Taijiquan jing

Taijiquan jing

In motion the whole body should be light and agile,
with all parts of the body linked
as if threaded together.
The ch’i [vital life energy] should be excited,
The shen [spirit of vitality] should be internally gathered.
The postures should be without defect,
without hollows or projections from the proper alignment;
in motion the Form should be continuous, without stops and starts.
The chin [intrinsic strength] should be
rooted in the feet,
generated from the legs,
controlled by the waist, and
manifested through the fingers.
The feet, legs, and waist should act together
as an integrated whole,
so that while advancing or withdrawing
one can grasp the opportunity of favorable timing
and advantageous position.
If correct timing and position are not achieved,
the body will become disordered
and will not move as an integrated whole;
the correction for this defect
must be sought in the legs and waist.
The principle of adjusting the legs and waist
applies for moving in all directions;
upward or downward,
advancing or withdrawing,
left or right.
All movements are motivated by I [mind-intention],
not external form.
If there is up, there is down;
when advancing, have regard for withdrawing;
when striking left, pay attention to the right.
If the I wants to move upward,
it must simultaneously have intent downward.
Alternating the force of pulling and pushing
severs an opponent’s root
so that he can be defeated
quickly and certainly.
Insubstantial and substantial
should be clearly differentiated.
At any place where there is insubstantiality,
there must be substantiality;
Every place has both insubstantiality and substantiality.
The whole body should be threaded together
through every joint
without the slightest break.
Chang Ch’uan [Long Boxing] is like a great river
rolling on unceasingly.
Peng, Lu, Chi, An,
Ts’ai, Lieh, Chou, and K’ao
are equated to the Eight Trigrams.
The first four are the cardinal directions;
Ch’ien [South; Heaven],
K’un [North; Earth],
K’an [West; Water], and
Li [East; Fire].
The second four are the four corners:
Sun [Southwest; Wind],
Chen [Northeast; Thunder],
Tui [Southeast; Lake], and
Ken [Northwest; Mountain].
Advance (Chin), Withdraw (T’ui),
Look Left (Tso Ku), Look Right (Yu Pan), and
Central Equilibrium (Chung Ting)
are equated to the five elements:
Fire, and
All together these are termed the Thirteen Postures

A footnote appended to this Classic by Yang Lu-ch’an (1799-1872) reads:
This treatise was left by the patriarch Chan San-feng of Wu Tang Mountain,
with a desire toward helping able people everywhere achieve longevity,
and not merely as a means to martial skill.


A little more light push-hands balance work, then extensive picking apart of the short empty-hands form. A lot of familiar issues that I still haven’t knocked out, a few new details. My biggest focus is the weight shifts.

Specific notes:

On the opening "finger push"- that push should not be a deliberate and visible push. It is only implied.

More emphasis on the "pull-in" part after the push. Then drop.

Do not let the knee collapse inward on lunges. Take a deeper stance and keep the knee turned out.

The Crane’s neck is not a Shaolin Crane’s neck. Shallower. Like dangling a bell on a thread.

Going into the White Crane- turn left toe *WAY* out.

Step into the front lunge more diagonally. Also more diagonal- the White Crane step, and the "bicycle" steps.

The pull-in and push-out from left to right- pull it to your heart before pushing.

Savor and fully complete the ending poses of each section before rushing on (specifically, Lazily Tying Your Coat. End facing fully forward with a Dragon’s mouth hand on left hip).

Let the arms move the body. Big body move, little arm move. No arm flapping.

Drop the weight more.

Drop shoulders.

Pay more attention to the tilt of the pelvis.

No rising up on the toes. This is happening every time I bring my feet together (damn dance training).

When sweeping and splitting towards the front in lunge, describe a "C"- a little bit of flourish towards the rear- before splitting. The body turns with this as well.

Brushing Twist Step- feet are too linear. Hips should be slightly diagonal to Northeast, but chest should be due North and arms oriented toward Northward opponent. (This feels very odd!)

We talked a bit about our respective ancient-China-setting fiction, and some research details.

Had to ask her to just not mention SK again. Ever. Please.

Discussed how much I miss training striking with a teacher/class, and that I would consider Muay Tai and/or boxing- but part of what I miss about Shaolin is the spiritual aspect, which worked really well with the more sport-oriented BJJ. She suggested (again) her Tai Chi teacher. But Seattle…. the commute….. argh…

CK noted that it has now been 9 years that she has been teaching me.


Their perceptions were not ready to register anything but the strictly indispensable. Always in motion. Always in a hurry. Travelling under the protection of a glass-bell transporting them from home to the office and isolating them from the surrounding sensorial world. Beauty sacrificed on the altar of efficiency. A sad waste of potential.
-Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior


There is no need to travel to exotic places, load up on drugs, or drive one hundred miles an hour to feel alive. It is not necessary to look for particularly strong sensations, because when the five senses are awakened, every sensation is a strong one. The scent of the earth after a summer storm. The embrace of a lover. The vastness of the sky above. Small experiences that could travel through our consciousness without leaving any trace become the messengers of a beauty that cannot be measured. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior

“Don’t theenk, just squat”

We must defend ourselves according to our opponents’ ability, not their intentions. -Koushun Takami

That is Prof Carlos, on the poster for July’s Revolution!

Friday FOD: Plum Blosson Fist fragment. No longer have to think hard about this.

Saturday FOD: Long Qi. Uh, I *did* have to think about this, because the beginning is the same as the beginning of Little Red Dragon. I hate that.

Sunday FOD: Plum Blossom, again. I think I have 3 tokens for this one in the bowl. I’m taking this token out now.

Monday FOD: Chen Dao. Trouble with the weight shift just before the three 360 spins. It goes from a cat stance (rt toe fwd and up) to a step with the left foot, and I just couldn’t reconcile the balance. Had to rep it about eight times before I was finally able to shut my brain off enough to just *DO* it- at which point it of course went fine.

Exceedingly odd interlude Tuesday


The martial arts are one of the methods that can teach the body to reawaken the sleepy senses. Those smart enough not to put them back to sleep at the end of the training see their everyday life filling up with magic. -Daniele Bolelli, On The Warrior


Words create sentences, sentences create paragraphs, sometimes paragraphs quicken and begin to breathe. Imagine, if you like, Frankenstein’s monster on its slab. Here comes lightning- not from the sky, but from a humble paragraph of English words. Maybe it’s the first really good paragraph you ever wrote, something so fragile and yet full of possibility that you are frightened. You feel as Victor Frankenstein must have when the dead conglomeration of sewn-together spare parts suddenly opened its watery yellow eyes. _Oh my Rickson Gracie, it’s breathing,_ you realize. _Maybe it’s even thinking. What in hell’s name do I do next?_
-Stephen King

Sunday FOD: Angry Snake Defends Its Lair. Note that the left leg must step first. Note also that the first lunge-and-thrust has your palm braced on your forearm (not the hilt) and the blade toward the ground. The last lunge-and-thrust has the hilt braced on your palm and the blade turned to the side.

Monday FOD: Walking the Path fragment.

Wednesday evening gi class at Sleeper: armbars from guard, kimuras from guard. Then opponent defends the kimura by pulling hand to belly. You follow the arm in, then take the back.

Repetitive rounds of getting my butt handed to me by three white belt guys. This was a discouraging bunch of rolls. Feeling pretty inept tonight.


Without Constant Reader, you are just a voice quacking in the void. -Stephen King

Friday FOD: Little Red Dragon- just the standard side. Feels powerful but a bit stiff and not quite extended enough, esp near the end.

Saturday FOD: Catherine Dao. With broom handle. Also did the mirror version of Little Red, since I didn’t get to that yesterday.

Sunday FOD: Leopard Fist. Standard side only. Snake continues to be… interesting…..

Monday FOD: Cannon Fist

Tuesday FOD: Tiger Versus Crane. It emerged with Dragon energy, and a slight tinge of Northern Mantis. (It’s a Tiger form.) Interesting.

Thursday: Terrible night for nightmares. Got up at 4am even though I was still exhausted, because every time I went back to sleep, I kept finding myself back in the same nightmare.

Thursday lunchtime BJJ at GB Bellevue.
Before class: few reps of Leopard Fist, both ways. A few slight problems on the mirror side.

Armbar drills from guard, then drilling failed armbar transitioning to triangle- for almost the whole class. Exhausting. Thighs and core. Then pass guard vs sweep. Then rolls with two white belt guys. The second was with the guy that I had advised about his breathing a couple of weeks ago. He’s gotten quite a bit technically better, but is still huffing and puffing. He was a little spazzy (enough so that Carlos asked me if everything was okay). He overwhelmed me a bit with the spazz and got a tap, but it was a legit tap (armbar from guard- geez, I hate getting tapped with the Technique Of The Day!)- so good for him.

Evening Advanced BJJ, Bellevue. I planned to do Competition Class, but spent 40 min trapped in gridlock on the Bellevue off-ramp, so was too late. I used the time before the next class to do some forms in the locker room. Leopard Fist (both sides, concentrating on the problem areas from this morning), Cannon Fist, Box Form, Tai Chi short form, Little Red Dragon (both sides), Plum Blossom Fist fragments, Walking the Path fragments, some of Tiger Versus Crane (Yeesh, mirror side is very rusty… that same horrible flying kick, again). Plum Blossom feeling less tentative now. The part starting with the two Leopard fists, kneeling- that part feels so luciously Dragony.

Standing, rt lapel grip and left elbow sleeve grip. Let go of lapel and slide your right foot between opponent’s feet. Drop onto your back underneath opponent, rt arm underhooking hir left leg. Your rt foot hooks behind hir rt knee. Scissor your feet- your rt one pulls and your left one (in front of opponent’s shin) pushes. At the same time, you are yanking that elbow sleeve grip and joggling opponent’s remaining foot on your shoulder. As opponent topples forward, you roll up, but stay down near hir knees until you get your three seconds. If you are too eager trying to climb on top, s/he’ll just roll you. Note that this is technically a sweep and not a takedown.

If opponent puts hir left knee down beside your head when you try to sweep, let go of the sleeve and underhook both of the opponent’s ankles. Hip around till you are scissoring on hir rt thigh instead of below the knee. Trial and error showed that one really needs to get well underneath one’s partner. Corrections by the Prof showed that one needs to get opponent’s rt foot OFF THE MAT and cuddle it closely like a kitten or something. Ideally your hand ends on your own knee. Then you can use your legs to rock like a rocking chair and tip opponent over backward.

These were pretty tricky, but I liked them- the first better than the second, because I had a heck of a time trying to get that opponent’s foot off the mat and snugged to my bosom correctly, even with a cooperating partner.

Got to work with blue belt Carlos, whom I haven’t seen in a long time, so that was cool.

One roll with Kelly and one with Ron. On the bottom or back mounted almost the whole time with Kelly, as usual. Could not get the woman off my back for love or money. She couldn’t choke me, though (and complained about how hard I am to choke!) She did finally transition to an armbar, and get me with it, to my frustration.

My goal with Ron tonight was to not get baratoplata’ed- in which I succeeded. In fact I don’t think he got a tap on me at all tonight.

Richie’s back- and up to three stripes on his blue. I didn’t have to deal with him tonight, but am REALLY not looking forward to when I will have to do so again.

Missing kung fu class- and certain people in it- very badly today.

A Ninja Turtle- a Really Tired One

You need to distinguish between damage and distraction.

If you let yourself get distracted, it works. And if it is novel, people tend to get distracted. -Rory Miller

Before class: a few reps of the Spear Hand fragments and the Green Dragon fragments.

Dayum, I feel like I’ve been run over by a cement mixer which then backed up and ran over me again. I went to the new Competition Training class that’s been added in Bellevue for 5:30. Of course, comp training is continual drills and spars with no rest and constant hectoring by the teacher to go faster, faster. I got tired pretty fast. I can also still feel twinges from the stuff we did in acrobalance last night.

I had had some more of my egg/cheese/bacon/mushroom mix before lunchtime class, and I just couldn’t face eggs again this afternoon, so I had one of my premeasured 1-cup chicken a la king meals. I wonder if I would have done better with the egg, as far as keeping the energy up. I was torn, but I honestly thought if I had more eggs, they may well be making an encore appearance on the mat tonight- so no.

As always, Prof Carlos was effusive with enthusiastic glee at the fact that I was doing another class today. He pointed to another guy and said that that guy was also on class #2 (he’d done the 4:30 all-levels). I asked if that guy was going to stay for the 6:30 class as well, and he was like, "Oh, no, no, no, no, no…" I said, "So this means I have to stay for the 6:30 class in order to stay ahead of this guy?" I honestly did not intend to do a 3rd class- especially since the 1st class was all spars, the 2nd class was competition class, and the third class was advanced- all more demanding than your garden-variety begining or all-levels classes. But dang- I am *such* a suck-up for teacher approval. Carlos’s kid-like bubbly joy at seeing me bust my ass is particularly hard to resist. He also informed the guys- it was just me and five biggish white belts in there today (it’s a new class that was just added, so a lot of people don’t really know about it yet)- that if I made any faces while I was rolling with them, he was going to roll with that guy next and smash him. So I was really careful to not make any faces!

We did some outer reaps first- I like these, but my partner was over a foot taller than I, so it was a little tricky. Then side control vs replace closed guard drills. Then we all sparred with each other.

Advanced class was all spars, again (!!) Not sure if this was better or worse than the alternative!

Jim was there, and I haven’t seen him in something like a year. This has certainly been a month for a whole bunch of MIA’s to reappear. What’s more, he was wearing a purple belt! He was really overweight when he first joined. He’s gotten really good, and gotten in so much better shape. He was no spring chicken when he first joined, either. Excellent inspirational story, Jim is.

Ron (twice), Mike, Jamie, Jim, a purple belt guy whose name I have already forgotten. Of course Carlos (who was on the other mat teaching the beginner class) poked his head in just as I was sprawled on the floor taking a break. He gave me a look, and I said, "I just fought two purple belts back to back!!!" Tired as I was, I think I played a decent defensive game; all these guys were a lot better (and bigger) than me (except for Ron, who is a lot better but only a little bigger).

Ron called me a Ninja Turtle because I was wearing my green gi.