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volume 7 September 2018

The 12 Secret Rings of the Yang Family Part 6: The Qi Developments Tools


2018 A Review With Lucci Del-Gaudio

Survival In Japan What Can An Ancient Indian Sage Tell You About The 13 Dynamics?

20 Questions With Gavin Mulholland

Xiao SĂ n Shou

The Small Editor Nasser Butt


Martial Arts Magazine Of The Year 2018

perception realization activation action

Lift Hands

The Internal Arts Magazine Volume 7 September 2018


Nasser Butt

L’orso Solitario

Published by L’orso Solitario Books, Leicester, United Kingdom Lift Hands The Internal Arts Magazine Editor Nasser Butt Copyright © by Nasser Butt, 2018 & Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools Nasser Butt asserts the moral right to be identified as the editor & owner of this work. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the editor. Waiver of Liability: The publisher assumes no liability for the use or misuse of information contained within this book. By purchasing or electronically downloading this publication, the reader hereby, waives any and all claims he or she may have now or in the future against Nasser Butt and Fa-Jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools or its affiliates.

The points of view represented here are solely those of the authors’ concerned. You do not have to subscribe to them if you do not wish. Nor is their inclusion here necessarily an endorsement by Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing School or its affiliates. Cover photo (main): Anthony Pillage - Kaizen The Martial Arts Expo 2018 Cover design © Nasser Butt, 2018 Cover Photography: Nasser Butt Back: Peter Jones - The Mother Applications. Design by Nasser Butt

lift hands

September 2018


Editor’s Note

Page 9

Kaizen - The Martial Arts Expo 2018 A Review With Lucci Del-Gaudio Nasser Butt

Page 11

The House of Mouse The Art of Amy Faulkner

Page 29

A Chrysalis Of Ice Dr. Gregory T. Lawton

Page 30

Survival In Japan Katherine Loukopoulos

Page 32

The 12 Deadly Katas Peter Jones

Page 38

The 12 Secret Rings of the Yang Family Part Six: The Qi Development Tools Nasser Butt

Page 41

What Can An Ancient Indian Sage Tell You About The 13 Dynamics Paramtap Mewada

Page 55

Training Methods For Martial Arts: Yòubǔ Shŏu - Trapping Hands Part 3 Peter Jones

Page 60

20 Questions: Gavin Mulholland

Page 63

Unlocking The Small San-sau: The Five Levels From Principles To Combat - Part One Nasser Butt

Page 75

Hadjios Valley T’ai Chi Ch’uan Weekend Camp 2018 Cyprus Booking Details

Page 89

Internal Martial Arts For Children Krish Pillay

Page 92

Peasant Talk

Page 100

Useful Contacts

Page 103

The Art of Louiseneige Be

Page 104



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editor’s note

Nasser Butt


elcome to Volume 7 of Lift Hands Magazine!

We have a major treat for you in this Volume - 20 Questions with the incomparable Gavin Mulholland. If you don't know Gavin Mulholland then you really are missing out on one of the greatest traditional martial artists this country has to offer. I don’t say this lightly - he's proper! I must admit, I laughed out loud at some of his answers whilst preparing this edition. I cannot believe that we have already arrived at Volume 7! We review Kaizen - The Martial Arts Expo 2018 with Lucci Del-Gaudio and get the heads up on what he has planned for Kaizen 2019. It's going to be a two day spectacular! A few years back I started to write a book on Taiji’s Small San-sau. I have decided to serialize the book in an abridged version within the pages of the magazine. I have no doubt that it will prove controversial - not because it is controversial in it’s planning but more so because I say it as I see it! Folk are free to take it or leave it. Time seems to be flying by and the end of the year is nearly upon us. Lift Hands has been going from strength to strength with each publication and our readership continues to grow around the world. We have truly become an international magazine and I have been approached to have its articles translated into Italian. Watch this space, Italy may well get its own Italian version. We are continually getting new writers and I'd like to thank Paramtap Mewada for his contribution - all the way from India! We hope that this will be a first of many more articles to come. None of this would at all be possible without all the kind friends and writers who continue to support this venture. We are definitely not like most other martial arts magazine available. We are not about celebrity - we are about substance providing quality information on what really matters in the arts! The coming months are going to be busy, but I promise I'll have a bumper issue for you at Christmas. Yes, it'll be Christmas by the time the next Volume is published. So, if you have anything of any value to say which you think will benefit your fellow martial artists and practitioners then feel free to contact me. I'm happy to publish. So, until then stay safe and happy training to all - whatever path you have chosen to walk the Way!


Shihan Keith Priestly performing Kata Bassai Dai in tribute to The Caged Devil - Scott Caldwell at Kaizen 2018


or once ‘flaming June’ lived up to its

name, not only was the weather in Britain ‘flaming’ but so were the mats at Kaizen - The Martial Arts Expo 2018, held at the Bulwell Academy in Nottingham. On a bustling day, with the venue teeming with eager participants, Lift Hands Magazine and I caught up with Lucci Del-Gaudio - after finishing my morning set on the mats - who promised us a post event interview. Kaizen 2018 was far bigger then the inaugural event held in October 2017. Lucci had promised a big event with a host of world class instructors and he delivered! The best of British and international instructors were in attendance - Eddie Quinn, Ken Culshaw, Zara Phythian, Simon Oliver, Russell Jarmesty, Tony Pillage, Tony Bailey, David ‘Hydra’ Kyriacou, Keith Priestley, Lucca Narducci, Peter Mogridge, & Kevin Pell to name but a few sharing their expertise and knowledge from empty hands to weapons. With seven zones, containing five dedicated training areas, to choose from and a host of stalls, the attendees were spoilt for choice. The event opened with an emotional tribute to The Caged Devil - Scott Caldwell - who had sadly passed away earlier in the year.

Kaizen - The Martial Arts Expo 2018 A Review With Lucci Del-Gaudio Nasser Butt

With Scott’s wife Victoria Caldwell in attendance, along with his sister Kimberley Camp, Shihan Keith Priestly performed Kata Bassai Dai, at the end of which the venue rang out with applause for several minutes in honour of our fallen brother. With the opening formalities over, the fireworks began! Whilst there were many, many highlights from the day - in fact, far too many to mention perhaps the one that stole the show was Tony Pillage’s gusto performance in a packed Scott Caldwell Area, despite his poor health and difficulty in breathing! The word warrior is very loosely thrown around in the world of martial arts but those who are familiar with Tony’s battle with cancer over the past few years will know that in his case, at least, it’s an apt term to use! Not wanting to let down his audience, despite several pleas from his friends, he marched on and gave an epic performance in true Pillage style! What follows below are photo highlights of the day along with an interview with Lucci DelGaudio himself. ***** NB: Hi Lucci Welcome back to Lift Hands, it is great to have you back talking to us. Also, congratulations for Kaizen 2017’s win at the British Martial Arts Awards 2018 for event of the year. It was well deserved! So, Kaizen 2018 has already been and gone. Firstly, congratulations on another brilliant Expo and thank you for having us there! Give us your general thoughts on how you personally felt it all went? LDG: Hi Nasser , Thank you! The day was brill Nasser, I tried not to make it all about me as there were so many people to thank for the success of the event . There is still room for improvement we made some slight mistakes with the time keeping but overall very pleased. And being the first ever UK outdoor expo!

Zara Phythian - actress, fight-choreographer, champion martial artist - back to fighting fitness at Kaizen 2018

Tony Pillage

For the 2018 Expo my friend Gary Henshaw stepped in and helped me out with a lot of the organizing. So for me that was a God send. Once again all the instructors taught with heart and passion, the seminars were just pure class, along with the demos and ultimately the people who attended and supported. One guy even named his new pet Dog “Kaizen” which was a beautiful thing to do. And the Dog even came along to say hello! Haha!

Above: The Scott Caldwell Area Below: Tony Pillage signing Scott’s memorial banner which returned to the Isle of Man with his family.

NB: Of course, the Expo this year had poignant undertones with the loss of Scott Caldwell, who tragically passed away earlier in the year. Did you feel under any added pressure as part of Kaizen 2018 became a tribute to Scott and his contribution to British Martial Arts? LDG: We were all heartbroken to hear the news about Scott, I wanted to do something special in memory of him, due to uncontrollable work issues I was unable to attend his funeral, my family and I were all ready to go until 2 days before the day. So I needed something special to thank him for his friendship and something to honour him by. First of all I renamed the main seminar area “the Scott Caldwell Seminar Area “ I had special Scott Caldwell memorial T-Shirts made which were supplied by Spartan martial arts, but that still wasn’t enough. So, I decided to have a 1 minute applause before we opened the show. But Scott deserved more than that. I asked Shihan Keith Priestly if he would perform a Kata to open the show in Scott’s name. Followed by the opening seminar by his close friend Russell Jarmesty. It was perfect. I hope we made him proud. NB: It was very emotional watching Shihan Keith Priestly opening the event performing the Bassai Dai Kata in tribute to Scott, how did you feel when you heard the applause break out at the end lasting several minutes? LDG: I felt proud! It was a great thing we did for him. He truly deserved to be honoured and it was great see all his friends and the Martial arts community paying their respects to him . It was important we got this bit of the show 100 percent as his wife and sister were present.


With Kimberley Camp and Victoria Caldwell

I arranged to have a Scott Cardwell banner made so we could all write a personal message on it… so Victoria (Scott’s wife ) could take it back home to remember us by. NB: There was quite a heavy media presence this year. Can you please tell us of all the media outlets which picked up the story and reported on Kaizen 2018? LDG: Yes, we were live on BBC Radio Nottingham and filmed on BBC NOTTS TV - a Freeview channel covering the Midlands - who interviewed some instructors. Both have also agreed to come over again for 2019. It is great for our industry that we get coverage like this as everybody benefits. Also, we had Marcus Langford from Fighting Fit Films come over to film the event and interview. NB: How difficult was it putting Kaizen together this year as opposed to last year in terms of time and effort? LDG: It’s always difficult! Both years we did it with a zero budget, and both years we just broke even with the small profit we made going to friends who needed help! We rely on sponsors and all the instructors to make Kaizen, without that - no show!

Top: Tony ‘The General” Bailey Bottom: Gary Breen

Next year hopefully we can get sponsorship and grow that little more so we are able cover key instructors expenses! I feel this needs to be done as we grow. Kaizen is a brilliant platform for not just well known but up and coming instructors too. I have noticed some of the instructors reaping the benefits of teaching at Kaizen, ultimately, it’s a great place to hang out and network. NB: The depth and breath of martial arts on display this year far exceeded the inaugural event. Did you feel that the success of last year forced the martial arts community to take Kaizen more seriously this year? LDG: The first one was always going to be the hardest, the line-up was just in my opinion the best ever, there was something for everyone . I don’t know if Kaizen 2017 inspired people to come forward. However, I’m lucky to have so many good friends within the martial arts, I’ve been around now for some years which may have helped . I think people got the Kaizen Bug!


The Reverend Anthony Sean Bedlam Pillage giving it his all!

David ‘Hydra” Kyriacou and Ashley Kyriacou - Hydra ’s Combat Academy - Kaizen 2018

I don’t know why and I don’t know how Kaizen 2018 was so successful, I ask my self the same question all the time. I suppose it was just meant to be. NB: Once again, what was notable at Kaizen was the community spirit. It was great seeing families there enjoying the day with their kids and far more importantly, the mats were full with people not just watching but actively participating in the various seminars and workshops. How important is that for you that Kaizen, already in its brief history, has become an Expo for active participation rather then mere demonstrations? LDG: Good question Nasser! I’ll answer it like this - I am a big believer in family time, I wanted the next generation of Martial artists to remember the time their parents or teacher took them to Kaizen, it was important! This year’s expo catered for young martial artist or kids just wanting to see what arts was about, hence the ‘Kids Zone’. Again, this year’s expo was crammed with top class instructors wanting to showcase there thing, which had an effect on the demonstration side. One thing we have changed for 2019 is to spread the event over 2 days, this should help with having more time for organized demonstrations . Kaizen is a family friendly event with no ego and lots of happiness and that’s how it’s staying. NB: You promised a top line-up after Kaizen 2017 and boy did you deliver for 2018. How easy was it for you to recruit the vast talent this time around? Top: Nasser Butt - Combative Taijiquan/The Erle Montaigue System Below: Mean Streets

LDG: Once again, the British Martial arts stepped to the fore - everyone wanted to be involved. I’m blessed with great friends within the industry. There’s a lot of amazing instructors in The UK who realise Kaizen has a great opportunity to showcase their talents and rightly so - we have many hidden talents! It’s the hardest bit of the event… choosing the line up, times etc, apart from the main seminar area it must have change about 20 or 30 times! I got criticized on social media for having so and so on the bill and not them, messages asking why so and so is teaching and why this instructor isn’t teaching? I had to make a public announcement about how I take full responsibility for the line up! It’s crazy!


Russell Jarmesty - Mean Streets

Nasser Butt - Combative Taijiquan/The Erle Montaigue System

Anyway, my Friend Gary Henshaw has taken that responsibility off me so I can concentrate on other areas. NB: So Kaizen 2019 has already been announced. Are you planning on it being bigger - as in more activities, etc., or are you more focused on the event being quality and not necessarily quantity? LDG: One step at a time!

For all updates and ticket info please at to the Facebook page Kaizen Martial Arts Expo. Vendors or if you would like to get involved please contact me on 07506090922. Many Thanks! NB: Thank you Lucci and looking forwards to having you with us next year.

As Tony Pillage quoted, ”Kaizen will grow organically“ It’s a 2 day event next year with still lots up in air! Let’s just hope for an amazing weekend of martial arts - I’ll be happy at that! NB: Any name dropping for 2019 or as per usual are you going to reveal the names of the 2019 line-up gradually throughout the year? LDG: I’m keeping my cards close to my chest on this one! I have been inundated with instructors and clubs owners wanting to get involved . I can conform we will have a Richard Bustillo memorial area dedicated to JKD and Kali. With names like Mike Knight , Mick Tully , Andy Gibney plus more TBC. A triple 3 hour special forces and reality based seminar, and the ‘Iron man of Bolton’ Trevor Roberts will be here as one of our VIP Guest. And just hot of the press Rosi Sexton (MMA EX UFC STAR) And the awesome Nasser Butt, that’s all I can say for now Nasser! NB: It’ll be a pleasure to be there my friend! Thank you for your time Lucci and once again congratulations on hosting another successful event. Any last words you’d like to share with our readers regarding Kaizen 2019? Are there stalls still available and do they contact you through the usual channels for spaces and tickets etc? LDG: Thank you for having me Nasser and thank you for all your support! I would like to thank all who were involved in this year’s Kaizen - without you they would be no Expo!


Eddie Quinn - The Approach

The Legendary Simon Oliver - Ryobu-Kai

Russell Jarmesty

Mike Knight

Eddie Quinn

Elliot Moris



”Kaizen will grow organically“ Tony Pillage

Lucci Del-Gaudio with Tony Pillage

‘Collapse, Repulse Monkey…’ 29

A CHRYSALIS OF ICE Dr Gregory T. Lawton

In spring I remember you,
 a blue flower nodding in the breeze, a butterfly - fluttered by. Now I see you entombed within a chrysalis of ice. Carried by a winter wind,
 the frost landing upon you,
 and sticking there. I see your seeds within their shroud of ice and realize that seeds must die before becoming blue flowers nodding in the breeze and waving at the butterfly that flutters by.

Page | 20


Kindly reprinted with permission from: Translated From A Foreign Tongue, Copyright 2013, Revised 2017 Dr. Gregory T. Lawton 6757 Cascade Road, SE
 Suite 172
 Grand Rapids, Michigan 49546 616-464-0892

About the authorDr. Gregory T. Lawton began his martial art training as a child. He has trained in western boxing, wrestling, and Asian martial arts such as Aikido, Jujitsu, Kenpo, and Tai Chi Chuan. He is an 8th degree black belt in Kosho Ryu Kenpo Jujitsu and holds the title of Yudansha Taigu. Dr. Lawton’s main and most noted Tai Chi Chuan instructor was Professor Chi-Kwang Huo. Professor Huo, the renowned Chinese scholar, artist and calligrapher who served as Taiwan's ambassador to France and who was a personal friend of Pablo Picasso, was a master martial artist and was a student of Yang Shao Hou of the Yang Family. Dr. Lawton is a health science writer and the author of over two hundred books, manuals and educational products ranging from massage therapy and martial arts, to health promotion, and from alternative medicine to conventional medicine. He is a Vietnam era veteran and was honorably discharged from the US Army with the rank of Sergeant E-5.


Few phrases and easy steps in order to have a great time… • • • •

Oneigashimasu – Seeking someone’s attention and saying it at the beginning of each class. Arigatoo Gozaimasu – Present tense - Thank you. Arigatoo Gozaimashita – Past tense - Thank you. Said at the end of the class, and when some activity or meeting has ended. DON’T SAY: Arigato – Thanks. It is reserved only for your very close friends.

Japanese respect politeness - They do excuse cultural mistakes done by foreigners especially when they perceive that the ‘gaijin’ (all foreigners are gaijin) is really trying. Females need to work extra hard to make females friends who (trust me on this one) will move mountains and earth to assist their newly made ‘gaijin’ friend. Remember their names - I can’t stress this enough. Meeting a person for the first time will offer his name card. It is kind of awkward if we don’t have our own name card for the exchange. Keep it accessible in order not to fumble while they already have whipped out theirs and waiting for you in order to exchange it. Be ready for it is done at the beginning of meeting a new person. We don’t put the card away because we will need it to remember the person’s name. It gets further complicated when we meet a group of people with whom we have exchanged cards and are engaging socially or in business. It becomes further complicated when some name cards are written only in Japanese. I always carry a pen, a notebook and a pocket dictionary. I write down their names with the correct pronunciation and refer to my notes throughout the evening. Not only they appreciate my effort to learn the names, by the end of the evening I have actually memorized them. It’s a win-win with purely a small foresight. Refrain from complaining - If our back hurts, our head hurts or we feel simply tired, well, we need to grin and endure. The bottom line is that if we don’t feel well, we could excuse ourselves to go home. We avoid complaints at all cost regarding situations and/or people. The Japanese seek harmony in most situations, and we don’t make good impression when we voice negativities pertaining to situations or people. We need to find a good thing to say, or say nothing at all. Follow the rule: Silence is Golden! • •

Kampai – It is said only with alcoholic drinks Itadakimasu – It is said with water, beverages, coffee/tea, and meals; that is, BEFORE we partake.

In the case of beer, first we pour for those who sit on the left and right and across from us, BEFORE we serve ourselves. Chances are that someone else has already filled our glass. We wait until the senior member of our party opens with remarks for the occasion and say, ‘kampai’ before we drink. If you are a Southern European like me, we need to avoid large arm gestures; we need to also be aware of our elbows as spaces are tiny and we can invade their space without being aware. Opposite page: ‘Gate to the domain of God’ - Image copyright Tianshu Liu, from Adobe Sparks


Don’t talk and chew at the same time - The Japanese love to ask questions and show interest in us; we take time to answer their questions especially when we feel that they are personal in nature. We can use a little tact in ‘sliding’ when we do not want to tell the bare truth and air our laundry in public. One of the best answers is ‘I don’t know’. • •

Gochisosama Deshita – It is said AFTER a meal, and also to the person who invited you and most likely paid for the meal. Sayonara – It is said when we are leaving Japan and we will not see our friends for a long time. Other times, we just say, ‘good morning,’ ‘good day,’ ‘good evening’ and ‘good night’.

Even though we have thanked our hosts for the wonderful evening, we need to remember to thank them again next time when we do see them. We can also bring a small gift to further indicate our appreciation. At restaurants there is NO TIPPING. Shopping in Japan is Duty Free as long as we show our proper tourist travel documents. Japanese offer superior customer service and often go to great lengths in order to assist us. They would even make telephone calls to other stores to inquire if they have our item. This often takes time so we need to exercise patience and show our gratitude. Smile – Japanese are masters of reading body language and facial expressions; therefore, we take care of what we are projecting at any given time. We also soften our voice and ease our glance. Practice smiling while speaking and everything will be falling in place. Japanese often ask (what we would consider) personal questions. They do this in order to place themselves and us in the categories of Senior or Junior and in order to behave accordingly. Close friendships are fiercely guarded; however, in public they tend not to cross the line. What I mean by that? Just because we may feel that we have become ‘friends and bosom buddies’ we don’t slap their backs, we don’t hug and kiss their cheeks; in other words, we don’t make them uncomfortable in public. Japanese frown upon excessive display of affection which they feel it is reserved when in private. Don’t venture out unless you have a notebook, a pen and a dictionary. Not all Japanese are Techno Junkies. In villages and out of the way places Japanese tend to practice the ‘art of human communication’. We turn off our Mobile. It is rude to constantly glance for messages, and it is even worse to send replies. We need to give them our total attention. Jogging - without a T-Shirt is not a good idea. We wear shoes that can easily slip off and on a moment’s notice because we don’t want them to wait for us. When we dress for a formal occasion, we don’t need to take off our shoes. We bend our knees and lower our hips when we put on shoes. Sitting on restaurant steps to put on shoes is permitted, but bending from the waste while our host is standing to see us off, well, it is not an elegant sight. • •

Sumimasen – Sorry for light transgressions. In the event that we make a mistake (and surely we will) accept responsibility right away. Gomenasai – Said immediately for larger mistakes. If we also add some bowing… we will be forgiven and all will end well.

Driving – Take extra care while driving because the Japanese drivers tend to ‘take’ yellow lights. When foreigners slow down to come to a full stop, the Japanese speed up to go through only to end up slamming onto you. We recognize newly arrived ‘gaijin’ from the neck braces. Driving Laws find at fault the driver who slammed onto the vehicle in front, but why risk wearing a neck brace? Illegal Parking – If we park illegally, chances are that when we return we will not find our vehicle. In order to take it back, we will need to go to the Police Station, suffer humiliation because the Japanese are big on making us feel guilty for our offense, pay a handsome fine, and also pay for the time that it is stored at a special and out of the way garage. Don’t Drink and Drive – Japan has zero tolerance and if we happen to engage in an accident while even slightly intoxicated the maximum sentence will be imposed. We take a Taxi and leave our car at some Parking Garage to be picked up on the next day.


Theft – Japanese people do not steal. So, if we forget something at some place, we just need to trace back our steps and chances are that it will still be there. However, since many places are tourist attractions a little precaution is not a bad idea. Bowing – Bowing is an art and ‘Gaijins’ are forgiven if they have not become masters.

President Obama bowing in Japan - Photo courtesy:

We bow or we handshake but we don’t do both at the same time. We bow at a little distance (in order not to bump heads) and as we approach closer we can extend our hand for a handshake. We take care that the handshake is firm but not bone crushing. We bow and bend from the waste and our head follows the degree of our bend. We bow lower or higher depending on the age and the status of the person to whom we are bowing. Just to be on the safe side, we keep our bow slightly longer than the other person who is older and in greater status. We need to remember that while Equality Laws exist in Japan, in everyday life no one is equal.


Progressive Degrees of Gratitude - Photo Courtesy: Inma Mateo Irma (Google Images)

In this case, even though everyone was younger than me, I just felt I needed to show my gratitude for inviting me to teach Sai in Vienna, Austria. If we follow these simple cultural steps they will guide us in an unforgettable experience in the land of the Rising Sun.

Katherine Loukopoulos September 23, 2018

About the author: Katherine Loukopoulos lived, studied and worked on Okinawa for 15 years. Her suggestions, therefore, are from her personal experience.


The 12 Deadly Katas A Brief Introduction Peter Jones


his time we are going to be having a look at Katas 9 and 10. If you only ever learn the 12 Katas, you will

have a great self defence and healing system, obviously there is more to The 12 Deadly Katas then what I have covered, it's only a brief introduction into the subject. It takes many years of training and a good bit of blood and sweat along the way. In the next issue of Lift Hands I'll be covering the final two of the Katas.

Bumping Cutting Hand Kata 9 The qigong for this kata is good for those who are affected by chronic fatigue, as it gives more yang energy to your body. It is not good for those who have too much yang energy already - red-faced and get angry quickly. It's more for the those who are on the yin side. This kata works on the Lungs, The time of day is between 3am and 5am. This is when the lung meridian is most active. Its Chinese element is metal. Some points to look out for in this kata are:Conceptor Vessel 22 [Cv22] pit of the neck. Stomach 12 [St12] at the center of the collar bone on the inside. Stomach 9 [St9] on the neck, lateral to the Adam's apple. The Martial: Your partner throws a punch to your face. You block using your forearm and attack with your fingers to the pit of his neck [Photo 1], then you re-attack using the outsides of your palms to the underside of your partner’s chin forcing the head backward [Photo 2]. Now slam both of your palms downwards on Stomach 12 [Photo 3], (this is behind the collar bone), and then strike your partners neck [St9] with your left palm [Photo 4]. Take your right palm and snake it around you partner’s neck and with your left palm use a knife edge strike to neck [Photos 5,6 & 7]. The kata is then repeated on the reverse side.


Photo 1

Photo 2

Photo 3

Photo 4

Photo 5

Photo 6

Photo 7

Small Circle Hand Kata 10 This qigong will work on aligning the three centers or tantiens {psychic centers}. The three centres are the upper center, just between the eyes on the forehead. The middle center is the solar plexus and the lower center is about 3 inches below the navel on the midline. This kata has an-affect on the large intestine and controlling the skin and body hair. The time of day is between 5am and 7am. Its Chinese element is metal. The points you are striking in this kata are: Some points to look out for in this kata:Conceptor Vessel 22 [Cv22] pit of the neck.


Conceptor Vessel 24 [Cv24] between the chin and lower lip. Small Intestine 16 [Si16], situated on the side of the neck. The Martial Your partner throws a punch to your face,You block using your left forearm and attack to his mind point on the side of the jaw, and then with your left palm you snake around your partners neck, and strike using a right tiger paw fist to the pit of the neck, [Photos 8,9 & 10]. Now with your left palm it does a small circular motion around your partners neck and strike the side of the neck [Si16], then your right palm pull his neck down onto your right knee and with your left palm, slams down onto the scapular [Si11], [Photos 11,12 & 13].

Photo 8

Photo 11


Photo 9

Photo 10

Photo 12

Photo 13

Erle teaching the Qi Development Tools during his last visit to Leicester!

‘Of the three frames, the small frame is the most difficult. Every posture issues with an inching energy, and so advancing and retreating is done with rather small steps, and the hands and hips particularly need to be working in unison.’ Taiji Compiled: Chen Yanlin, 1943 ‘Heaviness is produced by practicing liveliness of the joints. A person stands straight, arms hanging, and I use my hand to prop up his arm. If I feel his arm is heavy and yet is not the weight of his whole arm, it is because his mind is unconsciously influencing his arm and lightening it for me. If I pick up the arm of a person who is sound asleep, I will of course find it to be much heavier. This is because there is no unconscious influence upon the arm and the joints are naturally relaxed. If I then use a hand to prop up the arm of a martial arts expert, I will indeed feel it to be about the same kind of heaviness as that of the sleeping person. When practicing Taiji Boxing’s pushing hands you can perceive in your opponent a high level of skill if his arms are much heavier and his limbs more nimble than those of someone of little skill. His body does not pull back on his arm, nor his arm pull back on his elbow, nor his elbow pull back on his hand, and so when he attacks, the force of his whole body is quickly concentrated and there is natural heaviness.

In the method of Taiji Boxing, the hands express always in rounded shapes, akin to the roundness of the taiji symbol itself.’ Genuine Explanations For Authentic Taiji Wu Zhiqing, 1943

‘Starting from your foot, issue through your leg, directing it at your waist, and expressing it at your fingers…’ Gu Ruzhang, 1936 ‘Yang Shaohou’s boxing set was small and hard, the movements fast and heavy…’ The Skills & Essentials of Yang Style Taiji Boxing and Martial Art Discussions Huang Wenshu (Yuanxiu), 1936 ‘One who is skilled in Taiji has arms like silk wrapped around iron and they feel very heavy.’ Authentic Taiji - Wu Zhiqing, 1936



he literature of Yang Taijiquan is littered with constant references for students of the importance of

understanding and developing the concepts of “Heaviness” and “Liveliness” and the role of qi and blood for both, health and martial cultivation! The references are far too many to mention, in fact it is easier to say that no manual worthy of any note is devoid of the subject. Whilst the subject matter is dealt with by almost every author, very few if any give significant details or training methods to the how? According to Chen Yanlin: ‘Our nation’s martial arts are extremely varied and have been around for a very long time, but most of them have been lost by now. As for what remains, it is full of gaps and incomplete, full of omissions and undetailed. Let us be careful therefore when we talk about Taiji Boxing. In the distant past, there is nothing mentioned. Then in the Qing Dynasty, it was spread by Yang Luchan. Of what he passed down to the present generation, there is only a smattering. When we trace back, we find its essence has been lost. There are several reasons why: 1. For people in the workload of modern human affairs, practitioners regard it as a way to pass the time during their spare hours, only seeking to nourish health and treat illness, and they do not consider progressing toward seeking the authentic skill. 2. Our nation’s customs and skills are taught to every child, but when a child is unworthy, he quits halfway through. 3. Secret skills are usually passed on through personal instruction or have been written into manuals kept as treasures by people unwilling to show them to others. 4. Due to improvements in weaponry, boxing arts have become viewed as useless. To strengthen the body and prevent disease, they are sufficient, but for facing formations and repulsing an enemy, they are inadequate. People therefore do not deeply investigate them. 5. There is no part of vast China that has not produced talent. However, we are indeed at the end of an age. Although there are people of unusual ability or strong integrity, they go away to live as hermits for fear of not getting far enough away from all our nonsense. If they return to teach, their fear of being ridiculed by the common masses keeps them from teaching ordinary people. Because of these several reasons why this art has been obscured, later generations are getting things halfexplained, and by doing it wrong, teach it wrong. Ultimately, students will not even be able to begin in the art. And yet it is such an excellent part of our national culture, as inimitable an achievement as the Guangling Melody. Is it not to be cherished?’ Chen gives us clear examples of why information has been lost! The 10th House of Yang - The Qi Development Tools (QDTs) - was the last major subject which Erle taught, both at his Instructors Invitation Only classes in Llangadog as well as at what turned out to be his last summer camp, organized by myself and held in Leicester in 2010. Initially, whilst he filmed the QDTs at his Instructors Sessions, Erle omitted certain information from the DVD as he deemed it potentially harmful for a student training unsupervised and alone. He taught this particular segment in far more detail during the summer camp, expanding on the methodology. Later, part of this information would appear in his ‘The Notes to the 12 Tools. Advanced Level’ DVD.
 Once again, it is important for the reader to understand that I am not going to teach the QDTs here. This is not the purposes of the article nor is it something which can be taught via the written medium. My purpose here is simply to explain their relevance in the Taiji system! A word of caution though, the 12 Houses are not really meant to be seen as separate individual entities per se, they are meant to be seen as a whole - the essence of the Taiji system; Criss-crossing with each other constantly, yet progressively!


Inset and main picture: Erle teaching the Qi Development Tools during Summer Camp 2010 in Leicester! Photo CopyrightŠNasser Butt

So, what is the main relevance of the QDTs? I’ll let Erle explain from the brief description given in his article, ‘The 12 Qi Development Tools from Yang Lu-Ch’an’: ‘For me, the 12 Qi Development Tools are the most important area of one's Internal training. Not many students of the Internal Arts will ever appreciate these gems as they will never even get to the highest levels of the Old Taijiquan Form of Yang Lu-ch'an. However, it is only when one does rise to the highest level of Small Frame that you will realise how important these 12 methods of Qigong are. What Basic 3 Circle Standing Qigong gives to the beginner in that; while we are waiting to actually get something Internal from our form practice, the 3 circle, or Mother qigong gives us at least some internal development while we are still thinking about where to put our hands and feet, etc. So, too, does the 12 Qi Development Tools give the more advanced practitioner if for instance they are only just beginning to understand and to train in the small frame method or if they haven't the time to perform the whole form in the mornings and evenings. The hands are singularly the most important area of the body as far as Taijiquan is concerned. When watching someone practice their Taijiquan, an advanced practitioner will never look at beautiful low stances or perfect body alignment. The hands are what to look for as it is the hands that show the internal. "The Qi Manifests in the Hands and Fingers" ! And it is this area that most people miss completely as they don't see the wood for the trees! What they miss is what is happening at an internal level, preferring to look at perfect body alignment, whether the heel is on the ground and whether the front knee is over the front toes, etc. They miss the intricate movements that only the practitioner can feel as they perform these tiny hand movements. The very first of the 12 Qi Development Tools belongs to the HEART meridian and is the most simple of them all. it is based upon the Tai Chi postures of Brush Knee Twist Step. Someone watching would probably dismiss this first method as nothing special. However, what they miss is what this simple movement is doing internally. Many would look, and pick up the movement easily. But they will not have it. Because they aren't seeing the hands! During the most advanced method of Tai Chi, the Small Frame Form, some of the basic rules written in the classics (a bunch of sayings left to us by the old masters) are or seem to be broken. The reason is that the Classics were written with the beginner in mind, giving some basic guidelines for beginners so that they are able to at least have some body alignment, etc. However, when watching a real master of high level, you WILL notice that he does occasionally bend very slightly so slight though that someone watching who is not in the know, would not notice it. Lowering of the body is also allowed in certain postures as this increases the Qi activation in that meridian. Each of the 12 Qi Development Tools also has a Heavy or Weighted Hand training method. The area of gaining very powerful strikes from a very short distance. Even a small person is able to gain the power from only one inch away from the target and that's where real fighting happens. If you take someone’s arm, rip it off and hit someone with it, you could kill them as an arm is a very heavy object. However, most martial artists never realize their full potential in that they will use adverse muscle groups to make their arms “light”. Here is where the 12 Qi Development tools come into play. Each of them teaches at a sub-conscious level, a different striking method, causing the attacking arm to remain heavy. The first Qigong Tool “HEART” teaches us how to keep the heavy hands during the normal Tai Chi fist. As soon as you THINK about striking someone, you have lost it and you will lose this ability. So the “SUNG” State gained from each of the 12 methods gives you this ability to not telegraph the attack and to not THINK before or AS you strike.’ Erle’s words should not require any clarification - they are self-explanatory, or at least should be to anyone who has trained progressively and has an iota of common sense! Once again, the link is the ‘Small Frame’ - the highest level of one’s Taiji along with ‘Sung’ and the ability to develop and understand heaviness, and the importance of the hands. As before, I began this House with a set of quotes from a variety of sources. They are all in agreement with Erle the only exception being that Erle actually gives us a method with which to achieve what the old masters are saying! Note, once more we are being told unequivocally that this is the highest level after many years of training!


Qi Development Tools Chart Showing The Meridians, The Active Times & The Physiological Areas Affected Heart (Yin)

11am - 1pm


Power Band

Small Intestine (Yang)

1pm - 3pm

Abdominals & Quadriceps

Helps with Healing.

Bladder (Yang)

3pm -5pm

Sacrospinallis: Peroneus: TIbialis: (A bunch of muscles in the back) (Calf & Front of Calf)

Kidney (Yin)

5pm - 7pm

Upper Trapezius: Psoas: Illeacus Psoas: (Attached to Femur and lower spine it is the Hip Flexure.

Pericardium (Yin)

7pm - 9pm

Gluteus Max: Gluteus Med: Piriformis: Abductors: General Pelvic:

Triple Heater (Yang)

9pm - 11pm

Gastroenemius: Soleus: Sartorius: Gracilis: Teres Minor: Flexor Hallicus: Longus:

Calf and foot

Gallbladder (Yang)

11pm - 1am

Anterior Deltoid: Politeus:

Shoulder & Upper Calf

Liver (Yin)

1am - 3am

Rhomboids: Pect Major Sterral:


Lung (Yin)

3am - 5am

Deltoids: Diaphragm: Anterior Serratus: Coracobrachiallis:

Shoulders and Diaphragm. Deep Chest muscles.

Colon (Yang)

5am - 7am

Hamstrings: Quad Lumborum: Pascia Lata: Flexor Digitorum: Longus:

Lumbar & KIdney region and sweet spot.

Stomach (Yang)

7am -9am

Neck Ext/Flexors: Levator Scapulae: Peet Maj: Clavicular: Bracioradialis: Sterno- Cleido Mastoid:

Neck Upper forearms on Top.

Spleen (Yin)

9am - 11am

Trapezius: Latisumus Dorsi: Oponens Pol Lngs.

Traps and Lats


I will add one further quote by Wu Zhiqing to make a point: 'Taiji Boxing’s movements emphasize circles, containing the four features of rounded shapes, curved lines, waves, and spirals. It can therefore develop the effects of combined strength, improving both the connectivity of your nervous system and your efficiency of movement. Spiraling can intensify speed. Waves or curved shapes can dissipate or at least diminish a powerful incoming attack, the swell lifting away even an enormous moving force. Curved lines can amplify structural support, and also match intention within with movement outside, focusing both onto the same goal. These things will naturally have the effect of enhancing potential. A normal mind is aware and rational. An abnormal mental state is out of control and unpredictable. Mental disorders can turn a cultured and delicate man into an aggressive moron, or conversely give a ruffian the demeanor of a gentleman. The range of emotions can no longer be controlled, and once conscious control is lost, the subconscious becomes overexcited. If you are good at guiding your subconscious [which the practice helps you to do], you can get your nervous system under conscious control, thus dispelling abnormal behavior, and constant improvement in potential can be expected. 

To expand your potential, you have to train your entire nervous system. With your nervous system boosted, your thoughts will be more precise, and you will naturally be able to deepen your abilities. As the saying [by Juvenal] goes: “Mens sana in corpore sano [Healthy mind in a healthy body].” Therefore if you hope to increase your potential, you have to train your nervous system with appropriate methods of exercise. Taiji Boxing’s postures are such that when one part moves, the whole body moves, and so it is the best method for training the nervous system.' Wu here is emphasizing the physiology, physics and psychology of Taiji - essentially no different from the chart above! I came across an old article written by LeRoy Clark a while back, whilst researching, of an encounter between Sung Shu Ming and Yang Shao-hou in Beijing, as recounted to him by students of Wu Tu-nan - the famous disciple of Yang Shou-hou, who at first was a disciple of Wu Jianquan, studying with him for 8 years before the latter recommended him to Shao-hou! The article, I believe, is not only of historical importance but also contains critical information (I managed to make contact with Mr Clark last year and found him to be a fountain of information on the history of Taijiquan) regarding training methods which I believe hold relevance to our present discussion - the Houses! The article is essentially split into two parts. Part one is essentially an introduction to Sung Shu Ming and his skill via a sports club set-up in Beijing by Xu Yu Sheng, where the elite of Taijiquan - including Yang Shao-hou and Yang Cheng-fu - were invited to participate as coaches or teachers. Part two details his encounter with Yang. Sung’s skill is explained through the various energies* of Taijiquan culminating in the highest level “Líng Kōng Jìn” . The 5 Essences or Levels - Taiji Kong are simplified in ascending level of development as: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Bone Tendon Skin Hair Chi

Sung’s skill level is described at the fourth level - hair! Upon hearing of his arrival in Beijing, many Taiji masters (Wu Jianquan, Gi De) - including some of the most notable Yang students (Xu Yu Sheng, Lui Wen Wei, Lui Yuen Chen, Jiang Dien Chen and Wu Tu-nan) - showed up at Sung’s residence as a group, wishing to see his Taiji and test his skill. Whilst Sung’s Taiji was not unlike the current Taijiquan of the time, when it came to Push Hands - ‘Remarkably and significantly to the man, they all lost most decisively. Right then and there they all learned that none of them were really worthy opponents of Sung since none could even begin to cope with his method.’ * This subject requires an in-depth article - maybe even a series of articles due to its vastness. I often discussed the energies with Erle and it was these discussions which lead me to research further into the matter. The 5 Essences or Levels ought to be familiar to any serious practitioner of Taijiquan, who has studied progressively and diligently under a teacher who possessed this knowledge.


So, what was it about Sung’s method that made his Push Hands so decisively invincible? We are told very clearly that: ‘Most who practice push-hands like to use the two palms to press the other’s arms. Sung was different; notably different. Sung liked to place his arms below the other's palm. He used the back of his hand and the outside of his arm as contact points… Sung represented the fourth level, the level of"hair" in competency development.’ Sung’s skill involved connecting at three points - ‘the three Yang channels’ and that, ‘since he only used one side, the hair on his skin, this is called “the hair” level. But this level, rare as it is, may be considered only the 4th level of Taiji's skill.’ Note the images below - This is exactly how Erle taught Dǎ Shou: Image 1 shows the traditional entering or ‘break step’ method at the ‘hair’ level. Image 2 is Erle and myself demonstrating the direction of Lu with Erle using the ‘three Yang channels’ versus my four. Image 3 is the classic ‘four Yang channels’ in the ‘three line stance’! Now, the above report should raise some very serious questions amongst modern Taiji practitioners! The two most serious observations ought to be Sung’s method and that it was unbeknown to the echelon of Taiji practitioners including Yang students. It would appear that ALL of them only understood push hands at the’Skin’ level or less and certainly were not familiar with nor had trained in Sung’s method - Why? I know many of you who have been following the Houses will be thinking, why didn’t he place this information under House Three - Dǎ Shou? As I’ve already stated above, the Houses need to be seen as a whole - as Progressions of ideas and concepts!

Image 1

Image 2

Image 3

I will also add here a reminder from House 2 - Rolling Thunder: Chang: “It is one of the Houses of Yang where we learn about the Thunder. When you use the backs of your arms, it will make the whole body aligned and balanced and also give one much great power in attack, it is like something rolling over and over until the fighting is finished. When the arms roll over, it makes the body as the Universe which is constantly changing and moving forward. This was the 2nd House.” Erle: Your way of doing pushing hands is the same as the ‘Rolling Thunder’ isn’t it, I have only just now realised this. Not only that but, this is the first time that Erle's work and knowledge has been linked to a historical event on record and Erle didn't only teach his students the ‘three Yang channels' - his knowledge included the 'four Yang channels.’ This is the correct House in which to release this information!


But we must return to the second part of Sung’s story. Sung’s handiwork spread around Beijing like wildfire - so much so that Yang Shou-hou decided to pay him a visit accompanied by his students, including Wu Tu-nan! Yang Shou-hou was at that time the only Yang who had trained directly with all three of the original legendary Yangs - his father, Jian-hou, his uncle Ban-hou and his grandfather, the incomparable Yang Lu-ch’an! With the formalities over, Shou-hou immediately asked Sung if he’d like to step out and join hands. Sung had been waiting for this moment - the honour to join hands with the great Shou-hou, the grandson of the Yang Lu-ch’an himself he accepted immediately! ‘When Sung just barely touched Shaohou, he later reported, he felt nothing but emptiness. He immediately felt there was no place "to put it." Immediately, Sung said later, he knew that he had met a true opponent. Shaohou also said later that he felt Sung’s body had no place with substance. All that came from merely ever so lightly touching*. So, those two people just stood there facing one another, their arms extended in front, just barely touching; in stillness; just using very subtle, extremely slight movement on one another. Sung said he saw Shaohou as if he were practicing qi kung - suspending the head, body straight, qi entered the body, he was totally relaxed. Then, in a moment, Sung later reported, he suddenly became very confused, nearly disoriented. He tried to lead with qi but he became nervous and over-intentioned. Suddenly, Shaohou just raised his hands and then, just as suddenly, relaxed. At that very moment, the witnesses reported they saw Sung Shu Ming suddenly fly back, as if he had been hit by a very strong gust of wind.’ Yang Shou-hou represented the fifth level - Chi! Sung acknowledging defeat stated: "How terrible is Ling Kong Jin (Traversing Emptiness)! Now I have experienced it; now I have learned it; now I understand it. I deeply appreciate the lesson." Again, it should be obvious that Yang Shou-hou understood and knew Sung’s method - yet his students didn’t - he simply moved into the next gear. A level which Sung, himself, had no response to! Wu Tu-nan told the following to his students: ‘Today I will offer this secret. Actually, as I understand the whole phenomena, it is just like a turn of the hand… First, the learner must place emphasis on Jin. Learn pecking Jin. Next, learn swinging Jin. Then, learn all the Jins that are able to penetrate the air. 

Continuing, learn to use "hung/ha breathing” such that when you breathe, i.e.,inhale/exhale become one with the other (person), then every movement comes naturally. With this then,you are ready to learn the Ling Kong Jin. Then practice about one or two more years. At this point, move your hands, move your feet, follow at will.’ From Wu description, in learning the Jins, we are certainly learning advanced neigong exercises - qigongs no doubt! It is in this context that I believe the QDTs need to be understood and studied. Much of Erle’s work has been derided by ‘masters’ - many who claimed he was making things up or that no such things existed. However, time and time again he has been proven right when and where it really mattered. Of course he had his own opinions on certain matters and he was entitled to them, just as others were entitled to agree or disagree with him - but in providing information of the highest calibre he was second to none. * There exist many training methods in Da Shou and elsewhere throughout the system which help us develop these skills.


Erle teaching the Qi Development Tools and demonstrating ‘heaviness’ and inch power during his last visit to Leicester! Photo Copyright©Nasser Butt

Over the years Erle taught many training methods - most of which have either been discarded or never trained by many who purportedly train in 'his' system with the most common reason being that: "Oh, that's how he practiced in the 70s and 80s and not how he practiced later in life!” This simply shows a lack of progressive learning and understanding - I would even say, a lack of education! Erle got where he got to by training in these methods. He didn't discard them, he trained in them at the appropriate time and then took that knowledge with him into the next level of his training. However, he left a progressional record or 'route' towards the destination for later students! Many of these training methods were precursors preparing our bodies both physically and intellectually for what was to come later. By skipping such training or not starting at the beginning most students simply fail they cannot see the proverbial wood for the trees! These training methods literally helped developed the essences of bone, tendon, skin, hair and chi! Just because Erle was no longer practicing them himself didn’t make them null and void for his students. They had been an integral part of his own training. To deny this is simply foolish! I spent hours, weeks, months across the years talking to him about the importance of these training methods - seeking clarifications and details at every opportunity. My notes are full of references to specific training methods and their purposes! I put my students through the paces with many of these training methods as well as reintroducing the importance of some back into the public domain - not that they have ever been out of the public domain, they have simply been overlooked or in most cases not been trained because the student joined Erle at a much later stage in his journey! It is fair to say that post his Sydney days, Erle never again had a formal school per se, where he taught progressive classes day in day out (the closest he would come to those would be his Instructor Sessions in Wales and these weren’t designed for the beginner in mind!) . By that time his focus had shifted to making videos and to cataloguing the system - teaching mainly through his camps and workshops. Students would join him at a particular workshop or weekend training session and simply had to get along with whatever topic he happened to be teaching! This can be confirmed via any one of Erle’s ‘old’ students! Very few, if any would go back and start right from the beginning other then maybe get MTG 1 or 2. I regularly have people contact me with questions on a specific subjects. On one such recent occasion I was asked about eight Bagua standing qigongs from someone who had been learning Bagua from Erle’s DVDs. I was surprised at the enquiry since they are on the foundational Bagua dvd - only to learn that this person had started with the Bagua To Max Series! And this has been the case for a very long time and continues to be so even today! It is due to this very lack of progressional training - missing out segments - that Erle’s work is not only being misunderstood but, also, being bastardized in his name! In October 2010 Erle returned to Leicester for what would turn out to be his last time. Perhaps karma already knew what was in store. He came to teach alone (as he had done on other occasions) accompanied only by his wife, Sandra. We spent the entire weekend in discussion. From training methods to what he was planning to do in the new year. The QDTs and Small Frame were the topics under study. I had finally finished refurbishing the new school with the help and generosity of many of students and friends. This was going to be our main venue for teaching and Erle’s future workshops. So, the October workshop took on a special meaning… it was Erle’s inaugural workshop at our new home. I remember Erle excitedly going around the premises pointing out what else we could do. He suggested I install a shower room - that way students from overseas or those attending from around the UK could even sleep at the school, thus saving them expensive hotel bills. He made further suggestions on training equipment that we'd need to help develop skills. There were many plans!


After, the first session had ended, Erle and Sandra came home with me. We had a light meal and again sat discussing what he was now teaching and how all the strands were being tied together. It was here where he started to place all the Houses in context. He, also, spent time playing with my youngest daughter Skye. I had already started to compile a list of the Houses from the first day that Erle had volunteered the information himself whilst training with him in his house in the spring of 2005, alongside Elliot. With hindsight, there was a bittersweet symmetry here - as if fate was closing a circle - that five years later after he had first mentioned them, at the onset of spring, here we were sitting in my house at the onset of autumn discussing the final Rings! This conversation didn’t just run its full course here, it continued upon his return to Wales right up till his death. That evening we had a party - the official ‘opening’ of the school, although I had already been teaching there now for a couple of months. Erle came that evening in jovial spirits and mingled with the crowd. It was a perfect end to the day. The following day we continued with the workshop. Erle demonstrating the ‘heaviness’ of

the limbs from short distances - inch energy!

Again throughout the day I questioned him incessantly and Erle, as always gave answers and explanations in detail. One of my most cherished memories from that weekend comes via a conspiracy between Erle and Elissa Bush a long term student and friend of mine, who despite her injuries from an accident trained with Erle at every opportunity she got. As I stood watching some students, Erle - unbeknown to myself, through hand gestures - asked Elissa to get ready to take a picture. I stood there totally oblivious, he came and stood alongside me as Elissa captured the moment. As the weekend grew to a close and Erle headed out to the car park, I realised that I hadn’t given him the set of keys I had had made for him to the school. I ran down the stairs and caught up with him just as he was about to get into the car. I gave him the keys. “What are these for?” he asked. “They are your set of keys to the school,” I replied. “You can let yourself in and out!” He gave me a hug. “I better keep these safe then, see you next month!” I never physically saw him alive again!


Inside The Next Issue

‘Hari ke Dwar’ - Photo by Swapnil Dwivedi on Unsplash


he human brain has the clearest structure to focus the self for extended period of times - individual mind,

which is why humans are able to perform a myriad of tough mental juggling and build extensive knowledge about themselves and their surroundings. Self-awareness is an emergent phenomenon which is grounded on the self and the associations stored in the brain. This is a case of a particular kind of self-awareness that is referred to as Chitta. From a modern scientific and long held ancient eastern viewpoint, living systems are dynamic structures, defined by their interaction with their environment. The neuroplasticity of 3 Dantian centre related organs reigns supreme in eastern systems i.e. Guts, Heart and Brain. Living systems may also be defined recursively in terms of living subsystems. Thus forming a not-so-unique kind of interdependent and mutually affected system (in nerd speak - cybernetics, introduced by Robert Wiener). However, in recent years it has become obvious that the "expert" learns, represents, synthesizes and retrieves knowledge in not only a quantitative manner but, also, a qualitative manner. Read K. Anders Ericsson (The Road To Excellence: the Acquisition of Expert Performance) for further details. Here it will suffice to remember the above mentioned unique feature of the "expert" mind. Unique ancient Indic-metaphysical (because it is a distinctively cultural way of looking at knowledge - so Indicmetaphysics serves as a better term) guidelines of how to study reality is found in the treatise of Kanada Rishi. Basic introduction to Kanada Rishi (from Wikipedia):"Kanada (Sanskrit: कणाद, IAST: 'Kaṇāda), also known as Kashyapa, Uluka, Kananda and Kanabhuk,[1][2] was an ancient Indian natural scientist and philosopher who founded the Vaisheshika school of Indian philosophy.[3] [4] Estimated to have lived sometime between 6th century to 2nd century BCE, little is known about his life.[4][5][6] His traditional name "Kanada" means "atom eater",[7] and he is known for developing the foundations of an atomistic naturalism Indian philosophy in the Sanskrit text Vaisheshika Sutra.[8][9] His text is also known as Kanada Sutras, or Aphorisms of Kanada.[10][11] The school founded by Kanada attempted to explain the creation and existence of the universe by proposing an atomistic theory, applying logic and realism, and is among one of the earliest known systematic realist ontology in human history.[12] Kanada suggested that everything can be subdivided, but this subdivision cannot go on forever, and there must be smallest entities (parmanu) that cannot be divided, that are eternal, that aggregate in different ways to yield complex substances and bodies with unique identity, a process that involves heat, and this is the basis for all material existence.[13][14] “ The Vaiśeṣika categories are for space-time-matter and for attributes related to perception by sentient agents. Kaṇāda starts with six categories (padārthas) that are nameable and knowable, proposing they are sufficient to describe everything in the universe from concrete matter to the abstract atom. Take these as meta-syntactic variables. Meta-syntactic variables of eastern esoterica: An example of this would be the word “Agni" - often mistranslated as Fire. However, this is not the usual external fire because in terms of higher understanding Agni is exchanged between Master and student. There is no physical exchange, however in this case instead of writing a whole paragraph of what transpired between student and Master, a simple term is used Agni-diksha. Similarly, these words carry emphasis, in order to explain and describe their invaluable essence to open-minded readers - and not literal readers! Once the essence is figured out these variables can be used to study, understand and advance the field of interest. I will attempt to show that Taiji follows this structure. Also approaching the subject this way, one learns how to learn and find common basis of learning in all matters of life. It is also important to keep learning and to stay mentally sharp, agile and resilient anyway. A meta-syntactic variable is a specific word or set of words identified as a placeholder in computer science and specifically computer programming. These words are commonly found in source code and are intended to be modified or substituted to be applicable to the specific usage before compilation [Wikipedia].


The six categories are: dravya (Substance), guṇa (Energetics quality), karma (Motion), sāmānya (Universal), viśeṣa (Particularity), and samavāya (Inherence). The first three of these have objective existence and the last three are a product of discrimination/distinguishing. Universals (sāmānya) are recurrent generic properties in substances, qualities, and motions. So how does it connect with Taiji's 13 Dynamics? It is clear from Erle's teachings and the Taiji Classics that P'eng is actually one of 8 major dynamics. The series of linked postures thus become an important introduction to a set of critical dynamics namely - P'eng, Lu, Chee, An. The Small San Sau, Striking Hands and basic training methods show important and interesting transformation of these 13 Dynamics. To understand and decipher all variations of contrasting, non-obvious, confounding of these dynamics might take three lifetimes. However, if one were to follow the Classics then one finds that these 13 Dynamics are innate to us. That means that the dynamics's dravya (Substance), guṇa (Energetics quality), karma (Motion) are available to us just by virtue of having the body. The Taiji Classic by Wang Tsung-yueh tells us - "As to methods, there may be a million (and then some) but principles are few." The actual study of P'eng related training methods will inform us that it is the major recurring dynamic throughout the form, i.e., its sāmānya (universal) properties grant dravya (substance) - heavy and connected, half moon shaped hands. However it has its viśeṣa (particularity) properties which are related to devastating strikes to Dim-mak points and limb destructions in combat. Besides, being Sensing hands. The samavāya (inherence) of P'eng, would be then be studied in the fact that in posture of ward-off - the left hand finishes in P'eng and the right hand being in reverse P'eng (understanding vipriti guna - opposite energetic quality). Another example of this is the important concept that; 'all movement must have weight transfer'. The dravya (Substance) of it is to hold the 'Post' and for 'moving the center', guṇa (Energetics quality) quality would be to move while holding the 'Post' and karma (Motion) 'flowing like River' that is in spirals according to the movements of the cosmos. Keep in mind, these are not exclusive there are many other different dravya (Substance), guṇa (Energetics quality), karma (Motion) for example, the rapid weight shifts in forms need to have same 'weight transfer' qualities with viśeṣa (particularity) of rapidness and small distance travelled. Understanding this, one gets qualities that must be achieved for single legged postures like 'Lift Hands' as 'all movement must have weight transfer' - this also has sāmānya (universal). I’ll end with an exercise to work on; "six balanced pairs" and "Waist like lively wheel”. The point of this exercise is not only to have the right knowledge - to get you to act and feel dravya (substance), but also to build exhaustive knowledge related to each concept in all 12 Rings of Yang Family and yet not lose one bit of essence of each. There is a possibility of exhaustive study in this manner - ranging from a just introduced or read concept to ever more deeper aspects of the art. This way of thinking actually does more than just superficial good - it can enhance your understanding of your martial arts. It can also do following for practitioners of Erle Montaigue System: • • • • • •

Retrain the modern mind to once more think and feel in terms of the 13 Dynamics - to figure out the ways the dynamics were intended to be studied as building blocks, ‘alphabets' & 'cooking ingredients' of fighting and healing techniques, tactics, strategies. Gives the tools of self-learning, and get quick feedback from instructors. Self-test for richness of ones tools and knowledge. This way of study makes it possible to understand and connect the dots between studying martial arts and the study of external world or for that matter any other subject. Reduces the cognitive load of studying Taiji, has everything mapped into simple categorical tools. Gives the ability to have intuitive retrieval knowledge and find gaps in intuitive knowledge. Understand your Taiji at a greater depth rather then just at an intellectual level - as one has to feel, act and execute dravya (Substance), guṇa (Energetics quality), karma (Motion) of dynamics. Without which knowledge will remain shallow.


Most importantly, it fills your being with Taiji! So much so that you can now see the concepts of Taiji and execute them at all points of the form. It is my guess that is where 'Being Taiji' of Chang Yiu Chun can be even sought, as now your are greatly familiarized with movement, and start understanding (Internal) Power!



òubǔ Shŏu - 誘捕⼿ - or Trapping Hands, is a

most excellent training method for students to help develop timing, balance, co-ordination, reflexive violence and, of course, how to avoid being hit! Here we will be continuing with Method Number Three. This is the last of the three basic techniques of the trapping hand methods, just take in mind that there is more to these than what you see in the beginning. Obviously, the more you train in these technique the more you will understand them [Trapping hands teaches us how to defend and attack]. I know that the methods are fairly easy to pick up, and you and your training partner can have a bit of fun with them, also you'll be learning about attack and defence along the way. We start this move in the same way as the last two training methods, where your partner is standing opposite you. To get this going, your partner throws a punch to your nose, You then bring your left hand up to stop the punch to your nose, take it out slightly to the left, then your right hand takes over and takes it over to the right, then with the right fist using the thumb knuckle to strike your partners bicep on the inside of the arm [acupuncture point Heart 2, H2], [Photos 1, 2 & 3]. Now snake your right hand around your partners arm and strike to your partners nose with your right fist, and you start over again, [Photos 4 & 5]. With all three training methods there is only so much we can cover in Lift Hands magazine! So if you can get along to one of Erle's approved instructors, who have been trained in this methods, I'm sure they will be able to help you learn trapping hands. I hope you’ve enjoyed these three little methods that I have covered in this magazine. There are quite a few training methods which Erle had taught over many years that will help you in your Taiji training, so keep an eye out in future issues of Lift Hands magazine. A final word… always keep it real and always be humble.


Photo 1

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Photo 4

Photo 3

Photo 5



avin Mulholland began his

martial arts training at an early age alongside his brothers under the tutelage of their father who was teaching Judo and Unarmed Combat in the military in the late 1960s. Switching to Goju-Ryu Karate in the early 1980s, Gavin has trained in the style ever since. He has been involved in security work for many years, has trained all over the world including Japan, China, Indonesia and Thailand, and his team, DKK Fighters, have experienced considerable success in the Cage both in the UK and further afield. He currently holds the rank of 6th Dan and is joint Chief instructor of DKK based in London. ******

I The British Martial Arts Awards 2018: Gavin Mulholland was voted ‘Traditional Martial Artist of the Year 2018’. Photo courtesy: Nasser Butt

have to admit, I am biased towards

the classicist when it comes to martial arts. However, it is simply not enough to be a classicist - you not only need to know and understand your art intellectually but, you also need to be

able to demonstrate it at its highest level in practical terms as well! While most modern martial artists seek their answers in multiple martial arts - cross training in many disciplines - the classicist seeks his or her answer in a singular art and through the one art they understand the many. This is not to say that the classicists don’t look at martial arts other than their own - they do - but not necessarily to train in, rather as a means with which to understand their own arts to greater depths. When I first saw Gavin Mulholland teaching on the mats with his partner in crime, Dan Lewis, I immediately realised that I was watching someone who understood every nook and cranny of their art. Someone proper! A good art is a complete art and most martial arts are complete arts yet, sadly, most students rarely study their art to the depth of completion! The majority of students simply scratch the surface and having done that move onto something else - the grass always appears greener on the other side! And this is what Gavin Mulholland represents - a complete martial artist - who even now after decades of practice, still hasn’t given up studying and investigating his art to its highest level. Having seen Gavin teach, albeit briefly, and from what I have heard from others who have had trained with him - Gavin personifies Musashi’s belief that: “You can only fight the way you practice.” Gavin trains and practices hard and that ethos and skill is reflected in those he teaches!


At the British Martial Arts Awards 2018, Gavin was voted ‘Traditional Martial Artist of the Year’ and deservedly so! There is not much more I can write about Gavin for now, but in the brief time I have got to know him, I have developed tremendous respect for his skill and knowledge, and far more importantly I have gained a friend. I hope that Gavin will appear in future issues of Lift Hands. His knowledge and skills are always presented with a refreshing, yet brutal honesty and he is man of many talents! So, without further ado, Lift Hands presents 20 Questions with Gavin Mulholland. LH: If you could have personally witnessed anything, what would you want to have seen? GM: In ancient history, I would have to say Rome in general, and the Colosseum in particular. Not very PC perhaps but I’ve been there, and the walls still ring with drama and excitement, 2,000 years later. What a spectacle it would have been! In my lifetime, I would have loved to see the Berlin wall come down. I was in Japan in late 1989 when it started to Gavin training with his fellow Principle Instructor at get torn down and I could see it on the news but, not DKK Goju Ryu Karate - Dan Lewis speaking Japanese, had no real understanding of what Photo Credit: Nasser Butt was going on. It was infuriating but such a massive thing. If I’d been in Europe at the time, I would have gone over there. LH: If you had to leave earth on a spaceship and take 4 people with you, who would they be? GM: Well obviously, my wife and two kids, but failing that… 1. 2. 3. 4.

Ray Mears for food – always pick the fattest survivalist! Sade Adu - for entertainment (stop it!) Theresa May – to do the world a favour (and ultimately for food if Ray doesn’t find anything else). Dan Lewis, cos he makes me laugh and he’d hate it!

LH: In what ways are you the same as your childhood self? GM: I’m a man so I am exactly the same as my childhood self. I think women go through real major changes in their lifetimes – becoming a mother probably the biggest of all. But men are just little boys who got older… LH: What animal best represents you and why? GM: I can’t really think of one that represents me as such, but if I could choose to be one, I’d be a bear. Cute but deadly! No predator! You get to go fishing. And, best of all, you get to go to sleep for the winter. LH: What is your greatest strength or weakness? GM: I’d say, Loyalty. And it’s probably both a strength and a weakness.


It’s a strength because I think it keeps things simple. The people that have my loyalty, have my support and backing without question. If I am needed, I will be there. I have no decisions to make. On the downside, I expect the same of others and that doesn’t always pan out. LH: Do you trust anyone with your life? GM: Yes, My brothers! There are four of us and they have had my back for so long. I was talking to my big brother Mike the other day and he said we were looking into Dignitas (ahead of needing it) and what did I think about it all? I told him that I’d already thought about it and, when it was my time, I want it to be on a remote hillside, with all my brothers, and an axe. He wasn’t too keen, but I reckon he’ll come around… LH: How do you want to be remembered? GM: In truth, I’d most like to be remembered as a good father. I’d like to be remembered by my kids, the way I remember my Dad. He was a unique individual and his attitude to parenting was about teaching us to survive in the real world. He made sure we could all fight. He made sure we could all think. He ran fire escape drills in the house. He made us do rescue drills in the pool. And he did crazy stuff like showing us how to make a bivouac and then leaving us in the forest overnight to fend for ourselves. LH: What have you always wanted and did you ever get it? GM: I have always wanted a Land Rover Defender and yes, I got one, but it didn’t go well. I have always had an unhealthy belief in my own abilities – often despite repeated evidence to the contrary – and it’s got me into trouble on numerous occasions. A few years ago, I bought an old Series 1 Land Rover and found a service manual in the back. I decided to strip the engine down and rebuild it – how hard could it be right? Anyway, when I eventually managed to reassemble the engine, I literally had a bucket-full of bits left over. It never started again and I had to sell it to someone for £300. The guy who towed it away was a mixture of excited to get this bargain, and contempt for me for destroying this thing, and not being able to put it back together again. LH: Do you know your heritage? GM: I do! I am a proud Irishman but, being from Northern Ireland, it’s all a little confused… Firstly, there is the obvious Irish/British pull. Secondly, I am of protestant stock, but we must have ‘taken-the-soup’ at some point as we know we were not planted in Ulster. In Irish records the Mulhollands are known as the O'Maolchallan, the black kilted official guardians of the precious relic, St. Patrick's Bell. It’s why our family kilt is plain black. Maol Challan was High-king from 861 to 879 and was instrumental in fighting the Norse invaders of the time. There is evidence which connects him with St. Patrick himself and that he was the ancestor of the O'Maolchallan - the "Keepers of the Bell".


Gavin teaching at Way of the Spiritual Warrior in 2017 Photo credit: Nasser Butt

The modern name ‘Mulholland’ is simply an Anglicization of the old Gaelic name O'Maolchallan. St. Patrick’s Bell is still to be found in the National Museum of Ireland, and as, to our knowledge, our protection has never been revoked, me and my brothers keep meaning to pop over and pick it up. And finally, around the very top of Ireland there is a lot of Norse influence (Maol Challan wasn’t always successful…) and that is all mixed up with Christianity to leave a very Pagan-like set of beliefs. I recently did one of those DNA tests and was mostly Celtic Irish with a heavy dose of Norse. I do believe that it is important to know where you came from. I believe you can pull strength from your ancestors when you need it most. LH: Are you still learning who you are? GM: I don’t think so. I know who I am. There is a time during your teens where you almost have different personalities depending who you are with. But at some point, it all comes together. If nothing else, Martial Arts teach you who you are. LH: What, if anything, are you afraid of and why? GM: I don’t really think I’m afraid of anything as such but getting old is a bit of a worry. The worst is when you have a chat with some old people only to find out they are the same age as you! In the words of my good friend Nick Hughes, “Old age - it’s not for the feint-hearted…” Hence, the hillside, my brothers and the axe scenario! LH: What is the most memorable class you have ever taken? GM: That’s really tough! One that stands out was in Northern Japan in the late ‘80s. I was hitch-hiking the length of Honshu from up near Hokkaido in the North, to Kagoshima in the South. Every night I would find a town or village to stay the night, and find a dojo to train in. On this particular night I had ended up in a place called Morioka and had got chatting to an English guy who said he was training in Karate at a local dojo that night. I agreed to go along with him. As we approached the dojo, the instructor was standing at the door. To my horror the English guy said, “This is Gavin from England. He’s really good”. Gone were my hopes of lining up at the back and keeping my head down! The Sensei looked me up and down and nodded for me to go in. I lined up at the back of the class with about 15 other guys of various ranks. The Sensei took the bow and then barked a command at which everybody filed outside with me following. He held up his hand, indicating that I should stay then he too, disappeared. I was left alone in the dojo for about 15 minutes (or so it felt) and when he returned he was wearing a full set of armour and carrying the same for me! I had no idea how to get into this stuff. Once I’d got it all on, and owing to my complete terror, I immediately hit him with a spinning heel kick that dented his face mask – as much a surprise to me as him - and so we went from there. Basically, he had sent the whole class home and just wanted to spar for the entire duration of the class.


That was a good session and I ended up sleeping the night on the dojo floor before heading off in the morning. LH: What book has influenced you the most? GM: This is crazy, but I know exactly the book that has influenced me the most – in fact, it changed everything. I just don’t know what it is called. Or who wrote it. And it’s not even a particularly good book. It was a novel and the story line had a convict escaping over the Italian Alps in a car he had hijacked, driven by an old Irish priest. At some point the convict said to the priest, “I don’t believe in God”. “Okay” said the priest, “Tell me about this God you don’t believe in”. “What do you mean?” said the convict. “This God you don’t believe in. Tell me about him” said the priest. “Well, I don’t believe in some old man in flowing white robes, with a white beard, sitting on a cloud!” said the convict. The old priest nodded and replied, “Ah right. I don’t believe in him either”. That changed everything for me. When someone tells you they don’t believe in something, you have to establish exactly what it is that they don’t believe in. That forces you to confront and interrogate what it is that you do believe in. And it works in all walks of life. “I don’t believe in Socialism!”. “Interesting. Tell me about this socialism you don’t believe in”. “I don’t believe Karate works!” “What about Karate doesn’t work? A punch in the teeth? A kick in the bollocks? A headbutt?” It was a new perspective on life for me and I wish I knew where it came from! LH: What ridiculous thing has someone tricked you into doing or believing? GM: Well I remember when I first went to senior school there was an ‘incident’ that ended up with the school swimming pool getting trashed. The next day at assembly, the Headmaster said that he knew exactly who had done it but that if we came forward immediately, he would be lenient on us. I walked to the front and, while I got in trouble with the school, it was nothing compared to the trouble I got from my brothers for being so naïve! Taught me not to trust authority though, so that was good… LH: When did you screw everything up, but no one ever found out it was you? GM: All the time since learning the lessons in question 14 above… LH: Who or what has been the greatest influence in your life? GM: Undoubtedly my Dad! He was the one that taught me the value of family and sticking together. He also taught me that it was ok to stand alone if you were in the right. We grew up on the Shankill Road in Belfast and my dad steadfastly refused to join any of the various


Gavin Mulholland, Brian Jacks (centre) Nasser Butt The British Martial Arts Awards 2018 Photo courtesy: Nasser Butt

‘organizations’ around in the late ‘60s/early ‘70s! Him and my Mum had Catholic friends which, despite heavy pressure, they completely refused to give up. He also set me on the path of the Martial Arts which have been such a major part of my life from before I can even remember. Next year will be my 50th year training and that is all down to my father. LH: What is the craziest thing one of your teachers has done or made you do? GM: Back in the 1980s, Kyoshi Kim would make made us fight each other blindfolded. Grappling-wise, it was probably a good idea, but we started standing and apart and it generally went badly pretty quickly. We would swing wildly and eventually something would connect, frequently leaving someone unconscious and bleeding on the floor. I rarely even got to the grappling stage. Funny though… LH: If You had to choose to live without one of your five senses, which one would you give up and why? GM: Haha! That’s easy! To train, fight and grapple makes you feel alive. So, not touch! To listen to, and play music, puts you in touch with the Gods themselves. So, not hearing! To stand on a windswept cliff, overlooking an angry ocean, makes your soul soar. So, not sight! To sit in front of a roaring fire on a cold winter’s night, with a good malt whiskey is genuinely one of life’s great pleasures. So, not taste! But, I live in London and I have to travel by tube, so smell – every time SMELL! LH: If you could select one person from history and ask them one question - who would you select and what would the question be? GM: I’d like to ask Rosa Parks where she got her courage and strength from. Physical power and violent struggle I understand. But that calm, passive, refusal to yield – often female and invariably from a position of considerable weakness – I find truly inspiring LH: How would you describe your art in ten words or less? GM: Goju Ryu Karate is the centre of the wheel. Thank you Gavin Mulholland for sharing your valuable time us. I’m sure our readers will discover a bit more about the man behind the art through your answers and I do hope that we get to see and hear more from you in our future issues.

Editor's note: All photos appear courtesy of Gavin Mulholland unless stated otherwise.



The Small San-sau Xiao SÃ n Shou The Five Levels: From Principles To Combat Part One


Elliot Morris

Author’s Note I began writing about the Small San-sau a few years ago. It started as a simple exercise of putting my own personal training notes in order from where it gradually grew. Once I realised the depth of notes I had collated over the many years, I decided to write on the subject matter. The reason for writing was two-fold: First and foremost I, along with a few other of Erle’s older instructors noticed that the Small San-sau was in many instances being practiced incorrectly. It was hurried, with structural deficiencies and most students did not know or had not been taught the source of their movements. Secondly, it was not being studied. The majority of students were simply practicing it as a solo or two-person kata where speed and power seemed to be the goal of the practitioners, and within a short space of time they had it - now onto the Pàochuí or some other advance form. In, some instances things were being added to or incorrect dynamics were being taught and practiced. Many of the additional training methods were not being practiced or they simply weren’t known. My first article on the subject matter appeared in 2014 simply entitled: ‘The Small San-sau’. My second article appeared in September 2015 entitled, ‘Unlocking The Small San-sau’ - which would go on to not only become the title of this book but, would also become the subject of a series of workshops I went onto give both here in the UK and in the USA, which were critically acclaimed by the attendees. In both articles I berated my fellow practitioners and students that they were missing the point of this great training method. I stated my case openly and frankly with clear references from Erle’s teachings and the Taiji Classics! The reason why I mention the above is because at that point I was still a part of Erle’s organization - World Taiji Boxing Association (WTBA) - and this is important, as a senior instructor and someone whom Erle himself considered a personal student and one who understood his system, I was in a position to critique from experience! By the spring of 2016 I had departed from the WTBA (the reasons I shall leave for another occasion) and my final workshop in the April of the same year would be on the Small San-sau attended by students from around the world. It is in the light of the above information that I wish the reader to understand what I have written in the following pages. I have no doubt that many will see this as an attack on the WTBA but, as I have already stated and the records clearly show, I was already stating this for several years before I left the WTBA - it could not be an attack on the WTBA, as I was a part of it, rather it was a critique of what was being trained and taught! I stand by my original convictions! For me nothing has changed. I have left the original text as I had written it way back then to show consistency and continuity of thought. My original thought was to publish this as a full-blown book, it may well come later, but what appears here will be an abridged serialization over several issues. My main focus will be Level Three of the Small San-sau, although I will briefly refer to the other Levels for clarity and in order to show that what was being taught was a progression - not changes as it has been claimed! Nasser Butt 19 September 2018


Introduction The more I’ve looked at the small San-sau over the years, the more it has intrigued myself. I first learned the small San-sau way back in the early years of what would become my journey into the Internal Arts. At the time I did not know its true nature nor its origins - I had thought it to be an advanced version of Wing Chun! Yes, you’ve read right - Wing Chun! I was training Wing Chun at the time and when our instructor started teaching this - do to the similarities in footwork and centre-line principles - I simply assumed it to be an advanced version of Wing Chun! The small San-sau, thus, became the first form which I learned and trained in - before qigong, before even the Taiji long form of Yang Cheng-fu, itself, as was the custom to begin with in those early years! Over the years my enthusiasm for the small San-sau never diminished. In fact, I can honestly say that it was quite the opposite - it was, after all, the entry point into the Erle Montaigue System of Fighting and Healing! (1) In 1999, Erle published Internal Gung-fu Volume Two. This was a major publication on the training, fighting and healing methods within the internal arts, as well as the psychology of fighting. One of the main topics covered in this seminal work was the small San-sau along with the ‘Mother Applications’, arising from within it. The book served as a standalone guide as well as a compendium to Erle’s many videos on the subject. The year 1999 was to become a landmark in my own training and life. It was the year when I finally met up with Erle and started training with him personally, whereas prior to this my training had been with his local instructors. It was also the year I became a father with the birth of my daughter Aviyah. As the years rolled by, I made notes avidly from all my conversations with Erle. Questioning him incessantly whenever we met to train. I scribbled down answers in my notebook, on scraps of paper and even restaurant napkins - when we would stop at service stations during our weekend trips to Wales! We covered many subjects, surprisingly, not just the martial arts. We’d talk about family, children, music, religion, philosophy, books, comedy, politics and even old girlfriends! Amongst all these conversations, one of the subjects that we would always keep returning to was the small San-sau. It was always there, with each passing year - almost daring you to discover more. Erle would always say to me: “Five years Nass, five years! If one was to study the small San-sau for five years, then they would be able to deal with virtually any attack!” Now, for those of us who have already ‘trained’ in the small San-sau, will know that in reality it is a very short form. It takes perhaps less then two minutes to complete at full pace and maybe three at an average speed. Based upon Yang Cheng-fu’s modified long form, the small San-sau covers the postures of “Grasping the sparrow’s tail” as well as “Fishes in eight” and ends with “Single whip”. These handful of movements can literally be ‘learned’ or ‘taught’ in a matter of weeks, so what was so special about them that they required five years’ worth of study? Of course, when we learn any form or concept we must practice and revise it endlessly until it becomes a part of our natural movement - that’s a given - but when your teacher gives you a specific time frame then what he (or she) are really telling you is that there is more to this then meets the eye and you need to spend a long time investigating it! Take, for example, the Twelve Hand Weapons of the Wudang - the precursors to what today we call ‘push hands’ - we are told that traditionally, only one of these hand weapons was taught every year. In other words, it took twelve years of training to complete them in their entirety - twelve years! Most folk, nowadays, learn these at a weekend workshop and think that’s all there is to it! So, what was Erle alluding to?


A Childhood Lesson In A Far Off Land At the age of eight years old, my father packed my bags and put me on a plane to Pakistan. Thus began an adventure that would last three years and go on to become a cornerstone in my personal development - lessons learnt as a child that will stay with me for the rest of my life! My father had always had a simple and practical logic in certain matters. It was he who had decided to make England his home after emigrating from Pakistan during the 60’s. He wanted his children to be able to make the same choice for themselves, but in order to do that we had to understand our roots, culture and language first. So, as per the family custom, at the age of eight, I found myself seated next to a pretty Japanese girl on a plane bound for Pakistan. It was a great flight. The pretty Japanese girl entertained me for the next eight hours by making animals and objects out of napkins, sweet wrappers and newspaper - so, age eight, traveling on a plane I first discovered the wonderful world of Origami! At the end of the flight, my grandparents had come to collect us from the airport - Oh, did I mention that I was flying without my parents or an adult? It was just us kids - flying alone! Well, after only a few days after my arrival in the Punjab, I was enrolled at the local school. I could not read or write a single word of Urdu! I could speak a little but with a limited vocabulary. I suddenly found myself as the proverbial ‘fish out of water’! The first thing I discovered, upon arriving for my first day at school, was that schools in Pakistan were not quite like those in England! To begin with, there were no desks or chairs for the kids. In fact, the only desk and chair in the room belonged to a very stern looking teacher, who sat there looking at me over the top of his glasses as I found a place to sit upon the floor. The second thing which I quickly discovered was that I had no paper or pen to write with as my Urdu lesson began! Seeing the confused look upon my face, my teacher stood up and went to a cupboard from where he returned carrying a rectangular wooden board, approximately 18 inches long and ten inches wide. Also, in his hands were a piece of bamboo cane, about the length of a pencil, a small pot, a small lump of something which looked like charcoal, a square piece of cloth - not much bigger then a standard postage stamp - and a blade! He handed all the items to myself as my confusion simply got worse! What transpired in the next twenty or so minutes would turn out to be probably the greatest lesson I have ever received in any classroom as a child or as an adult! As I sat staring at the items placed in front of me, clueless to their purpose, the class monitor rose and came and sat next to me and said, “Come on English boy, let me show you what to do!” Now that was ironic - in the 70’s Britain in which I had been growing up until that point, I had been called many things at school by my fellow white pupils but, “English” had never been one of them! I was the same colour as the rest of them, yet, as I was quick to discover - I had already been nicknamed the “English boy” - the hatred for the British empire in 1975 was still alive and well on the Indian subcontinent. The colour of my skin mattered not, I simply represented colonial oppression to these guys whose parents’ memories were still fresh from a hard won independence and traumatic partition after 200 years of British rule!


Anyhow, enough of history and onwards with the lesson in hand. The school monitor asked me to collect all the stuff and follow him into the open square which sat in the middle of the school. The sun was already baking hot as I trudged miserably behind him, wishing I was back in my old classroom in Leicester. At the far end of the square was a small water tap sticking out of the wall and next to it was what looked like a small pit full of very light clay. He told me to soak my wooden board with water, which I promptly did. He then asked me to take a handful of clay from the pit and smear it evenly and neatly onto the board until I had a nice even layer covering the entire surface. I did that very reluctantly! After smearing my board with a nice even coat of clay, the school monitor indicated that I stand it up against the wall in the full sun. He then asked me to take the blade and the bamboo and make a clean cut at an angle of 45 degrees, along one end. Well, having never handled a ‘live’ blade in my hands due to well-founded health and safety regulations in Britain, needless to say that it took me several attempts before I managed the task by which time, my bamboo which had started around the length of a regular pencil - was half its original size! After achieving the correct angle, I had to further shape it until I had something which had taken on the look of a primitive pen or “qalam” as it was called in Urdu. Suddenly, a light came on somewhere inside my head! I looked at the lump of charcoal and realised my mistake - it was ink! I crushed the ink with the flat end of the blade and then chopped it fine and placed it in the small pot - my ink holder! The school monitor was impressed! He told me to put a tiny amount of water into the ink holder and stir it with my bamboo qalam until it was lump-less and smooth. I did just that but it was still a bit too thick, so I added some more water until I had my desired consistency. I then looked at the remaining object - the small piece of cotton - and looked quizzingly at the school monitor? “Place it into your ink pot!” I did. Still not quite sure why? “Right, we’re done.” He said. “Let’s get back to class.” I turned and started heading towards the classroom. “Haven’t you forgotten something?” The monitor called from behind. I remembered my board standing up against the wall. The sun had already baked the clay dry. It was a smooth greyish hue. Back in the classroom, I sat at my place on the floor. I had my board as paper. I had my bamboo stylus, I had my ink. I was ready to write. “Alif, Be” - A, B.


I dipped my stylus into the ink pot. I felt it dab into the small cloth and as I pulled it out it had the right amount of ink to begin writing. I now realised the purpose of the cloth - it was two-fold - on the one hand it ensured that the correct amount of ink went onto my stylus and on the other, its softness ensured that my stylus didn’t break on contact with the base of the ink pot - in case I dipped too hard! Now most of you may think of this as quaint or, perhaps backwards? Well, you’d be wrong on both occasions! Writing is an art. It is a privilege handed down to us over millennia by our ancestors. In England, I was given a pen and a notebook at school without realizing their value - in Pakistan I had to earn and understand that right! Simply learning to write wasn’t enough. I had to prepare my own utilities in order to be able to write and communicate my thoughts. I had to be able to construct and in having to construct from scratch I appreciated the real value of being able to write. After 6 months, I was given my pen and paper. But to this day, I have never forgotten how to make my ink, cut my stylus and prepare my writing board! So, why is this important? Today, the world of martial arts is full with ‘pens and paper’. You can even get multi-coloured ones and or pick and choose! This is how we are. This is how we learn forms or techniques. Superficially! This is true of my over 30 years worth of experience both in and out of the World Taiji Boxing Association (WTBA) and within the martial arts world in general! I will try to avoid critique of other martial arts and martial artists and speak only of my own but, this would apply equally to them - no exceptions! Erle spent over 40 years learning, investigating, applying, discarding, re-learning and revising. He openly and willingly shared his knowledge and findings. Many thought that his teaching style was eclectic, some even considered it irreverent, however, they'd all be wrong! Erle taught methodically, sticking to the Classics to the letter. He knew and understood how to carve a stylus, prepare his ink and writing surface. Those who do not see that, do so due to their own failings and that is the reason why Erle’s teachings are so heavily misunderstood even within the WTBA, let alone in the ego-driven world of martial arts in general! It is no good claiming to have trained with Erle for ten, twenty or thirty years. Length of time spent doesn’t necessarily equate to learning and learning doesn’t necessarily mean having understanding! This is the brutal and honest truth within all systems - whether martial or not. You may be able to mimic Erle’s movements right down to the finest detail but that doesn’t mean that you have understood the movement. It simply means that you are good at copying. Most good dancers can execute a movement from the Taiji form exceptionally well to the untrained eye - Why? Because they already have a certain set of skills - but, to the trained eye the faults will be apparent instantly. Erle believed this himself and openly said so! (2) This is exactly what has happened in modern martial arts and is already occurring within the WTBA too. There is no point in stating your length of time of training with Erle, or any other teacher as a matter of fact, if you have failed to understand and I say this across the rank and file - from the very top right down to the very bottom. There is no point learning advanced forms and deluding yourself that you already know what you are doing or have mastery if you cannot breakdown the idea and relate it to the Classics! This is how systems die and information is lost or misunderstood. It was for this reason that Erle placed the small San-sau as “one of the tests” (3) for entry into the system bearing his name! This is no co-incidence. That is why he always insisted it would take at least 5 years worth of study, practice and revision.


Lu/Rollback with Elliot Morris - Photography by David Garcia

The small San-sau is in essence a microcosmic version of the entire Taiji system. It adheres to each and every Classic ever written. To understand the small San-sau is to have a solid understanding of the foundations thus opening the gateway to ‘advanced’ ideas! The small San-sau is the knowing of how to prepare your stylus, ink and writing board! Very few people know or realise that the small San-sau has Five Levels, with H’ao Ch’uan being the highest level taught. Each level having its own sub-set of skills until all “Eight Gateways and Five Elements” have been understood leading to the “Thirteen Dynamics” as per the treatise of Yang Ban-hou (4). This encapsulates the entire Twelve Houses of the Yang family and their meanings. We are gradually introduced to more ‘movements’ as we steadily head towards the advanced level until we are able to identify energies, small and large circles, connectivity, adhering, heaviness, lightness, passive and active, inversion, substance and applications, to name but a few. Most folk never make it past a poor Level Three of understanding! Why? I’ll let Erle explain: “All of the advanced techniques of Tai Chi come from the basics and in a whole lifetime a student will probably only master and use about three of the advanced techniques, out of hundreds that we’re trained in: The old Masters spent their whole lives practicing just one or two techniques until they were so perfect that they didn’t need any others. We’re given such an array of techniques so that we are able to choose the ones most suited to our own bodies. Another reason why Tai Chi people never seem to advance martially is that they want to advance too quickly and know “What Comes Next” - instead of practicing what they already have. And even if the teacher keeps people behind in order to master the basics, then we’re accused of “keeping things back for self-gain”. If you’re lucky you may only ever perfect two or three of the basics, but IF you do then you’ll have a most formidable martial art. And if you ever get on to practice the advanced techniques… Well, what more can I say? Be happy with the basics and build a good root system on which to build all of the other, more exotic, techniques. If you ever become bored with the basics then it’s time for you to give up Martial Arts. Stick with it!” (5) The small San-sau is the test which shows if we have perfected “two or three of the basics”! Erle wrote much on the small San-sau. Some he wrote openly, other he taught orally as per traditions and yet, other he placed cryptically - scattered amongst his work - for his personal students to work out! This was not by accident - it was by design! It was Erle’s way of distinguishing between his students. Whenever I would ask Erle a question regarding information, he would always smile wryly and reply: “It’s already out there Nass. I have already put this information in the public domain. All you have to do is train right, that will lead you to where to find the next piece and onwards!” Erle’s words were right. Much of the information came to light during his lifetime and over the years piece by piece I got my confirmation. Sometimes, I’d ask a question with an answer already formed in my mind. He would simply confirm it with a yea or a nay. If I was on the right track, but not quite there, he’d say, “Have you thought about this possibility?” - and offer a hint or a nudge in the right direction. When Erle passed away, I felt distraught for a very long time - years in fact! There are some of my really close friends who believe that I still haven’t grieved properly. I simply immersed myself in the job at hand, which was to ensure the smooth transition of the reigns from one generation to the next - as per Erle’s wishes.


During these years, tentatively, I started to return back to my notes. I had a small number of students who inspired me to teach some of Erle’s older stuff - stuff which had been ‘discarded’ to history, so to speak. I had always wanted to recreate Erle’s training diary from the early years based upon the ’35 Weeks in the Erle Montaigue System’ - the years when he was teaching in Sydney. I now took the chance to do just that with my students. It turned out to be one of the best things I had ever done. It reconnected me to the foundations and forced me to start looking back at my own notes in detail. It reconnected me back to the small San-sau - back to where I myself had originally started all those years ago. As I delved deeper into my notes, information which I thought had become lost or may no longer be able to verify came to light. It had always been there. Erle, in his own inimitable style, had left a trail of “white pebbles” (6) with which I could find my way back ‘home’! It is this ‘pebble trail’ which has become the inspiration for this book. Erle wrote prolifically and produced many videos on the subject of the small San-sau. However, a lot of the work is scattered across almost 400 videos and several books. Some of the detail and information has not seen the light of days for several years as the subject matters are not ‘sexy’ enough for students. Then there is

information which Erle only gave out orally, in class, to his personal students who had reached a proficient level of understanding. What I hope to achieve on the following pages is to gather all the strands or ‘pebbles’ into one place. I say all with tongue firmly in cheek! I’ll rephrase that… I hope to gather most of the strands into one place. Erle didn’t like to spoon-feed his students, nothing delighted him more then seeing them work things out for themselves. So, in that tradition I, too, will be leaving some information out but, clues will be left for those who wish to seek further! Although a lot of the information contained in this book is already in the public domain, however, I will present some information which is ‘new’ - at least new to most readers. Other information such as the theory of the Five Elements will presented in a different light - something which Erle alluded to himself. Lastly, there will be information which will be presented for the first time in the general public domain. All five levels of the small San-sau will be explained along with theory and rules for fighting. This, as far as I’m aware, has never been done before! Erle certainly hinted at them and most definitely taught most of the highest levels to some of his personal students but never filmed them for public use or placed them in one definitive medium. Applications will be shown but I want the reader to be aware that they merely serve to illustrate a principle. It is the principle which is important NOT the technique!


There will be no exotic techniques, no fierce face-pulling or any other of the gimmicks usually associated with martial arts publications to prove how tough or mean one is! In fact, the simpler the illustration, the easier it becomes to understand the principle. The less moving parts a machine has, the less likely it is to go wrong. Not only this but, also the fact, that in most combative situations it is usually the simplest notion which will save your skin. The so-called advanced ‘techniques’ are merely a reflection of how well one has understood the foundational principles! I hope to make this book as jargon free as possible. Far too many books are written on the subject using esoteric, mystical or metaphysical and confusing language. This doesn’t help most students, if anything, it hinders their understanding and progress. Not only that, far too many teachers with little or no real knowledge hide behind the mystical and mysterious. My reason for this is simple and based upon a singular question: Who were the main proponents and practitioners of these arts? The answer: Illiterate peasants! These guys would not have written information or presented it with deep Confucian or Daoist philosophies. Nor would they have sat theorizing or contemplating the Classics or the writings of Lao Tzu! These were working folk who would have understood things through practical experience based upon an understanding of the world in which they dwelled. Literacy was not common among them. The literary Classics would appear a lot later, penned by those who were skilled and versed in not only the written word but also steeped in Daoist philosophies and Chinese cultural history! The following example will serve as an illustration: Taiji Quan Shiyong Fa - Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing - appeared in 1931, co-authored by Yang Cheng-fu and his disciple Dong Yingjie. Taijiquan tiyong quanshu - Essence and Applications of Taijiquan - was published in 1934, authored by Yang Cheng-fu, himself. To all extent and purposes Yang Cheng-fu was an illiterate man at worst or one with very basic literacy skills at best. Both of the above books are acknowledged to have been written by others: the 1931 book by Dong and the 1934 book by Cheng Man-ching! (7) What’s interesting is the fact that the 1934 book is essentially an edited and polished version of the 1931 book! Whereas Dong’s book is written in a terse semi-classical style with no punctuation or Daoist philosophy, Cheng’s book, on the other hand, is highly polished grammar and full of additional Confucian thought and historical falsehoods amongst other things. The 1931 book is based upon the oral transmissions of Yang Chengfu, taken down by Dong as class notes. These notes matter of factly deal with what is being taught by Yang in class - Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing! Now, if Yang’s oral transmissions can be written down and then altered in a space of a few years, while Yang is still alive, then how much more so can texts be altered, manipulated or added to which appear to have a far more ‘ancient’ history? So, I will try to stick as close to the simple world of the peasants as I am possibly able too. To try and present concepts and ideas in a language which would have made sense to them. I have no doubt that this book will raise controversy - amongst both, those who trained with Erle and those who never trained with him yet were openly critical of him in their various forums. I have no interest in controversy for the sake of controversy! I hope that those who never trained with Erle in person or only heard of him, read the information contained here with an open mind. I do not wish this book to be about Erle Montaigue. Erle’s influence both in my personal life and my martial arts is unparalleled! I hope that those who do read it will base their judgement upon the merit of the message and not the messenger!


Arn with Elliot Morris - Photography by David Garcia

What I’m presenting here are my notes, my Q&As with Erle, my interpretations and research, in light of Erle’s work and what I was taught by Erle, along with references which readers can verify for themselves should they wish to do so! The small San-sau, at least in concept, is not unique to Erle’s system - others practice it too! However, Erle managed to access rare additional information directly from China at a time when China was inaccessible to most Western practitioners, who were primarily dependent upon their information from the Hong Kong and Taiwanese ‘masters’ - some of whom had their own political agendas. Erle got to train and spend time with three major strands of the Yang family during the late 70’s and 80’s: Chang Yiu-chun, one of only a few direct disciples of Yang Shou-hou - the elder brother of Yang Cheng-fu whom Erle regarded as his main tutor in the internal arts. (8) Yang Shouzhong - the eldest son of Yang Cheng-fu - who personally corrected Erle’s form in Hong Kong. (9) Fu Zhongwen - the principal disciple of Yang Cheng-fu - with whom Erle spent time exchanging ideas after Fu saw him perform at the National Wushu Championships in China, in 1985. (10) It was the time spent with these recognized luminaries of the Yang family (amongst others) and the information gleaned directly from their minds which makes Erle’s understanding rare and unique in the modern era. I do not say this simply because he was my teacher. If the principle is sound then accept it - so long as it is rooted in an accurate understanding of the Tai Chi Classics and not shrouded in some metaphysical mumbo jumbo! Do not slate it because it doesn’t come from your lineage, or your master never showed it to you or claimed otherwise! Far too many students are distracted from good, practical training just because the source of information doesn’t come from their own. The martial arts world is full of poor knowledge, transmitted by even poorer teachers or self-deluded masters this is a fact too! If you began your journey with ‘mastery’ as your goal then, you have already failed and will fail those who come to you to learn! Lineages can be bought, sold, acquired or falsified without the necessary transmission of knowledge. Having an impeccable lineage does not necessarily equate to understanding and skill! Understanding cannot be inherited automatically. Being a child of Einstein does not confer genius and understanding upon the said child accordingly! We can, of course, pass knowledge freely and fully between individuals - father to son, teacher to student - but true or real understanding is limited to each individual and develops over time and experience, as well as our willingness to learn with an openness. We are all unique in how we see, understand and interpret information. In fact, it is our very own individuality which ultimately decides or rather limits our understanding - based upon our own experiences, beliefs, prejudice, degree of learning and social environment! Understanding can be challenged and or altered over time through learning. However, any change or alteration must come through learning based upon principles and not just for the sake of change. That is not to say that one cannot think outside of the box or break the rules - either case requires and understanding or ‘mastery’ of the founding principles. A healthy mind accepts and understands this whereas an unhealthy mind has already closed and shut the door tight. There is bias amongst all of us - including myself! Egos play a major role, no matter how much we try to gain mastery over them. Let us get all of this out of the way and into the open right at the beginning. That way we stand a better chance of learning irrespective of our lineage, style, background or belief. Finally, a quick word on learning from books. Whilst books can provide us with a lot of information, I do not believe that we can learn forms from books. Although I have tried to give as detailed and clear a description of the ideas expressed in these pages as possible, there are so many subtle movements and angles which a still camera cannot capture! Linking movements are often missed by the camera and we are mostly left with only the final posture or movement.


Timing, distance and speed etc cannot be truly emphasized. Even with the advent of high resolution video nothing really can replace real training in-situ with a competent teacher. This book should be viewed more as a reference guide. A check list of sorts with which to pursue your own training with a tutor and gauge your own development. If the information contained in this book helps you even in the slightest then it will have served its purpose. The small San-sau is one of the greatest training tools to have come from within the annals of Yang family history. It is a gift. It is yours to use wisely or not.

Nasser Butt March 28, 2016 Leicester, United Kingdom

Introduction Notes 1. Montaigue, Erle. Internal Gung-fu Volume 2. Published by Moon Ta-gu Books, Australia, 1999. pp.18 [Hard copy]/p.25 [Digital pdf]. 2. Montaigue, Erle. Tai Chi: Looking Within. Online article - - Published 20 November 2006. 3. Montaigue, Erle. Internal Gung-fu Volume 2. Published by Moon Ta-gu Books, Australia, 1999. pp.18 [Hard copy]/p.25 [Digital pdf]. 4. Explaining Taiji Principles (Taiji Fa Shuo) - attributed to Yang Ban-hou [circa 1875], translated by Paul Brennan, September 2013. 5. Montaigue, Erle. Training For Combat Tai Chi. Published 1979. 6. In the fairy tale Hansel and Gretel - published by the Brothers Grimm in 1812 - the children find their way back home from the woods after Hansel secretly lays a trail of white pebbles on their way to the woods. 7. Butt, Nasser. “Whose Line Is It Anyway? - Part Two: Cheng Man-ching - A Case Study” - appearing in Combat and Healing Volume 68, December 2015. Published by Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools. 8. Butt, Nasser. “Whose Line Is It Anyway? - Part One” - appearing in Combat and Healing Volume 67, January 2014. Published by Fa-jing Ch’uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools. “The lineage of Erle Montaigue”. pp. 48-60. 9. ibid. 10. ibid.

Part Two of Unlocking The Small San-sau

Background & Origins will appear in Volume 8 of Lift Hands 87



Fa-jing Ch'uan Internal Chinese Boxing Schools are pleased to announce our third annual T'ai Chi Ch'uan Camp on the sun-drenched island of Cyprus in November 2018. Based at the scenic Hadjios Valley Resort in Mazotos - a couple of kilometres from the pristine beaches off the Mediterranean coastline this will be a great opportunity to learn one of the most ancient Chinese martial arts, renowned for its health properties, on the island of Aphrodite over 5 days. The camp will include: Qigong Old Yang Style T'ai Chi Practical Training Methods For Health/ Martial Arts Self-Defence Plus One Day for Exploring the Island Whether you are a novice or already have some experience and would simply like to brush up on the foundations, or have ever

wondered how the art is used as a system of selfdefence - then this will be the perfect way to get a great insight into T'ai chi Ch’uan (Taijiquan). You will receive a minimum of 5 hours of training under instruction over 4 days.

and can sleep up to 4 people sharing.

Date: Thursday-Tuesday 8/13 November 2018

Meals: This year, after careful deliberation, we have decided to offer a self-catering service allowing guests the freedom to choose what they eat as they please.

Cost of training: 225 Euros for those registering by Monday 31 August 2018. (The cost will rise to 250 Euros for those registering after this date.) Cost of Accommodation: 250 Euros/Villa based upon a minimum of 5 nights at Apollo Villas. (Each additional night is 40 Euros for those wishing to extend their stay.) We have negotiated an exclusive special rate with Apollo Villas, allowing you to spend five days in luxury at an incredibly low price!

All villas are fully furnished, including a functional kitchen as well as a washing machine and fridge. Full Wi-Fi is available throughout the resort at no extra cost.

All guests will find a basic ‘Welcome Pack’ upon arrival at their villa for making their own breakfast , etc. For lunch and supper we have negotiated a special rate at the local Mazotos Tavern - based in the centre of the village, where Bambos and his family serve up the most delicious traditional meals with a wonderful friendly service!

Please note, although partners and family are welcome, accommodation will be prioritized for those training!

Alternatively, folk are free to make their own arrangements or even cook in the villa, buying produce from the local high street, if they so wish.

Each villa is selfcontained and has two bedrooms (see below)

Participants will be expected to arrive on site by Thursday evening


8 November 2018 and depart Tuesday 13 November after the final training session, unless they have extended their stay in advance. All accommodation costs must be paid in full at the time of registration. (PLEASE NOTE THESE ARE NONREFUNDABLE.) Nearest Airport: Larnaca (15 km from resort). Information for local carhire services is available upon request. Please contact Nasser Butt for further information and registration: Tel: +44(0)7792242150 Email: Visit our website for further information on what we teach: Website for Hadjios Valley: hadjios-valley/ 1 Hadjios Valley Griva Digeni 44, Mazotos, Larnaca 7577 CYPRUS

Internal Martial Arts for Children Krish Pillay What is it that fascinates us about children so much? When a mother gives birth after carrying her precious burden for months, or when a father see their child for the first time, or when anyone sees a newborn child, you would be hard pressed to find someone who doesn't feel just how amazing a spectacle new life is. Even as children grow, we can't help but be humbled about how much they teach grown adults (such as their own parents) more about how to live their life. It could be something to do with how they throw themselves into things with reckless abandon, how they don't really care about anything. It could just be that even the simplest things in life can make them happy, like digging a hole (a pleasure of mine when I was a child), or spending a couple of hours playing with a stick in the garden, things an adult would get bored with after a couple of minutes, or even worse they would view as a task to be completed before they have fun! It’s not that children are perfect, they have no concept of discipline, and in many cases can be mean when they don’t get their way. It’s that their ability to focus (when they want to) and learn is so much greater than any adult without any training whatsoever, they are a blank slate that can be molded into greatness with their boundless enthusiasm. If a child expresses an interest in martial arts, immediate thoughts of any guardian would either be that it’s great that they want to do something that will keep them fit, teach them respect and discipline etc, to worries about the possibility of their child getting hurt or getting into fights. I am a hundred percent biased as a practitioner of martial arts and would go with the former thoughts of fitness, discipline and respect. So if you’re in that category which art do you choose? Well-known external martial arts; boxing, kung fu, Tae Kwon Do etc or the less well known internal arts, like Tai Chi, Bagua of Xing Yi? As you can probably tell, I would say immediately that you should go with the internal martial arts. So what are the differences? First we look at ways of moving. Internal martial arts are geared towards the use of the body as a whole, everything done with emphasis on rotations of the hips and remaining soft without excess tension. External martial arts focus on using the muscles of arms and legs to punch and kick with less emphasis on the core of the body for movement. What are the disadvantages of the External approach? As a child the body is constantly growing, bones are forming, ligaments are growing, giving the body a great ability to recover and withstand injuries that an adult would not be able to just shrug off. However this can be a double edged sword, as a child’s body has the ability to mask injuries to ligaments and joints and withstand stretching in the wrong direction. So when a person kicks and contacts incorrectly the force can get sent sideway through the knee the ligaments absorbing the force and stretching day bay day until the person eventually needs surgery for a weak or torn ligament at a young age. I also speak from experience as I started in external martial arts and after six years have lasting knee damage from this exact injury. During my seven years of Internal Martial arts, the injury has actually improved and I am able to tell exactly when I have made as mistake in my technique.


Lets next look at mentality of the different arts. Both External and Internal Martial arts appear to expound the same proponents of discipline and respect, however they way they teach it is profoundly different. In External Martial arts, these qualities are largely taught through being part of a group and following the belt systems, where everything is regimented and almost military. You learn to recognize authority through skill and in general (although this is not always the case) the strongest fighter is the most respected. This imposed system whilst effective, is sometimes counter intuitive, in that it can make a child more prone to disdain of others with lower skills due to the belt system. It can also make them respect only strength and prowess as opposed to hard work and genuine commitment. Now in the internal art there are generally no belt systems, instead the respect and discipline is taught by asking the student to look at themselves, to look at doing things correctly with the use of the body as a whole. By encouraging an inward facing approach of refinement and distillation of movement, and by recognizing their strengths and weaknesses, the student gains an appreciation for the work each individual makes regardless of current skill level or age. Thus, true respect is given for all people, and true discipline is gained by recognizing other peoples’ change through their own hard work, and the appreciation of the subtleties of the art builds the discipline and respect for others. Of course, the points I have raised are a very simplified view but, I hope it has given people an opinion of both sides of martial arts from a person who has equal experience in both areas. The only words of warning I could offer with regard to the internal martial arts would be that honestly try to judge what is being taught by looking at the teacher. If they are down to earth and speak honestly about their art, if their movement seems solid and grounded then chances are that you have found a good teacher. On the contrary, if they immediately start to talk about chi energy and dress in a silk suit, and move in a way that seems airy and light, my advice would be to walk away.


The Oldest Established School of The Erle Montaigue System In The UK



Carl Jephcote

The Boys Club Avenue Road Nuneaton CV11 4NA Kids Classes: Age 5-14 Monday and Friday 7pm-8pm Adults Classes: 14+ Monday and Friday 8pm-9pm Ladies Only: Wednesday 6pm-7pm. For Further Information Contact Carl: Mobile: 07914688654 or Email:

Gaku Shi Juku Kendo Kai

太極圖形 解說 Tàijí Túxíng Jiěshuō

Taiji Symbol Explained What does the Taiji symbol represent and why is it drawn that way? This is a question students often ask their teachers. Whilst many explanations have developed over the years as to the meanings behind these images from a variety of sources - ranging from the esoteric to the philosophical and from the sublime to the ridiculous, leaving students confused - it is often the simple explanation that bears the most weight. The symbol doesn’t represent ‘balance’ as it is often claimed. At least not as most folk would perceive it.


The symbol most accurately represents the passive and active nature of Taiji or, in other words, the relationship between polarity and nonpolarity. According to Methods of Applying Taiji Boxing (Taijiquan Shiyong Fa) authored by Yang Cheng-fu and his disciple Dong Yingjie, circa 1931: ‘The idea within the Taiji diagram is that passive and active generate each other, hardness and softness assist each other, and the polarities endless transform into each other. Taiji Boxing comes from this, and the pushing hands is the manifestation of this symbol.’ [Fig. 1] The original traditional image was represented by two fish joined at the mouth [Fig.2], according to Gu Ruzhang writing in 1936 - Taiji Boxing - copied from the earlier Yao Fuchun and Jiang Rongqiao 1930 manual: ‘The two drawings above are common ways to display a Taiji diagram. Within each is drawn a pair of fish linking at the mouths, representing passive and active interconnected. The condition before skyness and groundness become distinct from each other is called the Grand Polarity. These drawings depict the concept of the primal murkiness before there were such distinctions. It is said in the Book of Changes: “Non-polarity generated the Grand Polarity, the Grand Polarity generated the dual aspects, the dual aspects generated the four manifestations, and the four manifestations generated the eight trigrams.” When my mind is silent, without wants or worries, even all good things making no voice, this is called Non-polarity. When active, when there is movement, this is like the Grand Polarity. But when passive, when there is stillness, this is like Non-polarity. When movement starts, then the active aspect is generated. When movement reaches it limit, then the passive aspect is generated. As stillness begins, there is softness. As stillness peaks, there is hardness. Therefore, whenever you practice Taiji Boxing, all the way through to moving step pushing hands, it is by always following this central principle that you will seek out the secret. In the first drawing above, the white part is the active aspect and the black part is the passive aspect. The dots are the active within the passive and the passive within the active. We can see passive and active surge around the middle, and these are the passive and active energies of Taiji Boxing.’

Fig. 1

Fig. 2

Further: ‘Of the two drawings above [Fig.3], the first is a depiction of the primordial state, a circle in which passive and active are giving rise to each other, circulating endlessly. This is Taiji Boxing’s yielding energy and sticking energy, the sum of which is neutralizing, the yielding energy being the passive energy and the sticking energy being the active energy. The second drawing is a depiction of Non-polarity generating the Grand Polarity. The passive and active aspects are contained within, constantly approaching each other. At the center of the circle is Nonpolarity, which is which is the governing principle. Passive at its limit generates the active, and active at its limit generates the passive. This is the flow of energy. Herein lies the meaning in Taiji of “use mind to move energy”.’


Fig. 3

‘“Energy houses the spirit, and the body houses the energy.” It also says: “Benevolence joins us to the universe – it is called Humanity. All things are blurred together without distinctions – it is called the Grand Polarity. The emptiness is limitless – it is called the Grand Void. Perfection lies not in twoness – it is called the Grand Oneness. Evolution operates unnoticed – it is called the Grand Creation.” It also says: “Sky is high above, ground just below, joined together in surrounding us. These two energies merge in dense mist, so we can no longer tell them apart. Twisting, stretching, rubbing, shaking, they transform without pattern. Things are thereby manifested and take form to fill up the vastness between the two.” Looked at in this way, the universe is two things merged into one. A person receives the essence of both and is brought to life. A man is a small universe himself. Therefore sky, ground, and mankind are called the “three substances”, and the human body is the achievement of [all three blending into] a single energy.’ Lai Zhide’s commentary to the Book of Changes quoted by Gu Ruzhang

This is why is the Taiji symbol drawn in this particular fashion.







The Sky above and the Ground below


Peter Jones -




Editor: Nasser Butt Email:


Chief Instructor Taiji Pa-Kua Internal Fighting Arts

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Lift Hands Volume 7, September 2018  

Lift Hands - Voted Magazine of the Year 2018 by The British Martial Arts Awards 2018. When one really thinks about Lift Hands, you’ll disc...

Lift Hands Volume 7, September 2018  

Lift Hands - Voted Magazine of the Year 2018 by The British Martial Arts Awards 2018. When one really thinks about Lift Hands, you’ll disc...

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