“Adjust the Middle” Online Video Trailer

by John Upshaw on 2014/10/22

How to make connection in own body, and how to disrupt connection in opponent’s
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 14 min.   In: English   Year: 2014  Difficulty:2/5  At:Toronto

Adjust the Middle
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In Adjust the Middle Online video, Master Zhonghua Chen teaches how to strengthen one’s own structure and how to break your opponent’s structure and take their power away.

Early on in the video Master Chen utilizes a rubber cord to demonstrate how the 2 ends are connected by pulling in the middle.  He emphasizes that the outside of the 2 ends are the outside and what is between the 2 outside points is considered inside.  In the video he demonstrated this on the rubber cord and then on a student.

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Click on the gif above.  Master Chen has the student touch his hip and ankle, which represents the 2 ends.  He connects the 2 ends by bending his knee.

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On the gif above, Master Chen has the student pull him behind the neck, the first time doing so incorrectly to demonstrate the differences.  Then Master Chen adjusts his waist, the middle between his neck and rear foot, which then makes it impossible for the student to move him.  He then makes a “modification” shifting the middle that causes the student to move.  See gif below.

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I just explained how adjustments of the middle strengthen one’s own structure.  I will now shift my focus to how manipulating your opponent’s middle destroys their structure and dissolves any power they may have.

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In the gif above, Master Chen takes his right hand and slightly rotates to manipulate the student’s elbow, which is the middle of the student’s hand and shoulder.  This nullifies the student’s power by breaking the structure.  With out disturbing that set of interactions (separation), Master Chen slightly drops and aims his right kua at the student’s middle (waist) and TOTALLY destroys the student’s structure and power, sending him several feet back to the floor.

Just by locking up an opponent’s middle, they are prevented from making adjustments. See the gif below.  Master Chen locks the student’s knee.  When Master Chen rotates, the student can not adjust and thus his structure collapsed.

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The middles include, but not limited to, the waist (largest), elbow, shoulder, kua, and the knee.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

ffeast October 23, 2014 at 8:07 am

So simple its extremely difficult


Bruce Schaub October 23, 2014 at 9:38 am

How do we have power in Taiji? … Structure … What makes a structure? … Connections …
This is an excellent video explaining how connections in the body are created and used to reinforce our own structure and break the opponents structure. Very highly recommended.


John Upshaw May 14, 2020 at 6:37 pm
Richard Johnson September 30, 2021 at 8:14 am

John Upshaw did a very good commentary on this video. He highlights some important points, but he does not capture all the concepts in the video.

The concepts here are really important in one’s long-term taiji skill development. You’ll get instruction, theory and demonstration in this video, but like nearly all things about taijiquan, understanding only comes with time and practice. If you don’t even know the concepts exist, you cannot have that “aha”-moment when what Shifu Chen said finally begins to click. If this video is not on the essentials list it should be.


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