“Shoulder Movements in Positive Circle” Online Video Trailer

by Kelvin Ho on 2011/07/08

In this mini lesson held at a Toronto workshop, Master Chen Zhonghua started by explaining the intricate 360 degree rotation of the shoulder in a positive circle and went on the explain many important taiji movement concepts including how two points link, how many points work together, etc.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 32 min.   In: English   Year: 2011  Difficulty:3/5  At:Toronto

Shoulder Movements in Positive Circle
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About Kelvin Ho

Kelvin Ho, Master Chen Zhonghua's disciple, is the instructor for Practical Method Toronto. He has been teaching and promoting the Practical Method system in Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Canada since 2011. He has received numerous medals in various Taiji competitions in Greater Toronto Area. He is also a vice-president of MartialArts Association Canada. Like his teacher, he feels an obligation to pass this great art onto others. Contact: kelvin.ho@practicalmethod.ca.

{ 74 comments… read them below or add one }

Gary Readore July 8, 2011 at 9:31 pm

Wow, this is an incredible video. Lights started going off in my head. This clarified many things for me especially related to intent and separation of yin and yang. I always thought and was taught about “intent” and related it to something mental, which I never quite undestood and believed. This video clarified that.

This is an excellent explanation of what is going on in the positive circle, why things are done the way they are and how to go about doing it. The analogy of the scissor is great and also clarified the concept of the lever and what taichi is all about. Achieving separation at all the joints is enlightening.

These are true “secrets” that few know and teach. Master Chen, thank you for being so open in sharing this knowledge to the world. This is the “real” taichi that few seem to know and understand. I realize I had bits and pieces of the truth but was way off in most other areas which made it impossible to see what true taichi really is. Now I have something to “shoot for”.

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mike July 9, 2011 at 5:24 am

A great video at explaining how and why the energy should be balanced in the body.

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better.balance July 10, 2011 at 8:51 am

I am learning so many important things from your teachings I never knew in my world of physical therapy.
My boat is so small and the ocean is so large. Much to learn…..

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James Tam July 11, 2011 at 6:22 am

It is a generous man who opens the door and leads the way–for all! This is an important key for me.
Thank you, Shifu!

Lazy tying coat!

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mountainroad August 13, 2011 at 3:02 am

This is an excellent video. If you want to understand why and how to do the positive circle. 00-7.47 mins Three keys of the movement.

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Carlos Hanson September 2, 2011 at 7:16 am

This video covers so much. It may be my new favorite. It is one that requires watching multiple times.

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Carlos Hanson September 2, 2011 at 7:57 am

This video makes me feel like I did at the seminar in Edmonton this summer. There is so much information, but it is presented so clearly. It confirms for me that I am learning and gives me more to think about and work on.

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Bruce Marshall November 25, 2011 at 9:10 am

Really nice teaching exploring fundamentals that have become obscure, not understanding the basic physics…where the scissors pivot explained in the beginning of the film answers so much.

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Bruce Schaub February 1, 2012 at 1:23 pm

i recently watched master chen’s video on “shoulder movements in a positive circle” and found it to be incredibly informative in regard to this topic…. what i think i’m beginning to understand is that in the second third (of the three part sequence) we are supposed to expand the space between the back of the arm (tricep) and the center of the (lat muscle)…proportionally! this does two things… it gets the opponents power off of our center and aligns it (the forearm segment) with the rear calf segment (as is very clearly demonstrated in the germany private 3 video) if perfectly aligned it is as if there is no space between the two bone segments (or as if a stick magically appears between the knee and elbow….i think this is related to a physics concept called linear displacement)

now we dont have to think about the elbow anymore… on the way out we expand the space between the bicep and center of pectoral…proportionally… meaning the right chest has to cave in an equal amount to the forward movement of the bicep (as if they are expanding away from a point in space between them….this is critical) also the shoulder pushes down toward the kua as the arm extends…

it seems as if what is functionally happening on the way out is that the line that was established from the forearm though the calf to the ground must be maintained and we use rotation to squeeze more body parts towards that line proportionally (without breaking our rotational axis)which drives the hand out in a spiral….i have two new painful strips of muscle (in my shoulder)that my brain was previously unaware of trying two accomplish this…

i am new to practical method so my interpretation of what’s going on should be guarded against somewhat… i hope i am trying to accomplish the right things….

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gigi May 3, 2012 at 12:24 pm

It is not easy to understand the theory behind Practical Method. In the book of Master Hong Junsheng it is written that theory is the first step to understanding. Looking at this video and to the concept of “scissors” I realized
something: the body must build those scissors like two cylinders which rotate in the proper axis, at the proper angle and distance between them.
When you are cought there like in a machine you are pulled or pushed depending on the application.
The body must be a machine and now ” don’ t move ” becomes very important , the milimeter is about construction and stability
of axis.
Imagine an arm which is cought by a machinery composed of two cylinders from any solid material and is twisted around.When I was kid I saw a miller with his right arm cought in the metalic cylinders from an electric mill, smashed
like a paper.
If you change the angles and the speed of rotation, there is a position where you are pulled or pushed withtout the smash of the arm or another part of the body.
The force applied by the opponent is not relevant.What is relevant is maintaining the structure of this machinery and the adecvate response .
Now you realize the complexity and the beauty af this art. It is pure engeneering applied on the human body.
For those who came in contact with Practical Method I wish them to have the patience to follow all the descriptions in the videos and to practice simoulltaneously to get the real image.

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Alexandros April 1, 2014 at 6:19 am

Hi Master Chen
A quick question if I may?
As the bicep turns in the manner in which you described, is the hamstring of the opposite leg it’s equilavent and therefore turns and moves in the same manner? Cheers. PT

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Albert Lam July 10, 2014 at 11:02 pm

Thanks Master Chen . Your lesson is not easy to understand but I think I can get 70 % of it. It really save me time, a lot of time to wonder why a master can push out his opponent very easily. Once again thanks and I will subscribe more video in future.

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buddhafist January 3, 2015 at 8:46 am

…so many praises already, here is my one: extemly helpful, especially for the “out with hand” part of Positive circle. If I remember correctly, then all moves of Chen style Practical method are based on Positive and Negative circle, this video brought me a step nearer to understanding this. These videos can be watched again and again, until it can be felt in the body just by watching. then slowly the fog fades…

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joshua landau June 27, 2019 at 3:47 am

I am very pleased to read all the comments about this video. I have heard Master Chen talk about triangles all over the body for over a decade and never understood what he meant until he posted this video. I think I’ll concentrate on the shoulder triangle and attempt to add other triangles throughout my body as I become more familiar with this motion. Like James Tam, I want to thank Master Chen for his generosity in sharing his technique with us. If you are ready to “hear” Master Chen, than this video is pure gold !!!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 7:59 am

Hi everyone, we are going to start today’s class with this video. If you are online attending this class, please reply to this thread and say “Hi”. This is the first class, I will be making a set of comments pointing to specific parts of the video. Feel free to reply to each comment if you have any questions or would like more clarification. Please also post your own notes on this video as a new comment.

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John Upshaw April 4, 2020 at 8:13 am

Good morning Kelvin and the Practical Method community from Iowa!

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Travis Knaub April 4, 2020 at 8:03 am

Hello, looking forward to this!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:16 am

Hi Travis, how are you doing?

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:04 am

Although this video was shot in Toronto 9 years ago at a workshop that I attended in 2011, the sensation was still fresh in my mind. I remembered those specific instructions and didn’t realize I first heard them that long ago.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:05 am

0:23 Master Chen demonstrated that a conflict was created by the incoming force and his push back. In the demo, I was pushing on his bisep, and the energy went though to his other side. By locking his body, and he opened his armpit, my energy was directed/deflected elsewhere.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:07 am

1:36 In order for Master Chen to further open in the 2nd half of the positive circle, he rotated his bicep with inside of the arm going from top to bottom, and this action was matched by his right chest going the opposite way on one side and his hand on the other side. His elbow did not go wth the turn of the bicep and the shoulder-to-kua line is also not moving.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:08 am

2:36 Master Chen said that he found his own space to push into. That was the connection.

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Paul Carlson April 4, 2020 at 8:08 am

Hi

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:16 am

Hi Paul!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:08 am

3:30 Master Chen let the opponent push into him. He led the opponent into this special place, which allowed his hand to have power, and this was considered connected.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:10 am

4:00 Master Chen talked about intention. The opponent wanted to push him back, but his intention was to resist. If the opponent was able to push Master Chen to go in a way that the opponent wanted, and the opponent successfully made Master Chen follow his intention. However, if Master Chen was able to go in a way he desired himself that he could link it back to his finger, and the opponent was not aware of it, then it would not be the same even though on the surface it was similar to the first case according to what the opponent wanted. This was what Master Chen meant for that special place. Until we are able to produce that difference as mentioned, do not use the word “intent”.

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John Upshaw April 4, 2020 at 8:12 am

Good morning Kelvin and the Practical Method community from Iowa!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:16 am

Good morning!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:12 am

6:26 Master Chen further explained the action concerning the bicep before. The right biecep goes out, the right chest muscle goes in, and the top of the shoulder does not move. He called it concentric stretching.

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John Upshaw April 4, 2020 at 8:27 am

I would take it that these 2 concentric stretches are proportional to one another?

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:33 am

In this setup, bicep-shoulder-chest muscle is considered one concentric stretch. The shoulder is the center in this case.

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James Tam April 4, 2020 at 9:32 pm

I think he misspoke and meant to say eccentric stretching.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 11:04 pm

The action requires the two sides to share the same centre, e.g. like a V.

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Edward Liaw April 5, 2020 at 12:47 am

I think that this is an important distinction: he is not talking about concentric contraction.

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Edward Liaw April 5, 2020 at 12:49 am

Rather, it is that the two match each other from a shared center.

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Frederick Wong April 4, 2020 at 8:14 am

Good Morning

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:15 am

Good Morning, Fred!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:15 am

7:30 Master Chen demonstrated using two pairs of dots to create the concentric stretch. First pair: a dot on the outside of the right bicep and a dot on the right ribs. Second pair: a dot on the side of the right bicep and a dot on the right chest.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:17 am

8:48 Master Chen used the analogy of the rivot on a pair of scissors to describe the non-moving dot. If there is no rivot that is well made and shared on the two blades of the scissors, there are no scissors. If there is no non-moving dot, there is no taiji.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:17 am

10:00 Master Chen vividly demonstrated two different pairs of scissors in his body.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:18 am

10:50 All the joints can be used as rivets. What are rivets? They are shared pivoting points. These are the basic elements of taiji. Without them, there is no taiji.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:21 am

If you have any questions, fill free to ask. You may also shoot a quick video with you doing this action, post it on YouTube, and share the link in a comment. We may have a look, and I will provide some feedback.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:21 am

12:30 Master Chen demonstrated actions with intentions and ones without.

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RaymondDickey2 April 4, 2020 at 8:28 am

Without something that doesn’t move, there is no ‘intention’.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:28 am

Hi Raymond

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:23 am

13:20 It is not necessary that we have no muscles, but we must be even.

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RaymondDickey2 April 4, 2020 at 8:30 am

When I first watched this video some months ago, this is one of the main lessons that sunk in for me: the training is not so that we have no muscles, but rather that they be even, to help us achieve rotation.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:47 am

Correct. If we are not even, the movements around the supposed axis will push that axis, so there is really no axis.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:24 am

14:00 By looking at the various students, we get a better idea of what the requirements are, and how each student shares some common mistakes but at the same time has his own mistakes.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:24 am

19:07 Master Chen showed how the inside of the knee work exactly the same way as how the shoulder must create a concentric stretch.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:25 am

19:44 Master Chen showed the left kua and the left kua doing two different directions of concentric stretches. We have 9 on each side, and 18 in total of these concentric stretches that can be accumulated or added together.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:26 am

20:44 Master Chen demonstrated a 5-way split. A dot on his right ribs is stretched against his right bicep, head, left shoulder, left knee and right knee.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CPjd5q_oNjQ

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:29 am

23:22 Cave-in: We have to learn what cave-in means by watching Master Chen closely. If we were in person with him, touch and feel what he was doing. Don’t try to change the words and try to change it to fit what we might be thinking. Try to understand what Master Chen really means. Later in the video, he also called this mud slide. Mountain was still there, but the mud just slid off the mountain. The back could not move, while the chest caved in. This is separation of yin and yang.

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RaymondDickey2 April 4, 2020 at 8:44 am

Master Chen said there (ca 23:30) that we’re used to action forward, but we have to match it with a stretch back, which is difficult. But without that there is no separation.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:31 am

24:30 If we have two parts, we only move one part, then we will have power. If we move both parts, there is no power. Consider how a sling-shot works.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:34 am

29:30 Only things we don’t know appear to be difficult to us.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:36 am

30:40 When something does not move, there is no feeling to it. Just like the floor, it is there every day, but we don’t talk about it. Only when there is an earthquake, we talk about it because it moves.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:36 am

31:55 We should not feel power if it is correct. We only feel the mistakes. The correct moves are simple.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:39 am

Any other questions? Please also share your own takeways/notes from this video.

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Sevastianos Maillis April 4, 2020 at 8:49 am

Hello!
This video shows how to avoid conflict while performing the circle. The method is called linking, connecting, or aligning. After training those individual moves the body begins to split concentrically and then these actions can be carried or molded in the form, and eventually become even.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:52 am

We would all love to have that, wouldn’t we? Train diligently and we will get there.

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Frederick Wong April 4, 2020 at 8:44 am

Thanks Kelvin!

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 8:50 am

People who will watch this video after this particular class time, please post a comment with your notes or questions. I will get notification and respond accordingly. Thanks for joining the class today.

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Sevastianos Maillis April 4, 2020 at 8:54 am

Thank you Kelvin for putting our attention back to this important video!

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RaymondDickey2 April 4, 2020 at 8:57 am

Thank you, Kelvin. I will keep reviewing and practising this.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 9:09 am

John Upshaw’s class at 11:30 am ET Tomorrow on April 5, 2020
http://practicalmethod.com/2016/11/step-up-to-ji-online-video-trailer/

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Travis Knaub April 4, 2020 at 11:00 am

Shoulder movements in positive circle

Partner pushes your arm into your body creating a conflict (you go in with elbow). The two forces are meat in at a 180. They are meeting head on. Don’t move your torso, only move your arm (fingers end up pointing out). Moving the arm creates space between your body and your arm. Your pushing partner no longer has you at a 180. Now when he pushes you his power is no longer on your body. His push is directed elsewhere. You still have his 180. The arm must rotate without moving the elbow (hand is still out). The body must move back to create a concentric stretch between the arm and the body. The arm finds a spot on the body to root to as they move in opposition. You must find your own space to push into. This is a connection.
The two spots are connected cave-in in as the hand goes out.
Pectoral muscle must go back in line with the bicep going forward.

Eventually the kua will act the same as the shoulder.

A rotation requires that every part has to be the same size

Connection between the two dots
For there to be a concentric stretch there must be a dot in the middle that does not move. Both directions must be even.

From the connection point there must be an opposition inside that stretches in the opposite direction that creates a line. Called: setting up special body devices and mysterians cavities.

When a partner is pushing your body you warp back creating a cavity for the push to go into. There is a connection between where he is pushing and your hand. You control the space that he is pushing into.

Three keys of the movement

Bicep rotates forward.
Pectoral muscle must rotate back.
Shoulder must stay locked.

Locking creates interaction

During positive circle out with hand. When the arm is placed on your partner and he becomes full, locking the shoulder will create an interaction with one of the other lines in your body EX; torso, front or back leg. The lines act like scissors.

Riveting point: A shared pivoting point. A real riveting point can be seen in a pair of scissors. Two blades share the same pivoting point. In this instance the point is the shoulder but it can be in any joint; shoulder, elbow, knee, angle, kua, wrist. This is a taiji foundation.

Taiji pivoting spots: Spots that do not move. These spots create taiji coordination. When you can do this your movements have intentions in them.

On each side of the body there are nine spots in which concentric stretches can happen so 18 in total

5 way split:
-riveting point is on the middle of the front ribs
-concentric stretch points
Front shoulder
Back shoulder
Front elbow
Font knee
Back knee

Mudslide: The back is still there (the mountain is still there), but the surface area slips away.

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Kelvin Ho April 4, 2020 at 11:50 am

Very good notes. Thanks for posting.

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Travis Knaub April 4, 2020 at 5:54 pm

Thank you!

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Edward Liaw April 5, 2020 at 12:58 am

Sorry, I’m late. I only finished notes for the first half of the video.

Conflict: 180 degrees/head on. The arm and chest are flat against each other (they fit), which allows the opponent to penetrate.

Move the arm, not the torso to open the armpit. Push is directed elsewhere.

Concentric stretch: the back (chest) matches the front (bicep). Without the match there is no anchor/the shoulder wobbles instead of being the pivot.

Your own space to push into: connection. If I understand correctly, the space he’s talking about is created by the concentric stretch (the area under the triangle: elbow/armpit/chest).

Intention: the losing move is that the opponent’s intended result happens.

The first stretch is the stretch between the underside of the upper arm and side of the body. The second is between the pec and the inside of the upper arm. For both of these the top (shoulder) must be locked, because it is the rivet.

Scissors: two knives with a shared pivot.

All the joints act as rivets – shared pivoting points.

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Kelvin Ho April 5, 2020 at 3:31 am

Thanks for posting.

> Your own space to push into: connection. If I understand correctly, the space he’s talking about is created by the concentric stretch (the area under the triangle: elbow/armpit/chest).

It can be that. He referred to it in different ways in different occasions trying to get us to understand.

Here is one that I would describe:

Imagine that you are pushing onto a resolving door. Your hand is already on the door. As you try to push the door, it starts to move itself. Its speed and acceleration match exactly the way you push it. You don’t really feel any resistence. Assuming that you only push with your hand by extending it and your feet don’t move, and you are in one of four quadrants of the resolving door, the panel behind you will start to get close to you and may even hit you. The two panels are connected, and they share the same axis of rotation of the resolving door. The panel that your hand is touching moves into its own space.

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Edward Liaw April 5, 2020 at 7:00 pm

Ah, I see! That is a great analogy.

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Kelvin Ho April 5, 2020 at 2:18 pm

We will continue at 10 am ET on April 11, 2020 for the video “Switching in the Positive Circle”.

http://practicalmethod.com/2014/06/switching-in-the-positive-circle-online-video-trailer/

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Matt Landau April 23, 2020 at 8:02 am

Please run to purchase and study this video! Many fundamental training principals contained within; ideal for all levels of practitioners. Though the title is about the “shoulder,” entire body dynamics are discussed. Details are provided on how to train body parts, how (not) to think and how to practice. For longer term practitioners, unless you are already expert, this video brings great additional clarity. Over a dozen great lessons contained within; 3 are worthy of much research: (i) fixing the top of the shoulder point; (ii) forming concentric circles and creating your own space (when jammed) and (iii) 5-way split. Thank you Master Chen.

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