besides bad marketing, bad design, and bad luck?

Do you think the British college student can be a good tai chi student? Or, do you think he will even care with all the money he has now.

I’ll let you be the judge….