Toronto Workshop, Day 2, March 3, 2019 – Mike’s Notes

by Michael Lamberti on 2019/03/03

We are here because we’re humans, not animals.

Everything is like loose sand. Among the sand, some things might have a spark. There’s nothing wrong with sand, and nothing wrong with other ways of moving, such as other forms of martial arts or football. It just depends on what you want. Master Chen is looking for the sparks in the sand.

We want to have free will, we want to be different from animals, but most us are not. We believe we are different from goats, but we are not. A goat will not eat meat. There is no convincing it, it doesn’t matter how evolutionarily beneficial we might think meat would be for the goat. We are like this too. Even if we are a vegetarian or a follow the dietary restrictions of our religion, this is not free will. They were influenced by something: culture, parents, religions.

Taoists believe we live in an illusion, a world created for us by others. We have never made one decision in our entire lives.

Social Media

Create a new Facebook account only for taiji. Keep it distinct from your other page if you post non-taiji stuff there. And whenever a new social media platform becomes popular, have an account there too. Only promote yourself and not other people. Put the taiji content you want and what repost what Master Chen posts, and do not consume the content of others. Influence others, but do not be influenced.


Everything has three layers: principle –> concept –> action.

Principle: Separate yin and yang –> Concept: all taiji moves must be indirect –> Action: actually performing a taiji move that follows this concept and principle.

Principle: I want to be a good person, not an evil one –> Concept: I must be educated –> Action: learning 1 + 1 = 2

Living in an illusion means never translating anything into action. Learning has to involve a specific action. If you learn a new idea, but nothing you do changes, that’s not learning.

There are 3 questions we can ask Master Chen that are not rude: Can I see that again? Can I hear that again? Can I feel that?

To really learn taiji, we have to be machines, but we aren’t machines. So it’s okay to take breaks, do other things, give your brain a rest so you can return to taiji.


All our moves need to have an extension, a stretch. Master Chen demonstrated this with a stick, and he called it “climbing.” If one point is fixed, the other point can climb forward. This then becomes the new fixed point and the climbing can continue in the same manner.

He also demonstrated this with a rubber cord. If both points are moving, nothing happens. There is no energy in the cord. One point needs to stretch or extend away from the other point in order for the cord to store up energy. Our moves are the same.

A telltale sign that we are using the kua is that your foot is never long enough. If we are using the kua  we will need to take a step. If we are using the shoulder, we can go and go and go without moving our feet.

The top half of the body has to be hollow, the bottom half needs to be solid. This is called “to cut.” If you are unable to cut, you will “pop.”


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