Saturday, June 28, 2008

More on Random Axial Rotation

As requested by some of you who watched the clip on Youtube, I will explain the Random Axial Rotation a little more.

If you look at the diagram above on the left: lets say, the blue line represent a rotational force around the left Yinqiao Mai Axis, and the red around the right. When the two lines are not interacting, the resulting force vectors follows a simple "S" line, which is quite easy for the opponent to get out of.

Typically, you want the blue line to be passively driven by the opponent's incoming force and directed into a spiral by your rotation; and the red line is a secondary rotation resulting from the first. The result is a series of complex intersecting force lines that pulls in the opponent as well as throwing him out, as expressed by the above diagram on the right.

The rotations should be 3-dimensional. In general, the less you think, the more passive and reactive you are, the more effective. Also, the more skewered the axis and the more random the rotations, the harder it is for the opponent to escape. Do not over complicate your visualization. When you let go and just let it be, the more complex the resultant fore factors become.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random Double Axial Rotation

As requested, this is just a quick example on how else you can use the Double Axial Rotation. The key is to "adapt and switch" between the two axis according to the opponent's direction of forces, trapping him, redirecting him and destroying his structures.
The other key is that while one axis is movable, the other axis must be totally stable, and the contact point must be so light the opponent cannot sense your strengths and weaknesses.

Please note this is NOT a demonstration, but was filmed during a practice session.

For more information see

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Double Axial Rotation using the Yin Qiao Mai

Challenge: How does one absorb an opponent’s strike, redirect his power, return with a powerful counter-strike, while remain complete stability, simultaneously?

Answer: Double Axial Rotation!

Here is how:
  1. Establish the Left Yinqiao Mai (LYQM) as the first axis of rotation. Let the rest of the body relax and freely rotate around this LYQM. The more relaxed you are, the freer the rotation and the less resultant force on the LYQM. This means that the more relaxed you are, the more stable you become.
  2. Allow the Right Yinqiao Mai (RYQM) to rotate and “fall” around LYQM. The RYQM acts as the second axis of rotation.
  3. Allow the strike to “spin out” from the RYQM.
  4. Be free to swap the role between LYQM and RYQM quickly to adapt to the opponent.

End result: The rotations around the two YQM act as two vortices. As the opponent makes contact with you, his force vectors are trapped within the ever changing vortices. While you remain completely stable, his power becomes completely dissolved. His incoming power also help you work out how to achieve the best “spin” for the counter-strike. The double rotation gives you tremendous speed, while the “falling” RYQM deliver your entire body weight into your strike.

The key to doing this properly is to stay RELAXED!

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Tips on Controlling the Opponent's "Jing Yuan"

A friend from Brazil who does a different form of Martial Arts recently asked me this question:

"Some time I controled his Jing Yuan point in the first contacts, closing the energy circuit, but I lost this control very easy...What are your comments regard this?"

To begin with, first have a look at this clip from Youtube:

To understand the opponent's Jing Yuan, you must first understand your own Jing Yuan. How? Try this simple exercise:

1. Stand approximately 30cm away from the wall, facing it, feet parallel.
2. Put both hands on the wall, shoulder width apart, at shoulder level.
3. Push against the wall by extending the arm.
You will find that when you do the above correctly, you will push yourself off balanced. You should also be able to feel a region somewhere between Du.9 and Du.6 being "pushed back" equally but opposite direction to the application of the force on the wall by your arms. This is your static Jing Yuan.

Now, try pushing against the wall in different stances, different distances, different angles, then move on to pushing a moving object such as a car. You will find the reflective region may NOT be directly between your shoulder blades anymore, but moving somewhere near the region depending on the way you apply the force.

Your opponent's Jing Yuan is similar to this. Although it is always going to be close to his shoulder blades, it will never be static as his actions will always be dynamic. Train yourself to be sensitive to his changes so you can always precisely locate his Jing Yuan by feel, and not by anatomical features. If you can do this properly you will always be able to instantaneously "bounce" him out as soon as he applies forces.

So, how do you maintain a "lock" on the Jing Yuan?

By applying a very small amount of pressure on the opponent, the "four ounces" as described by the Tai Chi Classics, you can constantly keep track of the opponent's Jing Yuan. However, the amount of pressure applied MUST be small enough not to let the opponent detect, so he cannot capitalize on it and attack you in return. Occasionally, you can also "nudge" him to provoke a reaction to recapture the Jing Yuan. But the golden rule as always, never give the opponent enough to sense you.

So, when do you actually us the Jing Yuan to throw the opponent? As soon as the path between you and his Jing Yuan is consolidated. This usually happens when he wishes to use strength, or when you have chase/control him so much he could no longer run. But NEVER try to throw him if the path is not consolidated. If you do so before consolidation occurs, your throw will not be effective and he may be able to retaliate. Hence, learning to feel for the consolidation is also an important part of training.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Yin Qiao Mai: The Forgotten Line

Everyone knows about Dantien. Everyone knows about Ran Mai and Du Mai.

However, people often forget the importance of the YIN QIAO MAI.

In certain Chinese cultivation systems, it is believed that the Yin Qiao acts like a reservoir that supplies Qi to the other seven extraordinary meridians and the twelve classical meridians. Which means, if the Yin Qiao is strong, the rest of the meridians and the body is strong.
In martial arts, the Yin Qiao is one of the most useful alignment if one wants to achieve a strong stance.
While the most popular stance in martial arts seems to be the "square" looking ones, you can always improve your stability by utilizing the Yin Qiao alignment. How? Here are the steps:
1. Imagine a line that starts from the left pupil of your eye, run it down the left the side of the neck along the sternoclaidomastoid muscle, keep going down to the left hip ball joint, down the inner 1/3 of the thigh and leg, and end in the left foot arch.
2. Do the same with the right pupil and down the right side of the body.
3. Imagine the two lines flexible and resilient like bamboos.
4. Keep the two lines skewered.
Play with it, experiment with it. See whether you can make it work. If you can work it out, you will definitely find your stance a lot more stable.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Qi: More than just a load of Hot Air

One of the most argued topic in Chinese martial arts and traditional Chinese medicine is the exisience of Qi. So does Qi really exist? The answer is YES.... and NO.

The problem is, a lot of people had turned the concept of Qi into some esoteric mystical "Jedi Force" in order to make a dollar. Subsequently, the smarter section of the public becomes so sick of the superstition surrounding it the whole Qi concept became a farce.

In my opinion, the Qi concept is a empirical model that explains certain observable phenomenon and a method to achieve certain results. Ancient Chinese had no sophisticated machines to look at cellular processes. It is also a way for the body to comunicate certain information with the consciousness. A form of "Synesthesia". For thousands of year, through trial and error, the Qi theory had become quite water tight and useful in many situations. In Tai Chi it is a good way to help align and consolidate body structures, and to help the practitioner "listen to" his/her body and the opponents'.

If we do have to dissect the nature of Qi in Western scientific terms, I believe it is a function of normal physiology, neuro-anatomy, psychology and possibly some other natural biological functions that requires more scientific studies.

If an apple drops on my head, I will most probably end up eating it and feeling good about it afterwards; We only need one Isaac Newton every so often. Same as, if the concept of Qi can help you achieve a certain goal, there is no need to super-analyse it. If you believe in it, that's great. If you don't, just call it something else that you are comfortable with and see whether it can take you somewhere.