by Clinton Jurke
First objective it to find the centre – recommended to toss a bit to find where to put your – want to find a point where centre does not collapse – this is to “relax”
Find an equilibrium – feet pushing up from floor must equalise or balance your weight pushing into the floor.
Want to become a state of “dead”- this is a state of perfect equilibrium (an unusual concept), but is a difficult state to achieve since you are not dead and you have ability and consciousness. Want to become “dead” but not fall down.
Eventually you will pin the top of your to one point – stable. Then once this is achieved, you can start to move the dantien in any direction that you want. becomes a pivot point. Is like surfing or skiing – do not “lose your head”. This is the “whole body connection” that we are looking for. Once achieved, one will start to experience weird things, but ignore them because these are illusion (they are real but not understood).
Qigong’s function is to bring out the primordial energy (pre-universe soup – pre-creation). The body is made up of this stuff but it is locked up into different types of energy like biochemical, physical, etc. We want to go back to that “nothing” (that raw soup material). Need to experience this. Essentially we are reversing the process of primordial to created energy, which does make one younger. This primordial soup is a state where everything equals everything else, and in Taoism this means that the body is everything.
In qigong, we do not do any “lifting”. This means using muscle to move, which also means that energy is being burned and results in something or some part of you dying. This is “stiffness”. Instead, one needs to have “flow”, where all energies are equalised (including opponents) and then momentum will arise.
The perfect movement is one that looks like an illusion. This is because the movement is contained within its perimeter. It is almost a kind of psychology, in that the brain of one looking at the movement does not have the ability to recognise it. This is because all movements are equalised – it is not because they are so small, intricate or subdued. It is rather it is not recognisable since equilibrium is achieved.
What is the difference between Taiji and qigong?
Qigong is to equalise the energy within yourself
Taiji is to equalise against an external force, therefore it needs to have structure.
The process of Taiji is not addition or improvement of movement, but rather is subtraction. Removing angles, grinding a movement down to a smooth circle is what is trying to be achieved. Normal, everyday movement has too many angles contained within. We are training to expand the angles until they do not exist – move the body to open the corners up.
Not a circle process or removing corners becomes or approaches a circle
The overall principle of Taiji is that the body becomes a sphere, which is
o What is exactly? To define is not the thing. Essentially the definition will destroy what it is, therefore it is best not to define
Turning the joint is a paradigm change. Physically by turning, one changes one’s point of view.
Where is the corner in your opponent? It is their strongest point. Four ounces activates/overcomes 1000 lbs. Push on opponent’s strongest point, they are at their pinnacle. Then add 4 ounces in a different direction.
“Sensitivity” is not a gentle thing. It is actively looking for that corner or angle.
Pinnacle point – corner
Let your opponent push you over. Why? Because this is when you are at that corner.
Pumping. Where two separate movements in different directions produces a vector in a wholly different direction.
o For example, using pumping is how one steps correctly.
o Both knees must move equally. One down and one out. If done separately, then one tosses.
o Knee 2. Emphasise keeping the knee within the toes. Not possible at first especially if kua stiff. Drop weight through heel and not balls of feet.
o This step out can be broken down into three movement:
1. pump leg out
2. centre – snap toes down – movement is linear
3. split – knees move apart which engages the kua to split
o Clint’s note – important not to hyper-extend on the step out – only step as wide as comfortable. If try to go wider, then the body will develop muscles and technique incorrectly and will result in all movement being incorrect. Repeat this drill a lot and extension will come naturally.
o In this drill, pull the toes back as much as possible. They must be tight and pointing up at 45 degrees. This will and must open up the kua.
o Another drill with this step. Snap toes down after the step out (second movement). This will make the power transfer correct.
o These exercises are critical and fundamental to all other movements in Taiji. Repeat until these are second nature.
High vs. low level Taiji – is the ability to pivot on different parts of the body.
o Low level – pivot on point of contact
o Mid level – pivot at a point of a different part of body (not point of contact)
o High level – pivot on point outside of one’s body
Hong’s system of Taiji is the best because the is precise and perfect and the practice can be used in any other (non Taiji) activity – example ballroom dancing, skiing, etc.
Never move the point of contact. Never react. Do nothing.
o Levels of Taiji related to how one pushes
point of contact push
o level 1
o level 2
o level 3
Movement must be contained – this is what we mean when we say, “Do not move.”
No like a ball in a tube
Clint’s notes – first part of the circle is incorrect. As hand is moving inwards, must lock: , front shoulder, back knee, feet and dantien. Only drop the front kua. This movement is what pulls the hand in. Can turn the front knee and front kua only. It is good practice to turn the toes of the front foot inwards – this will emphasise heel grinding. Back foot, back kua and back knee are a wall… do not move.
o The back foot must be very strong. If a push is given, this back foot is your anchor. The front foot and knee turn in and front kua down. The harder the push, the more the turn and drop, but back never moves or loses its focus.
o This is a good two-person exercise. Have opponent push hard and fast.
o The front foot and the kua can be very flexible – don’t be afraid to let it go – but the back never gives up.
o Front shoulder must not move in the withdraw (use a broom stick to fix it in one place as a practice drill). It is fixed in space horizontally, but it can move up and down a bit.
Only want to move one kua at a time. On the withdraw, front kua turns. On the hand up (positive) or down (negative) the front kua drops. On the hand out, the back kua turns. This is opposite to how I have been moving.
This movement will produce the “catch”. The catch is where your opponent is caught and they cannot let go… they cannot disengage. This fundamental is very important to master. If one dedicates three years to working on this, they will have tremendous power.
o For catch to work at any point , one needs to have looseness and tightness – the looseness turns and the tightness directs
o The catch is to rotate
“The agility is inside makes the power outside.”
If the kua cannot move when fighting, then move the foot and that will give the movement needed.
Movement of the foot is related to vertical movement. Movement of the hand is related to horizontal movement.
The hands will never move. The hands will adjust only. The feet never adjust. The feet will move.
o Adjust = to fit
o Move = creating an action
The must twist or spiral – a difficult skill, but this is what moves the kua. And this skill will keep the knee from moving.
o The net result is that the waist cannot move. Rather it can only be moved. The waist cannot turn, but it can be turned.
o The (ba hwei) cannot move, it can only rotate.
Shuen – forearm rotates palm up
Nee – forearm rotates palm down
o Both of these are components of the positive and negative circles
Hand moves out on the – lock up the front knee and kua
o To make sure put a pole behind the shoulder and in front of kua and then try to turn
After doing one circle, the body must come back up before starting the second circle.
What does control equilibrium mean? Keep your centre? It simply means do not fall down. Conventional Taiji thought is that one does this without moving the feet, but this is wrong thought. Therefore one should not go into a competition with these rules, because this strong experience will program your form to move incorrectly.
Press is the ability inside a joint to turn.
Circle is not a shape, it is an action. Up to you to take whatever position or shape that you are in and turn it into a circle.
Not one part of the circle should turn more that 45 degrees. But it is actually not 45 degrees, but rather is 37 turn plus some expansion (press) of joint.
– elbow on ribs. – elbow on nipple.
2. withdraw elbow – hand shoulder no move
3. fingers down – shoulder and elbow no move
4. front knee and front kua drop
5. rear knee down and hand out
o back knee and kua locked through whole thing until step 5
o to use step 2 as an application, the opponent/target must be on the inside of kua with no gap – otherwise it will not work.
Good idea to train the circles with knees against the wall – knees are too flexible normally and are compensating for a lack of movement in the kua.
Practice the form with the stance that is generated from the pumping type of step without contorting the body incorrectly. Build width naturally with eh stepping drill. Work the kua in circle drills with a very wide stance.