Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Footnote on Intent, "因敵變化視神奇"

To a certain degree, everyone has a little natural ability of unifying Shen Yi Qi. The moment your opponents' Shen Yi Qi unites even a little is when they are most powerful/effective. And once you fully understand how your own Shen Yi Qi (subconscious, conscious, body) works together, you can work on your opponents' too and make them ineffective by disrupting their Shen Yi Qi connection.

How the opponents' own Shen Yi Qi works and how to disrupt it completely depends on the opponent. Everyone is different and we must learn to adapt. Hence the Tai Chi saying "因敵變化視神奇" "Change according to the opponent" applies not just to the opponents' physical force, but to the opponent's complete self.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Yi, Intent

In Tai Quan, there is a saying "用意不用力 Use Yi (Intent) not Li (physical strength)".

So, what exactly is intent? How do we use it?

As mentioned many times before, the most important aspect of good Tai Chi is the cultivation of Shen Yi Qi 神意氣. Shen is the master control, related to the subconscious, and not accessible directly. Qi follows the expression of the Shen, directed by "真意 Zhen Yi" or "True Intent". So Yi becomes the only part of the Shen Yi Qi equation that we can have direct, conscious control over.

When we are consciously lifting weights, while we are consciously drive our actions, we are ignoring all other sensory input from the body and the master control of Shen. Hence even if we are able to generate a lot of muscular strength, it is not smart strength.

Through Tai Chi training, we learn to communicate with the Shen. When we "intent" to achieve a certain result and unite it with the Shen, "Zhen Yi" is achieved which directs the Qi that drives the movement of the body almost on a subconscious level. The good thing about generating strength in this manner is that sensory input from the body is not ignored by the Shen (your subconscious), so it is constantly micro adjusted to the most effective state to achieve the result. This is why Tai Chi master seems to be able to issue such powerful strikes and throws with such minimal effort. Really, the effort is there, but at a different level.

When we want to read the opponent's intention, it is basically the process in reverse. If we rely on just our eyes to observe the opponent, the rest of our senses are ignored and we become ineffective. However, if we let it be, we let all our body senses free to acquire information, passing it to the Shen (our subconscious), and the Shen presents the summarized information to our conscious awareness, often in the form of "intuition" or even Qi sensation. Again, it is only possible if we have learnt to utilize our Shen Yi Qi effectively.

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.