Out on a high note

So, another semester has come to an end.

I spent most of last weekend and Monday marking reports, and on Tuesday the exams started… Since then, I’ve done practically nothing except grade those…. and finally finished about half an hour ago.

With all that happening, I haven’t made it to yiquan classes for a while; I had hoped to get there, but it just didn’t work. During the pause on Monday evening, though, I made it to an applications class at Small Steps Neijia for the first time.

We worked on some tang ni bu stepping and bai bu/kou bu, and then some drills; these were xingyi rather than bagua (Liu Lao Shi’s lineage is xingyi-bagua, mixing the two together). It was really interesting; I’ve trained in the basic xingyi forms briefly, but I’ve never done any tui shou. It was interesting to see the drilling movements of the forearm in xingyi, and compare to its yiquan equivalent.

A large part of that class was then given over to freeform tui shou, which was extremely interesting. First of all, I partnered up with Liu Lao Shi himself; I don’t doubt that he was curious to see what I’d got, and I think I made a fairly good showing. My posture and energy flow were obviously off, though, as my right knee hurt afterwards, and is still sore.

There was only one other student there, a western guy who has no real background in martial arts other than a bit of taiji. We partnered up in the second half of the class, and I was amazed to discover that I was able to completely control him, even as he tried hard to push me around. I guess I’ve become used to training at the Zhong Yi Yiquan Wuguan with fairly experienced people, and forgotten what it’s like to work with ‘civilians’…

The very final part of the class was free-form pad work; each of us took a turn, with the other two holding pads and randomly presenting them to be attacked. Not at that point being tied to practising any particular move, it was interesting to see what came up. I found myself using several different yiquan moves but also launching into taiji’s Golden Cockerel at one point, plus bagua’s single palm change, as well as some ballistic punching that almost certainly came from watching systema material….

I also found that in terms of mindset I quickly fell into a fairly brutal “take him down NOW” mindset that I associate with my time training with Zhou Yue Wen in Singapore.


After I left the class, I thought back to when I first arrived in Singapore in 2002; the days when the martial application of taiji was only an unconfirmed legend for me, and I’d never seen bagua or xingyi…… Jeez…. I really have come a long way….

Anyhow: that session of just letting rip was rather a high point. And tomorrow…. I’m outta here, flying back to Wales for a couple of weeks. I will have my MacBook, but I don’t honestly expect to be posting much. So: see you all again in August….


  1. Hi Emlyn,
    over here in Taiwan, I allready enjoyed 2 weeks after grading finals, free of all schedule, it’s great, and as I hear, even less hot than Europe. Still, we had 38,6° and humidity, so sweating is annoying.

    Still, beginning Aug., I’ll also go back to see family, but have to be back rather soon, doing translation work and preparing new courses for the next term. Hopefully, I can keep up with training during travelling, no breakes so far this year, very nice!

    PS: Glad you are back in the bagua/xingyi game!


  2. If you happen to be in London on a Friday or Saturday, there’s a Systema class here you can check out if you want.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s