Visiting Practical Method Chicago on Mar. 14, 2013

by Kelvin Ho on 2013/03/18

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I attended Spencer Jone’s Practical Method class in Chicago on Mar. 14, 2013, and got a chance to practice with the Chicago group. Erwin Ramthun also came from Milwaukee to join us. We did some foundation exercises, yilus, 2-person drills, and push hands. “Not moving” was the focus in every activity that day.

One of the drills we did was to compress the spine on the opponent, and use the hand to “peel”. As we worked on it, we faced a problem:

When peeling was attempted, the compression was released.


  1. The hand was used to compress and peel.
    Related Concept: One body part can only do one action.
  2. If the shoulder was used to perform the compression, when the hand did the peeling, the shoulder was affected and lost the compression.
    Related Concept: Adding One.

What I learned that day was that “One body part can only do one action” allowed us to do “Adding one”. If one body part changes from performing one action to another action, it will only be “Replacing one”.

Since the shoulder and the hand were not able to do things as needed yet, I suggested my partner to use one arm to compress my spine, and use the other hand to push, and I felt the effect on me was the same as the original exercise intended to create.  The two sides of my partner were able to be separated in this way.

Another drill was to use the second half of the negative circle to get the opponent to fall. The line from the front shoulder to the front kua was the fixed axis. The common problem was that the shoulder came forward with the hand as the hand moved outward. I also noticed that the move was effective if the front hand did the stretch against the rear foot with the shoulder-kua axis fixed. In this exercise, we often used the elbow or the upper arm to push the opponent backward, and the lever would be very short this way.

I had a great time practicing with the group, and this opportunity deepened my understanding of the concepts mentioned above. I have benefited from this practice, and will certainly love to meet fellow Practical Method practitioners around the world in the future.

Here are a couple of push hands videos:

About Kelvin Ho

Kelvin Ho, Master Chen Zhonghua's 97th disciple, is the instructor for Practical Method Toronto. He has been teaching and promoting the Practical Method system in Toronto, Markham, Richmond Hill, Canada since 2011. He has received numerous medals in various Taiji competitions. He is also a vice-president of MartialArts Association Canada. Like his teacher, he feels an obligation to pass this great art onto others. Contact:

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

May Chen March 18, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Thank you, Kevin. Love your explanation and it was wonderful to watch you and Spencer trying to use taiji techniques to push each other so gently instead of using brute force! Bravo!


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