Knowledge : Workshop Notes

Three examples of  Master Chen`s clarity of hands on explanation of certain types of dealing with energy taught me invaluable lessons. If the students follow instructions then all will be able to do things that will be amazing to themselves. By practice you build up not only martial skill but also health. From the beginning when we start to learn Practical Method we are trying to apply the most fundamental principle of taiji  in partner exercises and push hands: the separation of yin and yang. Taijiquan is in my words in this context an effect on the opponent or partner by using taiji principles that spring from our understanding of the exact teachings of Master Chen Zhonghua and is defined by the stage of our practice.

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What is the seam (缝 feng)?

  • The place between two actions where it needs to change direction (such as, go back).
  • Grandmaster Hong said that we needed to get to 天衣无缝 tian yi wu feng. Heavenly clothes have no seam.
  • However, we can’t pretend that there is no seam in the first place, and hide it.

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Positive circle – must stretch from rear side.  Must open the inside. Has to be from crotch and back leg.

Feet look like tip-toe, but actually power is going down.  This is the strongest.

3-part circle: 3 body parts: arm, torso (rotate from kua), foot (kua to rear foot)

The movement comes from 3 different sections – the opponent cannot catch or stop you. Read more

Through the years, in Practical Method I‘ve heard the word power associated, as different aspects of the same power, to words like: Structure, length, space, accuracy, rhythm.

The Lesson today was about Rhythm or Sequence of movements: there are very few people who cannot remember the choreography. But we all are at different levels of managing the rhythm. When your movement are totally disconnected, you will be very efficient in applications and push hands Read more


Shifu: You need to get the rhythm/counting of the form.

After you learn it, then it becomes music. But this cannot be thought. Everyone „hears“ his/her own music. And this is only after a long time of learning the correct rhythm. Read more

John Upshaw

  • Fist Protecting Heart to Tornado Kick. Too big. Before the turn, you have to come back into the core
  • Small Catching and Hitting. Rotating from the core (in and out)
  • Drop the Hands (before Embrace the Head to push the Mountain). This move is a cross between Six Sealing and Four Closing and Punch Covering Hand Read more

Flash the back- the left hand cannot move.
Once you know the choreography, you will be corrected in terms of applications. The applications will help you with the choreography.

Step forward to hand covering punch – imagine as if your hands while you are punching are tearing something. The left hand holds hard and the right hand tears it. It is not like what we normally understand as a punch.

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Being asked a question during this class, Master Chen pointed out that he seems to be giving contradictive information from time to time, e.g. to inviting us to ask questions and then saying: ‘You shouldn’t ask that kind of question’.

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  • Missing one step. Do not miss any step: 1) in with elbow, 2) turn with the waist. Do not combine. Follow the steps. Follow the procedure. Follow the instruction

Today several students received partial Yilu corrections. Form corrections are always foundational.

Jacek Wolochowski

Elbow and hand relation must be there. Your elbow twists without moving your hand. You can exercise this by having one person hold your hand and you twist your elbow. Hand don’t move, shoulder don’t move and only rotate the elbow. Once you have a stretch in it, you have Taiji. You pull in with the elbow and your hand simultaneously pushes. To withdraw is to issue. When you are physically able to do this, you have Peng energy. Add this to the form. Once you understand this, you realize that there is a stretch. Read more

On line Yilu class November 12th 2020 by Johnny Upshaw

• When going down on the left side and brush the knee, the shape/ structure does not change.
• Going down while retaining our structure creates vertical Peng, which we try to train.
• Keep the structure is not to lose the Peng. Don’t retreat and don’t drop.

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Vertical Peng

  • Going down without doing down.
  • It’s like a telescoping stick becoming smaller.
  • There is no bending at the waist.
  • The peng must be maintained.

Hands always go out (Nothing is outside of being big).
Elbows always go in (Nothing is inside of being small).
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We continue on the exercise with one knee up and one knee down from last week.

The torso is like a cylinder that goes down in a free-fall fashion. We can hold up the cylinder, and yet we can’t push down the cylinder. The cylinder is pulled down by gravity, something is outside of our body.

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In brush the knee the right arm should never move the hand. In with elbow, turn waste without moving hand, then out with the hand.

At our level, the improvement only comes from being bigger.
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  • We have to keep in mind one thing: Master Chen only pick up universal things. He chooses one person and corrects his/her move, but everybody is doing the same mistake
  • We continued with Knee up and down (Xi Zou Shang Xia)
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Class focused on corrections for foundation move “Six Sealings Four Closures”:

When you toss, your move has even more than the energy can bare. Read more

  • After learning the choreography the next step is to reach the extreme. Stance and size must become very big
  • We have to learn to lock one place. This will force other parts of the body to continue the move. Restriction is a way to train the entire body Read more
Nov 5, 2020
One of a Golden class
  1. Outside to navigate, inside to power. Read more

Six Sealing Four Closing

  • The stretch of the elbow against the locked hand comes to a stop.
  • Switch to use the central vertical axis to rotate. When it is done, switch to the rear shoulder-kua axis to continue the rotation in the same direcction.
  • Switch to the front shoulder-kua axis, power with the rear kua to cause the hand to go out. Read more

Master Chen Yilu Online Lesson 4 Nov 2020

When we being Yilu, we are ‘tracing tai chi’ to lean the choreography.  But as we learn, we have to DO the form from tai chi principles.

Small change palm (single whip) – the elbow is forced in to the middle.
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  • Arm: don’t stretch out fully. The elbow must be bent
  • Power should come from the kua, not from the shoulder
  • The stretch must start from inside

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Turning around without turning around.  This is referring to moving the elbow, while the hand and shoulder are not moving.

Moving the hand will tie a knot in the body.  Thinking of how to reel in with the spool to bring in the hose, and how to get the hose out by holding the end and pulling it out.

All important moves are difficult. Read more



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  • At the beginning we repeated the move we were training on 2.11.2020: Lock hand and shoulder on the same line. Move the elbow upward toward the hand/shoulder line
  • This move is the foundation. The power comes indirectly. Only this way we can cause a bounce
  • Read more

Master Chen had Kelvin Ho restate the content from yesterday’s instructions. The hand and shoulder are on the same line or track. The shoulder is fixed. The elbow goes up into that line, which pushes the hand out. The elbow is the lead.

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Chinese Class

Buddha’s Warriot Attendant Pound Mortar

  • How to lift the right leg? It has to stretch out and then come back.
  • Many people would make the buttock protrude when lifting the leg.

Block Touching Coat

  • The horizontal move (5th count) in Block Touching Coat is not actually a horizontal move.
  • Lock right kua, move left kua, and then lock left kua, move right kua

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I remember reading this story in Italian a few years ago. I found this translation on Internet; hope you enjoy it! Read more

Exercise: From Six sealing and four closing position

  • Lock the two ends: Hand and Shoulder on the same line. Move the middle: Elbow
  • The elbow is placed down. It has to move upward towards the hand-shoulder line
  • Elbow and kua move upwards
  • Intention is how you lead the action
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We are focusing on a simple movement from Six Sealing Four Closing.

Master Chen Foundations Class 2 November 2020

If the hand cannot move, the body must move vertically

Hand cannot move, head cannot move, feet cannot move – only the inside can move

‘Elbow is left behind’ – elbow must lead, kua must lead
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Hello, live in Phoenix, I’ve been studying with Ping Wei for not quite two years. Looking forward to many more years of practice.

Hi all,

Here is my first recorded Yilu-First 13, with a little help from my dog, Calli.
I have been studying Practical Method in Phoenix for three years with Ping Wei.

Until this week, I never tried recording myself, but boy am I glad I did! It is such a helpful tool. .

Hi, on Tues 27 Oct 7:30AM Foundation class, Master Chen shared that when he studied with Grandmaster Feng (I am assuming its Xin Yi Hun Yuan Taiji Quan) he mentioned Grandmaster Feng’s style of instruction was to walk around and execute a single movement (randomly) and not in a continuous manner.   Master Chen went on to explain that the continuous execution of Taiji styles has diluted the original essence of each individual movement as the practitioner transits between each movement.   While performing it may look impressive, but these transitions between movements don’t help in mastering the power of each individual movement.

All the videos I’ve seen of Master Feng (and his daughters) executing Hunyuan are in continuous mode, so it was refreshing to hear from Master Chen about this perspective.   I sincerely hope that Master Chen could share more of his learning experience from Master Feng (and Master Chen Fa Ke as well) so that we can appreciate the differences.

Chinese Class

Separation of Yin and Yang

  • 先合后开 xian he hou kai – Together at first, separate later.
  • How it separates, the rate it separates can be regulated later.
  • e.g. Six Sealing Four Closing, Punch covering hand Read more

In today’s class, the following students received partial Yilu corrections. The focus of the class was going over.

  • Louis Sacharske
  • Tomek Raganowicz
  • Kerstin Frotscher-Kummle
  • Kevin Chen
  • Travis Knaub
  • Yuxin Liu
  • Paul Pryce

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Going Over – We focus on this concept in several moves today.

Flash the back

  • After elbow-in, we use the kua to cause the elbow to go over, so that we can grab the opponent’s wrist on the other side.
  • The other elbow moves in this move also requires going over to break the opponent’s arm at the elbow.
  • Before turning backwards, we just lock the left hand, and bring the right foot over to the other side. Read more

Master Chen is showing us something that we cannot do. So, if we fake it, we are not learning. It is something we cannot do. The learning is to show us our deficiencies not our efficiencies.

It is very important that we never become comfortable. We must be in that position that we are uncomfortable, and stay in that position. We need to stay in that state of uncomfortable without changing our structure. This will allow our us to re calibrate.
In yilu, we must do it one move at a time until we reach our fullest extent and then reset. Master Chen is trying to bring back the original idea, not continuous. Train each move separately.

The stretch from knee to kua the thigh lengthens. We need to go into the uncomfortable position that we are about to fall down or we do fall down.
We need a clear net gain without changing shape. This net gain can only be created with the stretch and no rotation. This needs to be applied in push hands and in practice. To train this you cannot have wobbly moves. If the opponent creates a net gain during push hands and you don’t that goes into you and you lose. Net gain equals net distance.


Correction on my form  Need to have 3 solids There is a line at the shoulder level between the front hand and rear shoulder (first 2 solids) I need to stretch the kua down to create the 3rd solid. Read more

Learning Taiji is like climbing the stairs. The teacher has to grind hard on you until you see the first step and put your foot on it. Whatever is correct has to be driven into you. Read more

Correction on my form

  • Need to have 3 solids
    • There is a line at the shoulder level between the front hand and rear shoulder (first 2 solids)
    • I need to stretch the kua down to create the 3rd solid.
    • The first 2 solids form the horizontal bar of a T-bar, while the kua stretching down creates the rod of the T-bar.
    • Master Chen Zhonghua demonstrated six sealing four closing with that rod not moving. Without this part, I will not be able to rotate. With it, things start to become 3-dimensional. It was really like that there was an auger in him.
    • This may seem like a contradiction while we need to push the front kua up, we also need to stretch it down to create a solid. Read more