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Chen Laojia Yilu Form - One Self-Defense Application for "Six Sealings Four Closings"

The Chen Tai Chi form "Laojia Yilu" is almost a complete fighting art in itself. In 2008, I recorded three DVDs that take each movement in the form and break them down, unlocking more than 400 self-defense applications from this one form.

Hand strikes, punches, kicks, knee strokes, elbows, shoulders, kicks, sweeps, takedowns, joint locks -- it's all there.

I am currently adapting the DVDs for a new Kindle ebook that should be out within two weeks. It's a big task to try and write a book with 400 fighting applications from one form.

But as I was working on the ebook today, I was focusing on the applications for the movement "Six Sealings Four Closings." Actually, just part of the movement, a part when the arm folds in. It's a "closing" movement that shows up in a lot of postures throughout all Tai Chi forms in every style.

The applications in these DVDs, by the way, work with any style of Tai Chi. After all, all styles evolved from the same source.

Take a look at this short clip and then go to the link and watch another clip from the DVDs.


 Watch another clip from the DVDs on Laojia Yilu fighting applications.

A Simple Concept of Baguazhang - The Spinning Wire Ball

Bagua BallThere are three images that summarize the three main internal arts. They are simple images and do not encompass all the subtleties but still represent good concepts.

You can think of Xingyi (Hsing-I) as a wedge driving through an opponent. A Xingyi fighter explodes through an opponent and takes his ground.

A Taiji fighter is like a beach ball being submerged into a swimming pool. The ball will take your energy and Bagua-2give a bit, but there is strength underneath, and it will spring back and spin, dumping you into the water.

Bagua is like punching into a spinning wire ball. The ball catches your force and spins you off-balance, controlling your center and spinning you out in unexpected directions. It often leaves you broken by the time it spins you out.

Here is just one example. My opponent Bagua-3punches. I intercept the punch, wrapping my left arm around his punching arm. At the same time, I begin spinning to his outside.

I hook his right arm and continue to spin. At this point, I can break his elbow or dislocate his shoulder, or both. At the end of my spin, I am in position to also strike to the back of the neck or head.

Bagua-5Some of my favorite Bagua techniques involve uprooting, unbalancing, and controlling the opponent's center. This technique is a good example of punching into a spinning wire ball and being broken by the spin.I am also striking my opponent in the direction he is traveling. That is part of our fighting strategy called "Join and Unite." This strategy involves taking control of your opponent's center by melding with it, and causing it to continue turning in the direction it is already turning while you strike in the direction your opponent is traveling. Often, that means you are behind your opponent when you strike.

A Bagua fighter is said to disappear in front of his opponent and reappear behind the opponent. This is accomplished by lateral movement, spinning movement, and controlling your opponent's center so that you move him where you want him.

A lot of these concepts are demonstrated with techniques you can use to develop your skill in my DVD, Basic Building Blocks of Bagua Self-Defense. 



Do Not Seek Medical Advice from Martial Arts Instructors

BipolarI received an email last night from a man who has a young daughter and BOTH have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

As a parent, I instantly empathized with him.

He asked if Tai Chi and Qigong would help his daughter, and if I thought she would be able to do it. He also asked if the martial aspects would be a problem.

This is not the first time people have asked me for guidance on medical or mental issues, and each time it happens, alarm bells ring in my head.

If you are a martial arts instructor, you should NEVER give guidance on medical or mental issues unless you are also a doctor trained in the field.

Every time someone asks for my input on an issue like this, I tell them that the LAST person they should ask for advice is a martial arts instructor or even an "alternative" medicine practitioner.

Tai Chi and Qigong have benefits that include calming the mind and body. As exercise, and even if you do it for meditation, you can gain valuable benefits, but it takes hard work and mental focus.

But the BEST person -- in fact the ONLY person I would ask for input on an issue related to bipolar disorder would be a mental health professional.

If you are a martial artist or you do some acupuncture or tuina or Reiki or whatever on the side -- if you are going to give people advice on this type of thing you better have a good attorney on retainer.

But most of all, people who are dealing with these serious issues should not ask martial artists or alternative medicine folks for their advice.

Is Tai Chi and Qigong likely to help or hurt his daughter? Well, it probably can't hurt, and it might help, but I am not the person to ask. I can only give a layman's opinion. Serious medical or mental health issues require serious input from a person who is trained in the field.

"Research of Martial Arts" Is A Worthy Book for Your Martial Arts Library - Interview with Author Jonathan Bluestein

Research of Martial ArtsThe latest Internal Fighting Arts podcast features an interview with Jonathan Bluestein, a martial artist who practices and studies Xingyiquan, among other things, and he is the author of a new book called Research of Martial Arts.

Jonathan is a serious martial artist who has worked for years to compile this book. I was skeptical when I received my copy, but it became obvious that this is a solid book and a great addition to anyone's martial arts library.

He does not subscribe to Woo Woo theories. Everything is solid and based on good martial arts, even the sections on the internal arts.

I was impressed enough to ask Jonathan to be a guest on my Internal Fighting Arts podcast. He lives in Israel, and despite the eight hour time difference, we did the interview via Skype.

Here is the link for the Internal Fighting Arts podcast #14 with Jonathan Bluestein on Audello -- listen on your computer or download the file.

Here is the link to the Internal Fighting Arts podcasts on iTunes. You can listen to specific editions of the podcast or subscribe through iTunes so that future editions will automatically download to your computer or device.