Peter Southwood's tips #2 Prioritise the fundamentals

By regularly training the fundamentals every day, the student lays the necessary foundation quickly and can constantly ensure that they remain stable and strong.
Neglecting the basic material leads to weakness throughout the practice.


What about tradition?

If you are a Christian, give to the poor.

If you are not, why let marketing and commerce bully you into feeling guilty for not buying presents? People are just trying to make money out of you. They want you in debt.
They want you spending more than you can afford. Your greed finances their greed.

If you recall the Charles Dickens story A Christmas Carol you may remember that celebrating Christmas traditionally entailed giving gifts to the poor.
This is seldom the case these days...

There is nothing miserly about rejecting consumerism.


5 stages

There are 5 stages to learning any form:
  1. The pattern
  2. Internal strength
  3. Application
  4. Shen
  5. Natural
With the advent of tai chi sport forms emanating from modern China, many modern practitioners never proceed past stage 1.
Indeed, few people even realise that there is more to form than the outward show.

The sad part about this is that the pattern is essentially incorrect unless augmented by the other 4 stages.


Sifu Waller presents a non-macho, common sense approach to tai chi and self defence that is quite surprising in its clarity. His site is well written, sincere and open. Somehow he manages to share his thoughts without getting on a soapbox or selling himself or his own (unique) school. Also, he's offering this invaluable on-line resource for free! He seems to be entirely free of the tai chi politics commonly encountered these days and that is a refreshing change...



Fast-track teachers

Beware fast-track taijiquan teachers.

A friend of mine got a Lee Family pamphlet through the post inviting her to qualify as an instructor. According to the leaflet she could become an instructor in less than two years with only one lesson per month commitment.

I was convinced that she was joking. What are these people teaching? How than they call it taijiquan?

In our syllabus it takes most people two years to complete the beginners syllabus, let alone teach the class!

Two years. It has to be a wind-up. Doesn't it? Doesn't it?



The second form is actually a sword form using movements derived from the Yang Cheng Fu form.
This heavy weapon offers a notable workout.
It develops upper body strength, whole body movement and wrist flexibility. Students learn how to extend their energy through the blade.
The sabre was designed for use against multiple opponents.

We do not teach the sabre as a self defence tool.



Our school motto is simple: Adapt, change & improvise.
It captures the essence of (applied) tai chi and baguazhang, and encourages an open, flexible attitude to life.


Non-Christian Christmas?

If you are not a Christian, what exactly are you celebrating over Christmas?
Why are you wrapping up all those presents, sitting through family meals and over-indulging?
For what? In aid of what? Tradition? For the sake of it? Why? It is far less expensive not to bother.

If you are having Christmas in order to over-eat, get drunk and indulge yourself, what does that say about your character?



Your self defence skills are explored through a series of stages:

  1. Chin na leverage principles

  2. Escapes

  3. Basic grappling drills
    - monkey paws
    - pushing hands
    - pushing legs
    - yielding exercise
    - yielding basic skills
    - central equilibrium
    - floor work

  4. Shuai jiao (take down)

  5. Small san sau

  6. Dying ground

  7. Silk arms

  8. Yielding/chin na

  9. Countering punches, kicks and grapples

  10. Penetrating defences

  11. Being hit

  12. Gravity striking

  13. Yielding/chin na & countering

  14. Countering a knife

  15. Escapes/knife

  16. Freeform

  17. Misplacing the bones

  18. Projections

  19. Disarming

  20. Form application

  21. Pao chui

  22. Cavity press

  23. Dividing the muscle

  24. Sealing the breath

  25. Gangs/multiple opponents


Individual meaning

'Meaning' is something attributed to phenomena; it is our way of making sense of life.
When considering any aspect of life, we examine the components and extrapolate a meaning.

The danger with this is that we can imbue anything with meaning, even when it no longer has any bearing on the original purpose.

Now consider 'Christmas'...