Knowledge : Workshop Notes

The following are highlights of my workshop notes workshop March 2 to 5th. I have tried to organize them into categories so I could better relate them.  I did not capture everything

 Workshop notes:

All Questions Should be asked in order to bring clarity: Hear It , See it, Feel It – the 3 questions you want answered

Principle – Yin and Yang separation          life – I want to be good

Concept – all moves are indirect                               education

Action – convert into action                                      use
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We are here because we’re humans, not animals.

Everything is like loose sand. Among the sand, some things might have a spark. There’s nothing wrong with sand, and nothing wrong with other ways of moving, such as other forms of martial arts or football. It just depends on what you want. Master Chen is looking for the sparks in the sand.
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My attempt to recount what Master Chen said the morning of 3/2/2019 at the Toronto workshop
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At the Phoenix workshop Master Chen had someone place a pole from his hand to the arch of his back foot. In w/ elbow his and and forearm slid along the pole. He has a shorter pole placed by his front kua a slightly upward angle. His elbow followed the 2nd pole while the hand stayed on the 1st pole. He then said, it’s actually “out w/ foot” as the hand only guides the direction.
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About learning

1. “The teacher teaches the principle. You go home and practice.”

2. Follow the principle. Don’t deviate.
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2018.12.16 Sydney Workshop Day Two Notes – Brian Chung Read more

2018.12.15 Sydney Workshop Day One Notes – Brian Chung Read more

Attendees: Alex, OngWM, Flo, Chandra, Jojo
1. Twisting Towel train the Elbow to be in the Middle
2. Six Sealing 4 Closing train the Shoulder to
be in the Middle
3. Fetch Water train the Kua to be in the Middle

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爱荷华 Iowa180727 - Patty Harantty

爱荷华 Iowa180727 – Patty Harantty

*** Square brackets [ ] are used to show my own attempt to add clarity, and not necessarily the words of Master Chen


Beyond the contact point you have to stretch forward
Behind the contact point you have to stretch back
Threading…like coaxial cable…pulling dough to stretch it thin
Produce a dot
Everything behind has to line up with front finger (which is pointing at the target) and makes it’s way to the rear foot…you need every body part to complete the job Read more

Group Positive CircleWhat brings 40 people and 16 disciples to the little city of Cedar Rapids, Iowa? For over a dozen years, Master Chen Zhonghua has been visiting the American Midwest to teach Practical Method and introduce people to Chen Style Taijiquan. Students visited from New York, Texas, Hawaii, Arizona, Colorado, Arkansas, Ohio, California, and Canada to train and learn. Read more

Iowa180731 - 08

The body must separate into two. For example in the opening move, part of the body faces forward and part of it rotates 45 degrees
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Iowa180731 - 04

I’m extremely pleased at what I’ve taken away from the camp. I have a lot to work on between now and the next Master Chen Zhonghua workshop, for instance:
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Pretend to fight to find the end points. Once locked, move-in the middle point.


(Alignment) Rear fingers look for the front elbow. The rear kua looks for the rear elbow.

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Review and summary of  V. workshop of Master Chen in Prague 2018.

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2017.12.17 Sydney Workshop Day Two Notes by Brian Chung


  1. Coordination never occurs until there is something independent.
  2. Moving Step Positive Circle. The middle is independent. It cannot get involved.
  3. A move must be clear, don’t drag anything into it.
  4. Example of a mechanical typewriter – two keys cannot jam together.
  5. Example of a deer. Feet move, the body does not.
  6. Moving Step Exercises. (1) Positive Circle. (2) Grand Red Fist (Da Hong Quan) (3) Single Leg Grand Red Fist (Da Hong Quan)
  7. Shift Space. Master Chen demonstrated this on me. He covered four squares.
  8. To Issue. When you are issuing power, your opponent must bounce out on his own.
  9. Three Coin demonstration. Line up three coins on a table. (1) Rear Foot (2) You (3) Opponent. #2 does not move. When #1 hits #2, #3 is bounced out.
  10. Not moving water (Bu Liu Shui).
  11. All movements must be stable. Then add layers.
  12. Form Individual Move Exercises (1) Whip Wrapping Around the Body. (2) Jade Girl Works at Shuttles (3) Wild Horse Parts Its Mane
  13. There is no right or wrong. There is only the Dao.
  14. Just observe what’s going on and go with it.
  15. Only ideas are left, physical things we don’t care. (Chinese vs Western culture)
  16. The art must be at the centre. We are just a small part of it. When you place yourself at the centre, you will make changes.
  17. Always ask yourself: What was it that I was taught the first day?
  18. The teacher’s job is to sequence things.
  19. It has to be his doing, otherwise it’s not Taiji.
  20. If your method is the same, you can mirror.
  21. Analogy of a locked door (two rods)  / open door (one rod).
  22. The one you don’t know what happened, that’s the right one.
  23. It cannot move. If it moves it cannot connect.
  24. Train your body to outmanoeuvre them, not pick on their vulnerability.
  25. When it rotates, time does not exist. Weight does not exist. Power does not exist.
  26. Master Chen said your form is not bad. You just need to fight a lot. Otherwise the form is just imagination.

2017.12.16 Sydney Workshop Day One Notes by Brian Chung

  1. The two buttocks and tailbone splits into a tripod. It will take sixty years to train. Do not believe you can do it.
  2. Alignment is everything goes through a bottleneck.
  3. When the Horizontal and Vertical dot meets, it becomes a three dimensional force field.
  4. Peng Energy.
  5. From nothing, to form. Once the energy is there, we do not need the form.
  6. Gong Fa. Quan Fa. Tui Shou (push hand). San Shou (free, loose). Duan Shou (broken).
  7. Foundations. Twisting the Towel. Fetch Water. Six Sealing Four Closing. Positive Circle. Negative Circle.
  8. Seven Inch Knife.
  9. Master corrected my Six Sealing Four Closing. He adjusted the orientation of my front kua and the direction of the front hand. He then emphasised the front kua / front shoulder rod.
  10. Master corrected my large Six Sealing Four Closing. The rear hand must be bigger.
  11. Your door can never be open.
  12. Master Chen demonstrated using a spear. The front hand is always pointing at your opponent.
  13. Double Positive Circle.
  14. Double Negative Circle.
  15. Movement must come from the line. The line cannot be part of the move.
  16. Twilight is at 12:00 and 6:00. Find these two dots and amplify them.
  17. Full. Cannot add, cannot take away.
  18. Essence, Qi, Spirit.
  19. We are doing a series of mechanical movements.
  20. Perceived power. It does not exist. But it does.
Exercises: Moving Step
  1. Stepping side to side. The left foot, dantian, and right foot are three dots. Lock two dots, and move one.
    1. Horse stance.
    2. Lock dantian and R foot. Suck L foot in.
    3. Shovel out.
  2. Double Negative stepping out on a straight line.
    1. Double push down.
    2. Adjust front foot.
    3. Elbow in while turning 180 degrees.
  3. Shovel Out with hands on knees.
    1. Press on your rear knee, shovel out at 45 degrees.
    2. Shift to the middle.
    3. Press on your front knee, suck the rear leg in.
  1. So small there is nothing inside of it. So large there is nothing outside of it.
  2. Upper Dantian is also called the Ancestry Cavity. Zu Qiao. Middle Dantian is at the solar plexus. Lower Dantian is three fingers below the navel, three inches in.
  3. What is real cannot be named.
  4. Behind is ability, in front is function.
  5. If we have a question, write it down, then ask it after we are training. While we are training we must focus.
  6. Push hands about (1) how quickly you adapt to your opponent (2) how fast you make a decision.
  7. Experience cannot be replaced by theory.
  8. Entice into Emptiness.
  9. Story about Master Watermelon Peel.
  10. Story about Grandmaster Hong and moving the rock.
  11. Energy Training Exercise (Da Li Gong).

Ottawa Workshop Notes Nov. 18-19, 2017

November 19, 2017

Thank you for Rachelle Bergeron and James Tam for organizing the Ottawa workshop and their hospitality. It was always great fun to attend the Ottawa workshop. A lot of important aspects of Practical Method was shown and covered by Master Chen Zhonghua. What is Practical Method about? Practical Method was based on a fight system [...]

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Powerful distractions in Taiji, Part 1

October 17, 2017

In the late afternoon of the first day of my first workshop with Master Chen, a wave of remorse and sadness swelled up in me, seemingly out of nowhere. Earlier in the day, two other workshop participants talked to me about decisions they were faced with that reminded me of a difficult period in my [...]

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What to Expect from Master’s Workshops

October 6, 2017

A potential participant of our upcoming November 28th, 29th, 30th Hong Kong workshop posed the following questions. Sifu suggested that I pose the answers here so that everyone, especially newcomers, would benefit:

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North American Taiji Training Camp 2017 Notes

August 9, 2017

Dates: July 28th – July 31st Hiawatha Iowa Hosts: John Upshaw and Levi Sowers

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Vienna Workshop June 3-4, 2017

June 5, 2017

Vienna, June 3-4, 2017    Host: Pawel Muller. Assistant: Brennan Toh

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Hong Kong – Sunday Class of Nicholas Fung – 12.2.2017

February 13, 2017

Yesterday I could attend the class of Nicholas Fung, situated in the middle of Hong Kong. We have been five students and trained for two hours, which passed by surprisingly quickly. 1) Content – First we did fetch water with yoga blocks. We did fifty each side, break and another fifty. – Then we focused [...]

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Toronto Workshop Notes (Twist Towel)

February 1, 2017

By Patrick Hanratty **Due to my computer crashing these notes have been recompiled using my original written notes, which are somewhat incomplete. As such there are some blank spaces, which I’ve indicated with an asterisk. I would very much appreciate anyone filling in those blanks, as I don’t feel confident enough to do so myself. Taking [...]

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Teaching Notes for Richmond Hill Class on Jan. 14, 2017

January 16, 2017

Ken Lang joined the class for the first time. He started learning about twisting the towel.  He has been doing taiji for 10 years, and went to study at Chen Village for 6 weeks.  His initial impression was that the Practical Method elbow-in was similar to what he learned in Chen Village. His teacher there [...]

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Chen Tai Chi Practical Method Class on December 10th, 2016

December 27, 2016

Bruce Robinson Notes: Exercise to lock Knee whilst doing 1st move of cloud hands • In Single whip posture advised by Kelvin Ho to stretch out both arms as far as possible & elbows are to face down, front hand stretched out (to vermillion palm) fingers extended & rear hand forms beak

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Note from Toronto class – Sat Dec 10, 2016

December 14, 2016

1. Yilu tips on “Lower Cloud Hands” – Lower Cloud Hands on first 4 movements: a. the left hand movement should be clear and accurate – either positive circle or negative circle; b. ensure the movement is complete without short cut.

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Notes for Ottawa Workshop Nov. 12-13, 2016

November 20, 2016

This is the first time I attended the Ottawa Workshop. Great group! Thanks Rachelle, James, and Daniel for organizing the workshop, and Rachelle for my stay at her place. Here are my notes: Move the feet. When we train, we fix the feet. When you push hands, we move the feet. Our feet are often [...]

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Winston’s notes for Master Chen’s 2016/10/1-2 Phoenix workshop

October 7, 2016

I don’t know if it’s accurate, but I tried my best to record all I’ve heard and saw in the two-day workshop.   Change “一” shape structure to ” V ” shape to get a 3D structure If there’s a V shape structure with ABC points as joints. A Taiji movement would be: A as [...]

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Practical Method Phoenix, AZ Workshop Oct 1- 2, 2016, Review by Chris Liu

October 4, 2016

Practical Method Phoenix, AZ Workshop October 1, 2016 – October 2, 2016 by Chris Liu on 10/4/2016 When I discovered the Practical Method, I started watching a lot of Master Chen’s videos. This led me to read more in depth about Taiji and its rooted philosophy in Taoism. I watched, and read, and thought about [...]

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To control of both Kua, rotate, move in, press the shoulders down, correct at different level

September 22, 2016

Master Chen’s disciple Ping Wei recently wrote an article regarding how to rotate the Kua and create a stable center (pivot point). The idea is simple: the center will never be stable if you try to control it by only one Kua, you have to have good control of both Kua, and move them both [...]

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Review on Ping Wei’s Practical Method Workshop in Irvine on August 21

September 2, 2016

By Winston Wang

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Chabar C. Private Lesson Notes

July 19, 2016

Part I (13 corrections) deeper and wider stance in general always think of elbows first in general Opening move Keep the left hand fixed in space Turn the left elbow as much as you can Keep right hand higher than its elbow Imagine holding someone’s arm at two points Buddha’s warrior attendant pounds mortar right-hand [...]

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2016 Iowa Workshop Notes – Day 2

July 17, 2016

When the elbow comes in, the finger must aim onto person. Actually, every move must aim onto person. When locked at one or two points, utilize another set of points beyond the initial set of points to go over/break out. Isolation exercise #1: partner holds your arm at the wrist and shoulder. You squeeze the [...]

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2016 Iowa Workshop Notes – Day 1

July 16, 2016

Six sealing four closing: Must be like inside a round cylinder. Muscle must rotate around bone. Don’t move. Hand must be like inside tube and body must adjust to be aimed correctly. Hand out, elbow in can only be done if front lat goes down to the rear arch and front kua rotates to curve [...]

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Iowa 2016 Private Lesson Notes

July 16, 2016

Iowa 2016 day 1; Align backward , never fight forward… feet are too close together, arms are as well. Shoulder needs to stay in the kua. Full front kua in the line, align the arm . Then open the rear kua… the front kua,is always the filler, the rear kua is always the stretcher… The [...]

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Workshop Practical Method 26-27 april 2014, The Netherlands (by Master Chen)

July 5, 2016

Workshop Practical Method Chen Style Taichi Quan push hands by Grandmaster Joseph Chen Zhonghua De Glind 26-27april 2014, Netherlands These notes are partly chronological and based on how I percieved them. I kept as close as I could to Master Chen’s exact words.   Day one The workshop started with an introduction. Underlying the art [...]

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