Michael Lamberti

–I missed a good deal today, especially right after lunch, but these are the notes I took–

Foundation practice and Yilu are to warm up the body. The body must be separated into Yin and Yang, structure and action. The body has to completely lock up with the exception of one piece. Then an action has to move that one piece. The action has to be outside the body, but it’s also in the body. It’s like a hand with a powerful grip on a screwdriver. The hand is not part of the screwdriver, but it is part of the screwdriver. All the action comes from the hand, none from the screwdriver. But they move as one.

We have to learn to get a hold on a line. Ignore the arm or whatever it is and just get a hold on the line. A hold requires being on both sides of the line. Scissors are designed to get a hold, to get on both sides, of something as thin as paper.

The power used to throw a cotton ball at someone is the same as the power used to throw a stone at someone. The difference is the cotton ball absorbs that power on impact, while the stone transfers that power to the person it hits on impact.

To deal with a solid object, use a stick. To deal with an object that’s not solid, use a bow and arrow. These two structures can be seen all throughout the world. They are fundamental.

The highest level of fighting is when someone adds the third dot to a line and finishes the opponent’s move for them. Taiji is unclear in a way that is clear. The three dots are totally independent and unrelated to each other, but they must happen at the same time. It is as though a professor is teaching a large class, and everyone is listening and paying attention at the same time, but they are listening and paying attention independent from each other. Our movements are completely separate from each other, but the opponent feels one move. A qun (large mythical bird) and a gnat cannot understand each other, the qun lives for millions of years, the gnat from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM. And yet, their stories are the same: birth, growth, sex, reproduction, decay, death. They cannot relate, but it’s exactly the same. Taiji is everything put together by one thing: time

TO 190909 Group PhotoFirst I had to not push the opponent and just find the wall with my back. When it wasn’t working so well it was because I was too far from the wall. It got a little bit better, but I was hitting the wall too straight so my stretch wasn’t as long as it could have been. Once that was fixed by lowering more to hit the wall, my fingers were not angled correctly towards the opponent and extending past the demarcation line. Once all those things were corrected, I was able to push better. Read more

The surface of all the joints is equal to the size of the body. The body has three dimensions: side to side, front to back, and top to bottom. If the body has a volume of 100 units, it is made up of joints whose surface is also equal to 100 when fully utilized. A rotation without movement will translate all 100 units of the body’s power.
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In taiji we are always anticipating strikes. We curve to avoid strikes, but too much curve means a loss of power.

The problem with taiji is we have too much theory and not enough physical practice. The problem with other martial arts is too much physical practice and not enough theory. Great martial artists are great thinkers.
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-I missed the first hour.

To manipulate and opponent requires gradually altering the “friction” of the contact points. We need to be able to go from 10 units of friction to 8 units to 6 to 4 to 2 as we do a move, and we need to be able to do this more quickly than the opponent can adapt to us. This is very difficult to do, it requires a lot of foundations. When someone is pushing us, if we have too much yang we will lose, too much yin and we will also lose.

The universe was nothing, and then was created through a rotational force. Therefore, a rotational force cannot be countered. This does not mean a rotational force can do everything. However, the progress of a rotational force is unlimited; 360 degrees. An external straight line has an end.
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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.
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Learning i

by Michael Lamberti on 2019/03/02

I will attempt to recount what Master Chen shared about learning the morning of 3/2/19 at the Toronto workshop.
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My attempt to recount what Master Chen said the morning of 3/2/2019 at the Toronto workshop
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In the late afternoon of the first day of my first workshop with Master Chen, a wave of remorse and sadness swelled up in me, seemingly out of nowhere. Earlier in the day, two other workshop participants talked to me about decisions they were faced with that reminded me of a difficult period in my life, but there were no other obvious reasons why these emotions would well up.

I was not exerting myself in that moment, most of us were standing in a circle watching Master Chen demonstrate something on one of the other participants. The feelings were intense, but not overwhelming. I continued to pay attention, participate, and enjoy the workshop. There was also a degree of detachment from the feelings, a sense that they were somehow taiji-related and would pass. The feelings moved from foreground to background after a few minutes, but became strong again after the workshop had ended for the day and I was on the subway alone.

They faded for good the next morning after a restful sleep. I have since been told that Master Chen recommends being unmoved by feelings that occur during training or that take us away from training. I feel I did a reasonably good job of this at the time. I find it encouraging that training remained my priority in the midst of a potentially powerful distraction.