North American Practical Method Training Camp 2022

by John Upshaw on 2022/03/27

We are elated to have Master Chen Zhonghua back for the annual  North American Practical Method Training Camp. It has been 2 years since he has taught in person!  Though, we all have greatly  benefited from the Zoom lessons.  At this point he is planning on physically being at the camp!  However, the world is unpredictable and we would adapt accordingly (though let’s think positively).
This will be an intensive workshop welcoming students of all levels.  This workshop historically has been attended  by a high number of Master Chen’s disciples.  This benefits the disciples in many ways and provides newer students to additional opportunities for learning.  It’s definitely an atmosphere for becoming immersed in Practical Method!
Once again, the taijiquan training, lodging and dining will be at one location with one cost at the same location where we have  been since 2017.  This will be an intensive workshop focused on Theory, Foundations, Yilu, Push Hands and Broadsword.  Disciples will take part in the instructions.
There are 32 accommodations on-site and 2 single occupancy cottages.  Those slots will fill up.  We will list hotels near the retreat center and allow those individuals to participate just the same as the other participants.  There will also be a limited number of tents allowed to camp on the premise.
This year’s sign up and on-going camp information will occur on this post.  Please don’t assume you have a bed unless it is confirmed by us.
4 nights 3 days is $630
5 nights 4 days $780
6 nights 5 days $880
9am check in and check out is following your last day breakfast.
July 14th through July 20th 2022
Prairiewoods Retreat And Conference Hiawatha, Iowa

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

John Upshaw July 5, 2022 at 6:43 am

‎6:00 Broadsword with Kelvin and John to assist
7:00 Foundations
8:00 Breakfast
9:30 to 11:30 Lesson with Master Chen
Noon Lunch
2 to 4 Lesson with Master Chen
5:30 dinner
7:30 to 9:00 pm Disciple led mini lessons as assigned by Levi (various topics)


Aaron Bartholomew July 22, 2022 at 11:57 am

Notes from 2022 training camp

July 14
Touch the forearm
The dot has to line up to the dot on your chest
You cannot deviate from the line

There needs to be a line
The line cannot change
1 find the relationship of the points
2. Mark a dot
3. Keep the dot in the middle, move around it

Move without moving the dot. It can change with you.

Find the spot they’ve locked
Put that in the middle

Create power, lock to the rear shoulder
Create a joint structure with an isolated spot, push that spot (pillar). Push with your head, 3rd hand or waist (knife)

Find where they’re stronger, at that point user the waist or head.

Secure two move one. (Stick on two bricks)
Secure one, move two (lever)

1 The touch
Having the skill at the fingertips from lots of practice.
Try to remember and replicate the touch.
Create the slight imbalance, so that they can’t stand normally

2 The physical expression
Let them think ” I almost got him”

Just stand there
Step towards them like a truck

Caught in a weird spot?
Just move towards them. Don’t move above the waist.

There’s not an English word for the jam or shock when you miss a step on the stairs. That’s the taiji feeling.

Shadows don’t have to try to follow, they just do. Shine on the opponent
Like a laser pointer
There is a spot, the two are the same
Totally in sync
Like a man using a cane
The cane becomes the floor

Yin is vertical, in line with gravity
Yang is horizontally, can be felt.

When you do it right, neither can be felt.

Taiji power is real, just expressed in a way to cancel out the opponents power.

A ghost is something real that you don’t know how to describe

You only feel or see deviation
(From a line)

The hawk only sees the rabbit when it moves. It will soar and wait…

Perfect marriage, completing each other’s thoughts, reading each other’s minds. We learn taiji in such an intuitive manner.

When we think we’re done, we need to finish

Spear exercise, get the elbow locked, then use the foot to push the spear.

Too external
Don’t move at the contact point, use the rest of the body to make the needed change

When caught, relax (rotate) and adapt until you feel comfortable. Let the body become rubber.

Power up, rotate into extension, then power up again. Repeat

Masking the move
Don’t fight, wedge and crab walk, separate the upper body from the legs

Train the letting go and dropping so it’s as disruptive as a punch

Tires aren’t connected to the car body

Static motion, as if there’s no motion without a frame of reference. No work done (physics work)

Kua can be like a bend on a guitar.
Goes down to the ground joint by joint, extending as it goes.

When you make the taiji shout, reintegrate and grunt (hmmm to pull everything back in)

Have to shed the shell. Lost my shoe on that one.
When they come in: release, be on the center.
Have to hook back on them, otherwise you’re just getting pushed back.
A hook, when you stretch it, it remains on.

Watch him sink
Watch the rear foot

Don’t push them up, tap hand , extending back to the dot on the center of yourself.

When they go to step away, push them down straight to the ground
Learn how it feels when they buckle. Often trained at night so they didn’t rely on sight.

Turning over
When they advance on top, let them. Move in on bottom

For beginners, go against your instinct

Don’t rise, sink it down (to the sea bottom)

1. Push with first on center of chest.
Partner turns to one side, then the other, avoiding the fist

2 push on elbows equally
Partner picks a side and turns shoulders and elbows to that side, redirecting from the other side.
Reset and turn to the other side

Crotch power
Sit down, practice squeezing knees together
Play the game with a partner, one squeezing together, the other squeezing apart.

Create a dot on the back, when you’re pushed you rotate around on that dot.
One person behind the pushee, with a fist in the small of their back
One person pushing on the pushee

Pushee to relax and just rotate as if the fist in their back is a fist, and the pushee is a hand wrapped around that fist, totally being pushed by the pusher.

July 15
Arm on the table
One dot on elbow, one in middle finger, arm flat, glued into table.

Empty or not empty.

When held down, you can’t lift. There’s no space. This is sealing. It’s double heavy, or full

Only one held down, or two held at any point other than both ends, you can get started. By recalibrating the movement

Never give the opponent the chance to create space. This is called stifling.

This fullness of a contradiction.
When you don’t separate, you have no taiji. Yet fullness is not separate.

When you experience double heavy a lot, you can apply it to your opponent, before they notice it in you.

When you learn something, teach it three times to make it your own. When they transfer knowledge, test it, do it slowly, recalibrate. Then trust yourself.

Push on torso
Left, right, then together (double heavy)
Mislead the opponent, set a pattern and then change it to double heavy.
Three stooges: eye poke

Synonyms for double heavy

Kelvin’s method
Second guess Master Chen, then write it down.
Then ask him for clarification. Learn to know what he wants to say.
Your mind will start to flow with the system.
This is transmission

When you have the idea, you lose the shape. When you don’t have the idea, you only have the shape.

Form vs idea

Original fist without method
With method is empty

Fighting had no form
If there is a form it’s made up

Round fist in a wall, push on it and it rotates.
Then after a while put your palm on the wall.

Solid vs not solid

When you put yourself in a double heavy position, you bounce.

Arm wrestling, then stick the arm to the table.

Ling – a circle so small it has no size. It’s round but you can’t see the movement. If it’s shown it’s fake.

Taiji is something you can’t see. You have to see it to learn it. So what you learn is not taiji. If you can see if you can stop it.

Train against a wall until the wall becomes part of your body.

Mentally stuck
Don’t try to integrate the general and the specific too soon.
Try listening with your eyes closed.

Teach at a grade three level
The capacity to learn comes from being simple-minded. Be simple to learn.

When you see something, pretend you don’t know and ask.

Let go of the feeling of power.
One move delivers to another spot


Right now you need setup.
Make it so you don’t need the setup.
Do a setup such that it won’t work, let them feel that
Change the lever. Adjust the body so that it will work.

Jin gon pounds mortar application

Students think that if you haven’t broken their arm, that you can’t do it.

The real way is backwards, to stifle them
Grabbing onto the four corners
Both opponents try to lock the hand to the others torso. Use the center & kua to pass the hand to the next corner, then push into the opponent. They will try to pass the hand

-> Go to the other side easily, then add power. All their power will follow.

Add vertical power and you are free to move horizontally.

You create your own path by diverting them to another path.

Clearly defined and separate horizontal and vertical power.

The kua dance. Move either kua or hand, then the other in the circle.

Old Chinese money is a square with a circle in it.
Newer old Chinese money is round with a square in it.

A triangle is more basic, and also found in the body, but more static. A square is more dynamic. In a circle every spot is different.l

The inside is empty, only empty things can grow.
The outside is a restriction, and the inside wants to come out, like a balloon. Or an explosion.

July 16
How to make a circle out of a straight lines
Pole shaking, can’t leave the track the poe is in when two people hold it
Arms have to be able to push and pull without getting stuck
Flip had to happen
Rotate a gear in the chest vertically
Chest center is fixed point.
Arms can move but the pole has to be on the same track.
Center of chest can move vertically (down) without moving back. Force converts into arms and into pole

Step 1
Push pole back and forth with an opponent

2. Have arms up, elbow under staff
3. Elbow and arm coming down pushes staff towards opponent

Force multiplier
There has to be 9 (force somewhere) to get one (movement)

If you want to move the stick, the only thing you can’t do is move the stick (indirect power)

Taiji is finding the gaps in the opponents perception, and making your movements in those gaps. (Like a magician’s tricks)

Most of the benefits of taiji comes from having a fixed point, and all the forced rotations that the body is required to go through to move with that fixed point. For example the exercise above.

The links between body parts scale between people. Within the same person they can expand or contract.

Chan guan:
Long pole (big enough that your hand can’t wrap around it) on a fulcrum, with a weight on a rope (or chain) that winds around it. This will train chan. The hand has to learn to ratchet from fingers to palm.

Push hands
Create two rhythms that match but are independent. Change one and the other person will lose balance.

It’s not about fighting, it’s about stretching and creating a space.

Create a dot (the claw catch)
Catch a ball, don’t let it move horizontally (to the side). That ball then becomes the dot.
There’s a dot between hand and kua. There’s a relationship between the hands, kua, and dot.

Most of morning was spent on break falls and basic rolls.

Learn the technique. Don’t worry about what ifs. Learn to do the technique. Keep it simple. Don’t worry about counters is what ifs.

There’s only one move

Push hands again
The grip from the legs can’t go away. Heel, knee, kua can’t release while the torso comes down
You don’t wiggle a screw, you drive it.
Taiji moves are along with gravity. Create a hole that pulls them in.
Your heel has to touch the inside back of their heel

Like Compressed air

Stifle the top, and their leg. Only one spot to go out. Apply pressure.

Each body part has it’s specific distinct role.
Distance: feet
Height: knees
Turns: waist

Find a way around them where they aren’t
Once you’ve gone around or emptied the shoulder, don’t put any power back there.

When you reach the end of your horizontal, do a vertical move. They need to go to the ground, otherwise they escape.

Elbow, shoulder, kua in circles driven from the kua as if on a railroad wheel, where the wheel is connected to the engine at once point on the wheel (in Chinese called the wheel elbow)

Power in the back to the hand
Power in the hand goes to the back

Move the middle, effect on both ends (lock them)
Move both ends, effect in the middle (lock it)

Wrist goes forward to redirect power to the opponent

Push against wall, eventually don’t need the wall

Captive bolt gun
Sandbag in a tube

Heavy tube practice
Treat the opponent like the tube, not a push, throwing the tube, impact
Not a pull, a very sharp jerk.

Move the hands from the waist. It actually moves the body several inches. First move in cannon fist after single whip.

Can really mess someone up with the jerk from this one of you aim at their rear shoulder

Do it a couple times, open up their wrist, elbow, shoulder with alternating jerks and pops

The back needs to be out of sync with the front (of the opponent)
The cpr manouver, maybe the Hiemlich manouver

Net speed, net gain, create an advantage
The less you have to move, the fewer moving parts the better.

Our movements create slack. Don’t create slack. I don’t

When twisted, don’t fight, open.
Let all the joints open.

Like a snake, and always get a net gain

We toss when we think we rotate. Don’t toss, rotate.

Put knees together when standing, with opponent knee. Then open the kua (raise and lower hips) without moving knees.

Don’t affect your opponent at all.

Open up and close down the ribs when doing a closed fist hit downward to chest
Breathe into belly, sinking happened to ribs

Don’t let head move, prop up a stick and use it as a support
Hips back and legs straight

Then hips to the front, like a bullet or a launcher

Tie sandbag to back leg
Front foot pulls forwards like a cat’s claws (my words). Have to move forward.

Same with hands, give them power (put a skewer in them, make them double heavy or stiff) then pull up on them, then put the power on you and push

Hang a circle made of wire. Trace it with your hand. Knowing that is wrong. It makes an infinity sign, but then one has to be removed, because otherwise the elbow goes up while tracing it, which is wrong.

July 17

Create two dots (or a line)

When I move, totally empty
When I touch, totally full
Extremely stiff, so stiff that it can only rotate

This strength is only used to form the structure
It has nothing to do with the opponent
If I can’t form a line or find a line (connect two dots) it’s no good.

Master Hong could make 9

elbow to hand
Whatever move I make with my hand, as long as my elbow goes to hand it’s good. Then shoulder to hand….

Ability to triangulate,
Create a line to a line in them based on the hands and kua

A glass jar can only hold 500 glass beads
You put in 501, the glass will break.
The last move can be insignificant, but will have an effect.

Use the back hand and arm to contradict that insignificant move.

Find a door or wall, and push it. To practice

Adding one
You don’t trust that lightness will work, so you try power. Trust lightness.
You don’t need power to be stable. You can use timing.

Elbows spread, one against a wall.
Have the opponent be just a bit away, expand elbows out to them. Don’t go backwards or deviate. Don’t step away from the wall towards them (leaning)

Moving forward thinking you have a dot.
Make a dot, don’t move the dot. You can go over the line, just don’t move the dot.

Taiji is static
Static power, you jump in a hole, the hole hurts you.

Add power at a time, staticly. The rest is preparation

Huge difference between thinking it’s locked, and actually locking it physically to something. You’ll want to train to lock things.

Stretch train against the lock, this is called movement

Going through yilu corrections (3 moves per person)

Do not use the center to adjust
Never link your center to left or right

Last part of first thirteen
“I punched that guy, and he stepped aside and tried to break my elbow, so I pulled my elbow out of the way to pull him in, then I swiped him.”

Do what he shows, don’t worry about whether or not it works. Trust the teacher.

Pole opponent with pole
When they’re at the edge
Rotate while maintaining and continuing the poke
Like a screwdriver. Don’t let the rotation change the poke

Don’t lift, find or create a spot where it has a floor (support) and can’t go down. Similar to creating a dot. When you find the spot, your elbow won’t lift up after they let go suddenly.

Continued firm corrections
Do single whip in a door frame that’s just a millimeter too wide. Get the expansion in the hands from the chest to touch the door frame

Cloud hands taught as two step.
Back hand back on both brush foot moves

Don’t forget the move following brush left foot.
Stretch and use elbows and center to finish the turn

Fist protecting heart
Up the back, up the front, top fist goes down.

Big circle on the halfway point, is a big drill handle with a small tip

Small catching and hitting, only the arms move, not the torso

Six sealing four closing
Peel the carrot

Second cloud hands the step behind gives you the leverage to throw the opponent

Fist after, second cloud hands is to the throat

Shuffle or jump after reverse coiling of forearms
Become small then big for multiple steps in a row through white crane

High pat on horse is the same as first one, just step back while doing it

Cannons at the door is too small. Do a big circle

Applications if the form are hard to teach, since every application is to break something.

Book exercise:
Two people push on the covers of a book and push it back and forth. They should keep the covers together and the book straight.

July 18
The empty spot
Dots on a line have to pull apart along the line.
Folding door, imagine a square in the track. It won’t twist as the door opens.

In any posture there’s a spot/line that can’t link to the others. It’s always empty, and the body can’t deal with being pressured on that spot. It will try to tighten up and link to that spot, but can’t.

The alignments are to set up that spot.

Dots on balls
Dots face each other on a line
If you move them apart, the dots won’t face each other. They need to be adjusted to always face each other. This does not exist in the human body unless you train it. Keep the relationship between dots the same. Like quantum entanglement.
The hand must adjust to keep the dots

When the dots on the balls don’t deviate, the distance does not exist. The opponent is surprised and will fall down, because they’re expecting the distance to exist.

So hard to make them line up, practice this on a sitting ball.
Put a dot on a wall from a short distance, close your eyes, walk to it, see if you’re on it.
Put the two dots pointing at each other, move them apart without losing the alignment.
Hold one steady, move the other to practice.

First move, put you elbow on palm (in a line)
Your elbow cannot find your palm

Close your eyes and learn this by feel.

Real practice:
Short stick (bang) to learn this in various postures.
This is where the taiji stick exercises come from

Have the master push you on the front so you can feel it on the other side (on your back)

Fun video of us trying to find the live from a poke on Master Chen.

When something lines up it will repel.

Contact juggling body rolls without moving the ball came up.

If one human can do it, all humans can do it, the others are just lazy. If you can do it do not believe that others cannot do it.

Keep the dot in place, make 360° adjustments around it.

The dot(or ball) doesn’t have to be in or on the body. Don’t move it with the body, make adjustments such that it doesn’t move.

Get a medical cord, put a dot on it, and practice with it and a camera to not move it, while rotating 360° around it.

Expand and contract as needed to not move that dot.

Rod, whip, turbine, many other things can spin
(edical cord that a mark will show on, 1 foot stick)

Training is purely theoretical. When you fight just fight like a beast. Hopefully the training will come out.

When you train don’t worry about fighting.
When you fight, don’t worry about training.

Your improvements will never help you take your training into fighting. Once you realize this you can make improvements in taiji.

Play with a ball:
Keep it stationary, let partner move you around it. Same as coffee cup exercise and doorknob exercise

Stepping to keep the dantien from moving. Keep the dot from moving
1 The body can do whatever, the center never moves.
2 Or keep the feet from moving.
Finally do the exercises with no ball. But keep the virtual ball in hand.

Convert the push on you into a push on the ball.
3. Stick in 3rd party hands, keep it all in the stick.
4. Then with 2 twists, 2 dots.

Converting to the following is years away.
A push goes out into the dots.

Your push pushed me there.
You are pushing me into you

The push from my foot propels me, once I grab, my feet are released and free.
Ying yang reversal.

Opposite of human normal


Use the ball,
stay 4″ from the ball.
When pushed, grasp the ball or stick
Eventually there is no ball

Reduce your slack
Timing and precision, not power

Bent leg will break
Straight leg during mud sliding step
The straight leg will make you fall (the kua can rotate)
The bent leg prevents you from falling and will break

Bieh is switching from no power to power. Could be called a snap, but in a very specific meaning.
Also means to say goodbye, because it’s total separation.

Liu – break by pulling
Tsai – break off a single small piece
Jo – breaking into small pieces by twisting

You have a blind spot in taiji with whatever you’re looking at. Peripheral vision is better for motion detection.

There’s a signature on your body
Change that signature. Make yourself do something physically different.

Write a formula to make a substantial change
You must know your center
You must move your arm to be far from your center.
Your ball is supported by air. If the opponent pushes on it they can’t find the support.
If the two balls are connected, the opponent won’t be able to find their support.

Don’t move, keep shoulder in place, realign the rest.
Becomes very heavy. Weight didn’t change, only the angle

Multiple layers, at most they take away one, still many left. That’s a spiral.

Huge gear or screw. You touch it and get thrown out.
Screws don’t go down to drill down. They go around.
The direction in the outside of the circle depends on where you touch the circle.

The directions on the four quarters of the circle are peng, Liu, ji, ahn. The 4 clear moves.

Clock face is linear:
At 6, 9, 12, &3.
When caught by a gear in a tooth at one point.

If you turn it like a ball, in multiple dimensions at the same time that’s sai, lie, Jo, cal.
The 4 kinds of twist
Like a track ball

Optical illusion, looks like it’s moving, but it’s not.
Two very straight opposite moves that make us think it’s a spiral.

Catch them with the arm, block their knee with your leg.
Or intercept them, let them push you, then block their leg and put it back into them.
Allow them to go through, cut them sideways at the knee.
Need to have an open kua.

Standard size sealing four closing exercise
Go over then go over
Go over past elbow and hand (move the shoulder closer to them) when you get caught. Then rotate your arm as a secondary going over.
Do it smoothly for training
Look for the fight when you want to use it.

Pull the opponent into your side, they should hit kua first. They then swing the hand at shoulder level to drop you to the floor.


Push the wheelbarrow
If they feel loose, rush them out and paste them to the wall.

Your opponent should never feel your:

This can be on first pull (done at shoulder level)

Top, bottom, kua together

The foot is faster than the hands
Let the kua hit first, one move

Don’t hit with the shoulder, hit with the kua (not a normal human move)

It’s a fit thing, not an impacting thing
Swing with a finger, they shouldn’t have weight to you
Send them lightly flying

Treat them as if they don’t exist

If you need to push someone, go where they are not.

(Like driving somewhere other than where you are looking)

Place fist on opponent torso. Arm straight so the shoulder is in the fist.
Move forward as one piece, from the legs

Battering ram, move the body as one piece. (Fist aimed at the bladder eventually).

Grab in one place, and it becomes harder to go through. Just have to go through, even with hands interrupting. Rear foot had to move through front fist

Stretch arm palm backwards, so shoulder is in arm.
Rotate the arm, and swing at the same time so that the hand moves in a spiral.
The shoulder shouldn’t rise, keep the shoulder down throughout.

Use a pointer to keep the middle when you do the one move we learned this workshop.
There’s two dots
Back goes back, front guess forward. Keep the middle
Make the empty line become real (the line between the dots) and the real line (up your arm) become empty
Dots can be anywhere (and line) except where your have been grabbed.

Master Feng
If you don’t block me, you die. If you do block me, I’ve got you.

Seal the foot by pulling the arm into it

Fall on your back to throw them, then you eventually realize you don’t have to fall,

Might want to practice ki-ups first

Not a push but a flip
Entice them to make them fight, lock on, then flip
Make them go over, then kick at the bottom
Elbow down, towards front, hand back on shoulder

Details from doing it
Knee goes s into the empty space between their legs.
Hand turns
Elbow goes into the empty space in front of them.

Do it exactly the way Master Chen says.

Mobilize the shoulder exercise
Stiff hand and arm, relaxed shoulder, put both through the range of motion in each shoulder cuff (not all the way the shoulder can go in each direction)

July 19
The front of the lever can’t do anything by design. We went to do something with it rather than move the back (foot). The front cannot move.

Use the foot and it will impale
Use the knee and it will bounce them

Whenever you’re short you can only go in. Get longer.

Kelvin’s class

Twisting Towel
Fetch water
Six sealing four closing

Twisting Towel
Same move, different orientation
Ball bearing on the back on spine
The dot is actually inside the torso, between the back and the solar plexus (upper dantien)
Push it down to the feet
These two isolations make the structure heavy, and your chest opens up.
The looseness is because you’re center is heard, your structure is heavy

The rest of the body doesn’t move, acts like a rope
The tension will gradually make your body more aware of the center, till you can use a motor at the center

Create stiffness
Bend knee
Move knee back to tighten the dot from kua to heel (add if there were weight on it)
Opposite of human normal.
Straighten the knee when walking, rather than walking forward on bent knee.

The monkey king with a ring on his head to stop him from moving his head. He can only turn his neck. (You want to develop that ring)

You have to learn to make yourself smaller, pack it in a smaller box.

Your opponent is the biggest distraction
They’ll never line up with you.

There are wild flowers on the side of the road, don’t pick them.

Old Chinese poem about extramarital affairs, but in taiji can stand for not getting distracted by the opponent.

When (if) you find a dot you have to slide over it.

Every move you must realized you’re stuck, and become unstuck.

Train hand go straight, elbow straight back
Go over the dot in the center of the torso
Train this until you don’t have to think about it.

There’s no movement, the tension makes it go round when pushed on.

Eventual exercise:
We’ll practice this on maybe five years
When he pushes or pulls, I’m able to keep the same position with no movement
Goes from very big on the outside to very big on the inside.
Out on top, in on bottom. Or out with hand, in with elbow, on the same hand at the same time.

Lock the back, lock the fingers, push into the elbows, but constrain them to only move in the live towards the fingers (railroad track)

Once you have the track, the direction can be changed (you can move the track anywhere). You have to get the straight railroad tracks first.

Use a big stick to help visualize the rail.

Eventually get that internal circle down to the size of a grain of sand

You need to have at least two points on a line to be on the line.

On touching, get them off the line.
Like Newton balls.
If there are two, one will bounce off.
If there are three, the third one bounces, and you can’t hold onto it. That’s why we create the middle one, and say don’t move it. Cause the two sides to fight. The referee causes the two sides to compete. Control the referee, the point in the middle.

Learn to isolate the body so that it’s not all moving as one piece.

Stick exercise, find the center
Hold a stick, both palms down
Opponent grabs outside your hands and creates a dot at the center of the stick, only then can it rotate.

There has to be something not in the contested dimension.

What is the method of training?
You have to get a stick, get a person, and train this.
It won’t work if it’s a round stick (you’ll spin the stick forwards or backwards). If it rotates, the direction is lost. You can keep it straight, not turning the stick. The stick has to be caught and keep it’s orientation

Wrinkles catch.
When power is not essential, anything works.
When you want power, grip is a shape, and shape matters. With no shape you can’t grip.
Round is not a shape, you can’t grip it.
Movement is a change of shape.

Everything is timing, we’re fighting a timer
Each part differentiates at different times
If you miss the timing of that specific imprint, you won’t hit that timing again.

Traditional training, when you’re ready the teacher will shock you, and you’ll learn from that.
If can be a weird process, and you can pick up things the teacher didn’t teach.

Listening and learning:
It’s very precise.
Nobody listens, 120 people at one seminar, nobody was listening.

You have to do the physical activity. You can’t train mentally. You can’t eat off an empty plate, or drink from an empty cup.

Stop means pause, don’t cease whatever you’re doing, just hold it.

Extremely strong until it turns soft.
Twisting Towel
Set up the fight with the arms, one hand out, one elbow in.
Create a line from your left shoulder to right heel.
Keep the upper body locked.
Rotate on the line without losing that lock.
If they try to push on that line or move you, put more strength into that line.
Don’t lose the line or the lock. Rotate on that line

Find the middle
Like a devilsticks, or finding the balance point of a sword.
Find the middle when pushing on someone
(Look for the elbow, pull it in to you, go under with the kua)
Takes years to find it
And when you do it doesn’t work
That’s why people had only one technique.

Pick one technique and make it totally work

Fetch Water
When you’re doing a move your hand becomes bigger, the rest becomes smaller

Criss cross lines, actually three lines (up center, and criss cross on the body)

Put power in the move
You have to stretch until your shoulders are gone

When you bend a stick, you should only feel the two ends. If you feel the middle of the stick it will break

It’s all stretching
If you’re stuck in the middle, get rid of it.

Connect the two dots

Pole exercise
Put a stick like a rail by your side
Walk up the stick without moving your kua from it
Like you have a belt loop (or key ring, or belt) wrapped around the stick. It has to give you a feeling if you move closer or away
It’s a knee action, always bend to the same size
Don’t cheat

The body always adjusts

Have opponent push into the kua, straight, level steady, and walk through it. Moving just the feet

Make a stable platform, and move the platform

If you twist the platform a little bit, the opponent can’t move their feet

When there’s power on the kua, the feet can move
Fight and nice requires space
Space is power
Have to be totally rigid

If you want to restrict movement, block the opponent’s knee

Knee to ming men to other knee should be a horseshoe.
Down switching
Main mechanism in taiji movement is the exchange of yao and dao.
Yao is the belt, dao is the up and down of that kua.

Turning the up and down (of the kua) into a rotation, a beveled gear is the essence of taiji.

This is the mechanical explanation of taiji. If you try to stop it you can’t, because the power is coming from elsewhere.

Power from one kua needs to go to the other.

Six sealing four closing

Back foot straight (instep straight)
Front foot at 45°
Arm out at 45°
Waist doesn’t move
Push one bead to the other side.
Not moving the kuas.

Only change is to realign the torso, and change the curvature of the arm

There’s a series of lines and rotations that will be corrected.

Peng, it’s like a guitar string or a trampoline, if you push / strum it, you will bounce

Because our eyes are in front, we’re always a little short in back. The power in the front must come from the back. Go further back further than you think you need to.

The only move is to separate the kuas. The rest comes from that

Back elbow should seek to touch a wall at your back foot.

If you make any other move, you’re moving not rotating.

Two gears that interlock on one move, not two moves.

Obtuse isosceles triangle between the two gears

Remember the feeling, next time the angles just be different

Precise gearing,
not movement,
not powering up

A gear is smooth, it doesn’t have the setup for energy to get stuck

Don’t move the center, the center is what spits both sides out.

What’s the position?
On my throat

Demarcation line is at the shoulder, front of torso, kua

You can make any move except the one you want to.

In general you want to be slightly wider than your normal position

When you do it right, you don’t feel anything
When you do it wrong you feel something.
Very hard to remember what you don’t feel.

If you listened to the instructions, you can teach

Paired corrections on 6 sealing 4 closing, with an observer to correct

If you want real power, go underneath

If you’re stuck in the arm, stretch your kua to make the power go to their other shoulder or hand (depends on your aim)
Add another line from kua to them

Spend time on the exercise until you get them

Feel the elbow in hand
Move the elbow till it aims at your own palm (center of the palm)

Then later
Kua to elbow
Foot to kua

Connect the elbow to the hand

Hold the opponents hand with both your hands
Handshake and one on the outside
Give them the best angle and setup you can
You’ll want to feel their elbow make it up to and through their hand (pointed at you)
Elbow may need to be aligned, hand or wrist may need to be corrected

This is the move
First tense elbow to hand,
then rest of body to back foot

What you see as a punch is the extension (because the opponent moved back)
The punch is before the extension
This is the idea of impaling

Find and break the center
Lock the bottoms of the knees
Front and back, all he can do is center rotation
Break it into two

Creating pairs of two

The outside moved, the inside is still here

Pull the middle of the line from the inside
Half goes one way, half goes the other
The center needs to split into each side

Find a stalemate (neutralize)
Fight hard to release one to go to the demarcation line easily
Go to the other side
Without the opponent noticing

Usually the one we release goes back and we get stuck

By release: can’t affect the rest of the structure
You can use power to generate this, but once you understand it you don’t need to use power.

Your arm must feel like it’s a jacket on a coat hanger, independent of the rest of the structure.

The opponent has to feel he can get me.
You have to pretend to be losing, otherwise they won’t let you do anything

If there’s external movement you aren’t splitting the center.
It’s all in the kuas
Lock your knees
Expose both femoral creases

The move we did this workshop is called the open triangle

The way we move the knee is to extend the line between buttock and Achilles tendon
We’re never doing strange circles to move, out wobbling
Same with knee and shoulder

The body is made of open triangles that all move in the same way.

Ancient taiji book:
Before silk reeling was called spider’s knot.
When a moth touches it, is tied up in a knot

Drawing on white board
Groups of sine or cosine waves through the body.
No master picture of the body structure

Today we use a spiral
It’s synthesized and distilled, anstracted
Separated from the body.
Where is there a spiral on the body?

Set the parameters, let people draw the short curves on the body.
The concept is to use half circles, joint to joint along the body.

Joining parts do not move
Like transformers, some don’t twist, but they can be pulled.

You can link multiple triangles and lines to the same point. Create a trampoline on that point.


Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy August 5, 2022 at 10:08 am

Thanks, Aaron, for such detailed notes!


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