Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Joy of Practicing

[Path to Mastery 2/9/10 – Wk22 D2 (Str 9.12.09)(Ph2 11.15.09)]

Sang’s World:

The joy of practicing is that you always see something new.

For instance, today, I discovered how to relax the front of my Kwa (the front of your hips) and my pelvic floor more effectively. This resulted in my Dan-Tien being engaged, and it filling up with more energy. Now with less effort and more effectively than before, I feel my body like a hot air balloon, with the hot air expanding and opening my body as the energy circulates through my body. It’s snowing today and I felt warm outside. Funny how little things make a difference.

Gabriel (My Tai-Chi teacher) used to say, “I am still improving” even after 60 years of practice. The last time I heard it was about a month and half before his passing. I used to think he was just saying that to motivate us to study hard. Now, I am realizing that wasn’t the case. There is so much depth to the concept of Tai-Chi, that the more you study, a whole different dimension starts appearing to you.

Some Tai-Chi practitioners are able to move people without touching them. Some Tai-Chi practitioners are impervious to cold. Some Tai-Chi practitioners will ask you to choose a brick from a stack of 3 and only break that one. Some Tai-Chi practitioners will root to the floor so that they can’t be moved, or will fling a person 10~15 feet through the air.

I have witnessed Gabriel perform some of these feats. To mention a few, he could chill his skin to a point a goose bumps would appear in the middle of a hot summer’s day. In the winter, he would have people put a hand through his aura and have them feel his warm energy. He would send his energy through a building and have the people on the other side feel it or he would send his energy and make their body sway. I have witnessed him help Cancer patients with energy work and other ailments.

When I asked him how he could do it, he would just simply say, “Just practice”. He is right.

Just practice.

Continuing our Tai-Chi Journey:

8 Type Pushing Hands
1. Ting Tui-Shou (Covered on 2/2)
2. Da-Lu Tui-Shou (Covered on 2/3)
3. O-Nu Bu Tui-Shou (Covered on 2/4)
4. Chuan-Jang Tui-Shou (Grasp the Birds Tail) (Covered on 2/5)
5. Pi-Shou Tui-Shou (Covered on 2/8)

Currently we are covering the Pushing Hands in our system. All Pushing Hand exercises loop back in a continuous cycle . This allows people to most effectively hone their skills through constant repetition and it gives them direct feed back if their technique and the principles (BARS) of Tai-chi is correct. We have finished the 4 type pushing hands, and now we are on #6 of the 8 Type Pushing Hands.

Today’s Lesson:

6.Chin-Na Tui-Shou

Chin-Na Tui-Shou means Grabbing and Snatching Hands Pushing Hands.

China-Na is the Chinese martial art terminology for grappling or joint-locking. So Chin-Na Shou (Short for Chin-Na Tui-Shou) is a continuous flow of grappling and joint-locking training.

Tai-Chi Fighting as a system is a mixed martial arts system. It covers all aspects of fighting from striking to grappling. What makes Tai-Chi unique from most other martial arts however is that Tai-Chi fighting is not a compilation of useful techniques, but rather a concept of how one should approach a fight, or as a matter of fact, any interaction in life.

Often times people try to make Tai-Chi a defensive art because its main philosophy revolves around utilizing the opponent's energy and the energy from the environment around us. However, Tai-Chi really is neither a defensive nor an offensive martial art. When you are always going with the flow of energy, whether you attack or defend is beside the point. It is like asking whether the chicken or egg is first. You can follow the movement of the starter, or you can start to initiate a movement from the other person so you can follow their movement.

There is no attack or defense. It is all defense, and it is all attack. If an attack does not have a defensive element, then you will be countered. If your defense does not have an attack, your defense will be overwhelmed by the opponent and broken.

Using this concept of no beginning no end, in Chin-Na shou, you learn how to let the opponent fall into a joint lock instead of trying to put them in a joint lock. This is a very powerful concept since in most martial arts practitioners try to force the opponent into a joint lock. Albeit the technique is effective, it wastes a lot of energy. In case you are fighting multiple opponents this may not be an effective strategy unless you have incredible stamina. If you let the opponent fall into your joint lock, then they won’t know it until it is too late, and you won’t waste any energy.

This is the concept of Chin-Na Shou.


  1. Interesting realization, the path to mastery that we are currently on has no end, just a beginning at Gretchen's House on 9/12/09. Great thought on the totality of Tai Chi, the context of what is happening is not important it is how you react that make something important.

  2. I never thought of being in the flow as also being on the attack. It is easier for me to see the defensive part of being in the flow. But it makes sense that the attack and defense are 2 sides of the same thing. It also adds to the beauty of sparring as you are not the aggressor or the passive person. You are just in the flow with the versatility to be on whatever part of the spectrum you need to be. You don't need to take a position, you just have to take stock of reality. This can be applied to all facets of life.