Knowledge : Glossary and terms

Sink the Shoulder is a glossary for Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 6 min.   In: English   Year: 2021  Difficulty:1/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

KSinking the Shoulder 2o210210
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Lu, Cai, Lie i

by Kelvin Ho on 2021/01/14

Master Chen demonstrated Lu, Cai, and Lie with in-with-elbow in “Shake the Pole”. These three belong to the same group.

Lu 捋 – You grab the opponent’s arm, pull him in, and throw him onto the other side. There is no severance of the arm in this case.
Cai 採 – You grab the opponent’s arm, and pull on it quickly to sever it at the shoulder. This is like plucking a flower.
Lie 挒- You grab the opponent’s arm, and pull him in. He hits your body, which provides a stop to the incoming force. This also allows the arm to be severed at the shoulder.

Adjust Yourself, Not Your Opponent

First you make contact, then you adjust yourself, in the end you defeat your opponent. This process is what we generally call “Adjust yourself, not your opponent”.

On making the initial contact, Peng must be present. As soon as you touch your opponent you must establish superiority over him/her. You must be lose advantage.

If you succeed in dealing with the initial contact, you already have won half the battle. Where you make the contact, do not move it. You can only make some minor adjustments. The key to success is whether while holding (Peng) your opponent, you can adjust yourself. Beside the point of contact, adjust the rest of your body to the most advantageous position.

At this point, you can beat you opponent any way you chose to. If it is not the case, your first two steps were not done right.

KelvinHoProfile14A leader is someone or something that others follow.  If a number of people have to go through a tunnel that is only large enough to fit a person through at a time, the first person who goes through it is the leader, whom the rest of the people just follow. If multiple people try to go through the tunnel at the same time, there will be a jam, and no one can come out the other end. Read more

This is the most basic three count of the Practical Method positive circle.


In this mini video, Master Chen Zhonghua explains how to judge the size of movements by using a point of reference.
This is part of the Sept. 8, 2020 online video of Master Chen Zhonghua
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 1 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:1/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Size Reference 20200908
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When you know how to rotate, you will need to have an anti-reversal lock on your body. This way, you will be able to rotate continuous forward, and won’t lose the gain of your rotation.



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Dixian,底线,bottom line,  is the most basic of the Practical Method. It refers to things that cannot be questioned, discussed or researched. They are things that must be accepted in whole. Read more


At the August 13, 2020 “Absolute Beginners” Mandarin Online session, Master Chen Zhonghua focused on the explanation and demonstration of the concept of “Cuokai”, rub to open. This mini video is on the topic of the “Rubbing Open the Front Axis”. In Practical Method, there are three vertical axis. Front, Middle and Rear. These three axis are used to perform “Switching” of the Yaodang (waist and dang), or the pivot. The front vertical axis is the vertical line from the front shoulder to the front kua. The Middle vertical line is from the Baihui point on the head to the Huiyin point in the crotch. The Rear Vertical Axis is from the rear shoulder to the rear kua.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 2 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:1/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Grind Open With A Vertical Axis August 13, 2020
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Chen Zhonghua’s online lesson on August 11, 2020. This one hour lesson focused on the concept (terminology) of re-calibration in Practical Method.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 59 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:3/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Chen Zhonghua Online Lesson on August 11, 2020
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Master Chen Zhonghua talked about the concept of de-synchronization in request of Paul’s inquiry.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 6 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:1/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

Online Lesson 2020-De-Synchronization20200809
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石碾 Stone mill

In taiji we say “Sink down to grind out”. This saying refers to the action of this device. It is called a Nian.

Sink down, is when the grinding stone goes over something, it does not float up lightly, instead, it will go over within downward sinking power. It moves forward leaving a trail of powder behind!

In addition, when we push this grinding stone forward parallel to the the ground, our forward power is converted to an vertical power through this device called Nian. This is taiji conversion!

Today we have grinders

Hong called it “gear box”

Old days they were called Xia Ta Wai Nian!


In China, old can mean a few thousand years, can also mean less than a hundred years. Read more

This is an Answer by Chen Zhonghua to Spencer Jones’ question on synchronization and de-synchronization.
Presenter: Chen Zhonghua   Length: 3 min.   In: English   Year: 2020  Difficulty:4/5  At:Edmonton Chen Zhonghua Taiji Academy

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Spencer Jones:

In the past I’ve heard you talk about the top half and lower half being two different rhythms. I was aimlessly trying to incorporate that into this move. This explanation is very clear. Now i just have to watch your movements in slow motion a few hundred times. Thanks again.

Chen Zhonghua:

Best way is to look at how the car moves. Wheels rotate and the body of the car moves forward. We normally assume that the car body movement and wheel movement are the same, are synchronized or are directly related. They are not. They are very indirectly related! If they are directly related, the car jerks!

Spencer Jones:

That is helpful. Thanks. I’ll send you a video of my progress once I’ve worked on it some.

Chen Zhonghua:

Another aspect of this de-synchronization can be observed in an old bicycle. In the old no gear bicycle, you pedal to power the bicycle. You pedal hard and fast to make it move faster. But you have the choice of stop pedaling and let the bicycle coast on its own. This means that there is a clutching and de-clutching process involved. Without it, you will have to pedal all the time and when the bicycle is going fast downhill, you might break your legs because you can not follow the speed of the pedals rotation!

The clutching and de-clutching, in our taiji terms, the synchronization and de-synchronization, is the yin yang union and yin yang separation.

Jieshou, a Chinese word that means “accept hand”, is a term used in Practical Method. You will get an idea of what it means after viewing the video clip.

It is important to know that Practical Method does not allow head-on collision in making initial (or any other) contact with the opponent.

This is a clip of teaching video at the Dec. 2019 New York workshop.


What is Fajin? 2

by Kelvin Ho on 2018/12/01

Toronto Oct 13, 2018

Toronto Oct 13, 2018

Master Chen has stated before fajin is everything is in the correct place, add speed. How do we ad speed?
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Clarity 1

by Kelvin Ho on 2018/11/30

Toronto, Oct 23, 2018

Toronto, Oct 23, 2018

When I first heard Master Chen Zhonghua talk about clarity, he was referring to our movements which needed to be clear, meaning that if we wanted a body part to move in a particular way, no other body part should compete or be dragged into that movement. For hand-out, the hand must clearly be the leader, whereas for elbow-in, the elbow must clearly be the leader. When we practice yilu, we must learn to do it in a segmented way, like writing block letters rather than cursive. We must first establish a train track in our bodies, so our actions will cause our body parts to move along the track (in other words, according to specific principles). The opponent may be fooled by our actions, but we certainly must be very clear on what we tried to do. In practice, we must have a clear goal, so our practice is focused and can take us there.
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Taiji Trinity i

by Kelvin Ho on 2017/08/04

Principle: Separation of Yin and Yang
Concept: Indirect Power
Action: In with elbow no hand, out with hand no elbow.

These are three ways of describing taiji. They are one and the same.

Master Chen Zhonghua discussed the above during a Q&A session at the North American Practical Method Training Camp from Jul 29 to Aug 2, 2017.

Video on the difference of Rotation and Revolution movement in Practical Method system.

Jiaobiejin, pronounced as cheobiejin, is a special characteristic of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system. Read more

  • Positive circle
    Zheng Quan  正圈 Read more

For a person to function normally, the body and the mind must work together seamlessly. In taijiquan, this state of being is called the harmony of the body and the mind. It is also called the union of the body and the mind.

In terms of yin yang theory in taijiquan, body and mind are the opposite. They don’t always harmonize in many activities. The body mind connection becomes more and more distant as humans age. The practice of taijiquan, is said to help rebuild the body and mind connection for many people.

lilia KelIn taijiquan, we have a saying “Both hands and the heart are forgotten”, and “The body and mind are harmonized as one”. To be more direct, we say that the learning and the using are the same. Both Grandmasters Chen Fake and Hong Junsheng  said, “Practice the way you would use it”. One who can achieve this level of ability is certainly a skilled person. It is unfortunately too difficult to reach this level. Read more

Taiji can certainly be considered a form of specialized technology, and like any specialized technology, this requires special language.

That language is something we have to be very careful of because, in many cases, a word with a ‘common’ meaning often has a special, more extensive, or more precise meaning than the one we would normally attribute to it.



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The Yilu Challenge 1

by Kelvin Ho on 2014/07/01

Serious students of the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method are asked to do as many Yilus as possible for a single day. This practice started in 2001 by Master Chen Zhonghua and is known today as the Yilu Challenge.  The 100 Yilu Challenge tests the students courage, endurance and power level. Read more

Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method system produces power through many ways such as structure, angles and adherence. The result is that this type of power is perceived as real in the eyes of the opponent but not such in the eyes of the practitioner himself/herself. This type of power is called perceived power. Read more

This is the “ten character dictum” by Grandmaster Hong Junsheng. Read more

Don’t move! Don’t move your hands! Don’t move your torso! Don’t move your body! Don’t move your center! Don’t move your knee! Don’t move your feet! Read more

Sit the wrist is a special term used in Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method. It means that the wrist must be stretched open into a curved position and then locked into place. This is also part of the Tile Hand requirement.

The classic mention of this term is “understanding the three joints” (明三节). Read more

Range of motion refers to the ability to move and the extent of movements in taijiquan. It is NOT the same as flexibility. Read more

There are two types of movements in Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method.

  1. Primary movements. 
  2. Secondary movements. Read more
  1. Left hand
  2. Right hand
  3. Left foot
  4. Right foot
  5. Head

These are considered the five points of the outside of the body. Everything else is considered the inside of the body.

There are 5 stages of practice. We can also call them five stages of learning.

  • 1. Choreography. This is the first stage. The student only learns to remember the choreography of the routines. Memory of the movements and names of the moves can be used as a method for learning.
  • 2. Coordination. At this stage a sudent tries to put the movements into a logical coherent synthesis.
  • 3. Clarity and Energy. The body must be able to clearly show what the practitioner is trying to accomplish.
  • 4. Application. The student is applying the movements and techniques in his mind.
  • 5. Flow. All movements must flow while keeping all of the above principles.

Note: This is not the 5 levels of gongfu in Taiji. This is just the chronological stages of learning.

Align i

by admin2 on 2013/01/15

  1. Align
    Usually this means three energy points (on your own or counted with the opponent’s body part together) moving on the same straight line.

Down i

by admin2 on 2013/01/15

  1. Down
    Moving downwards with any part of the body without causing any other part of the body to move with it.

Open i

by admin2 on 2013/01/07

  1. Open
    To move away from one another.
  1. Proportional
    Same as to “meter out”. Every move must be compensated or matched by movements of all other parts of the body.

We distinguish between movement, which is used for positioning, and action which facilitates rotation. Movement is horizontal in space, forward or backward, left or right. Rotation involves internal vertical adjustments and repositioning of inner space, actions required for directing power outwards, from a stable structure.

originally published on 2008/03/03