Lotus Nei Gong & Tai Chi Course

Paul Mitchell, my Karate Sensei and Tai Chi teacher will be running the annual Nei Gong (internal change work) and Tai Chi course on 26th-27 November 2011.

As always this course is open to all other martial artists from other styles, whether they be from other internal styles looking to improve their knowledge, or from external styles looking to introduce more internal practices into their own martial art.

Paul is an excellent choice of instructor for this wide mix of needs, having had many years of experience in Shotokan Karate (4th Dan), Yang Tai Chi (A grade instructor with the Tai Chi Union) and Qi Gong (Qi Gong therapist).  A number of his senior Karate students (and other martial artist including Wing Chun and Tae Kwon Do black belts) regularly train Tai Chi with Paul as well, so he is very adapt and understanding the needs and abilities of people from different martial arts backgrounds.

Within the Traditional Shotokan Karate Association, Paul is respected as a leading authority on Bunkai (applications).  This approach is reflected in his Tai Chi which is taught both for health and well-being as well as for the martial applications of the art.

You can find out a bit more about Paul at this recently shot short film about him:

The course will cover (depending on background and experience) Qi Gong, empty handed forms to weapons forms, pushing hands and applications. It will be taught over two days in the Somerset village of  Henton (two miles from Wells).

The Course starts at 9.30 am on Saturday morning and finishes at 4.30 pm on Sunday. The cost of the course is: £90 with a deposit of £30 required to secure a place. Cost includes the two days training and lunch on Saturday and Sunday.

Please email lngsomerset@googlemail.com or lotusneigong@hotmail.co.uk  for more details or to book your place.

Step Up, Deflect, Parry And Punch Application

Here’s a video response to Charlie and Keith’s last video showing a Karate and similar Kung Fu techniques.  Their video reminded me a lot of a very well known move from Yang style Tai Chi, so here’s a video showing how we use it.

By Graham Barlow of Bath-Tai Chi and Choy Lee Fut (www.bath-taichi.co.uk)

Learning How To Yield To Force

It says in the Tai Chi classics www.scheele.org/lee/classics.html:

“Anyone who has spent years of practice and still cannot neutralize,
and is always controlled by his opponent,
has not apprehended the fault of double-weightedness.”

But what does this mean?  What is this peculiar fault of ‘double-weightedness’ that it refers to?

Of course, the classics are written in Chinese, and then translated into English, so there’s room for more than one interpretation, and they also often use obscure characters that are no longer in general use. However, from the actual practice of the art you can look at the classics and understand what they’re referring too. Like most classic writings, they only make sense once you understand (through physical practice) what they are talking about.

In more down to earth language it is saying that you need to understand how to yield to force if you’re ever going to ‘get’ Tai Chi Chuan as a martial art. And if you don’t understand that simple idea then you’re never going to be able to apply it no matter how many years you practice. The idea of yielding to force is a hard concept to understand in martial arts, because it not only sounds counter intuitive, but it is counter intuitive! When somebody pushes you, your natural reaction is to push back. Over time this initial impulse to resist force can be trained out of the body through exercises like push hands until it no longer becomes your unconscious reaction.

In terms of yin and yang, if somebody applies force to you, it is yang, and if you respond in kind you are fighting fire with fire.  This is the double-weighting talked about in the classics.  Tai Chi seeks to balance the yang with some yin – fighting fire with water instead.

I was attempting to explain this concept of yielding to force last night in class, using a kick as an example.  Rather than being technique-based, we’re talking about a principle here, so it can apply to numerous techniques, it just so happened that we were working on a kick when we filmed it. I hope you enjoy the clip.

By Graham Barlow of Bath-Tai Chi and Choy Lee Fut (www.bath-taichi.co.uk)