For previous write up on the Chen Zhonghua workshop, please see the following posts:
Below is the second part of my unfiltered workshop notes. Be sure to check out Master Chen Zhonghua’s workshop calendar to find one near you so you can experience the Chen Style Taijiquan Practical Method for yourself.
As a picture is worth a thousand words, a physical touch by a taiji master is worth a thousand sentences! Enjoy 😉
When you pull back the cock of the gun, you are full of energy and just waiting for the trigger. IN push hands, our body becomes full of energy (development through static power training) and just waiting for our opponent movement to provide the trigger
You must always stretch your body. When pushed in the chest, you stretch the spine from the top of the head to bottom of the heel to make a large concave shape that can send the energy back to the opponent.
CZH showed an example of stretching at hands/arms. I faced him and put my hand on the upper part of his tricep near the shoulder. In this configuration, I was able to push him easily while he was not able to push me due to the length of my arm. CZH then showed how he could stretch his arm so I was unable to push him. It was like he elongated the shape of his arm.
Chen Fake’s secret method: engage the exercise of stretching the wrists/fingers by motioning the hands over the shape of the elbow. Imagine standing with arms crossed, in this position alternate the stretching of one hand over the shape of the elbow. The hand/wrist stretches forward and then curves around the shape of the elbow. This helps in developing silk reeling power.
Big pole with heavy weight tied to end (like the forearm exercise). Put over the chair, while standing perpendicular, use one hand/finger to roll the weight up/down without letting it slip. This helps to develop the wringing power
CZH showed an example of how to lengthen the inside of the arm as well as the outside of the arm, like the motion of an electrical current. A stretch can happen on either the inner side of the arm or the outer side. This is helpful but you have to know how your opponent is coming at you so you can provide the appropriate lengthening to offset his energy. Looks like the same action, but goes on different paths of the arm.
When doing the circle, really pull the elbow in. Most people are a couple of inches off, with the elbow closer to the side. This is incorrect, the elbow should be pointing at the dantien.
Isolate the movements, perform like a robot to learn isolation, this way the whole body does not ‘toss’.
How to you sink/drop yet not physically move? The idea is to try and expand the area between your armpit and your hip via stretching, but do not drop/sink any other part of your body.
One of the most powerful moves is the twisting the towel exercise. At first, there is gross knee up/down movement to get the body feeling. Next level is to minimize the up/down motion of the knee and have the internal potential energy within you explode and initiate the movement. Almost like a spontaneous reaction.
The most most dangerous move is the fetching pail with water. Imagery of standing on a well hole with feet around brim. To conserve energy, use the body mechanics to fetch a pail of water. Can be used in push hands in a shoulder strike by dropping down and striking with shoulder. Also can be used to apply arm-bar, qinna, many applications.
Anytime you touch someone, you try to get 2 points of contact. You try to then stretch that person out, like stretching a string/rod and when you apply a snap to the middle, the string/rod reverberates with your energy
Move like don’t move. The stick does not move, but the person holding the stick moves. Most don’t understand this principles b/c the author is really talking about something else.
Pick a part of the body and turn it into a weapon. That part becomes the dead weight or like the stick in the above example. Now there can be power.
When doing circles, keep both kua open, do not fold or close the kua. Going into a lower stance can help to keep the kuas open. Always keep it open, once open, easier to use.
Rule of thirds (1/3). The body is always 1/3 vs 2/3. The 2/3 part is the strongest and use it to push/pull. The split is generally at either kua. You always adjust your fulcrum point, 1/3 vs 2/3.
Peng, Lu, Ji, Ji, Ji. Ji (press/squeeze) is the most important of the energies. Ji is taking space but not letting go of any space taken (similar to the game go/weiqi). Peng is a result of Ji, it’s the show, Ji is the action that creates the show. Analogy of an opera singer and how we don’t see the training and the steps the opera singer does (ji) to prepare for the show/final results (peng).
For more, see: Chen Zhonghua Workshop Notes Unfiltered Part 3