Padwork – University Class

As well as training strong and efficient punching technique, practising Running Thunder Hand (continuous punching) in pairs using gloves and focus mitts trains holding a protective guard (shoulder muscles) and, since punching should involve the whole body – legs, core and arms – this acts as a general stamina conditioning exercise as well.

The video clip below shows two members of the student class working on some striking combinations (punches, knees and elbows) using pads.

Yang overcomes Yin

While much is made of using Yin (softness) to overcome Yang (hardness) in Tai Chi literature, the converse is also true.

When the opponent’s defence is weakened, the Tai Chi practitioner can take the initiative to attack strongly (Yang) to overcome the opponent’s weakness (Yin).

Below is a short clip of Oxford Wudang student Chris taking part in a full-contact sanshou competition and demonstrating this concept…

Tai Chi Theory – Tension, Relaxation & Breathing

One of the benefits of regular Tai Chi practice is the release of stress and unnecessary postural tension, allowing the breath to flow smoothly and unhindered.

Martially, this aids in the efficient transmission of force, without interference of postural muscle tension upon functional muscle use; it also allows the practitioner to move in a relaxed way and conserve stamina.

In the video below Dave discusses the concepts of tension, relaxation and breathing as they relate to the Tai Chi hand form postures and movements.


Tai Chi Theory – Stances

One of the fundamental principles is maintaining a structurally sound stance. The Tai Chi Discourse states:

The root is in the feet;
Discharging is done by the legs,
The controlling power is in the waist,
And the appearance is in the hand and fingers. [1]

In health-based Tai Chi practice, correct stances are integral for ensuring joint health of the lower legs and for supporting the functioning of the leg muscles. In martial Tai Chi practice, stances are vital for ensuring one can effectively absorb and redirect the force of an opponent.

In the video below, Dave provides instruction in some of the basic principles of stance-work.

[1] Translation by Dan Docherty,