Previous month:
August 2010
Next month:
October 2010

It Really Is Possible to Learn Tai Chi, Hsing-I and Bagua Online

As my online school passed its 2nd birthday, I began to think that it really isn't intended as a school -- it's more of a resource, with over 400 video lessons on internal strength, silk-reeling, and the three internal arts of taiji, xingyi and bagua. A lot of people use it to supplement their training with other teachers.

Some people are teachers, and use it to improve their own skills. Here is a message I got from a new friend in Indonesia:

I really had an amazing experience happen as a result of what I learned on your website. As I was teaching my Wing Chun class one of the students sparring with his classmates decided to do a variation of "huinzhou" that I had taught him in the siu nim tao form, circling the arms in a snake-like manner around the opponent's punching or grabbing arm several times. After doing the move, however, he just stopped.

I responded by telling him that was a good move, but that he should follow the move up by DOING SOMETHING after making the move. Then I asked him to punch at me, and I demonstrated. I had planned on following the move up with a classical Wing Chun hand technique, but instinct took over and I seamlessly merged the snake form into one of the tai chi takedowns I had learned on your site, and was instinctively able to incorporate the silk reeling, peng, full body, movement of the dan'tien, etc. The result was the smoothest, easiest and most powerful & effortless takedown I have ever performed in my life. Not to mention that my disciples were in complete awe of what they had just witnessed :)

The internal power techniques you are teaching are also helping me train my Wing Chun students more effectively by getting them to put more "chi" into their follow-ups to their traps :) I am definitely excited to continue my training with you, because if it is this rich & powerful having only scratched the surface, I can only imagine how much more so it will be after a few years of training :)

I am also amazed at the influences I can see Hsing I had on my style of Wing Chun "Guangzhou" or Sum Nung" as I can see so many similarities. (Supposedly incorporated much of the internal Emei Mountain snake techniques as well, though I am too unfamiliar with the Emeishan style to intelligently attest to that)

Well, at any rate I consider myself blessed and proud to have you as my internal arts teacher. It is truly a privilege and I am sincerely looking forward to continuing.

Anyone can try two free weeks on the online school. Give it a try. You might see the same results.

Top 10 Signs You're in a Bad Tai Chi, Hsing-I or Bagua Class

10. Students play along and make applications appear to work even when they don't (to avoid making the teacher look bad).

9. You are taught movements but no self-defense applications.

8. Most of the class is eligible for Medicare.

7. The word "easy" is used to describe any of these three arts.

6. You are taught to turn the hips, not the dan t'ien (sometimes referred to as "waist").

5. You aren't shown how to maintain ground path and peng jin throughout all movements, even in "transitions" and stepping.

4. The teacher says that the 13 energies of tai chi are actual energies coursing through your body.

3. You are told that push hands is about sensitivity, not self-defense.

2. The teacher believes that high level masters (or he personally) can move you with their chi without touching you.

1. The top priority of the class is "chi cultivation."

Now, let me be clear -- some very good teachers hold classes for the elderly that focus more on health and meditation than on the martial aspects, but these teachers also teach the martial side of the art to those who want to learn (or younger classes).

Also, push hands is for self-defense (even though to be good at push hands you must develop "sensing energy"). However, any teacher who teaches push hands only for sensitivity is not really teaching push hands.

If two or more of these things above are true for the class you're attending, run for the hills.