Shoulder and Kua

by Nikolai on 2011/01/11

Hello Everybody,

i would like to share some observations i recently made while training. During my training i pay special attention to shoulder rotation.

When i see the latest video i realized that my shoulders where simply a block and not able to adapt to the no move , only rotation in the shoulder. So, i observed that shoulder rotation potential is vast. I try now to focus on a shoulder feet line and i think i have found it. So, when i practise now, when i extreamly focus on shoulder rotation i get a gag reflex. This is somehow strange.

It seems to me that now the most important thing to do for me is, coupling the kua to the shoulder-rotation. Anatomically, the human shoulder ( this is true for all primates) is the most sophisticates joint existence has ever created. It allows almost 360° of freedom of movement, but in every direction. So keep head up and shoulders down 🙂

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Kelvin Ho January 11, 2011 at 8:50 am


Would you like to share your video? I would love to watch it to understand what you are referring to. Thanks.



Nikolai September 6, 2023 at 8:00 am

Kelvin, after twelve and a half years of training, do you understand now about the issue of the gap reflexes?


Nikolai January 11, 2011 at 10:43 am

Hello Kelvin,
thanks for the question. A video might not be feasible any time soon, but an experiment you do yourself might help much more.
Simply put your arm at the endpoint of the positiv circle. Then – you actually need only to focus your attention on two points, that is : the fingertip of the middlefinger and elbowtip. Now you have created to virtual points in space, each having [x,y,z].Now, drill your kuas as you like, but the points MUST not move in space. When i first did that i noticed nothing special in the shoulder joint that was rotating. Put your other hand on the rotating shoulder and you will find that it IS moving. You can´t feel that it is moving, because your are not moving it but it moves. Here, i suppose, we enter the space of mind intend. I need to think and experiment about this much more for myself, because it is new. Here awareness comes into play. The more you can focus on that, the shoulder becomes more and more
integrated into your consciousness and you can make use of it.
Then another thing.
I talked about the angles of the shoulder. Every joint has different sets of degrees of freedom of movement, the shoulder as mentioned the most complex. So, the more simple the joint, the lesser
the degree of freedom of movemts is, which has the implication, that you have lesser positions of free movement. The loose of freedom of movement is a lock. You can´t move, no options left.
You have to learn and feel the each joints possibilities through rotation. I say this , because Master Chen in a recent video explaind the drilling in the positiv circle. He emphazised that the endpoint of the drilling, the back-drilling must be continious. As i understand,that means avoiding a lock. A lock is the lowest state of energy in the joint and taiji the highest, that means all freedom of movement is retained. So, in one aspect taiji is the apex of a gaussian normaility in three dimensiond, that means a sphere. But of course, this is not a static system it is dynamic. Guiding your rotations of the body,
so that they are kept in theire highest state, is taji of the mind, it is no more physical.


Kelvin Ho January 11, 2011 at 9:40 pm

I tried your experiment, and it did move when the kua rotated. I have to admit I don’t understand its significance yet, and what the experiment proves.


Chen Zhonghua January 12, 2011 at 12:52 pm

I will let Nikolai answer you directly. I’d like to add here, though, that one of the important aspects in “learning” taiji is to recognize innate body behavior so that there will be mind body connection. With untrained people, they will believe in and feel certain things that are totally untrue. Until what you feel and what actually happens are the same, there is no learning, therefore no taiji. This is why most people spend dozens of years without understanding one thing about taiji.


Niko September 14, 2012 at 9:36 am

Kelvin, these gag reflexes are still not explainable for me.
Maybe Master Chen is doing a workshop lesson on that topic. Or better i would like to ask him
if he could do it, since i haven´t seen one where this issue is addressed. If i missed a video where the Master talks on it, please let me know.
To make a video, where i start gaping would be a little strange. But actually, i´am not afraid to show it happening since it is natural. When we will be together on a workshop, i can go to that point so you´ll be able to enjoy it.
In the recent Prague Workshop i went to that point one morning, but stopped training because
of not risking to bemire the floor of Pavel Machek´s gym.


Niko November 21, 2012 at 2:30 am

My experiment was just an observation …
Mind and body connection is the point. The gag reflexes are maybe the result of internal organ massage resulting in the stimulation of nerves ( Nervus vagus ?). But there is probably more …


Nikolai September 6, 2023 at 9:24 am

The significance is most probably, that this is one phenomenon of Taiji. I suppose, that in the process of learning, this is what Master Chen describes in the next post as innate body behavior. This is very interesting, because this means, that Taiji is the innate nature of us, but we have to train to access or unlock this state, our true nature.


Nikolai January 12, 2011 at 9:17 am

I will come back to this point later.


Nikolai January 12, 2011 at 1:24 pm

I can only agree to that what Master Chen said. If you don´t recognize INBB, as it is important,
training is locked.


Kelvin Ho January 12, 2011 at 10:02 pm

Are you saying that when there is connection between the kua and shoulder, if the kua rotates, the shoulder rotates automatically as well? If so, does it match the concept of pegging a string at different intervals, in which we are actively doing the pegging at various points? Should we think of rotating the left kua down, and then rotating the right shoulder down, and then extending the right hand out in the right hand positive circle case?


Nikolai January 13, 2011 at 12:48 am

Kelvin, everything has been said. Reality is not what you think it is. The way is, to proof onto your own being that the impossible is possible. That is the dao.
The circle is the practical method. You can´t do it, because you don´t know how to do it. You don´t have the freedom to do it, but freedom is possible. The circle has no starting nor an endpoint, then how to enter ?
You enter when you are not, the only thing that is, is the circle.


Zhao Zhidong December 15, 2011 at 7:22 pm



Chen Zhonghua December 17, 2011 at 1:05 am



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