Raw Notes From 4 days in Bentonville AR

by Levi Sowers on 2011/02/12

As master Chen requested, I am posting my raw notes from the Bentonville workshop. This was 4 days worth of notes.


Hong quote: “For every movement in taiji, there are is one correct way and an infinite amount of wrong ways”

Listen to what is being taught. Do not believe that you are doing it correctly, trust in the system and it will come. If you think you are doing it correctly, you are probably not.

do what you are told to do. When power is issued forward, comes from back (like an arc in the back). When one is pulling, the inside expands (stomach) and the back contracts.

** Make three points of contact with the arm when doing moves.

If you never believe, then you will never know what you are doing. Master chen was talking about faith and knowing taiji.

Master chen spoke of all the moves in cannon are for the purpose of cutting the opponent.

When pushing out, the arm must not move in a horizontal manner.


There are two points in a move (6 sealing four closing) The two points must move opposite and equal. The center of those two points must never deviate. Deviation results from not being equal, and moving in a lateral or vertical direction.

when pushing out you must activate the inside (tense) and the energy must go on the back. Across the back is where the energy moves.

You must distinguish your opponents force

Follow with shoulder and elbow and add with hand.

You must find the three points on the lever. If you know the where the fits point is, you will know the second and middle.

Master Chen: “At the extreme, the opposite will occur.”

Today we did the “stick” drill. One person holds one the end and the middle. The opponent holds the other end and then the person doing the drill steps in. The front arm is the lever fulcrum, and the back hand pulls and “sits down” on the back foot.

On buddah’s attendant pounds mortar the right arm must really stretch so that you feel the stretch in the back. Don’t let the right hand go too high.

During the foundation exercises, fetching the water. The elbow must stay attached, and the shoulder must move as much as the kua on the same side.Dont have any up and down! When you are pushing out with the circle, the body must go back while the hand pushes.

In the Circle on the push out. Everything but the fingertips goes towards the back toes.


Always find a way to add another point.

Do not move the arm while pushing down with the negative circle. The energy must be on the outside of the arm.

Make contact with the three points. The elbow goes down toward the foot. The shoulder must go straight down. STRAIGHT DOWN!!!!!> It is like there is a stake down through the shoulder . The shoulder may not come up, the shoulder must go down.  Must always be connected to the center.

Remind master chen of zhuo 着

Wu Ji Bi Fan 物极必反 :When something reaches the extreme, it will reverse.

When doing the double negative circle, you must start by using the looseness, but after two weeks you must make it more tight.  The method must stay the same, the principles must stay the same.

You must catch the person with more. Usually we do not have enough to move them without strength.

Everything must come together on the line. Multiple lines converge on a single line. This produces a ton of power.

Tuck your hip under your elbow to issue power.

Your elbow is doing the work there has to be a lever underneath to do it.


When you are ready to push out, you must not go out the way you came in. The hip must adjust. Come forward and down a little.

The insides point to the hand. Everytime the movement must project a line onto the end of the stick to power it. On the way in the back must contract and the insides get large.

Twisting the towel: The hand that is pushing out: The butt must push into the foot. This applies power into the hand that is pushing out. The fist must rotate and stay on the center. Do not go past the center.

Steady pushing drill. The clearing of energy drill. The force of the opponent must be cut with a 90 degree force. The timing must be perfect. The knee can tap the knee of the opponent. This will push him towards you and push the knee out pushing him sideways.

Remember what master chen did with you on the seven inch knife.

Like a guitar string. There are two solid points that hold the string on. The middle is pulled up and it creates a noise. If one of the strings is not attached at a solid point, there is no noise. The same can be said about the body. There must be two points that are solid and then add a third to overcome the opponent.


Stationary drills

Moving foundations

Rigid movements are more circular and then a normal circle. Make the movements into three counts.

Crossing of the fists, Followed by jumping with the crossed fists.

Left rub foot right rub foot. Make sure that the hands stay when the kick is finished. The hand is reeled in by the stomach

Left right kick with heel: kick the heel. The front fist is lower than the back creating a line that the foot goes into. The collapse is with the elbows. The elbows bring reel the hand in. The rubber band must be kept taught. The back hand must equal the foot so that the rubber band is kept intact. This will create the tensile strength that is needed.

Whip wrapping around the body: The fists are crossed. Follow by walking with it.


Moving step

Drill out of the form

Pushing hands: don’t retreat to fast, the move must stay connected by don’t retreat

Everytime you lose something you must gain something somewhere else

Gain space in anyway you can. The more points you can put onto an opponent, the more power you will have.

I must lose a particular portion of my body to move john. Lose the shoulders, the kua and the legs. This will allow you to become loose but have power. Stick to your opponent when pushing with them always just match their force and drop when you need to attack.

Look for the center,

Keep your center,

Stretch to open your opponent up

Open your opponent up and look for his center


Xia ta wai nian

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Richard Johnson February 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

Great job, Levi. Mine are by session on the dates they occurred in this blog and in the Seminar > Notes section.


Tim Duehring February 13, 2011 at 8:19 am

Levi and Richard, thank you so much for your notes. They were great. We were working on a lot of the same concepts in class yesterday, and today I got to find out I was giving correct information to my students.


Chen Zhonghua February 14, 2011 at 11:58 am

Thanks for the upload, Levi. I am sure others can benefit from your notes.


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