Balance & centre

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Taijiquan fighting method

It is important to recognise that taijiquan's martial expression is different to the external arts. Although the outcome looks similar, the means employed are quite unusual.
We do not use force. We do not tense up. We do not need aggression. Instead, we stay calm and we use our minds.

Intelligent solution

When somebody attacks you, it is wise to affect their centre (5) first. This means that they are essentially pointing in the wrong direction. Having achieved this, take their balance.
A minute loss of balance severs the attacker's connection to the ground. Only then should you apply the application.


Form applications, chin na applications, shuai jiao applications and martial sets in our syllabus all employ Sifu Waller's method. Why? Because it works.
Maximum results achieved through minimal effort

Yielding skills

Yielding is the key to the successful application of taijiquan. Sensitivity, listening, composure, neutral state, 4 ounces of pressure, peng, stickiness, wu wei...
Without these skills you are training externally and that is incorrect.

Sensitivity exercises

Students learn a wide range of important skills by practicing the following exercises:

  1. Yielding exercise

  2. Yielding basic skills

  3. Pushing hands

  4. Monkey paws

  5. Pushing legs

Only by paying close attention to your own body and removing the habitual use of force can the student hope to make progress through the syllabus.

Passing grades

Martial sets and applications are introduced in the coloured belts. Sifu Waller will only let a student pass once they have achieved the required standard (see above).
A blunt, forced application is an instant fail. Force indicates resistance and this means that you are not even doing taijiquan.

Missing pieces

Without the yielding/application training undertaken later in the coloured belts, your ability to combine yielding and applications effectively in combat will be limited.
This is deliberate. To gain skill with taijiquan you must sublimate your own ego and follow the teaching precisely. If you do this, you will easily reach this level.
Fail, and you are left with a puzzle that you may be incapable of solving by yourself.

Helping each other

If your partner it tense, clumsy and forceful, let them know. Being overly polite is pointless. Most people are unaware of their own physical behaviour (faulty sensory appreciation).
They may feel to be at ease when in fact their body says otherwise. A gentle reminder to relax, to stop, to let go can be very helpful.

Worth reading

Confusing internal & external training methods
Empty the centre
External to internal
Partner work mistakes
Practical yielding
Strong or tense?
Using the mind instead of force

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Page created 1 November 1996
Last updated 17 February 2020