Spring is here! What’s in a bounce?

by James Tam on 2020/03/22

Master Chen Zhonghua always amazes me, whether it is at the next workshop (there is always something new and amazing) or looking back — such as in this video captured during a workshop in Ottawa ten years ago… an easy, seemingly simple, and clean bounce:

What do you see in the video?

John Upshaw:  Everything is on a line. He added the right leg to the line…left arm to right leg…

Lou Sacharske: Watch his right shoulder, as he adds the right leg, there is zero deviation to telegraph the execution.

James Tam: I believe the rotation axis is the one joining Shifu’s left shoulder and front foot. And, the stick (effective energy pathway) is from his back foot to Steve’s upper back.

About James Tam

James Tam, a disciple of Master Chen Zhonghua, teaches both Hunyuan Taijiquan and Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method in Ottawa (Canada). Currently, James teaches sessions under the umbrella of the non-profit organization, Ottawa Taichi Chuan Association (OTCA), website ottawa-taichi.ca.

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Gerry Gebhart March 24, 2020 at 11:51 am

I watched this at least a couple dozen times, then watched the related post “Bounce!”, then watched this some more times.
I see Steve’s push to rotate MC and push into him. MC adds to Steve’s rotation while spiraling into Steve as he switches stance. MC’s “stick” goes into Steve underneath Steve’s aim. The sum of MC’s forces, added rotation, stepping in, his right knee touching inside Steve’s knee, MC’s split to push back into his left foot and left fingers, pushing into Steve slightly with his right qua, is like a screw going into Steve maybe just above his dan tien sends Steve up and back. He has used his outside points to add leverage to his inside rotation, which looks like a light touch.

Perhaps I am overthinking this!! Never anticipated seeing so much in such a short clip! maybe making things up?


Rick Pietila March 26, 2020 at 9:45 pm

I see MC showing us exactly what he is doing, directly after the bounce. I think he even verbalized it yes?


Tinh Thai March 30, 2020 at 12:28 am

I think he met the incoming energy by creating a line from his rear foot (left) up and through Steve’s back. Let’s see what I think in 5 years’ time.
It’s fall in Australia…. with a decent bounce a fall can ensue.


James Tam March 30, 2020 at 8:02 am

John Upshaw (on FB 2020.03.23): “The foot that is being added forward is proportional to the rear hand expanding backwards. I think, though I’m not certain, there is a hinge between his left shoulder and left kua that is where the rotation is deriving from….”


James Tam March 30, 2020 at 8:03 am

Lou Sacharske (on FB 2020.03.23): “Master Chen executes a very fast left-to-right foot exchange, timed precisely with the execution, not unlike some movements in Erlu (e.g. the transition from white ape into fist protecting heart or serial cannon into brush knee). Bu fa.”


James Tam March 30, 2020 at 8:06 am

Hugo Cascoduro (on FB 2020.03.27): “Hi James, I don’t think anyone is wrong in their observations, all the observations are very clear and in some form complying with the principle and concepts and actions that Shifu has taught us to use.
I can add to the other observations that Steve appears to have an indentation in his front kua in this demo which Shifu filled, so an “add one”, once the structural lines were established. So, perhaps:

1. moved into line to take up slack until he and Steve were “full”
2. “don’t move” established lines and points
3. move a selected part(s) past the demarcation line (“add one”) to fill up the space created by Steve’s front kua.
4. this “add one” was stretched against a point behind Shifu

This is all unsanctioned commentary so take with a grain of salt.”


James Tam March 30, 2020 at 8:13 am

Gerry Hopkins (on FB 2020.03.23): “Comments are good. Would it be accurate to say he used Lu and then Ji?”


James Tam March 30, 2020 at 8:39 am

In general, yes. To me, in the classical sense, Lu is about energy direction that is incoming and Ji being energy in the forward direction. Thus, one can say that Steve’s (darker blue T-shirt) incoming energy is being redirected with the rotation of Master Chen to the left and behind (with Lu) and then (with Ji) the outgoing energy along a “stick” from the left foot to Steve’s upper back. Added outgoing energy (additional Ji) is the energy along the line created by the left hand-arm (see John Upshaw’s comments).


James Tam October 27, 2023 at 10:46 pm

Bounce again on the mountain! From Yilu … first closing.


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