Ronin Kai Talks On How Internal Push Hands Helped Make Him A Push Hands Champ

Ronin Kai

Ronin Kai

We’ve been talking a lot over the last couple of weeks about how Clear’s Internal Push Hands can build internal power, offering testimonials from our students and investigative pieces on different aspects that the system addresses. But, the clearest indication of the power of internal push hands are the results of our students, and today we’re going to spotlight a three time push hands gold medalist and student, Ronin Kai. I had the opportunity to interview Kai about his experience and success in two tournaments he competed in in 2014-2015.

Kai currently lives in Houston, TX, where he enjoys the vegetarian cusine and the diverse martial arts the area has to offer. He’s a practitioner and instructor in several disciplines, including Meditation, Yoga Neijia (Xing-yi, Bagua, Taiji), Escrima and Pencak Silat. In addition, he is also a certified Clear’s Tai Chi instructor.

“I believe a strong solo practice and a willingness to cross train with different groups have given me a broader perspective on the skills I am working towards,” Kai said, “I currently teach mindfulness practices to an elementary school full time, I teach Tai Chi and Qi Gong to a local cancer hospital part time, and teach martial art classes at a local park.”

With his width berth of disciplines, exemplary commitment to the community, and teaching duties one wouldn’t think Kai would have time to compete, but he managed to enter into two different push hands tournaments to test the skills he learned from his participation in Clear’s Internal Push Hands Workshop and Certification Camp. He specifically wanted to test the internal skills he had learned in a non-compliant environment, against more experienced push hands practitioners.

When I asked him about his time at the workshop, he had this to say:

“Learning from Sifu Clear was a great experience. His hands on approach really helps you feel the skills you are working on and he presents the information in a simple but cohesive way. I am grateful that Sifu Clear is willing to share the Internal Arts openly instead of the classic storyline of waiting for 10 years and maybe we might show you the real stuff. Combining the Internal work I learned with Sifu Clear, lots of hard work and touching hands with multiple partners really cemented my love for this Art.”

Kai’s hard work paid off. During his competition he earned 3 gold medals in Push Hands in two different tournaments from 2014 to 2015. In his matches he went up against practitioners who had twice as much experience in the arts. Despite the gap in experience, he managed to succeed utilizing the internal skills of Clear’s Internal Push Hands.

Here is a description of Kai’s tournament experiences in his own words:

The two skills I would attribute to my wins were Sensitivity (Ting Jin) and Sung (dynamic relaxation) from the Internal Arts. With both of these skills combined it was easier for me to auto correct my posture and detect weaknesses in my partner’s own structure. Of course when my partner would use increase force I would have to be able to redirect his momentum and still be able to execute my moves under duress.

In one of the semi-final matches my partner would continue to tense his chest every time I got him. He started getting angry, wouldn’t look me in the eyes and it felt like he had a rock in his chest. With the Internal Push hands sensitivity training I was able to pinpoint this area and wrap around it, once that had happened I had complete control of his mass. It was definitely an eye opener seeing me bounce him around no matter how hard he pushed.

The final round for Gold Medal proved to be even more of a learning experience for me. As soon as [my partner and I] touched hands his whole body was tense. He came straight out of the gate blasting with brute force. The tendency to respond with force is always there but keeping calm and relaxed really helped me hold my ground. After few points scored on his side, I had tuned into his structure and began redirecting his force against him. His eyes would become wide as saucers as I bounced him to the floor several times. My sensitivity and technique was so ghost like he didn’t have any idea what I had done to him and it made him even more perplexed. This match really sunk in the Sung aspect of our training and whole body breathing. After 3 rounds to get to the finals my partner was breathing heavily and I was still relaxed. It’s a reminder to let the breath travel freely in the body and the more relaxed you are the more efficient the breath becomes. This is where the healing aspect shines in these arts and continue to unravel with a lifetime of experience.

Wow. You can see from Kai’s story that the internal principles developed by internal push hands can be directly applied to beat aggressive and more experienced opponents. You can check out Kai’s finals match at the 2014 International Chinese Martial Arts Championship below. Kai is the gentleman on the left in the video. These videos were uploaded by his opponent, Javier Rodriguez, a 10 year+ vet of Push Hands. You can check out Javier’s YouTube channel, where the videos are hosted here

Part 1

Part 2

You can see Kai applying internal skill in the video to redirect and anticipate his opponent. Really impressive. Clear’s Internal Push Hands has had three different students go on to win gold or silver medals at push hands tournaments. All without ever competing in push hands before. With stories like this, it’s easy to see that internal push hands equals results. If you want to build internal skills with push hands, be sure to check out Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Course DVD Package, which features all of the techniques and skills covered at the Internal Push Hands Workshop. You can still get the entire package for $100 off with our launch sale. But you better hurry, because the sale ends today.

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Push Hands VS Tai Chi Nei Kung

Tai Chi is unique in martial arts in that it builds energy.

Now I know what you’re thinking,

“but all the internal arts build energy.”

…and they do, sort of.

At least they do in training.

Take Xing Yi for example,

While training you spend a lot of time building energy with Qigong and Neikung aspects of the art.

…but then when you fight you expend a lot of energy.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. In Xing Yi’s case this is a very powerful and highly effective strategy.

However, as you get older this expenditure of energy becomes a problem, and if you look at older Xing Yi & Yiquan masters you’ll typically see them cutting back on the ferociousness and refining the internal to minimize this energy expenditure.

Bagua can do this as well, though it tends more towards moving and changing energy when it fights more than expending it.

Tai Chi takes this further.

…because the primary purpose of Tai Chi is to be effective in advanced age.

So in Tai Chi the goal isn’t just to conserve energy.

The goal is to build energy.

Even when fighting, your alignments, internal principles, nei kung, etc. should all be correctly working for you to build energy. The same way they do in training.

Now here’s where most people get tripped up:

If you’re going to make this happen correctly under the extreme pressure of a life and death situation, then it absolutely must be happening in ALL your training practices.
Even in Push Hands.

A common problem in Tai Chi is that most types of push hands don’t do this automatically.

…and if you’re practicing push hands without the correct nei kung principles happening to build energy the entire time, then your body is learning bad habits that you will have to untrain later.

Clear’s Internal Push Hands is designed to make this happen automatically from day 1.

…any errors are highlighted by the method so you are forced to fix them right away.

And this forced error correction builds the essential foundation to make your other types of push hands, drills, sparring & forms correct.

Here’s Sigung Clear discussing this:

That clip is from the new Internal Push Hands Instructor Course.

The course is only on sale until tomorrow! So go check out the details now:

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What kind of results can I expect from Internal Push Hands?

Last week I mentioned a Push Hands medalist. He went through the training for Clear’s Internal Push Hands before he entered the competition, and he came away with two Silvers.

His name is Harry Legg (yes, that is really his name!) and he is a Tai Chi instructor from New Jersey.

Harry was one of the first people to become a certified instructor in Clear’s Internal Push Hands. You’ll see him in the DVDs.

He is an accomplished Tai Chi player in his own right, so we asked him to write about his experiences with Push Hands. This is what he sent us:

“I play traditional push hands at meetups and in Tai Chi classes every week, and I continue to learn and gain substantial skill from this practice – it is absolutely necessary.

However, there are an abundance of skills and body states in Clear’s Internal Push Hands that are very difficult to achieve or to even realize exist through traditional Push Hands – be it stationary, restricted step or moving.

It is too easy to become skilled at the purely external/physical side of Push Hands if you are only playing the traditional methods.

The skills in Clear’s Internal Push Hands could fill a book. I’ll quickly touch on just a few here.

  • I have learned how to sense my partner’s root without physically touching them.
  • I have increased my root drop tremendously, which brings about the ability to bounce my partner out using root – and there are many other root-related skills.
  • I’ve learned to project Yi (Mind) and to feel my partner’s Yi in ways I never realized were possible.
  • I’ve learned to feel micro-movements in my partner and in my own body. You can lead your partner off balance by sensing those micro-movements.
  • I’ve learned how to “steal” my partners’ breath and use it against them.
  • One of the biggest revelations was in my misunderstanding of what it means to be double-weighted. This misunderstanding is common– even among many high-level teachers. Your Ting Jin
  • (listening/feeling) is greatly increased when you learn to properly eliminate double-weighting.
  • Clear’s Internal Push Hands also teaches very real and effective Fa Jin (Emitting Force).

Every element in this method has both a martial and a healing component. You do not learn this with traditional push hands.

The value to learning and playing Clear’s Internal Push Hands is immeasurable. It will improve your traditional Push Hands, your Tai Chi Form and your daily life.

If you are serious about Tai Chi, you will want to study and practice this method.”
– Harry LeggNew Jersey Tai Chi

I couldn’t have said it better myself. People in the know play Clear’s Internal Push Hands, and there is no better way to bring up your skill than our new Instructor Certification Package.

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The course contains nine DVDs with over 18 hours of teaching. It’s designed to give you all the benefits of real Tai Chi you’ve been looking for but can’t find anywhere else.

This program was put together with one goal in mind: to give our students the skills they need to become teachers.

We’ve laid it all out in simple, easy to follow instruction. Nothing is held back.
Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Certification Package is available now!

Why isn’t my Push Hands working?

Push Hands Drills at the 2015 Clear's Internal Push Hands Workshop

Push Hands Drills at the 2015 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Workshop

There are many different styles of Push Hands games, but they are not all created equal. The most common variations that are played today allow for a lot of external movement.

There are people who have played this kind of Push Hands for years, even decades, yet they are no closer to having real internal skills than when they began.

External movement is the enemy of internal skill.

If the goal is to develop true internal skill, then the internal elements need to be isolated.

It’s just like how a body builder isolates muscles to work, or how scientists isolate variables in an experiment.

Without isolation, results are murky and unreliable.

There is one Push Hands method that isolates internal power better than anything else out there. Developed by Master Ma Yeuh-Liang (one of China’s 100 Living Treasures of the martial arts), he called his Internal Push Hands game “No Style.”

The rules of this game are set up to get rid of every bit of external play that can possibly be eliminated.

There is simply no way to build internal power better or faster than this game.

Unfortunately, Master Ma’s method is no longer taught publicly by his lineage. In fact, the inheritor of the system (Master Liu Ji Fa) revealed that he only teaches this method to his two closest disciples.

The good news is that, before Master Ma died, he taught his game to Sigung Richard Clear.

That is very good news for anyone who wants to build internal skill, because Sigung Clear has a well-deserved reputation for teaching high-level Tai Chi secrets publicly.

Richard spent more than twenty years streamlining and refining the method, making it the most powerful (yet still the easiest to learn) system of internal training available.

Sigung Clear is not only committed to making those secrets available, he makes them truly accessible with proven training methods and step-by-step instructions that are,

…well… Clear!

Richard is committed to revitalizing the Tai Chi community by revolutionizing the standard of Tai Chi instruction.

With that goal in mind, Sigung Clear has not only agreed to teach the Internal Push Hands method, he is dedicated to spreading it far and wide by letting YOU teach it.

Most Tai Chi teachers would hoard a program like this. They would want to keep the secrets for themselves in order to keep the competition low.

Fortunately, Richard Clear is a little different.

He believes that we all benefit when real instruction is taught out in the open, and he is willing to prove it.

Until recently this program was only available through live personal instruction, but after a lot of hard work we are finally able to share it with our fans throughout the world.

The Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Certification package is available now. Nine DVDs packed with over 18 hours of instruction have been carefully designed to get you up to speed quickly and easily.

Clear’s Internal Push Hands was crafted from top to bottom to deliver real, practical internal skills as fast as possible. It is such a reliable program that we have tested and certified dozens of new teachers with nothing more than the material in this package – including me!

Whether you are fairly new to Tai Chi like I was, or you’ve been practicing for decades, Clear’s Internal Push Hands will give you the solid foundation of real internal power that you’ve been seeking.

It covers methods for building a DEEP root that stands up to punishment, target your opponent’s root, and hide yours from them.

It will give you ways to keep your structure solid without adding tension.

It has loads of practical advice for staying soft, but still strong and stable, under serious pressure.

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There is even material on feeling inside your opponent to sense their structure (both where they are strong and where they are weak), their tensions, their organs, and even their intentions.

You read that right. There is a whole section on learning to sense where your partner is targeting inside of you – where they are THINKING about pushing to – before they push to it.

That is a very high-level Tai Chi secret called Dong Jin, which (roughly translated) means Understanding or Knowing Energy.

This is a skill that most Tai Chi players who have studied for decades have still not developed. There are other teachers out there who allude to Dong Jin in mystical terms, but this is the only place where it is really being taught (and that alone is easily worth more than the cost of the whole program).

This skill and many others are taught in detail throughout this course.

Best of all, unlike other most other internal training methods that are boring or tiresome, this is a game! It is actually fun to work on building internal power with this system.

If you already play some type of Push Hands, this will seriously step up your game. At least, that’s what our students say it did for them, and we have two national champions to prove it. One of our students took Silver in the first competition he ever entered, and he credits Clear’s Internal Push Hands for his success. (You’ll see more from him soon.)

Clear’s Internal Push Hands was created as a way to help people build internal skills fast. The Instructor Certification package will take those skills to an impressive level that qualifies you to teach it.

This course is available now.
Go check out the details here:

"I am thankful and grateful to my many teachers including the many push hands students and friends who have helped me train, develop and refine my Internal Push Hands method.  It is my pleasure to bring this method to you.  I hope that it will benefit you and future generations to come as much as it has me." -Richard

“I am thankful and grateful to my many teachers including the many push hands students and friends who have helped me train, develop and refine my Internal Push Hands method. It is my pleasure to bring this method to you. I hope that it will benefit you and future generations to come as much as it has me.” -Richard

How do you build internal skill?

Students practice push hands at the 2015 Clear's Internal Push Hands Instructor Workshop

Students practice push hands at the 2015 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Workshop

First you have to figure out what “internal skill” means.

By comparison, the external martial arts are easy to figure out. You practice the forms, you do drills and exercises, you build up your muscles, your stamina, and your reflexes.

It’s easy to figure out because it is intuitive. Bigger, stronger, faster guys should make better fighters. It’s just natural.

The Internal Arts can seem almost mystical by comparison. If you don’t know what you’re after, “internal skill” might as well be another way of saying “martial arts magic.”

It comes across as if you just need to feel a certain way, and suddenly you are imbued with extraordinary power…

…And in a sense, that isn’t wrong.

But unless you know which feelings are effective and which ones aren’t, you’ll never build any internal skill.

So how can you tell what’s effective?

That part is actually pretty simple. You need feedback.

The way Tai Chi gets that kind of feedback is with Push Hands.

There are many kinds of Push Hands games that are each designed to develop different skills. The most common variety is best played using internal power, but it still allows for a lot of external movement.

There is another style of Push Hands that minimizes external play in order to focus on internal development. It is appropriately called Internal Push Hands, and it is the fastest way to build real internal skill.

Internal Push Hands has mostly been a closed door, secret training method of a select few high-level Tai Chi disciples.

Fortunately, while studying from Masters in Shanghai, Sigung Richard Clear learned the secret.

Since then he has spent over 20 years developing and refining the techniques to streamline the results.

Until recently, the only way to get this instruction was with live personal training with Sigung Clear or one of his students.

All that is about to change.

After years of hard work and experimentation, Sigung Clear has been able to put the Internal Push Hands method into an easy to learn format for our long-distance students.
Even better, he is blowing open the “closed doors” of the Tai Chi world by making this an Instructor Certification course.

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Anyone who knows Richard understands that he is completely committed to fueling a Tai Chi revolution. He believes that Clear’s Internal Push Hands will play a vital role in making that happen.

With that in mind, this program was designed from the ground up to deliver high-level internal skill quickly.

The course covers both healing uses and martial applications of internal energy. The training is thorough and extensive, and like everything else Richard teaches it is easy to understand.

Even if you’ve had little or no previous training in the Internal Arts, this package will help you build internal power quickly and easily. If you’re already an experienced player, Clear’s Internal Push Hands will take you to a much higher level of play in a very short time.

This comprehensive course is available now.

Go check out all the details here:

Tai Chi Internal Wave

Training the Tai Chi Internal wave begins with an external wave and then is refined inwards.

Not only is it very martially powerful, this training is a great health exercise as well (like most Tai Chi skills.)

In fact it’s an exercise that’s so important Sigung Clear practices it everyday.

Check out this clip on the wave:

This wave is one requirement of a Clear’s Internal Push Hands instructor and it’s one of many important skills taught in push hands instructor course. (Available Tomorrow!)

The “Understanding Energy” of Tai Chi (dong Jin 懂勁)

The Understanding Skill of Tai Chi is closely related to the Listening skill (ting jin.)

In many ways it’s the next step in training.

It’s not enough to feel what’s going on inside you and your opponent, you must also understand.

An important use of this skill is knowing where you opponent is going to attack.

In push hands, for example, if the opponent wants to issue effectively they must first feel inside you and find a good target. Once they find a good target they can issue and you’re done for.

This is where Understanding skill comes in.

When you can feel them looking inside you and feel them trying to acquire that target, you can disrupt what their doing. or better yet attack it.

Here’s a clip of Sigung Clear demonstrating some of this at the 2015 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor workshop:

This skill is one of the requirements to become a Level 1 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor and it’s one of many things you will learn in the push hands instructor course available this Thursday Feb 18

Tai Chi Error of Double Weightedness (The truth behind the myth)

Students and teachers training at the 2015 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Workshop

Don’t let this Tai Chi BS hold back your development.

Many of you have met long term Tai Chi practitioners who cannot use their art.

…and these aren’t just your “health only” Tai Chi hobbyists. Many folks who study seriously and have skilled teachers find that their hard work is not developing the level of skill and effectiveness they where looking for.

There can be many reasons for this.

…but there’s one problem that is outlined directly in the Tai Chi classics.

According to Wang Tsung Yueh’s text “Tai-Chi Chuan Ching” (18th Century)

“Many persons who have studied Tai-Chi for a number of years have not developed properly and continue to be subdued by others because they have not realized the error in double weightedness.”

Translated by Jou Tsung Hwa in his book “The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan.”

Basically, If you make the double weighted error you cannot reach an intermediate level of skill in Tai Chi.

Unfortunately, the classics are cryptically vague in their language on what exactly “double weightedness” means and so there is a lot of BS out there on how to address this problem.

So first, let’s clear up some of the BS about “the error of double weighted:”

It has nothing to do with the pull of gravity.

Weighted in this context has to do with emphasis. It’s using the meaning of “attach value to” or “assign a handicap.” As in “not evenly distributed” or a “weighted statistic.”

It has nothing to do with your stance.

You can be double weighted while standing on one leg just as easily as when standing on two. It’s often easier to be double weighted when on one leg than when on two.

It has nothing to do with your opponent.

You can be double weighted when you’re all by yourself just as easily as when you’re pushing with an opponent. If you respond poorly to their force it can magnify the problems of the double weighted error, but this is merely a magnification of the symptom. Not the problem itself.

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Solving the error of double weightedness is a key part of overcoming larger opponents.

Now, to be fair, some of the above can crop up as symptoms of the double weighted error.

Symptoms can be useful in helping you know when the error is occuring.

…but do not mistake the symptom for the problem.

This is the most common error in the information out there about double weightedness.

Folks take a problem that can be a symptom of the error and mistake it for the error itself.

Unfortunately this won’t help you solve the problem. It only covers up one of many potential symptoms.

Without a full understanding of the double weighted error and all it’s symptoms, you can’t properly troubleshoot and solve the problem.

I’ll try to keep it as simple and practical as possible but the answer requires a bit of explanation.

One reason there’s so much misinformation out there is that this topic is difficult to understand and explain. Especially in a practical, down to earth way. (Of course, the teachers who deliberately hide information compound this problem.)

What does double weighted really mean?

In the Tai Chi classics the term “double weighted” pops up in this context:

“Many persons who have studied Tai-Chi for a number of years have not developed properly and continue to be subdued by others because they have not realized the error in double weightedness.”

The above translation of Wang Tsung Yueh’s text “Tai-Chi Chuan Ching” is from The Tao of Tai-Chi Chuan by Jou, Tsung Hwa.

Master Jou goes on to describe this to mean that Tai Chi practitioners fail to follow the basic principles of Tai Chi.

The key basic principle that is being violated here is described in “The theory of Tai-Chi Chuan” Attributed to Chang San-feng (est. 1279 -1386)

“One must distinguish substantial from insubstantiality. Where there is substantial, there must be insubstantiality. In all ways, one has to distinguish one from the other.”

…and you’ll find this idea crops up in various forms in many of the classic writings on Tai Chi.

You must differentiate between substantial & insubstantial.

…a failure to make this distinction is to make the error of double weightedness.

It’s interesting to note that the character often translated as “weighted” 重, is also associated with meanings like repetition, iteration, a layer, emphasis.

If we talk about a statistic or a test being weighted, we mean that it’s artificially skewed towards a specific result.

So to be doubly weighted is to over emphasize something or make an over commitment in some way.

A better translation within the context of Tai Chi Chuan is:

Students practicing Internal Push Hands at the 2015 Clear's Internal Push Hands Instructor Workshop
Students practicing Internal Push Hands at the 2015 Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor Workshop

“The error of paired repetition”
or “the error of double layers”
or, even better:

“the error of double emphasis.”

…and you do see some teachers talk about making the error of “double yang” or “double yin.”

Which is another way of talking about this idea.

But what the hell does all this mean in practical terms?!

It’s easy to throw these terms around and quote the classics all day without giving anyone something useful that they can take home & implement in their own practice.

..and unfortunately many teachers do this, whether it’s to hide their ignorance or to withhold information and knowledge from their students. I don’t know.

How to prevent the error of double weightedness.

Double Weighted Error is the Failure to Distinguish  Between substantial & Insubstantial
Double Weighted Error is the Failure to Distinguish Between substantial & Insubstantial

So, what does this mean in practical terms?

Think about your spine.

It’s made up of layers, and these layers alternate between somewhat solid and somewhat less solid.

These alternating layers of tissues are an example of a distinction between substantial and insubstantial.

If some of these vertebrae become fused together it causes problems.

Another example of this, is that to move you must both contract and relax muscles in the body. If you fail to relax the proper muscles or contract the wrong muscles, you can’t move properly or with full power.

…because you failed to create a distinction between substantial and insubstantial in your body.

Of course it’s not quite that simple.

Tai Chi is internal so we’re not just talking about the physical anatomy, we must also make sure we’re not double weighted in the energies and body states we use.

A basic way to do this is to sink the chi into the lower body so that it becomes heavy while the upper body becomes light.

You are now distinguishing between substantial in the lower body and insubstantial in the upper body.

This is a good start (for a day one beginner) but we need to go much further.

…because at this point you’ve essentially divided the body in half with a single distinction.

There are varying degrees of double weightedness
There are varying degrees of double weightedness

If you go up against someone who can separate heavy and light in the upper body and do it again in the lower body you will lose.

…because they are creating a much more refined distinction between heavy and light in their body than you are.

You are double weighted compared to them.

…of course they will be double weighted when compared to someone who can refine this even further.

Unfortunately, the above example does not paint a complete picture but it’s a good start.

At a more advanced level you can be all light or all heavy and still not be double weighted.

Our best 2 dimensional representation of the distinction between substantial and insubstantial while also distinguishing between the substantial qualities of insubstantiality and the insubstantial qualities of substantiality.
Our best 2 dimensional representation of the distinction between substantial and insubstantial while also distinguishing between the substantial qualities of insubstantiality and the insubstantial qualities of substantiality.

When you understand both the insubstantial and substantial aspects of lightness AND you distinguish between them then you can use lightness effectively.

If you don’t distinguish between the substantial and insubstantial aspects of lightness than you will find lightness to be very weak and your structure will collapse or you’ll be forced to retreat or run into other problems

Of course, light is just one of the many energies of Tai Chi.

There’s light, heavy, empty, full, open, closed, expanding, contracting, spiralling, magnetic, electric, and so on…

The classics say:

“In all ways, one has to distinguish one from the other.”

The key is the first part: “in ALL ways”

Any time you fail to make this distinction, in any way, you are committing the error of “double weightedness.”

As you can see this problem has a massive potential to crop up in all sorts of ways.

…and this distinction between substantial and insubstantial is an ongoing process that you can always refine and get better at.

How to spot double weighted errors and fix them.

Here’s the problem with fixing double weighted errors.

To fix errors you must be able to find them. In Tai Chi we typically do this by feel with the ‘Ting’ skill.

However, a symptom of the double weighted error is that it limits your ability to feel what’s going on inside yourself (and in someone else.)

…and so it’s a bit of a catch 22.

You must differentiate between substantial & insubstantial in order to perceive areas where you are failing to distinguish between substantial and insubstantial.

Excess tension is one example of this. The more tense you are the less you can feel (and the more you are double weighted.)

As you relax, you can feel more and more. However, there are often deep seated areas of habitual tension that are very difficult to find and deal with unless they are pointed out in some way.

So, here’s what you do:

1 Build Ting

Sensitivity drills are of the utmost importance. The more you work on building your Ting the better off you are. But this alone isn’t enough.

2 Look for Symptoms

Use the symptoms of double weightedness to spot and troubleshoot the error.

Some common symptoms include: an inability to instantly shift weight or intention, difficulty perceiving substantial and insubstantial, and excess tension is a common sign of the double weighted error. (though whether tension is the cause or the result of the double weightedness depends on the situation.)

IMPORTANT: Remember that the symptoms are NOT the problem and just because you’ve fixed a couple of the symptoms does not mean that the problem has been solved. So keep working.

3 Internal Push Hands

By far the most effective way to find and fix the error of double weightedness is doing internal push hands with a partner.

A partner will help you find errors you didn’t know you had and rapidly speed up your progress.

A key part of becoming a Clear’s Push Hands instructor is learning to distinguish substantial and insubstantial and learning how to find and prevent the double weighted error.

The Push Hands Instructor Training Course contains in depth training that will teach you to identify and fix the error of double weightedness and how to use the benefits of proper weighting including:

Become a Clear's Internal Push Hands Instructor
Become a Clear’s Internal Push Hands Instructor
  • internally manipulating your own internal energy
    • filling & emptying
    • expanding & condensing
    • targeting inside the body
  • advanced ting including…
    • capitalizing on someone else’s double weighted errors
    • feeling and following an opponent’s internal changes
    • internally hiding from an opponent so that they cannot feel inside you
  • neutralizing force
  • redirecting your opponent’s force back into them
  • higher level fa jin
  • much, much more

Details on the Push Hands Instructor Course are here:

Fixing The Double Weighted Error
Fixing The Double Weighted Error

Details on our DVD for Fixing The Double Weighted Error are here:

Mysterious Tai Chi Power

Mysterious Tai Chi PowerLike most things, the power of Tai Chi is only mysterious when you don’t know the mechanics behind it.

Of course, if you want to develop internal power and be able to use it you have to demystify it and understand how it works.

There are 2 primary obstacles to understanding the power of Tai Chi.

First, there are many different ways Tai Chi generates power. In application and in demos they’re often mixed together and used in combination. You’ll need to define them and isolate them so that you can study them piece by piece.

The second difficulty is that the power is generated from subtle adjustments inside the body. It can be very hard to see or feel what’s happening well enough to even begin learning the skill.

The fastest way to overcome these obstacles that we know if is our Internal Push Hands.

The basics are taught in the Practical Guide to Internal Power.

…and in our intro to Internal Push Hands:

These will build your ability to feel minute changes inside someone else so you can determine what their power is coming from.

…and how to feel inside yourself so you can make corrections and build skill faster.

You’ll also learn some basic ways to generate internal power.

So, make sure you do some push hands today.

There is a whole lot of really cool stuff that comes from this if you’ve put in enough work on these fundamentals.

Use this simple push hands mistake to rapidly build skill while winning.

Begin to play push hands before contact is made.

I see this little mistake in push hands players all the time. Even experienced ones.

It’s easy to fix. It help you win and much more importantly it will speed up your internal development.

The simple mistake I notice the most during push hands, is that usually one (or both) players don’t start playing until contact is made.

When I am practicing/playing push hands, I don’t wait until I meet the other player to start playing.

1) Sensitivity: Learn to feel your opponent from a distance.

As I come up to the other player I am feeling for his center, where his structural breaks are and where he is holding tension. Find his root before you make contact. Build your sensitivity until you can know your opponent before they have the opportunity to know you.

At the same time, I am “feeling” inside myself to see what I may need to do. I may need to dissolve my center, but if I can’t feel it then I have an issue that the other player may be able to use to his advantage.

2) Maintain structure at all times.

I don’t just strive to maintain structure as I push, I try to make sure my structure is maintained even as I approach the other player. Often time, I see players walk up to their opponent then get set and try to get their structure, connections, etc. A skilled player is going to be able to keep you from establishing structure, if you wait to long to try and get it.

I want my structure already present before I even begin to approach the other player.

3) Root First

I want my root already down as deep as I can get it, before I get to my opponent. A skilled player will be able to keep you from establishing root if you let them get the drop on you.

Too often, I have encountered players who will come up to me, and then proceed to drop root. When this happens, you would not believe the information this gives a sensitive player.

Some push hands players will tag you as soon as you touch hands with them. If your root is already present, and your structure is maintained, then it will be less likely that an opponent will get the jump on you.

4) Yi

Yi (intellectual mind intent) is something else that I try to work on as I approach my opponent. The best and easiest example I can give is the following.

As I approach the other player, I am feeling for what my opponent is doing. If I feel him dropping root, then I would use Yi to effect it. This could include blocking the root drop completely to altering it’s course among other things.

5) Sung

Tension is something that I constantly run into. Walking up to your opponent with any tension is like have big fat bulls-eyes plastered all over your body. Look for these targets as your opponent approaches and make sure you have already found sung.

Many other players I see are relaxed initially, but as soon as you start to push with them Sung disappears or becomes severely compromised.

Ideally, I want to be relaxed on my way to the other player as well as throughout the entire practice.  Be relaxed before you decide to push. Don’t get to your opponent and then try to enter Sung.

Always begin your play before you begin to play.

Learning to feel your opponent and use these skills before contact is made requires a lot of hard work.

Use Clear’s Internal Push Hands method. Once you start to get the hang of feeling inside your opponent begin paying attention to what you can feel before contact is made.  You’ll find this will rapidly build your awareness and sensitivity as you become faster at finding and taking advantage of your opponents other mistakes.