Carlotta Viviani

  • Circle: the circle drawn by the shoulder must be bigger than the circle drawn by the hand.
  • Exercise: use a support for the front wrist, like a chair. The wrist cannot move (but it rotates). Do a negative circle with the rest of the body going up and down. The middle today is the shoulder, the two not moving ends are the rear foot and the front hand.
    Going down is physical at the beginning, later on is how we connect to the foot.
  • Every move in Yilu is to tie and untie a knot, to lock and unlock the body. We need a lot of torque and twisting.
  • Training process. We go from a unary system (based on one) to a binary system (based on two) to a ternary system (based on three). Three is stable, but not usable. So we go to a quaternary system (based on four) and we’re in chaos again and come back to stability in a quinary system (based on five). Five, like the five elements, means stable. Three is structural stable, five is rotation. To have stability in space, we need to rotate, we need to have five.
  • The interaction between the five elements, based on Dantian/centre, means stability. Chinese value the colour yellow, like yellow earth. It represents stability and for this reason is the colour of the Emperor.
  • Training exercise: “Fist draping over body”, “Lean with back”, “Fist covering hand downwards” with power. The intent: we have to throw something out of the body. At the beginning don’t worry about the structure, later on we can control it.

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  • In fighting we need to be in a position where our opponent can only see our fist, not the body. (Can somebody please write the Chinese word for it? I recall the sound, but not the spelling). The ni position is the opposite, the body is exposed to our opponent.
  • Kick with the heel: as we extend one leg ,the body has to go down for the kick to result in a straight extension. It has to remain on the track.
    Generally we have to remember: the pivot must be anchored (stability=dot), the movement must be on the track. In doing the Form we cannot add these things too early.
  • Learn to listen to the sounds. Clothes, stepping, breathing… it gives us a wider view of the system. The ability of replicate the sound relates to the ability of replicate the move. “Body breaking wind” sound.
  • To dig/scoop (chinese wa includes both concepts). We used “cloud hands” for training the digging. Lock the front hand and foot and use the middle (elbow-shoulder-kua) to dig. Lots of power on the kua, because of the kua cannot move, the resulting action is a rotation.
    To dig properly we cannot move the rear shoulder. Two body parts not moving, only move the middle. It is humanly not possible, we have two but we need three. If we can do a little bit of it, we already have uncommon abilities.
  • In learning the count is one-two-three, in the real move everything is performed at the same time
  • Increase differential: capacity to move the body without moving the outside.
  • When we dig, we cut something off of our opponent

Today I heard one person repeating for three times: “When we focus on something, that something keeps expanding”.

I smiled remembering the exercise we were practising on Thursday: Make the front shoulder disappear. How do we do that? By focusing our intention on something else, exaggerating the motion of the rear shoulder (it should touch the ear).
Taking for example fetch water, by stretching the two ends – rear shoulder and front hand – , the middle – front shoulder- disappears.
When the intention is on something else, the front shoulder is relaxed.

The very same person suggested an exercise for the evening, that we thank for everything. Also for the difficulties because they let us improve. I remember what Master Chen said a couple of months ago: “Things we cannot do are the things that let us improve.” What a gift that there are so many things in Practical Method we cannot do!

Since I was not able to do the exercise on Thursday and be corrected, I put myself in front of the mirror and did the exercise trying to copy what I observed from Master Chen and some of you. If the only instructions we should follow are them that don’t make any sense to us, this is definitely the case. I’ve come to enjoy a lot the happiness of ‘being stupid’. I hope I learn to trust it more and judge myself less.

Thanks for the exercise! Buon lavoro to everybody:)

During the class I was training the following exercise. I stopped now and then to write down what Master Chen was saying.
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Hong was used to say his Taiji is like a garden. Everybody is welcome to come, have a look and take what he or she wants to take. If you cut a flower, it might last a week. If you can take the seeds, maybe in some years you’ll have your own garden.

Always teach everything, always present things in the same way. If someone understands, it has nothing to do with you. If somebody does not understand, don’t feel guilty: there’s nothing wrong with you and nothing wrong with him/her.

We practiced an empty handed exercise, standing on one leg:

  1. one foot stretches backward
  2. arms from the armpit stretch forward
  3. body goes down (going down is regarded as not moving)
  • Train only arm-foot coordination first
  • Cave chest in
  • Hand and foot do not link to the torso
  • Make the moves small. The risk of linking the torso either to the foot or hand increases with large moves
  • Once the arm-foot coordination is trained and none of them are linking to the torso, we can add the drop of the body. Add it small
  • Torso has a free fall
  • Dropping of the body: to drop we have to create space. Holding a book between two hands, if you create space between the hands and the book, the book is going to fall
  •  Three independent actions: a three way split. Our problem is we always link into one move
  • Analogy: Master Chen can see John and Kelvin on his computer, but they are independent/unrelated to each other
  • The separation of the directions not linking, not merging into each other is what Master Chen describes as “Moves must be clear”
  • The middle (torso in this case) cannot take sides, it must be independent, like a judge. The judge only applies the principle of the law, he/she does not take sides for neither of the two parts
  • The power of hand and foot is totally dependent on how strong (not moving) the centre is
  • As a training method we can rock shoulders and legs. They must be independent from the body
  • If the middle is not involved, every move is correct
  • When the middle is not involved, the hand becomes very powerful. The problem is we always want to move the middle. You realize you need at least 4 people holding you for this move to be useable
  • There is always one move in the Form which clearly  demonstrates the concept we are talking about. In this case it is the first move of White Crane (right after Turn Left to BWAPM) in the 13s. But we must be able to find it in every move of the Form
  • The move we practiced is the “easy part” and it is already very difficult to apply. The reversed part: don’t move the hands, move the body. This is even more difficult because there is no way to fix the hands while doing Push Hands. The hands are interacting with the opponent. It’s a sensitivity issue: you have to create a split of a second when your hands are not moving and you can move the body
  • Taiji is about balance. Balance in the ancient word means scale. Hong uses the concept of Leaver to achieve balance. When you find the pivot, you’re balanced
  • 100% not possible does not means it does not happen. It is like you buying a lottery ticket. The probability of winning is so low, you cannot even calculate it. So it is impossible for you to win. But it does not mean it doesn’t happen. We must understand this!

In early Autumn 2019 I was training with Lutz and Fabian. I was doing a common drill for the Practical Method, Fabian as partner: He was pushing my arm repeatedly with same power, speed, distance and rhythm. On his move I was training the elbow-in/foot out (on the front side). Read more

Through the years, in Practical Method I‘ve heard the word power associated, as different aspects of the same power, to words like: Structure, length, space, accuracy, rhythm.

The Lesson today was about Rhythm or Sequence of movements: there are very few people who cannot remember the choreography. But we all are at different levels of managing the rhythm. When your movement are totally disconnected, you will be very efficient in applications and push hands Read more

John Upshaw

  • Fist Protecting Heart to Tornado Kick. Too big. Before the turn, you have to come back into the core
  • Small Catching and Hitting. Rotating from the core (in and out)
  • Drop the Hands (before Embrace the Head to push the Mountain). This move is a cross between Six Sealing and Four Closing and Punch Covering Hand Read more
  • Missing one step. Do not miss any step: 1) in with elbow, 2) turn with the waist. Do not combine. Follow the steps. Follow the procedure. Follow the instruction

Today several students received partial Yilu corrections. Form corrections are always foundational.

Jacek Wolochowski

  • We have to keep in mind one thing: Master Chen only pick up universal things. He chooses one person and corrects his/her move, but everybody is doing the same mistake
  • We continued with Knee up and down (Xi Zou Shang Xia)
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  • After learning the choreography the next step is to reach the extreme. Stance and size must become very big
  • We have to learn to lock one place. This will force other parts of the body to continue the move. Restriction is a way to train the entire body Read more
  • Arm: don’t stretch out fully. The elbow must be bent
  • Power should come from the kua, not from the shoulder
  • The stretch must start from inside

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  • At the beginning we repeated the move we were training on 2.11.2020: Lock hand and shoulder on the same line. Move the elbow upward toward the hand/shoulder line
  • This move is the foundation. The power comes indirectly. Only this way we can cause a bounce
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I remember reading this story in Italian a few years ago. I found this translation on Internet; hope you enjoy it! Read more

Exercise: From Six sealing and four closing position

  • Lock the two ends: Hand and Shoulder on the same line. Move the middle: Elbow
  • The elbow is placed down. It has to move upward towards the hand-shoulder line
  • Elbow and kua move upwards
  • Intention is how you lead the action
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  • The learning ratio is strange. Many years of hard work (5 till 10 years) without results. But once you understand the rotation, within 3 months every move of the Yilu starts to make sense

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Using Six Sealing and Four Closing to focus on Conversion: Converting a vertical rotation to a horizontal rotation

  • You should not exist. Just a pure rotation
  • Torso rotation. The arms are not moving
  • At the beginning the hand is facing 45 degrees downwards
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