Knowledge : Theory must hold water but more importantly it must be useful!

A list of blog entries that contain techniques and actions that relate to theories and principles.

…I am seeing PM, everywhere…making lunch today and…

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Chen Zhonghua’s Online Lesson on Sept. 2, 2020.

Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 73 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:2/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Chen Zhonghua Online Lesson Sept. 3, 2020
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Chen Zhonghua taught the important concept of the frontal vertical line in Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. This is a must to have. Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 67 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:4/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Chen Zhonghua Online Lesson 20200831
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Master Chen Zhonghua started correcting student’s Yilu form. This session corrected the first 13 moves of Yilu.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 65 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:1/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Chen Zhonghua Online Lesson 2020-0901
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Chen Zhonghua explains where the power is in the form of the first 13 movements of the Yilu form.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 7 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:4/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Webex class will be held at for this video at 10 am ET on Saturday, Aug 1, 2020 to practice these moves together. If you would like to join, please leave a message below.

Yilu First 13 Moves Power Points 20200717
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We will have an online class based on this video using the comment section of this video at 10:30 am Central Time, 11:30 pm Eastern Time on Saturday, April 4, 2020. On the days that I am teaching, I have selected a series of videos that will be taught in a sequential manner. The primary emphasis will be improving your understanding of how to take an opponent’s space that utilizes the principles that are inherit to Chen Style Practical Method Taijiquan. The video’s include:
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Chen Zhonghua’s Sept. 2019 Toronto Workshop Video.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 10 min.   In: English   Year: 2019  Difficulty:2/5  At:Toronto

TO1909-Hand-Foot Stretch
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The three basic vertical stretches: Read more

Pre Foundations 5

by Wilkin Ng on 2018/06/18

Something to keep in mind when practicing Yilu, if there is a principle to follow then that principle has to be applied in all moves.

Please comment on what principle you are currently focusing in Yilu practice

Someone asked a question in the Youtube comment of Master Chen video.

This is what I wrote back:

A: Taijiquan is structural power, from long time practice, you can find out the most efficient way to generate this power from joints relationship

Q: But how did the first founder of Taichi knew in the first place that if he started an unconventional ways with long practices he would achieved something?

how would you answer this question?


Pawel's Notes at 30,000 feetI’m writing this at about 30,000 feet on the plane from Munich, Germany to Toulouse, France. Master Chen Zhonghua is sitting next to me, it’s late evening and we are both tired from traveling shortly after noon.

On the last flight, from Danzig, Poland to Munich Master Chen gave me another lesson about rotation.

Some of those ideas I had already heard on a flight almost two years ago, but what Master Chen taught me a few hours ago goes much, much further, of course. Some questions were answered, especially regarding applying the theory on the body.

The application cannot be written down, really. It must be demonstrated and felt. Trying do write it down will never do justice to the physical experience felt in person. Read more

Brennan Toh at the Vienna Workshop 2017

Brennan Toh at the Vienna Workshop 2017

Within Chen Style Taijiquan, an important aspect is that all our movements must be our own movements.  We never move as a result of an external stimuli.  This requires we bring extreme awareness to every body part – those which are moving and especially those which are non-moving.  When we go out with the hand, we must not forget about the elbow; as the torso closes the distance, the hands can’t also be moving forward, etc.  As soon as we engage with our opponent, we naturally want to fight power with power.  This immediate response is something we must eliminate through our training.  Learning to create a stretch within our body in the form and foundations, is to learn how to move past the point of contact.

To never lose control of our body, even when engaging with an opponent, is to change our responses from a reactionary response to an active response.

A reactionary response is to retreat back, and then move in; or to match their push directly with your own push.  A push from the opponent does not result in a fight, or a retreat backwards.  An active response it to decide where to move, and to go their of your own choice – not from the initiation of the opponent.  If we are pushed and the shoulder moves back, we move not because we are pushed, but because we decide to move there.


Brennan Toh with Shawn Lee

We must change from following the pace of the opponent, to leading our own movements.  Within the rhythm of a fight, when you are able to dictate  your own moves, the opponent will then follow (fall into rhythm).  Movement is not a non-pressured release, but a pressured release like a hydraulic press where it must be evenly matched and paced (led).  The intent of the movement is therefore only indirectly related to the opponent, and the decided movement is not at all resultant from what the opponent chooses to do – they are only an obstacle in place to overcome.  This is a change from passive control over our body to active movement.

To train this, we must train to never close, and to continue to stretch and expand in every movement of the form.  As our understanding of Yilu deepens, body mechanics and details that we were previously unaware of become more and more important.  But before we can focus on the small details, our understanding of positioning of the ‘big pieces’ must be precise – which is why consistent training of the full form is required.  As we continue to train to open our joints, positions and movements that we were previously incapable of will allow us to improve our structure and power.

Video references:

There must be three stick in the body.

  1.  Vertical stick is from the Baihui on the top of the head to Huiyin at the bottom of the torso.
    This stick is absolute. There are no “ranges” allowed.
  2. Horizontal stick is the arm.
    This stick has a range. it can move within the range of eyebrow and the kua.
  3. 45 degree stick is from rear foot to the front hand.
    This stick has a range from front hand to the floor.


TShapedYinYang-trailer-fullAlthough there are not really ‘ secrets ‘ in Taiji anymore, there are things that are extremely important, that are not well known or properly emphasized. Generally speaking, students are not shown ‘ leg methods ‘ until they are higher level, if ever. The correct ( and stealth like ) use of the leg is Read more

In today’s Practical Method practice in Toronto, we covered the triangle, double lock and single lock. Ketong Lin wrote an excellent article on this topic: more

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All taiji techniques must be from the 13 postures. All 13 postures must be from the separation of yin and yang. Read more

The contacting point must stay in contact with the opponent. Don’t add anything or take away anything. By following this technical principle, one is also complying with the principle of indirect power.  Read more

Don’t move! Don’t move your hands! Don’t move your torso! Don’t move your body! Don’t move your center! Don’t move your knee! Don’t move your feet! Read more

1. The human body and machine. 2. Shoulder-torso separation. 3. Upper and lower body separation. 4. Open the power to the outside. 5. How to go down. 6. Stretch out. Read more

This is another special characteristic and principle of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. First raised by GM Hong Junsheng.

1. In with elbow, out with hand. 2. Details of the Positive Circle. 3. Ji: engagement. 4. Loose and Tight. 5. Inside and Outside. 6. Rotations. 7. Move or no move. 8. Sinking: Stable Switching. Read more

Zhou Bu Li Lei. 肘不离肋。

The elbow can move past the centerline of the body. It can also go down and go inwards. It cannot move upwards or outwards.

This means that the left hand must only be allowed to move in the left side of the torso. The right hand is only allowed to move in the right side of the torso. The demarcation line is the centerline of the chest.

This video describes the different energies that are applied in one move and how they work together to attack an opponent’s structure. If done properly, no muscle power or energy is used or wasted. This can only happen if the body is connected through correct stretching and rotations.


We all understand the importance of “don’t move” in Practical Method. To achieve “don’t move”, there’s a pitfall need to be aware. Read more

Around The Web
Used “Wild Horse Parts Its Mane” drill to illustrate and train the principle of “No movements, only rotation” at the full week workshop today.

Clip from Daqingshan lesson on primary taiji move which comes from forming a line that has constant tension. Taiji movements are divided into primary movements and secondary movements. Primary movements are actions and secondary moves are the transitional moves that connect one action to another.  Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 4 min.   In: English   Year: 2013  Difficulty:3/5  At: Daqingshan

Primary Taiji Move
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 1. Beginning. 2. Two points stretching out. 3. How to go down. 4. How to shift center. 5. Don’t move the fulcrum. 6. Don’t move and yin yang separation. 7. Door hinge. 8. Internal movements. 9. Adherence. 10. Sinking.  Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 60 min.   In: mostly Chinese with a bit of English Year: 2012  Difficulty:3/5  At:Singapore

Singapore workshop October 2012 Volume 1
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Two Ceilings 1

by pingwei on 2013/02/17

To experience “two ceilings”, wedge your thigh under a picnic table, push upward against the table, then, you have the “waist ceiling.” If you don’t have the “waist ceiling,” you don’t have the “crown ceiling” either.

(In the photo: Marvin Glotfelty)

When doing the bare-hand form and pushing hands with an opponent, one must keep the power constant. This is one of the characteristics of Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. By keeping to this principle, one will gradually gain more internal abilities.

Power in the body must be constant
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Master Chen went over in detail exercises for establishing an axis in push hand and in Yilu. The second requirement is to keep the axis not moving, only then rotation can happen. The arm moves because of axis rotation, opponent will feel power but there is no power on the arm. Photos by Jay Smith.

We are happy to have Carmen Farruggia of Sacremento, CA, USA join us again for this workshop.


In Practical Method, when we want to move foot forward, back, or side, we need to have the weight shift to the supporting leg and “pump” the other leg out. In other words, the leg which is moving out will not interfere the whole body balance. It’s independent from the rest of the body. It can move freely. The taiji terminology for this is “Chan Chu” (Shovel out). Read more

No problem, I really appreciate the opportunity to participate in these discussions. It helps to solidify my understanding of things as I study videos and practice. One of the videos that helped clarify one of the main contradictions/sources of confusion is the mini lesson “Hands on Positive Circle Sequence” where Master Chen is detailing the 9 count circle for you, Michael, and a small group of students on the mountain. Read more

Master Chen taught the two main taiji energies: push and pull. Every push must be a pull. Showed and did an exercise on how to turn the body into a rotation spool to create power.