Tai Chi Level 2: The Effortless Power Connection

In tonight’s class, Sigung Richard Clear demonstrated how to connect the upper and lower body. Every Tai Chi style has a unique method for making that connection, and Clear’s Tai Chi is no exception. This is one of keys to developing high-level skills like Fa Jin.

The main Tai Chi styles use different strategies to get their students connected. Chen style takes very low stances, while Yang family styles tend to use a bit of a lean in the upper body and a tuck in the hips. Wu style takes a longer and wider stance while curving the back. All of these methods accomplish the same thing, which is a strong connection between the upper and lower body.

Sigung Richard Clear is a Grandmaster of Tai Chi. He has trained with and learned from masters of many Tai Chi styles. Through his work, he has developed a method of making the power connection that allows average people to keep a healthy shape without need of incredible leg strength or funny postures.

With the Clear’s method, the connection is made by very slightly rounding the back and tucking the hips. This is sometimes called “Turtle Back,” and as you can see in the video above, it is one of the keys to generating tremendous power without muscular strain (which, after all, is what Tai Chi is supposed to be about).

This is considered a very high-level secret among Tai Chi Masters, but once you understand the mechanics it is fairly simple to grasp. Like everything else in the Clear’s Tai Chi program, it just requires a little patience and practice. Using the Turtle Back method, a dedicated student can make this connection completely natural. With practice, this becomes the natural way that the body is held, so that you have access to this power all the time.

To begin your training visit us at 113 East Broadway, Maryville, TN or call 865-379-9997

6 Week Tai Chi Session begins March 1st

Beginning Tai Chi for health.

This class is for beginners in any physical condition. Students learn the basics of Tai Chi for health and wellness in 6 weeks.

This class meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 6-7:15pm.

Call now to reserve your spot in our next 6 week session. (865) 379-9997

The price is $99.

There is also a day class.
It also starts on March 1st and meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Time: 11 – Noon

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part IIIa

This third post in our series on finding the best Tai Chi instructor you can covers some great questions to ask your prospective teacher to see if he or she is qualified to teach you the best quality Tai Chi classes.

Real Tai Chi has so many great health benefits including helping with blood pressure, stress relief, balance, arthritis, range of motion, and much more. So be patient as you do a little homework in picking the best teacher. Keep in mind that certified Tai Chi instructors can mean different things to different people.

At Clear Silat’s Tai Chi local school here in Maryville, TN our instructors have over 8 years experience each in the art at least.

Here are some questions for you, the Tai Chi student, to ask your potential or current instructor:

  • Basics of Chinese Medicine including Yin and Yang theory
  • Chi Kung including an understanding of what Chi is and what it is not
  • Knowledge of sources of  Chi. Chi is very explainable in Western medical and physics terms and the actual meaning and application of Chi Energy would make complete sense to any Western medical doctor, physicist, biologist, chemist, engineer etc etc… If it sounds like a bunch of metaphysical hokum, that would be a potential red flag.
  • An understanding of Chi Blockages and how to remove them using Tai Chi.  This includes understanding the difference between Excess and Stagnant Chi and knowing how to restore proper balance and flow in the body using Tai Chi.
  • The Meridians and pressure points as used in Acupuncture and how Tai Chi stimulates proper flow of Chi through them
  • The 3 Treasures Li, Chi and Jing
  • The 3 Powers Heaven, Earth and Man

We’ll continue this post with more questions you should ask your Tai Chi instructor to assess their experience and learn more about Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (Posted to site by Sarah Vose)


How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part II

If from the outside Tai Chi instructors all seem the same, what should prospective students look for to avoid buying the high-performance sports car with a cheap engine we mentioned last post?

Obviously any beginning Tai Chi instructor who has gone through Tai Chi training will know at least a form or two of 24 Moves or more. So instead, look for endorsements and talk to students who have gained real benefits from practicing Tai Chi from the instructor whose class you are considering.

Do your homework.

Visit several schools or facilities and try out some free classes.

Ask the instructors specific questions about their training and level of knowledge about Tai Chi, Taiji, Taichi Chuan, Taiji Quan, or Tai ji Quan (all specialized names for Tai Chi) .  If an instructor is unwilling to openly and fully answer your questions or does not know what you are talking about then I recommend that you find a different school or instructor.

If the instructor is both open with you and gives educated answers to your questions then realize that individual answers will vary and often will be situation dependent, but there is an obvious difference between an educated opinion and someone who does not have a clue about the subject matter and specific terms that are related to the subject matter.

Just listen carefully and you should be able to get an idea of an instructor’s knowledge or lack thereof particularly if you are armed with some of the terms I am referring to in this post.

Many Western medicine doctors, specialists and therapist have different opinions about causes and treatments of various medical conditions but anatomy and physiology basics and the medical terms for them are going to be pretty much the same from one human being to another.

The same is true with Tai Chi.  Even though approaches may be different, words like Chi, Jing, Peng, Sung, Tao, Yi, Shen and Li will be known by any real teacher.  Anyone offering Tai Chi classes who does not have at least a working understanding of these terms simply does not have enough knowledge to properly teach Tai Chi.


Richard Clear (posted to the site  by Sarah Vose)

How to Find an Excellent Tai Chi Instructor in the USA – Part I

This article covers the bare minimum amount of knowledge that any beginning Tai Chi teacher, style, school or method of Tai Chi should know and be able to convey in order to teach Tai Chi.  Without this basic knowledge students will not be able to gain any of the real health, healing or energetic benefits of Tai Chi.  Most of what is detailed here is normally taught within the first year or two of Tai Chi training and can easily be learned within the first 3 years of training.

Imagine going to the auto dealer and buying a high performance sports car that costs more than your house. Then, after you buy the car, you find out that you did not get what you thought you paid for.  Instead, you got the car frame/shell of a high performance sports car and all of the internal mechanical parts are missing or have been replaced with a cheap engine.

Now, imagine that you do not have any idea about engines or transmissions.  Due to your lack of knowledge you do not understand why your car will not run and do all of the impressive things that you have seen and read about. Without getting some education you would be stuck with a car that looks like a sports car, but, which in fact internally is not one.

Unfortunately, this is an all too common scenario found by many students and practitioners of Tai Chi in America.  There are plenty of skilled Tai Chi teachers to be found in the USA. They figure that if the Tai Chi moves frame/body/form looks good then the inside and knowledge base is most likely okay as well.  Without any other information to go on, students simply sign up and take Tai Chi classes from someone who looks the part.

Many people mistakenly think that if they just keep practicing the Tai Chi form then eventually they will grow into the knowledge and somehow magically gain the majority of benefits that Tai Chi offers.  Unfortunately, magically getting the benefits of Tai Chi this way is about as likely as a car frame magically growing a new engine.  As nice as that would be, it simply is not the case.

This series of blog posts are designed to help our local Maryville Tai Chi students know what to look for and what kind of questions to ask a prospective Tai Chi instructor. We at Clear Silat’s Tai Chi have an international reputation as Tai Chi instructors who regularly release advanced Tai Chi courses, classes, and video; these posts are best suited to Maryville Tai Chi students.


Richard Clear