Archive for the ‘Tai Chi’ Category

Erle Montaigue is the source of the Original Old Yang Style Tai Chi that we do here at Park’s Martial Arts. In the following interview Erle, (a non conformist and rebel, but with a good heart), recounts his Tai Chi history.

Part One:

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:


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Have you thought about studying Tai Chi or Qigong?  Since there are many styles/systems of Tai Chi and Qigong, are they all equally beneficial or not?  If not, how do we recognize which ones are better than others. This article will briefly explore the CORE answers to these questions.


Qigong has two main components:

1. Health Benefits

2. Meditative (sometimes referred to as Spiritual) Benefits

Qigong is usually recommended when you have specific health concerns which it is designed to address.   Or for people who seek an illness preventive discipline that also reduces stress, has little to no impact and doesn’t teach martial arts.

Valid methods of Qigong work on specific problems within the body via the movements or postures, and breathing, which in turn trigger their corresponding meridians.  So, as long as a person is working on the correct meridian then they can help the specific ailment associated with that meridian. 

Yet, it is important to note that no individual Qigong is a complete system/approach by itself.  This is because one Qigong usually only works on one, or a limited number of meridians.   Therefore, if a Qigong is to be a complete heath system it must offer enough postures/techniques which in turn work on ALL meridians.  But, and this is VITALLY IMPOTANT, these meridians MUST be activated in the correct sequence. 

This “correct sequence” is known as the Qi Cycle or Horary Cycle.  This cycle sequentially depicts the 24 hour flow of Qi in our bodies.  Following this exact meridian sequence is VITAL for our balanced health. 


As such, if you are practicing a Qigong which works merely on one or a few meridians you may produce short terms benefits.  Thus we get the claims from people about how specific Qigong’s helped them with this or that problem.  But keep in mind that this is ONLY a short sighted approach and can be detrimental in the long run.  Why?  Because our bodies were meant to work as a complete unit via a holistic approach. If we don’t practice the entire Horary cycle in the correct sequence our intrinsic life force (Qi) we will never be activated in a balanced manner and thus we cannot energetically live in optimal health. 

Yet there is an additional concern even if one practice several Qigong’s that follows the correct Horary cycle.  That is, Qigong in and of itself can be categorized as a Yin system and to be optimally balanced it needs a Yang compliment.  And this Yang compliment is Martial Arts.  Hence the problem with merely practicing Qigong as a way of life.

This is where Tai Chi comes in. Correct Tai Chi IS a Qigong and much more.

Tai Chi:

Tai Chi has three main components:

1. Health Benefits

2. Martial Arts Benefits

3. Spiritual or Meditative Benefits

Let me start by saying that the reasons there are many forms of Tai Chi is complicated.  In some cases it is because there have been people who felt that they could create a better Tai Chi system than the one they initially learned.  Maybe they felt this way because their initial system or instructor was not very good.  Or, maybe they created a new system because they had a strong ego and wanted to be revered or looked up to.  Maybe they wanted to make more money, etc. The reasons are varied.

So, the quickest and best way to identify which Tai Chi system is valid is to examine its components.  It MUST have all three of the above “components” if it is to be a valid Tai Chi system. Yet, virtually any Tai Chi system can make this claim.  So how do we distinguish a valid Tai Chi system from one that is not in our best interest?

To our knowledge there are only two systems of Tai Chi which are complete and valid.  These are:

1. The Original Yang Lu-Ch’an Tai Chi Chuan (Originally known as H’ao Chu’an, translated as “Loose Boxing”)

2. The Yang Cheng-Fu form (which was a watered down version of The Original Yang Lu-Ch’an Tai Chi Chuan) 

(Note: Please refer to this ARTICLE for more details.)

To avoid over complication I’ll focus strictly on the KEY points of what’s makes these Tai Chi systems “valid”.

1. Health – Only these systems follow the Horary Cycle. In other words, the sequential techniques/postures of the forms (with proper breathing and SUNG) activate each meridian in the correct sequence mimicking the 24 hour Horary cycle.  While other forms of Tai Chi DO NOT DO THIS and the end result can only be defeating. 

2.  Martial Arts – Virtually any Tai Chi motion can be manipulated to simulate a defensive technique.  But with the valid systems of Tai Chi you learn more than this, you also learn Dim-Mak.  Dim-Mak (literally meaning death touch) is the art and science of vital point fighting.  Vital points are the vulnerable areas of the body that when struck properly causes, is the best case scenario pain and the body to not function normally, and in the worst case scenario, results in death.

Some vital points are just structurally weak areas in ones anatomical construction (such as the throat, or knee cap, etc).  Most martial arts systems seem to focus on these structurally weak areas.  But there are other vital areas specifically related to points located on the various meridians.  The science of striking these points is a very advanced methodology of fighting.  For more details on Dim-Mak read this ARTICLE.

One of the numerous genius aspects of the valid systems of Tai Chi are that each technique is a finishing blow if used correctly in a fight.  The motions of Tai Chi are designed so that they strike vital points in the correct direction, and in proper succession with other points to optimize their defensive effectiveness.   In other words, one point can be used by itself or enhanced if used as a set up point for another succeeding point(s), etc.

So, Dim-Mak makes Tai Chi one of the world’s most deadly martial arts in that every single move can be a killing motion if, God forbid, such a need arose.   And while some may cringe at the idea of using Tai Chi as a killing system and thus may wish to focus only on its health benefits; well, this is a short sighted approach. It is like taking the Yin out of the Yang, the night from the day, the male from the female. It can’t be done without causing unfortunate side effects.  Therefore, Tai Chi MUST have both the Healing (Yin) and Fighting (Yang) aspect to be Balanced.

And when Tai Chi is practiced as a complete and Balanced discipline its side effect (beyond the above mentioned benefits) produce coordinate spiritual/meditative results often described as “moving meditation”. 

In summary, authentic Tai Chi stands out because:

1. Its techniques follow the Horary Cycle. 

2. Its Martial Arts system is the pinnacle of self defense based on the art/science of Dim-Mak.

3. When both the Health and Martial Arts are unified one attains Balance and gains optimal meditative/spiritual benefits.

Note: There are of course numerous other components of a healthy and holistic lifestyle which include proper diet/nutrition, proper hydration, social interaction, etc.  But Tai Chi is the perfect complement to virtually anyone’s lifestyle if they seek to live in a beneficial and holistic way.

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            Taekwondo is a very effective martial art with both its Mu Sool (Martial Skills) and moral tenets.  In this paper I will reveal little known advanced principles in Mu Sool vital point striking, many of which can be used effectively in taekwondo.

            Generally, when people think of taekwondo they see a martial art which utilizes phenomenal hand and foot techniques which are applied with focus, timing, speed and power against an attacking opponent’s weak areas (vital points). In this way, the resulting self defense applications have a much greater success in their effectiveness; as opposed to just punching or kicking randomly on the opponent’s body in hopes that you will defeat them.

            The intelligence of utilizing these vital points on the opponent’s body sets apart an advanced taekwondo practitioner from a novice.  But what if there was an even a greater methodology to vital point striking than what is typically known?  If so, this knowledge could further the advanced practitioners skills. Well, there is a more advanced science to vital point striking and to the Chinese it is known as the science of dim-mak.

* * *


            In order to accurately comprehend aspects of this paper, one needs to have some understanding of the energetic meridian based system found in traditional oriental medicine. Generally speaking, the human body has 12 bilateral primary meridians (see “Yin/Yang Channels” below). There are also two special vessels (the Conception Vessel – CV and the Governor Vessel – GV) that are not bilateral. These are singular channels, which follow the midline of the body, one in front and one on the back.

There are a number of ways in which the Primary Meridians can be classified. One method is to classify them into two groups, according to their polarity of Yin and Yang. The Chinese determined that some of the meridians are predominantly of Yin energy, and some are predominantly of Yang energy.  We will be referencing certain vital points and their corresponding numbers using the abbreviations found in this meridian system.  

Yin Channels (Organ) Yang Channels (Organ)


Lung (LU) Large Intestine (LI)
Spleen (SP) Stomach (ST)
Heart (HT) Small Intestine (SI)
Kidneys (KI) Bladder (BL)
Pericardium (PC) Triple Heater (TH)
Liver (LV) Gall Bladder (GB)


Number of Points on each Meridian

Governing Vessel = 27

Conception Vessel = 24

Lung = 11

Large Intestine = 20

Spleen = 21

Stomach = 45

Heart = 9

Small Intestine = 19

Kidney = 27

Bladder = 67

Pericardium = 9

Triple Heater = 23

Liver = 14

Gall Bladder = 44

Note:  Certain Meridian’s have more than one name and or abbreviation. Here are some examples:  Triple Heater (TH) could also be Triple Warmer (TW).  Large Intestine (LI) could also be Colon (CO). Bladder (BL) could also be Urinary Bladder (UB).

One additional but critical aspect to meridian vital point striking is in knowing the direction of the strike since different effects are produced depending on the angle of the strike.  This is important for single strikes as well as multiple strikes, and how they affect each other.  (refer to #4 below Dropping the Heart Rate”). 

In order to have a fundamental understanding of which direction to strike a point, one must first understand that the energy or (Ki) in the posterior meridians on the arms and legs flows in a downward fashion, while the Ki flows in an upwards direction in the anterior regions of the arms and legs. The energy flow in the torso and head can be a bit more complex to follow. 

Note: When one examines the numerical system along each meridian in acupuncture the ascending numbers reflect the direction of the energy (Ki). But with dim-mak vital point striking, one must think of the energy flowing in the opposite direction from acupuncture. For in dim-mak striking we are trying to hurt or kill, not heal.   

Next one must understand what effects the points, used individually or in combinations, have on the attacker. This science is very comprehensive and beyond the scope of this paper. If you would like to study this topic further I recommend the exhaustive works, “The Encyclopedia’s of Dim-Mak”, by Erle Montaigue and Wally Simpson.

* * *


There are five ways to cause a knock-out.  These five methods are the same ways one can also kill an opponent. So the utmost caution must be used when applying this knowledge.

Note: It is dangerous to knock someone out regardless of how it is done. We lose a few million-brain cells every time we are knocked out. Not to mention possible long-term damage and or death.

1. Head Trauma Black Out: (Blunt Trauma or Concussion)

Most of us know that a strong percussion type strike anywhere near the head, chin, face, etc., will cause a knock out. This is because these areas are vital to human survival and when struck, the brain simply causes the rest of the body to faint thus saving all of the energy and blood for the affected area. This is the first and most basic of the knock out techniques. This method is often seen in boxing or mixed martial arts fights.


2. Air Restriction to Lungs: (Lack of Air)

There are two approaches using this method.  The first one, and the one most often considered, would be to restrict air to lungs by cutting off the airway through a choking, compression, or crushing techniques on a person’s airway (larynx).  The second method causes the muscles around the lungs to constrict violently by going into spasm thus causing the person to black out. With this approach, using the meridian based system; we could, for example, perform strikes to ST 15 or to SI 11.  The strike to SI 11, which is located in the center of the scapular, will have the same effect as a good kick in the gut.


3. Stopping Blood Flow to Brain: (Lack of blood)

In this method the blood is restricted or stopped in its ability to get to the brain, such as a squeezing method which cuts off circulation to the carotid artery (a.k.a. the old sleeper hold).  One must be careful since prolonged constriction can cause brain damage or even death whereby the opponent may not revive.

If the person is knocked out or the heart has stopped from a sleeper hold type choke then we can use CPR.  Another approach is to lift him into a sitting position placing our hands under his chest from the rear and jerk him upward while squeezing inward lightly. This should bring him around. If not, a medium slap on the back in between the scapular should work.


4. Dropping the Heart Rate: (Shock, or rapid disruption of systems)

With this fourth method we would strike at vital points to cause the heart rate to drop, such as striking the carotid sinus or (ST 9). For another example, envision an attacker who uses a right arm hook punch. In defense, we could use our left palm swinging up and outwards in a blocking type motion striking the attackers point known as Neigwan or (PC 6).  The key to this block/strike, (Note: with dim-mak all blocking motions are in fact strikes or set-ups since blocks are seen more or less as wasted motion which makes one susceptible), is that we hit PC 6 in an adverse direction (against the flow of energy – or in this case, the direction of the attackers wrist) while virtually simultaneously we use our right palm striking to his carotid sinus point (ST 9).

There are three other organs which when struck in certain directions will also cause this blood pressure dropping effect. Gall bladder (or GB) and the intestines are the ones that are the easiest to get at. We have gall bladder points all over our bodies from the feet right up to the head and any of these points will cause the knock out when struck in the correct direction.  Take for example GB 14, located just above the eyebrow in the middle of the forehead.  This point can be struck in three different directions each causing a different effect.  For instance, if we strike with an upward blow to this point it causes what is known as an energy or Ki rush to the head resulting in a knock out or death. (Essentially the brain explodes energetically!) But if we use dim-mak points in a different way, they can also be used to heal. For instance, we know that the antidote for striking GB 14 is the point GB 21 just on the shoulders. If we put pressure onto this point and quickly brush to both sides, this will bring the Qi back down out of the head. And since striking GB 14 results in the exact same symptoms as a person suffering from a bad case of sunstroke, we know that GB 21 can also be used for sunstroke victims. In short, sunstroke and striking GB 14 are the result of too much yang energy in the head.

Another approach for striking GB 14 is to use a set-up point.  For example, if I block a punch by using an inwards strike towards me on the posterior side of the attackers arm, this accelerates the normal Ki flow; in analogy this would be just as if I was pushing water downstream.  This method with both water and Ki basically increases the rate of speed and volume.  Thus by causing the Ki energy flow to increase in the arm when striking a specific point, GB 14 will also become engorged with even more Ki than normal. And if GB 14 is struck at this instant and in an upward fashion, it causes an even greater energy rush type effect than by striking it alone, again resulting in a sunstroke type effect.

In another totally separate example, if I were to strike GB 14 in a downward fashion it would lower the blood pressure, which could cause the heart to slow dramatically or even stop thus causing knock out or death (from the heart not starting up again). And if I used a set-up point in conjunction with this point, the negative effects would be further enhanced.

Dim-mak becomes even more complicated when we learn that there are certain points that when struck will cause seemingly totally unrelated parts of the body to react. For instance, if SP 20 (Spleen 20) is struck in an inward manner, it will cause either the right or left leg (whichever side was struck) to lose control and the person will fall to the ground.

5. Neurological: (Disruption of nervous system)

An example of this type of knock out is an inwards strike to the chin which pushes it back towards the upper spinal cord area.  This causes pressure on the spinal column and results in a momentary blockage of information from the central nervous system to the brain. Neurological shut down is a strange human phenomenon, which the martial artist is able to use to his advantage. There are certain parts of the face which when struck with a slapping motion will cause the whole nervous system to shut down. Martial artists wanting to show off have used this practice for years. However, the dangers of this type of strike are even worse than the others. This is because it seems as if there has been no real damage but years later the recipient of such a strike suffers from mental illness, or in the very least becomes paranoid. Certain nervous disorders will also grow over the years, all of which could have been prevented if the person showing off wasn’t irresponsible or ignorant of the effects of the strikes.

* * *


To complete the science of vital points striking one must be knowledgeable of the following:


            Every vital point, whether it is associated to a meridian point or just some anatomical structure of the body, (the latter being something like the Adams apple), has a precise science on how to locate it. 

            For example, in oriental medicine each person can find points based on their very own anatomical body structure.  One such measurement is the width of one’s thumb (called an accu-inch).  One can therefore use their own accu-inch and measure out each meridian point with complete accuracy.  Suffice to say that no two accu-inches are exactly the same. An interesting side note here is that meridians also change their pathways in the body dependant on numerous factors such as diet, stress, sickness, etc.  In acupuncture these deviations are important to note.  However, the pathways rarely (if ever) deviate beyond the effectiveness of dim-mak.  In dim-mak one does not have to be as precise in relation to a point as say an acupuncturist would need to be.  As long as one strikes in the area around the point approximately the size of a large coin the strike will be effective. 


One must learn how strikes (or healing) to certain points/meridians affect other meridians.

Direction of Strike:

            Some points only have one direction (straight in) while others have multiple directions, often with different effects.


            Light, moderate and heavy strikes produce different effects. In some cases you may only wish to drain the energy of an opponent, while in other instances you may need to knock out or even kill an opponent.  (Refer to “five ways to cause a knock out”)  

Set-up point:

            Set-up points are those which when struck a split second before another point will enhance the effect of the main strike. These can be found on most of the main points used in real self defense techniques.


            Some points have antidote points which can be used to reverse the effect of the harmful strike. However, some points are so dangerous that there is no antidote.


            No art in hurting or killing is complete without knowledge of how to heal. Although a martial artist isn’t a licensed medical doctor, they should have a decent understanding of healing techniques which they can apply in martial arts related situations/scenarios. Obvious approaches such as first aid and CPR are vital to any martial artist. But there are also methodologies whereby one can use meridian points in a healing way, such as using ones fingers, palms, elbows, etc, or even by running ones hands over the body without touching it projecting Ki energy to certain areas.


            Finally, one must know effective martial art techniques (blocking, striking, grabbing, kicking, etc) to apply dim-mak.  Consider that many people create martial arts hyung (forms) merely for their dramatic look or beauty.  But serious martial artists know that forms contain real applicable techniques for real fighting.  They know that one technique is followed by another which has a direct subsequent fighting application (block followed by strike, etc). 

Yet in the case of even more highly developed martial arts which use dim-mak forms/techniques, we learn that the hyung strategy is taken to a whole new level. Not only is there a basic block/strike type application available for anyone to learn, there are also hidden applications for those who understand dim-mak.  In these hidden applications, one learns all of the above mentioned specifics (point location, direction of strike, etc).



            Obviously through learning dim-mak one can decisively enhance their martial art. Yet to truly complete ones martial art journey (“Do” or the Way) one must develop their character, ethics and spiritual values transcending ego, striving and attaining enlightenment.

Some of the major problems with many martial arts today revolve around the over emphasis towards merely pugilistic and strenuous training approaches.  Another major problem lies with instructors who are egotistical and need to be noticed, popular or famous at the expense of the students or art. With the advent and popularity of martial sports, such as Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), violent and fantasy martial arts video games/movies, and the overall tendency for instant (albeit superficial) gratification, many martial artists have lost sight of the deeper more perennial aspects of our art. Suffice to say that there is a disdain or just plain apathy towards the “Do” (Way).   

It’s not that hard to hurt or even kill someone with some training.  However ask yourself, can you heal just as well?  How’s your self defense as it pertains to not only your or others physical bodies, but how is your defense against the enemies of your own psyche, emotions and other debilitating faculties?  It is incumbent that we understand the vital points of our inner being and annihilate any area which threatens our inner mastery.  Mastery of one’s self and all else will follow.


  1. http://www.yinyanghouse.com/
  2. http://www.taijiworld.com/
  3. Montaigue, Erle and Simpson, Wally; “The Encyclopedia of Dim-Mak”, Paladin Press, Boulder Co, 1997.
  4. Montaigue, Erle, “Dim-Mak: Death Point Striking”, Paladin Press, Boulder Co, 1993.
  5. Montaigue, Erle and Simpson, Wally; “The Encyclopedia of Dim-Mak: The Extra Meridians, Points and More”, Paladin Press, Boulder Co, 1997.
  6. 6.      Tedeschi, Marc, “Essential Anatomy: for healing and Martial Arts” Weatherhill, 2000.


Author: Brian Alexander

October 24, 2009

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All Tai Chi systems are NOT the same.  In fact there are only two authentic forms of Tai Chi.

These are:

a)   The Original “Old Style” Yang Lu-ch’an Tai Chi Chuan (Originally called H’ao Chu’an or Loose Boxing)

b)   Yang Cheng-Fu  (This style was created by one of the grandsons of Lu-Ch’an when he changed it from the original Old Style to make Tai Chi more accessible to all people, ages and levels of health.  Cheng-Fu, which was the grandson’s name, stated that to change the form anymore than he did would cause disaster.)

To understand what makes a Tai Chi system “authentic” you will have to spend time studying the subject.  

For starters, virtually anyone can make claims of how their system is supposedly more “authentic” than others.  But I’m not interested in battles between egos.  What matters is what’s best for the people.  So, let me quickly interject one KEY reason on how to identify an authentic Tai Chi system.

The movements in an authentic Tai Chi MUST follow the Horary cycle sequence (or 24 Hour Qi Flow Cycle).  To do otherwise creates energy (Qi) imbalance.  Thus, incorrect forms of Tai Chi utilize incorrect series of physical (kinetic) movements, which in turn stimulate certain meridians out of their proper sequence. 

Incorrect systems of Tai Chi have either pieced together movements from an authentic Tai Chi and placed then out of order. Or they have created entirely new movements, or a combination therein.  Either way, to follow an incorrect system of Tai Chi is ultimately disastrous, just like Cheng-Fu said.

For more on how to distinguish between authentic vs. inauthentic Tai Chi visit the “Articles” section at www.taichiworld.com.  Ultimately though the deciding factor is not intellectual but through direct practice.

Here is a list of what we teach at Park’s Martial Arts and what is involved in learning the Complete System of Tai Chi Chuan:

  1. Old Yang Style Tai Chi form. This form IS Tai Chi and will be the core of your training. On average a student learns one or two techniques of this form per class since details are so important.
  2. Health and Meditative benefits are introduced but are not fully realized until a certain degree of proficiency.  One such health approach is to learn the standing 3-Circle Qigong method as this posture introduces proper energy or Qi flow to the body quicker than accessing Qi through the “Old Yang Style” form.  As the student advances in their form and training more in depth techniques and understandings are taught.
  3. Fa-Jing striking and kicking with pads. (Without mastering fa-jing, which literal translates as “explosive power”, your attack/defense techniques will be limited in there effectiveness.)
  4. Single & Double Push Hands are interactive routines that help the student to understand experientially the martial art aspects of nei chia (or internal style) martial arts; leverage, reflex, sensitivity, timing, coordination and positioning. 
  5. Chee Sau (Tai Chi “sticky hands”) teaches similar goals to push hands but utilizes a different approach.  
  6. Pauchui or “Cannon Fist Form” & Small San-Sau or “a Style of Free Hands” are routines that one can perform by themselves or with a partner. They teach the student how to defend themselves using the techniques found in the Tai Chi form.  
  7. Large San-Sau is a more advance method of San-Sau.  
  8. Da-Lu techniques teach one how to move correctly and change directions while attacking and defending. 
  9. Dim-Mak is a very advance level of Tai Chi where one learns how to attack pressure/vital points to control or incapacitate an opponent.  Most people don’t realize that authentic Tai Chi is one of the world’s most deadly martial arts.
  10. Tai Chi Weapons are introduced to advanced practitioners and can consist of short stick, long pole, knife, sword work.  In short, the weapon becomes an extension of the body and flows utilizing the movements and principles found in Tai Chi.

NOTE:  Although it is recommended that one learn the entire Tai Chi system some people are only interested in the “health” benefits.  This is understandable and we will always welcome these students at Park’s Martial Arts where we can certainly assist them fully.  

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CLICK HERE for the Large San Sau Fighting Video

Many Tai Chi practitioners only see the Large San-Sau as a training method to gain the fighting applications of Tai Chi. However, it goes much deeper than that. There are actually three reasons that we must practice Large San-Sau.

The first reason is the obvious one of purely physical contact and learning about how to use the postures from the Tai Chi form. It is said that during San-Sau, we practice every known kind of attack and defence, even those ones that aren’t actually physically included in the sets. By this I mean that we learn sub-consciously to move the body in such a manner as to teach it to react automatically to any kind of attack, not only those that we are performing. We learn to ‘see without seeing’ in that our sub-conscious brain will learn how to read an attacker’s movement and body shape, how his is placed for power and whether it is even worth reacting to. In the beginning, students will always ‘look’ at their partner/opponent, nit wishing to miss an attack etc. However, as one progresses. we learn that we actually see more without seeing! Our sub-conscious brain picks up on movement that our eyes do not focus upon and then our body reacts instantly to that unseen movement.

The second important reason is that we learn how to transmit Qi either for the self defence art or the healing art. All great internal systems have this aspect somewhere in their sets. If we do not release the stored Qi, no more can be gained and we will sort of explode like a pressure cooker! We must release the built up Qi to stop stagnant Qi building up in our body thus causing disease. We gather the Qi using the Qigong and the Tai Chi form, then we store it using the fast movement and release it using the Fa-jing movements of the Pauchui/Large San-Sau forms and two person sets. This is why we must learn to perform the San-Sau at a very explosive pace never allowing any blow to make contact with us, we have it covered the instant that it is released upon us. Many make the big mistake in the beginning of waiting for each attack to be made before reacting to it! In a realistic situation, the attack would never come too close as you would have it covered and would have instantly reacted with a re-attack. Many find that the movements are too close and awkward, however, this in only because they aren’t reacting soon enough and allowing the attacker’s attacks to get to you before sing attacking/defensive movements yourself. So the whole thing will become very fast and furious and this is when the whole two person set becomes a joy to perform and only then do we begin to get the real benefits of the next section.

When two partners have been practicing the large San-Sau for some time, become as one unit, the whole Qi systems of each player unites as one flowing river and this practice actually becomes a little addictive, leaving each player on a high for hours after their practice. You should never however, only practice once! You should always practice three times or more with both players practicing on the both sides more than 3 times. So that amounts to 6 times at least each day. It only takes a few minutes going at a cracking pace though.

This brings me to the last section and really is the most important and hidden or secret meaning of Large San-Sau. When I was with Chang, I would always ask him the meaning of things which would often annoy him I am sure as he would only hit me to demonstrate. On one such occasion, I asked him about the true meaning of Large San-Sau to which he answered with a whack on my arm leaving a huge bruise! However, his attack was not that hard and I wondered what the meaning of all this was. I thought in the beginning that he was trying to tell me that the real meaning was to build up resistance to hard attacks and that my arms would become impervious to attacks in the future with practice. However, as my own training


Article written by WTBA Founder Master Erle Montaigue www.taichiworld.com

Video courtesy of WTBA London Senior Instructor Paul Brecher www.taiji.net  

NOTE: Paul Brecher resigned from the WTBA in May 2009. You can read Erle’s comments about this on page 44 of volume 60 in the Combat and Healing Magazine.

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Why you should NOT do any shortened or modified forms of Taijiquan!


No, you should give up the shortened form immediately as it will eventually damage your body and mind! The masters of old were genius and they invented a set of movements which emulated the Qi flow in a 24 hour period. In fact during practice of an original form (not a shortened version), we cause the Qi flow to be activated three more times, hence it’s great health giving nature. If we were to then leave out postures or change others to different places in the form, the Qi is being activated in all the wrong places and the flow is broken. And it is broken and changed Qi flows in the body that allows illness to slowly come in!  


The Yang Chen-fu form however, was modified just enough to make it easier for the beginner, but with-out loosing the original essence of the Yang Lu-ch’an form, Chen-fu himself said, “to change the form any more than I have, will bring disaster!

But although the Chen-fu form has the Qi flowing in the right places, it still does not have the Fa-jing movements, it’s all slow moving, so to balance it out you must train in one of the fighting forms such as the Pauchui, or small San-Sau.However, most people are a bit to yang to start with any way due to stress, so as long as you don’t go overboard training in the slow form, you’ll be fine, especially if you’re a older person not interested in the fighting side.


The Fa-jing (explosive energy) movements of the Old Yang System provide outlets for Yang Qi that builds up during practice. This is very important as building up too much Yang Qi (by doing all slow movements) then goes in to its opposite of Yin, thus causing ‘Yin Dullness’ which is what many of the old Chinese masters who only ever did the all slow form died of! So we need those energy release points. However, having said that, if for instance an older person or someone who is ill learns the all slow moving form, this will only benefit him or her as their body is probably too stiff to begin with. The dangers only come when we are progressing with our form training and everything that is supposed to happen begins to happen. This is the time to then go into the Older Yang Style with its energy release points. 


This article was copied from Eli Montaigue’s site www.taiji-bagua.co.uk 


For Master Erle’s article on this topic please click here http://www.taiji-qigong.co.uk/Free_To_Download/Erle’s%20Articles/Articles/shortened_forms_of_tai_chi.htm




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There are 5 ways to perform the Old Style Yang Lu’Chan Taijichaun. 

1. All Slow Form (All the movements are performed slowly)

2. All Slow Form except the main Fa-Jing techniques (normal practicing method)

3. All Vibratory Level (There is a vibratory shake at all key points in each technique)


4. Full Fa-Jing (This is the ideal way and is a very intense approach)


5. Free Form (This is a combination of all of the aforementioned methods determined by the practitioner. This is the most advanced/personal method and is Erle’s favorite method.)

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The Way of the Warrior

A warrior is not just a person who has learned some moves, is able to kick at 90 miles per hour or who has won the world championships at kick-boxing. A warrior must earn his title. The martial artist is a person who knows things that go far deeper than just self defence, he is someone who walks into a room full of people and an immediate calm falls upon that room, he is a person who can touch a person’s head, or arm, or hand and cause an inner stillness and peace to fall upon that person. You know a warrior not from the way he looks, his big biceps, or his rolled up sleeves revealing a row of tattoos, or his shaven head or the fact that he wears his full gi (karate uniform) to parties!

We know the warrior by his presence and the healing he automatically gives to everyone he meets. His energy, his ‘Qi’ is touching you, you don’t feel anything physical, but rather the internal effect of this touching, and peace is with you.

The warrior looks upon the earth in a different way than those who are not warriors, everything, from the smallest insect to the largest mammal, and the most insignificant rock or tree is important and has life, the grass he walks upon, he thanks for softening the rough path he walks upon, the trees, he thanks for giving him shade and oxygen. Everything has importance because it was put there by mother earth for some reason.

Sure, he has to live in modern times, he must drive a motor car and go to the supermarket and mow his lawns, but always, he never loses sight of what he is, and more importantly, where he is. He knows that what he is, is not only what he has made himself to be, but also what is handed down to him and what is an accumulation right inside the very cells that he is made of, from his ancestors. Everything that they were, is now him, every bit of information that his fathers and mothers gathered is now inside of him, this is how we live on in our children, we literally, and I mean literally, pass on our knowledge, along with eons of knowledge accumulated since the beginning of time, to our children. Everything that we are at the conception of our children is passed on to them. We think that we have certain talents, but the warrior knows that all that he is, has come from the beginning of time, he knows that he is made up of the same stuff that a rock is made of, or a tree or a blade of grass, the difference is only physical. He knows that he owns nothing, and that all animals are free, his animals chose him to be with, he does not go to the pet shop to chose a new dog, he knows that the dog has chosen him to come to that pet shop to chose it.

The warrior communicates with the earth, he talks to the dogs, to the cats and owls, to the snakes, not so much verbally, but simply by being. This is the one thing that everything on earth has in common, being. He knows that there are forces at work on this earth, forces that he must learn to go with and to live with, otherwise he will surely perish. The energy within the warrior has the power to join with these forces, and then he has the power to change. But this comes not without payment, for he also knows that we cannot receive without first having paid for it. The whole of the universe is based upon this giving and taking, it is called yin & yang. For every up there must be a down, for every happiness, there must be a sadness, for every full tummy, there must be an empty one. The warrior knows that he must lose in order to gain, and so he sacrifices. He sacrifices his food, he sacrifices his sexual longings, his every day comforts, in order that he has the power to change and to help others to change. Not in going out specifically to help others, but to have the internal power always there to automatically help others to be peaceful, and in doing so, they too will be able to see where they are, and who they are. We are not only someone’s son or daughter, we are the sons and daughters of an infinite amount of people, those who have passed on to us their cells inside of which is hidden the very substance of creation and everything that has happened. Not ‘since time began’, because there is no beginning or ending.

Being a martial artist is only one hundredth of what a warrior is, it is only a part of the whole, it is what gives us the confidence to become a healer, the internal energy to make changes.

A warrior knows that we do not have teachers, but guides, the people we meet who are able to give us something internal, that something extra to cause us to become our own greatest teachers. Just by simply being, a guide helps us to realize that it is we, ourselves who teach us, because the warrior also knows that locked away inside of everything, is that primordial cell that contains all information. He learns to read this information which comes in the form of ‘flashes’ at first, and this is too much for his feeble human brain to handle, he shuts off as soon as the flash arrives. But soon he learns to read these flashes, and they become longer in duration than just a moment. This is when the warrior knows that he is reading time.

He learns to communicate other than speaking, he knows that his physical needs are being looked after, and needs not worry about where the next mortgage payment will come from.

The warrior finds his place on the earth and stays there, where the power is. It is not a physical searching, but rather the warrior is ‘taken’ to where he must be, and there he stays, and the whole world will pass by, he needs not to travel, because the universe is there within him, and those who will in turn need to seek him out, will do so when their time is right, in just the same way that he did when he had to travel the world searching for his own guides. They then will learn to teach themselves from within, and also then go and find their own place, and he may never see them again, but this does not worry the warrior, he is in contact.

The warrior is not the master, he is not the sifu nor the sensei, these are just physical words that we put upon ourselves to make us seem important, or better than those who we guide. The warrior is a friend to his students, and so cannot be our master. He does not wish to gather students as they will search him out, and those who need to have a master or a sensei will not stay, they will keep searching until they realize that what they search is within them, and who they search, can only be their guide.

Master Erle Montaigue has been practicing the martial/healing art of Tai Chi Chuan since 1968. In 1985, Erle and eight of his students became the first Westerners to be asked to perform at the all China National Wushu Tournament in Yinchuan China . There, Erle was tested by four of the world’s greatest Chinese masters and was awarded the degree of “MASTER”, the only Westerner to be given this honor.

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