TAI CHI NOTES 2
Practise Diligently and Intelligently
NB: - Any mistakes or misinterpretations of what was trying to be taught to me are due to me! Basically I have left the notes as I wrote them at the time, there is a lot of repetition but generally a progression (sometimes, mainly due to me, a regression!). No doubt I've missed a lot too. Please refer to the Download section for documents and video that are not riddled with my interpretations.
Song=Relaxed/Soft/Release (pronounced Soo-ng), GMH=Grandmaster Huang, Mr F=Master Foong, HYZZ=Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang (Song up/down exercise), SSWF=Song Shen Wu Fa (GMH's 5 Song exercises), HCC=Ho Ching Chi (stretching/expanding), PH=Push Hands.
Tenom 30th June - 24th Sept 2008
Opening move (legs) - Yi to right leg, slide left foot out, keep body centre in same place when turn to right (don't shift centre to right leg), when turning back to the front then centre moves to middle of feet. (Yi = awareness/intention).
- Ho Ching Chi - Song first
- SSWF1: turn non-stop especially when changing direction back to the centre and going up and down - continuous movement
-make movements fine
- always Song and then Yi, no Yi then not Tai Chi. Yi in whole body not just one or 2 points
- careful no to lean - soften Qua (especially when turning)
- soles of feet soft not hard
- do very slow, put Yi in every part of body. Make movement fine and continuous. Will take about 5 years to get right!
- Song in joints. Song down - eg shoulders; open/close joints as waist turns, slight delay in arm movement as waist turns first. But use Yi!
- SSWF1. Be precise in movements, eg hands always in same spot at top point every time. First Song down slightly, then Song body up. Shoulders move not arms, shoulders slight delay to body but shoulders stay in same place in relation to body. Song with Yi. Body goes up 90%, hands only 30%, Song shoulders/elbows down, body dropping and hands still goes up slightly but elbows starting to drop When hands at shoulder level, Song down and turn Qua, leave hands a moment and then hands drop when Song down more, turn waist back to centre, leave hands, then Song down and hands drop to side.
- Soles of feet soft, floating in middle of soles, very light on feet not fixed; like a wave on water. 3 foot root is Yi, not weight.
- force not going down to soles of feet, use Song to dissipate the force through whole body. Don't carry a burden. Don't be like a 3 storey building - if 2 tonne of furniture is moved from one floor to another then the weight is always the same. Tai Chi is not like this. Don't sink force to feet, otherwise feet are fixed. Float like water.
- imagine Yi moving down inside of leg and up outside of leg - u-shape. Continuous movement. Yi in whole body, like a ball, not fixed in one point.
- SSWF2 - open shoulder (when arms up), Song shoulders and elbows, hands stays where they are, then let hands drop.
- At start of form; Activate Yi! before moving. Even when body goes up Yi stays in soles, don't move Yi up, it is whole of body. Even when stepping, Yi stays in the ground. Yi spreads though the body and stays there - no body just full Yi.
- practise with patience and consistency. Be diligent.
-HYZZ - must Song step by step, from top to feet. Don't jump straight to Qua, so each body part in sequence. Eventually it will be internal with very little exterior movement. Concentrate on Yi being in each part of body, as each part is Song. Do not move onto next part of body until previous is totally Song.
-in push hands - must let people push you, don't be scared to let them pull or push. At first you will fall down because you don't have much Song, but as Song increases you will be able to negate their force. Don't use hands or arms to try and defend as this will only induce hardness.
ONLY 2 THINGS TO CONCENTRATE ON IN NEXT FIVE YEARS
- HYZZ (Hun Yuan Zhan Zhuang): slow, continuous with Yi in Song, each part released before next
- SSWF (Song Shen Wu Fa): especially the 1st loosening exercise; very slow, make movements fine and continuous. Song, Yi, Qua.
- make sure shoulders are level (especially left shoulder is too high - release it!)
- shoulders should not be hunched or pulled back, chest should be flat
- release shoulders, then elbows (let hang), then wrist.
Open and Close.
- Opening position: after left foot slides into position, move centre to in-between legs before turning to left. More advance method, you will be able to turn and find centre and same time - but not now!
- Closing posture: shift weight/ centre into left leg before sliding right left in. More advanced can do without shifting centre. (I am not sure sometimes when told about centre; there is the weight centre and body centre).
1st move of Short Form.
1. Song down
2. HYZZ from bottom of feet, body goes up 50%
3. Hands move 75%up, body is 90% up
4. Song down shoulders. Finger tips don't move and stay in same position. Wrist is straight.
5. Hands/elbows slide back (elbow tip level with back, elbows slide slightly out).
6Wrist starts to drop, wrist bends and hands follow to near leg. Elbow/forearm/ hand only move.
7. Arm stops and release wrist to drop hand level with thigh. Arms slightly bent.
NB: make sure arms are round when they come up. ie, elbows are slightly out and hands more towards centre. Don't use tendons to lift arms, use Song!!
body is like a cylinder, Yi goes straight through it without being impeded and comes back ip (bounces?). Very advanced: you will be able to differentiate between the Yi in the Qua and waist; Yi comes first and brings the Song.
HYZZ - arms stick slightly to body when going down because of Song shoulders. Work on flattening chest, may have to force slightly at first. Wei Li and front of waist in at the same time as going down. Don't go too low.
SSWF1 - too much movement in hands, leave them, turn and then drop hands. Make turn bigger, knee goes out and the opposite Qua comes in to balance shoulders. When hands come up to chest make sure they don't stop.
Diary - West Malay Workshops 27th July - 3rd August 2008
I left Tenom on the 26th July to spend the night in Kota Kinabalu as we had an early morning flight.
27th July. AirAsia terminal in the morning to meet the others; Mr and Mrs Foong, Kuku, Kuntat, Bernard and Suman. A 2 ˝ hour flight to Kuala Lumpur, Mr Len (Huang Association Secretary General) and Alvina met us at the airport. Mr Len came with us in the minibus for the 3 hour drive NE to Jerantut. Nice hotel, sharing room with Suman and Bernard. Dinner to meet the local members, then workshop at local school grounds round the corner from the hotel. Instruction on how to bring Song into TC practise using HYZZ and SSWF. About 30 people. Bed about 12.
28th. Up at 5.30am, bed 11.30pm. Morning workshop in school grounds at 6.30, about 40 people. then breakfast. During the day we went to get measured up for our 'taichi suits' for the 35th Anniversary dinner at end of the week. Mr Ng, (Association President) got some durian for me and brought back to hotel, very nice, but can't eat too much as affects my stomach. Apparently there is a grading system for durian, smell, looks, taste, colour. Large workshop in school hall in evening.
29th. Workshop at 6.30 in school hall, breakfast, load up some cars and head SE to Temerloh (2 hours) for lunch and catch up with local TC people. Then 1 ˝ hours East to Kuantan, on the east coast. Nice to smell the salt air! Stop for coffee and peanut butter bread! Then onto a 2-storey house that has been rented for us. Nice set up, enough rooms so that Suman and I share one room. The Kuantan Association have their own premises, a nice big airy area on the top floor of a building. About 40 people at workshop. Bed at 11.
30th. Workshop 6.30. Nice sunrise. After brekkie we head off to the seaside. Back at house several instructors come around for tuition from Mr F. Alan from KL, whom I met last year at Tournament also came. There isn't workshop in KL this time. Dress up for semi formal dinner, everyone comments on how handsome I look!
31st. Up at 5.30. 6.30 workshop around the corner at local park. Nice turn up for that time, quite a good session. We leave at 10am by minibus for Klang, a port on the west coast. We drive through Genting Highlands and through KL. Nice scenery, but my seat is loose, so every slight de/acceleration I clunk back or forwards about 10cm! I have a quick look hoping to fix it but not much I can do, mounting on the floor has broken away! Very hot and slow drive, takes us 6 hours and then drive around Klang trying to find the hotel. Lillian from the Klang Assoc. greets us and books us in. I am feeling shattered by this time, and suspect some of the others are too. Coffee. An hour rest and then dinner to meet the local members. Straight to workshop at Klang Association. They rent the 2 top floors of a building, the top floor uncovered where we have the workshop. Several of us are starting to fray at the edges. Mr F, of course, takes the brunt of the work load and seems in fine form!
1st August. Early morning workshop. Then breakfast at local restaurant for Buk Kut Teh, which Klang is famous for; accompanied with nice Chinese Tea. We load up some cars and head to KL airport to greet the Chinese contingent. There is a big number of Huang TC people to greet them due to a combination of the 35th Anniversary dinner at Seremban tomorrow night and also the fact the Chinese mob contains Grandmaster Huang's 2nd son, one of his grandsons and one of his great grandsons! There are also 4 representatives from the Shenzhen Wushu Assoc. Everyone waiting seems to have some sort of banner or sign to hold up! We had arrived about 1.30, the plane landed at 3pm. The Shenzhen group eventually come out about 4.30! It was good to see Adi and Tong Wu again (Nick and I had trained with them on our visit in April). Back in the hot cars and SE to Seremban, about 2 hours. The Assoc there owns a great building, 4 levels. The Shenzhen group do some training with Mr F correcting, and the rest of us watching. Us Tenomians stay in rooms at the building, everyone else goes to hotels. Bed 12.30.
2nd August. Bus at 7am for sightseeing trip to Malacca (2 hours drive). By the time we get to Malacca there is not much time left to have a good look around, but Suman drags me to the top of the hill to the old Dutch Fort with great views across the ocean, well worth the effort. Back to Seremban at 4pm. Waiting for us is the best durian you could ever hope to have! It was like a pack of sharks in a feeding frenzy, it was difficult to stop eating! Dinner at 6, so put on our 'sifu suits' and have a good laugh. Even Mr F joked that since I looked like a Sifu (teacher/master) I must be one! Dinner - speeches, demos, presentations and photo ops. Very well organised catering for 700 people. Tenom did the last demo with a seated Mr F throwing people around. Bed at 1am, we could sleep in til 8am - Wooo Hooo!
3rd Aug. Peter up at 4.30am, i get up around 5. Yum Cha at same place as last night. 2 hour drive to airport and easy flight back to KK. Back on home turf, I get a lift with Suman; after he does the rounds of picking up spices and herbs for his business. Crossing over the Crocker Ranges it got a bit misty; we stop at a café, it is quite chilly, but nice to sit and chat over a kopi susu. Arrive Tenom 7.30pm.
The workshops were very tiring, but had a great time and met many friendly people. Everywhere we went we were very well looked after and it was fantastic to see so many people enthusiastic about TC. It was also good to join into the workshops and try to put into practise what is being taught! A big thank you to all involved in Jerantut, Kuantan, Klang, Seremban and KL, and of course the Tenom crew for letting me tag along.
Mr Foong (4-9-08)
- SSWF1. Concentrate on turning with Song, practise just turning without the arms. Song down to turn, Yi is 100% in one leg but Song in both legs so that 'empty' leg bows in slightly. Make sure every movement is Song. Then Song down to middle position and Song up in both legs. When in one leg don't try to lift empty leg, as then no Song! Don't press up or down.
- Form 1st section. Make sure arms are bowed on first move, elbows slide back at angle away from body. Turn, Song down, hands form ball (keep away from body). Son g forward, hands move with body. HCC. Song slightly right, then Song to turn left. Left shoulder dropping to lift left arm (left hand thumb pointing up and left middle finger pointing at webbing of right thumb/forefinger. Right hand tilted 45°.
Mr F (8-9-8)
SSWF1: when doing HYZZ concentrate on legs first, not drop body on leg but leg brings body down.
SSWF2: Song from feet first. Legs/body up 80% then arms start to come up.
SSWF4: in open move, arms form a circle and palms about 30° down, fingers not pointing down. Don't pull elbows in but turn forearms (for when arms go up and for 3rd time when hands are 'open book'). At 'open book' chest closes slightly. Body continually down but make sure Song shoulders to initiate all movements.
Mr F (10-9-8)
- A 'push' is only the initial 6" or so, the rest is just sticking and following.
-2 types of Song. The first is controlled, just a matter of waiting and letting other give opportunity. This is safe way for practise and demonstrations. The second is explosive, no control and can injure but it is still Song! Automatic! Many types of Jing.
- SSWF1, make sure you HYZZ down straight and then turn. Don't turn straight away into one leg.
- SSWF3, practise in 3 steps first.
1. Just arms up and down, don't make shoulder movement too big.
2. When good at 1 then introduce turning
3. When good at 1 and 2, then introduce body going up and down.
Mr F came with Lim, Alex and Bernard for website stuff. We talked about many things including Tao. Mr F tried to explain the meaning of HYZZ; like a globe/earth spinning with centripetal force. He mentioned he felt bad that he hadn't practised harder and got more skill and hoped that other people would learn better than him. If he said if he was younger he could train more. I asked (already knowing the answer) how old GMH was when he changed to the 'new method' of Song. Mr F replied that GMH was 75 when he fully developed the new method. I pointed out that MR F had a 10 year advantage on GMH! But obviously this was directed at us to be more diligent in practise. He knows I am a lazy sod!
Mr F (17-9-8)
- do movements very slow, very fine, continuous and concentrate on one thing, don't try to learn too many things at once. Work on one thing and then move onto next.
- soles of feet light, bubbling well point hollow so that sole can move up and down slightly. Don't press legs. (he did demo of Song throwing on Suman).
- step by step, don't be proud or boastful. GMH never praised, always said 'incorrect'!
- Song from hair to soles all at once (advanced)
- SSWF5, body doesn't move up when weight 50-50 but front knee moves forward because Qua soft and stretches, I took him 10 years to do!
- GMH didn't start 'new method' until about 1984/85. Before that GMH would Fa Jing from back foot like CMC, he had some Song but used force. Mr F did demo on Suman, very spectacular with throw from back foot but with Song not a big shove.
- Mr F said has many people come but has heavy heat because they want to learn secret, or Fa Jing, or find Song too difficult to learn.
-Mr F obviously worried we will give up but stresses there is no fast way to learn. It takes time, there are no short cuts. If you practise you will improve.
- At one stage GMH injured his shoulder and couldn't lift his arm, as it was painful. So he practised to lift his arm without using shoulder muscles - Song! Mr F had bad legs, GMH said 'Don't worry, train Song'.
19-9-8 Still no internet at Association (a lightning strike a few days ago behind building wrecked the computer's power source, COM card and modem).
Alex and Mr Lim came over and we did some Malay translation, then lunch in town. After I went to internet café and just logged on when a power outage hit the whole town As I waited, Mr F called so I wandered over to his office and 'Coffee Corner'. We tried the new coffee mix we had taste tested a few weeks ago and talked about Tai Chi. It was a nice long chat about many things with the main point being about the meaning of HYZZ.
It is like a ball with Yi going in and out. The Yi is always moving and extends out of the body.
He said Yi was what most people don't understand, it even took him many years to realise the importance of Yi. Most people think about Qi, but if you have Song and Yi, then Qi comes naturally. Always Song, but Yi brings Song.
Mr F turned up during class and went straight to the Association office with his laptop. I finished the short form and the repeat of 1st and 2nd sections and then went in. He was working on pinyin for the HYZZ commands. I had earlier recorded the class singing the song, so tried to work out how to edit it for the website. We sat with desks facing each other working on our own stuff, I had switched to trying to recolour the Chinese characters on the website buttons. He was learning how to find the tone marks, he didn't want to put a number indicating the tone after the pinyin, he said he enjoyed learning new things. Yesterday we had figured out how to put a dot under the numbers for the Huang TC song. He looked up and said "Its 10.10pm, let's get something to eat". I wasn't that hungry and was happy to continue working but of course I followed. He ordered sayur manis with telur (sweet veggie with egg) and 'Thai' ayam (chicken). Thais would be horrified at this interpretation of their food; it was fried chicken pieces with chopped chilli and onion in sweet sauce, and the chilli wasn't very hot! I mentioned that the instructor's course last night (Keningau, Beaufort and Tenom) was excellent. Each instructor took turns to call the HYZZ and SSWF1. As there were 12 guys it took over an hour. This was all I had been doing for the last 3 months so I was happy to do it more intensely, especially after another full day working on the Association website. There had been a little session at the end of throwing applications, and I mentioned one of the guys timing was a bit out. Mr F said that although someone's Song was good, they might not be able to apply it as didn't have the experience yet. Back at the Association for the next hour or so until 12.15am he talked and demonstrated Song and push hands on me in the hallway and then the car park. I don't know why he was showing me but it was interesting to see the skills that would develop for long term Tai Chi practise. It was way too advanced for me but through it all was Song, Song, Song. Always Song; slow, fast, moving, stationary, up, down, in, out. Stay light on the feet. Song in all parts of the body - he got me to push him when he was hard and when he was Song. He said: don't mistake Song for being soft. Different levels of training for different abilities. Yi gives you timing, Song gives you speed. He mentioned that GMH would always get him to push hands with him in the morning. GMH would sit in a chair and they would do push hands very slowly, with GMH telling Mr F to try and control GMH's hand. OF course he couldn't. Mr F stressed you can't learn Song doing push hands, it comes from the basics (HYZZ and SSWF). Find Song there and your push hands will also improve. He demonstrated the controlled Song, saying that in a fight you don't let them touch you (unlike push hands training) just 'Pow Pow!' He could feel (what I thought was) my lightest touch and move out of the way. But if he let me push on him he would just Song down, the whole body Song and dissipate my force. But always Song he said. It's not magic but physics. I'm guessing that once Song and Yi become natural then any responses are 'automatic' and therefore 'not controlled'. We ended up in the car park with me pushing strongly with my fist on his abdomen and he again showed the difference between hard, Song and timing. Sometimes he would disappear when I pushed him, just Song down. Other times he would move out of the way, it was like trying to push smoke. The explosive Song would be scary, I reckon it would cause serious damage if you hit someone using that! Always stressing Song and then timing. Slowly learn, always the basics and take your time, it took him along time also. I asked why he didn't push hands with everyone as GMH seemed to do. He couldn't find the right words in English but basically said that if he knew someone was interested in Song he would, but if not then never mind. If they don't believe in Song then it is up to them, he doesn't want to get into an argument about it. He didn't want to be in situations with people always testing him, and didn't want to create bad feelings. He does Tai Chi for health not for fighting, in a fight everyone loses. Anyway, most of it went over my head but for me it was obviously to concentrate on the basics (you guessed it); Song, Yi, slow, fine, continuous and light on the soles. At one point he mentioned Song-in and Song-out. It seemed to be more than body movement and he demo'd it by saying that as one part of body moves one way the other part goes in the opposite direction. Watching him physically do Song big was like watching a wax figure melting! Even in push hands he showed a big shoulder movement but stressed it was Song. When pushing , arm is coming back but body coming forward, this tricks opponent into thinking that you are retreating but you are actually attacking. I asked him if too much Yi and not enough Song would make body become hard - "Of course!". The previous night doing SSWF1 my movements felt different, I was concerned I was being too stiff. I asked him, particularly the part when dropping hands slowly in the initial movements, how I seemed to control my hands and wasn't making the slapping sound when hitting said this was correct, it was because of having more Yi. He kept stressing it takes time, step-by-step. Train 2 or 3 times a day for about 20-30 mins. He believes that too much training is not good as it creates tiredness and hardness which can cause pain or injury. The ultimate object is to Song the whole body all the time, at the same time. Tai Chi is for health, it's not hard like other martial arts, we do Tai Chi to improve our health not to break our bodies. He said he would work on Song on one part of the body for 3-6 months, just think Song in ankle for example. He showed me again with his palm cupped and placed lightly on top of a surface with hand slightly pulsing, to demonstrate how the soles of the feet should be. He demo'd the 1st section of the short form as he walked, but indicated that I should not try it!
23-9-8 In Association office doing web stuff. Mr F showed Mr Lim and me the difference of HCC between the 'old' and 'new' methods. [Please remember that everything written on this webpage is my interpretation or observation and may be wrong!]. The 'old' method comes up from back foot, leg slightly straightening as body goes up. With the 'new' method the front knee doesn't move and as the body goes up the back knee goes down! I suppose from Song in Qua, and obviously very advanced.
Thanks to all the guys at the Tenom Association for looking after me for 3 months: Mr Foong, Bernard Chew, Kun Tat and Kuku for overseeing my training; Bernard, Kun Tat and Alex for keeping me supplied with lots of great fruit from their farms; Mr Lim for sorting out all the little problems for me and trying to make my stay comfortable; .everyone for their friendship.
Shenzhen, China Dec 2008
Finally made it to Shenzhen! Booked to fly out on the 26th Nov but on the way to airport Nick rang and said demonstrators had taken over airport. I changed our flights every day, on hold for about 60 mins each time. No one knew when the airport would open, eventually Nick had to pull out as had to go back to work and had to do a visa run to Cambodia. Immigration in Bkk told us not to worry about overstay, if we had proof of original flight we wouldn't be charged the THB500 per day fine. The Immi officer even apologised to us! Arrived 12 days late on 7th Dec at 10.50pm. Was only expecting Adi to pick me up but Mr F and all the Sabah guys (Kuku, Kun Tat, Bo Yen, Lois) were there, plus Adi, Tong Wu, Rui, Gie Ming and Julie from the Shenzhen Assoc. Spent the night at Gie Ming and Rui's large apartment in the city, with Adi and Tong Wu. Not a bad sleep but stomach problems from Thailand. We all got together for Yum Cha and then 40 min drive to the factory. The training area for the school was on top floor above the office. Very nice set up with several bedrooms and spent the next few days here.
Kuku: Open/close, don't slide left foot too far. Sink and move body centre at same time to left leg, then soften Qua and turn right as far as possible (don't move right foot and try to keep head facing forward). If left Qua not Song then body will slightly lean forward. Closing; (commands have changed!) Song down, Yi in right leg, weight stays centred, left foot turns out but body still facing forward (turn by softening Qua), soften Qua and turn to the left, weight still centred. Move weight into left leg, right leg completely Song, right heel raises as weight goes into left leg (45°) Turn Qua back to the front, all weight is in the left leg. When facing forward, right foot slides in so heels together. Song down and when weight 50/50, only then HYZZ up.
Kuku: Form 2nd move; left foot turns in 10°, Song down as turning, arms lift so hands form ball but sink elbows and shoulders, arms rounded and not too close or too far from body (distance like ping-pong ball under armpits?, HCC, weigh slightly forward , turn slightly right, Song and turn left. Hands come to point half way between chest bone and Tan Tien when body is 45° but hands move slightly forward (left thumb up and right thumb-web facing it), left heel steps 3" in front of where toe was, shift weight to centre, Song to turn to front as right foot turns on heel, right hand drops. HCC. Shift weight forward, turn slightly left, hands form ball. Kuku said I am getting my shoulders back to a better position, I spent last 3 months working on it (he mentioned last time I was in Tenom), but chest muscles still feel too tight. On the Sunday afternoon before I arrived there was a demonstration of about 80 different clubs from Shenzhen under the Wushu umbrella. Kuku reckons about 70 were Tai Chi and 10 were Wushu/others
- workshop classes are 7-9am and 3-5pm. Then general class 7-9pm, about 25 students all from the factory but all seem serious and train hard. In the beginner's class a different person each night takes detailed notes and at the end of the lesson each student has to write what lesson was about. About 10 in the 'advanced' class, they've only been studying for 9 months, and 15 beginners. All students learn to do the commands for HYZZ and SSWF and a different person leads the class each night so they all learn to do the commands at the correct pace and tone. They all do a decent job of it, very impressive. The students doing the classes during the day usually have to work back at night to catch up with office job responsibilities. Like most factories in China there is accommodation for employees. Even Adi spends Mon-Fri sleeping at factory. The accommodations we are in are great, nice big rooms with 2 beds, wardrobe and ensuite. My room even has a TV and DVD player, so the Sabah guys come in to watch Gung Fu movies they've picked up at the market. There is even a full time cook. Everyone knows my penchant for fruit in the morning, so they've even made sure there is a basket in my room! Someone will even do my washing but I draw the line there. Went for a walk to find a sim card (to add to my growing collection!), many factories up for rent but the air is still hazy and there are so many cars! Shenzhen is about 10 million people and hardly a bicycle to be seen; a big difference from 1989 when even in Beijing the only cars I saw was the occasional taxi and very occasional government car. I thought Thai drivers were bad but China is a free for all, people drive cars like they are still on bicycles!
9th Dec 2008. 7-9am Class, Mr F. Keep body and arms round. Arms are round on all sides (inside, outside, top and bottom), chest is flat, shoulders slightly back and down, space in armpit, tailbone in, stomach in, chin in, movement fine and continuous, especially Qua. When turning (eg right) right Qua soft and going in, left Qua soft and going down. Be conscious of the movement, turn Qua more than you think.
- SSWF4. Yi in ain arms, arms rounded, drop shoulders and move hands back, palms face forward as hands go slightly behind body, body going up. Hands start to go up, when hands up about 70% body starts to drop but hands still slightly lifting which make shoulders drop. Palms start to turn down. Then hands come to front by closing shoulders like a door. Keep arms rounded and space in armpits, hands come together (thumbs side-by-side, fingers of one hand on top of other) about hand span from chest, arms and fist come into body (no space in armpits), drop hands down (rolling) lightly touching chest, open as go down so palms face forward, as finish HYZZ down then palms turn in to start position.
- SSWF5: middle fingers stay on thigh point even when turning and going backwards and forward. Only when doing heal and toe does the hand on the side of the moving foot hang with Song and lightly touching thigh but not staying on thigh point (ie fingertips slide slightly on thigh, while middle finger turns on the point). Dong Tui (Go Forward) back knee goes down as front knee goes forward which means front Qua really opens up. HCC, stay in centre, body doesn't shift off axis. Going back, back knee comes forward as Song down, Qua opens up, as weight goes into back foot. When doing heel and toe body doesn't move up and down, only front leg moves. Think Song down through back leg to move foot to heel or to toe. If your leg doesn't hurt then you are doing it wrong! Don't go too far back or too low. Make sure back leg is Song and soft in all areas as you go back.
- I asked Mr F about Yi in hands for HYZZ and Roll Back. In HYZZ hand has Yi all the time, fingers do not fold slightly as Song down. In Roll Back hand is very Song at wrist (folded) but with a little Yi. I asked about HCC to clarify something he showed Mr Lim and me in Tenom. He had shown that in HCC the back leg doesn't come up but goes down slightly. He told me I need to work on being more Song in wrists. The Yi comes to the fingertips and down to the soles. Yi runs through the body like in a pipe, the muscles then follow the Yi and Chi follows the muscles. He stressed that Song was the most important thing, without Song you have nothing. The rest (Yi, Chi) will follow naturally, but you must work for many years on Song. He was sitting down and got me to push him to show the difference between not having Song or Yi, and then having it. I asked what was meant by Chi. He said it wasn't the breath as some people believed. I asked if it was energy that ran through the blood, and he said it was through the whole body. He showed me more push hands and said that in reality you would not let anyone touch you. Even though he was seated he 'moved' out of the way and would touch me and put me off balance. He said this was from 'Spirit'. He had mentioned this before and I was still not clear about it, or about Chi for that matter. Anyway, he said to concentrate on Song, it is the most important. He said Tai Chi was Song, Yi, Chi and physics.
- night class: Mr F SSWF3. In start position knees are slightly in (not directly over toes), but go straight when turning. Qua of leg with weight folds. Don't throw shoulders forward. Knee of other leg comes forward as Qua folds. SSWF4; on 3rd arm movement, Song down shoulders, chest, legs then hands open by turning from elbows. When coming up from squat position elbows are on outside of knees but hand comes up the shin, then up to front of knee (up to this point knees don't come forward) then shift centre slightly forward and unroll back from Wei Li, hands at side.
10-12-08 Mr F: SSWF4 - start with arms bowed with hands in front of groin, Yi in arms and hands. Arms rotate at elbows so palms face forward as start to move hands back and out (about 2 spans from hip and slightly behind hip)), as arms comes forward forearms rotate so palms face down (finger tips about level with hip, elbow bent). Song shoulders and elbow as hands still lifting. Now Song shoulders and chest to 'close the door' and shoulder folds in so that elbows come close to side as hands swing to front. Thumbs next to each other, one hand on the other. Song down and hands come to chest. NB make sure wrists drop to pull thumbs into chest. Song whole body down and hands roll down lightly on chest back to start position. SSWF1 - do very slowly. Hands up about 50% when body and shoulders start to drop. Knees slightly in (body like a Chinese pagoda), make movements fine in Qua, don't jerk to turn (slight HYZZ down in central position before softening Qua to turn waist), slight lag of arms behind movement of waist, keep hip level (soften Qua and knee goes out straight). Practise just turning and going up and down without arm movement. HYZZ - my arms are moving too fast! Keep hands/arms fairly close to side, don't move out too far. At start position if feels like whole arm and hand sticking lightly to side with a finger space between body and elbow. When going down it feels almost like arm/hand is not moving (I still couldn't get a sense of it even though Mr F took control of my arms and hands while I went up and down, though I got a good sense of it going up. Make sure fold Qua. When in down position it is enough if elbow is out from side about a fist. Careful not to lean, soften Qua and knees go out to keep torso centred. Can practise on corner of column or door frame but have to do with feet open so that heels are behind the corner, also good so can get shoulders back (can't do this on flat surface, also less friction!). Head is four fingers from edge. I mentioned to Mr F about my sitting meditation and how I was trying to incorporate Song and Yi into it, especially trying to relax the muscles and having hands lightly on legs/lap and lightly on each other. He said he practised this also with both feet on the ground and not having arms limp but drop shoulders and elbows with hands light. He practised Yi coming up and down through body via the feet. W discussed my health and I mentioned I don't do too much. He said 15 minutes HYZZ and 15 mins SSWF is enough. Don't do too much but you must practise every day. He said that even with him, after 35 years of practising, if he did not practise for a while his ability would lessen, especially in having a soft Qua.1st movement of form - hands slightly slanted (Yi), Song down, wrist and hand drop and fingers slightly bend, HYZZ up, fingers straighten, body goes up and hands later, keep arms round especially when hands and arms come back to the sides. When doing start of Grasp Sparrows Tail, as turn right for HCC left hand rotates slightly (small finger going down) and right hand rotates so palm faces down. Left hand drops to near right elbow as start to turn back, as left hand drops and comes up to ear in one movement the right hand palm faces left shoulder. Turn back and left wrist drops on right wrist. Song down and right palm turns up (but facing towards body) to hold left forearm. Left palm turns down to hold right forearm - rotating forearms and Song down (right wrist goes out slightly?). Song down and back, left palm slides across right knuckles but hands stay in same spot as body moves back, arms rounded, finger tips about a fist apart, move body forward as palms turn down until body weight in centre of feet, elbows continue to slide back until behind torso, arms rounded. HCC (fingers straighten slightly etc). SF 2nd section. Repulse monkey; arm goes back, hand near ear, step back, hand stays in same spot as step back (step away from hand), then drop shoulder and hand, and hand keeps going forward like airplane taking off. In diagonal flying left hand Song, right hand comes up pivoting from elbow. Wavy clouds - drop hands, slide foot, turn palms in, then turn waist to centre.
11-12-8 Mr F wandered into my room after morning practise. Someone had bought a sack of walnuts and we got talking while cracking some open. Song in body is important but Song in Yi (mind) is more important. Find Song in body, mind and heart. Ran through HYZZ again, he said its okay, need more Song in shoulders and chest, arms are moving slower which is good. Still leaning slightly when down. Make arms light using Yi. He said it is good to practise HYZZ once or twice a day for 10 to 15 minutes. SSWF1; get Qua turning more. Make ankles, knee and Qua work together so that soles remain level. Soles are light and bob up and down like a cork on water (he actually said like animal that sticks to wall; I assume it is like a gecko when they pulsate). With the Short Form be like a balloon filled with air and expanding. HYZZ comes up from the soles first. I asked whether teaching was frustrating sometimes, and pretended to bang my head against the wall. He laughed and said it was sometimes; "Tai Chi is difficult but teaching it is more difficult, as is learning it! It helps in learning to have a Song mind." I asked that sometimes you might feel frustration or anger but not show it and he answered that eventually you don't even think about it. I asked whether GMH would get angry, he replied "Ohhh yes! If you didn't do something correctly he would get upset. He was always angry with me!" I said that maybe he just wanted to push you and he agreed. We talked more about that and other things and at one stage I had him clutching the wall doubled up with laughter. At some stage Lois walked in and we got talking about Song. I mentioned that for many years due to the CFS my muscles were very hard, to the point that my back was curved. I mentioned that now I was getting some Song into my body and since the last time I had been in Tenom I had been working on dropping the shoulders down and back. He mentioned that he had noticed and was surprised at the improvement. I replied "Is that because you think I am lazy!" and he laughed. He mentioned to Lois that at one stage I was so stiff that in SSWF1 when I dropped my arms that my arms and hands would rotate, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn't stop doing that!
We caught a flight to Fuzhou about 2pm with GMH's 2nd son picking us up. We had a meal at the hotel in a private banquet room with GMH's son regaling everyone with funny tales. After dinner Adi, Lois and I went for a walk to a park near the city centre; wasn't as cold as Shenzhen. Here was techno Chinese music playing over loud speakers and about 200 people in a few groups dancing to it; each group with its own set of moves. Across the road was a building floodlit in green with a huge statue of Mao, which I was surprised to see. Adi said that GMH's brother's son made it.
12-12-8 We went with members of GMH's family and paid our respects at his grave. After lunch we visited Gu Shan Yongouan Temple. Next day we flew back to Shenzhen, the Sabah guys flew on home and I spent the night at Gie Ming and Rui's apartment again. Adi dropped me off at the bus station and I went to Guangzhou to sort out a Thai visa and came back to Shenzhen the next day to fly to Bangkok. That whole area had changed a lot in 20 years, it was almost one continuous city from Shenzhen to Guangzhou. I thought Thai drivers were bad, but in China they had swapped their push-bikes for cars and drove like they were still riding bikes. As usual everyone looked after me royally, so a big thanks to everyone.