Master Fa Chan’s Zen Teaching

  1. As you all know, things in life are often unsatisfactory. As a Taoist, when facing these unsatisfactory things, you must know how to let go. Once you can let go, your mood will naturally feel much better. So how to let go? it’s actually really easy. As long as you know how to let go and let go, you’ll be right. Accommodation means that when faced with these unsatisfactory situations, you must accept them happily and no longer reject or resist. Even if these unsatisfactory things make you fear, uneasy, sad, unfair, and dissatisfied, you must completely obey these unsatisfactory emotions and allow them to stay in your heart. You just need to look at them and it will be fine. After a while, They will naturally disappear without a trace! If you don’t believe it, just try it yourself. remember! Thoughts are like water in your heart, allow them to flow through your heart and don’t worry about them. If you have an attitude of rejection or resistance, it will block the flow of unsatisfactory thoughts, so why bother! This surrender and letting go is really a panacea for healing the body, mind and soul, and the effect is extremely fast. I’m afraid you don’t know how to make good use of it, that would be a real pity!
  2. Here we introduce to you two simple and effective breathing methods. One is the Five and Ten Dantian Breathing Methods. First, sit on a chair, relax your body, and place your palms in the Dantian of your lower abdomen below your navel. Close your eyes. Breathe out through your mouth and count from one to ten. At this time, you should simultaneously retract the Dantian of the lower abdomen inward and lift the anus upward. After exhaling, breathe in through your nose and count from one to five. At this time, protrude your lower abdomen forward and relax your anus. One exhalation and one inhalation is one time, and a total of ten times is one time. It’s up to you how many times you want to do it. The second is the four-seven-eight breathing method. The method is also very simple. Sit up straight and relax. Breathe in and count from one to four. To stop breathing, count from one to seven. Then exhale and count from one to eight. This counts as one time (one breath), ten times is one time. How many times or how many times you want to practice is entirely up to you. Both of these breathing methods involve inhaling through the nose and exhaling through the mouth. They can be practiced while sitting or lying down. The counting speed should not be too fast or too slow, just about one second per second. Both of these exercises are simple but very effective. Both of these are considered deep breathing qigong, and both are rhythmic breathing methods. Regular practice can allow the brain’s brain waves to enter the alpha wave band that is both relaxing and focused. This is very helpful for physical and mental health. It can enhance the natural self-healing power, the body’s immunity, promote the secretion of the happiness hormone ─ serotonin, and even balance the autonomic nervous system, allowing you to sleep well every night. And it will make you feel refreshed during the day! You may not know it yet, but rhythmic deep breathing is actually the best natural tranquilizer. And there are 100% no side effects. People with sleep disorders, anxiety or depression should practice these two deep breathing exercises more frequently. Moreover, it will also be of great help to ordinary people or the elderly. The basic rule is to practice easily and don’t force yourself!
  3. Calm mind and spirit, a good recipe for health and longevity.

Master Fa Chan’s Zen Talk

  1. Life has energy or aura, and even everything has energy or aura. But energy or aura can be both positive and negative. That is, there are good or bad ones. When you have good intentions and live in a clean and tidy environment, you will naturally have good energy or a good aura, and it is easy to attract good luck in life, giving you continuous good luck. However, if you have bad thoughts or unhealthy thoughts and live in a messy environment, your aura or energy will become negative or bad. In this way, it is naturally easy for you to have bad luck again and again. Therefore, when you wake up in the morning, you must first take care of your mind and home environment. This is a good way to change your luck, why don’t you give it a try!
  2. A person’s mind determines a person’s pattern; a person’s pattern can determine a person’s outcome or achievement. If you have a big heart, the pattern will naturally be big. And if the pattern is big, the achievements in this life will of course be relatively high.
  3. Talk less in your mouth, eat less in your belly, and worry less in your mind. Having these three young men will really make you less sick and less troubled. Of course, “less” means just don’t be greedy for too much.
  4. Don’t stop hate with hate, stop hate with love. Love is the natural law of life. That’s right! There should be love in life, not hatred.
  5. As far as the highest concept of Zen Buddhism is concerned, don’t be greedy for too much Dharma, but rather the less, the better. That’s why Goode once said, “One sentence of clarity is worth tens of billions.” In the sect, all laws are facilities of last resort. All these laws are like yellow leaves turning into gold, and the theory that they stop and cry cannot be taken seriously.
  6. Goode once said: “It’s not the mind, it’s not the Buddha, it’s not the thing.” So what could it be? You might as well take a look.
  7. Time and space are both illusions in life, so what would be beyond time and space? You can also refer to it.
  8. When your parents were not born, let’s talk about it. What would it be like? If you can’t explain it, it doesn’t matter. Just work hard and look in your heart to get to the bottom of it. Remember! Never look outside yourself for answers.

Master Fa Chan’s Teachings


  1. “Life” all arises from the true self-nature or the original nature of the mind. There is no “I” that arises or acts. Remembering this sentence will be of great help on the path. Because it is a guidepost on the path of spiritual practice. On the road, it will guide you on the right path and not go astray.
  2. Taoists, you should observe that the five aggregates of body and mind are not the origin of life. They are only “things” temporarily available in the world, and are not the true face of life. On the Tao, you should keep this concept in mind. Because it is the compass in your heart. With it, you will not fall into the self-confusion of the five aggregates of body and mind, and it will even guide you to the shore of Nirvana, which has no birth, no death, no coming and no going!
  3. On the road, there is a “Nine-Character Sutra”. It is extremely important on the Tao and is the foundation of the Tao. Therefore, we reluctantly gave it the pseudonym “Nine-Character Sutra”. Which nine characters are they? In fact, it is very simple, just these nine words: “see through, let go, and think openly.” In short, you can completely see through, let go, and think openly about everything inside and outside your body and mind, and all this will not affect your heart at all, and that’s right! This does not require you to abandon or give up anything, it is unnecessary. This is purely a matter of your mentality. As long as your mentality is completely unaffected or influenced by everything in your body and mind, that’s fine. Of course, this may be difficult for ordinary ascetics to do, but if you are a true Taoist, it will be easy. Because what a true Taoist wants is to return to the original nature or the body of truth. Everything inside and outside his body and mind was not what he wanted, and of course he couldn’t see it. It’s better to have it, it’s better not to have it. All this is insignificant and insignificant to it, so it is natural for it to see through it, let it go, and think about it. In fact, even if you are not a Taoist, as long as you know how to see through, let go, and think openly, you will find that every day is a good day, there are benefits everywhere, and your heart will be filled with peace and joy. Love!
  4. As the saying goes: “The width of the house is not as wide as the width of the heart.” That’s right! When you know how to forgive or consider others, it is the best gift to others and the best way to treat yourself. Because it can enhance the positive energy of the mind and put you in a good mood.
  5. Taoists should keep in mind: It doesn’t hurt if you suffer some losses, so why not give him three points? If you are willing to suffer a loss, you will receive a hundred blessings. If you want to get cheap everywhere, it turns out that you are the one who suffers the big loss.
  6. The sea accepts all rivers, and it is great if it has tolerance. Treating others with a magnanimous heart will bring endless blessings. If you are narrow-minded, easy to compare, and easy to care about, your blessings will be pitifully small!
  7. Thousands of health cares, ten thousand health cares, mental tranquility, peace, serenity and freedom are the key.

Yang Tai Chi 108 form – First Section

A video lesson of the yang style tai chi 108 form’s first section, front and back view. Filmed in Gortahork, Co. Donegal, Ireland.

What is the Wu Chi posture for in Tai Chi Chuan?

Wu Chi translates well as empty or original chi (posture). But the posture is not the important part of the practice. Let’s take a look at the meaning of Wu or emptiness. This profound concept is found in the Art of War, Tao De Ching, Chan Buddhism and of course, Tai Chi Chuan.

Thirty spokes share one hub, but the emptiness at the center makes it useful.

Tao de ching 11

Wu Chi can be translated as something like “the empty state”, “empty energy,” or “original state.” There are a few variations of the physical posture across different tai chi schools but all are fairly simple. The real purpose of wu chi is a resetting, to a default original state, which is more in harmony with the posture, breath and intent. Common principals in the physical posture are crown point is lifted, the knee joints come gently together, the other joints of the body are drawn inward gently, towards the center. In this way the body is centered and posture deviations are reset, this is especially important with older practitioners. The posture doesn’t have strict rules and must be natural.

In tai chi, the mental component of wu ji is more difficult, and more important, than the physical aspect. It also functions as a reset, but a mental one, and to achieve that you have to be able to stop your every day thoughts briefly. It’s quite difficult, especially for us in the west, usually we are taught not avoid doing this.

If I am asked then what zen teaches, zen teaches nothing.

-DT Suzuki

When my tai chi teacher, Master Li, tried to explain concept to me, he would say before you start “keep nothing in your mind.” It did not make sense at first, what he was saying was to keep, or hold, your focus on nothing. If you can achieve this, even briefly before you start your tai chi practice, it has a profoundly deepening effect on the posture, energy and quality of subsequent practice.

When I got the idea it changed they way I practice Tai Chi Chuan. In fact, when I don’t take the time to do this now I feel my tai chi practice is missing something. In or after the state of Wu Chi your movement becomes smooth and free, where you can explore what you need to work on, instead of a mechanical routine of motion. You can reverse the flow as easily as going with it. Watching a Tai Chi Master who practices wu chi has a relaxing effect.

One big misconception of wu chi is that it is only the physical posture at the beginning of the form. That it is only a quick relaxed exhale before training. While this is true to some level, to really achieve wu chi i have often to stand for not less that 20 minutes. where movement and breath work together efficiently and the tai chi principals can be employed. Trying to adjust your posture to fit the description of wu chi in a tai chi book or copying the stance from a tai chi teacher is a good first step, but wu chi is more than a posture or movement and it requires a lot of patience and practice.

Above: Pictured above is the chan monk, Hsu Yun, in meditation, note his name means Empty Cloud, (Hsu = Wu). Similar to wu chi practice, Chan Buddhists contemplate emptiness, though there are other considerations in Chan, such as the what they called “the heart”, ie the heart sutra, it is more complex wu chi practice. One difference between most other types of meditation and wu chi practice in Tai Chi and Xing Yi Chuan, is that the eyes are often kept partly open. The eyes are instrument in holding the intent, especially at first. You might see some similarities and differences with the photo above and the photo of the master Sun Lu Tan below.

Wu Chi posture & concept in Tai Chi Chuan

Many Tai Chi teachers think standing in one of these simple wu chi stances whilst scanning around the body is a sufficient wu chi. This is good but it is more of the step that comes after wu chi. Wu chi is not a physical posture, and neither is it moving your intent anywhere within your body, you’re not moving your focus anywhere, you’re holding your intent on emptiness.

Deep single pointed focus.

Wu chi places more importance on the state of mind than the state of the body which brings it into the realm of meditation. Westerners have by this time gained proficiency in many of the eastern methods of meditation, especially mindfulness meditation. The state of mindfulness is getting closer to the concept of wu chi, still, these states have different functions and are not the same. I have never been taught chan fa or zen meditation so I cannot comment on it, perhaps they are more similar to the concept of wu chi still.

“Use Yi instead of Li. The brain is chaotic before the beginning movement; Then, as one enters into the state of Wuji, the mind doesn’t think, the ears don’t hear, and the eyes don’t see. One must be extremely calm before creating any movement”

Yang Fenghou

Wu Chi is the foundation of many Tai Chi skills.

Wu Chi is the practice of focusing the Yi on emptiness or nothing and keeping it there until the normal mental chatter dissolves into the distant background, where it does not have any effect on the mind or emotions. The end goal of wu chi in Tai Chi is to prepare for true, unrestricted and internal movement, along the principals of tai chi. The Yang Style Tai Chi teacher, John Ding said, “Where Yi goes, Chi flows.” Focusing on nothing is easily confused with just not focusing at all. When master Li told me to keep nothing in my mind before practicing tai chi, this was the mistake I made for a long time, I just didn’t focus on anything and tried to empty my mind of thoughts. But what he was really telling me to do was “keep” or hold my attention on emptiness “nothing”.

Another related concept to Wu Chi is Wu Wei, which is translated as non-action. Wu Wei is often wrongly described as just going with the flow, like a boat without a sail. While it certainly is a flow state, that will enhance the performance in whatever art or task you are doing, wu chi is first required to enter this state of flow.

How to practice Wu Chi

Putting your intent on emptiness is confusing. Really in order to do that your intent has to be empty as well. Stop your thoughts altogether and it the intent will stop at some point as well. When you experience that you will be be relatively free from physical, emotional, and energetic tension. These concepts are impossible to define and you have to learn them from a teacher. The concept of Wu, or void can’t be grasped by thinking about it, only by stopping all thinking, briefly.

Do you have the patience to wait until the mud settles, and the water is clear? Can you remain un-moving until right action arises?

Tao De Ching
Sun Lu Tang – Wu Chi Posture

The difficulty in practicing wu chi is that it is nearly impossible for the human mind not have an object of focus. Western people especially struggle with the concept of emptiness, in fact, we have an aversion to it.

One trick to achieving the wu chi state is to first focus your attention on your index finger, then move the finger away but keep the point of focus, eyes, and attention, in the same position as the finger was in before you moved it. You are now focusing on an empty space, a void. The mind will immediately resist this and look for another object. But if you can hold it on the empty space until it settles you will experience a massive shift in you mental state.

Devoting some of your training time to learning wu chi, is one of the keys that will help you understand the rest of your Tai Chi practice.

What is the benefit of wu ji practice?

I have only scratched the surface of wu chi, there are people who devotee their entire training to it. In terms of the movement tai chi chuan, the concept of wu chi will free your form up a lot and make your movement unpredictable on offense and unknowable on defense.

In terms of the health benefits, it has huge potential for increasing mental and physical relaxation, reducing stress and tension.

Short Tai Chi Videos

From my Instagram


Tai Chi Frames

Small, medium or large?
A Tai Chi Chuan form can be practiced at different frames although often times each frame has a specialized form. The frame is not synonymous with the form although it is not entirely independent of it either. Each frame has it’s own benefits. Generally, the frame is first set by the width and depth of the stance, the upper body follows the lower.

The old man frame. This is practicing naturally without thinking about the frame too much or using effort. This is a good way for beginners to learn a form or to maintain your practice if you are sick or to busy to practice properly. It has meditative benefits and is good for relaxing or practicing “fan sung.” To practice this frame, take a natural walking step forward into your or bow stance. Base your upper body from this natural stance. You should not sweat when you practice this frame.

Second in popularity is the medium frame. It is commonly taught first, sometimes it is called the tiger frame. To practice at this frame take a natural walking step forward into bow stance and mark the spot where your big toe is. Lift your foot again and place your heel in that spot. Base your frame of this stance for the medium frame.

The Large frame tai chi stance can be a little wider than the medium frame stance, but it is also deeper. This frame requires some understanding of the different muscle groups of the legs and kua, without this understanding you could damage your knees practicing this frame too much. The frame is more for conditioning and it is very good if your goal is push hands.

Small frame tai chi is difficult. It is very hard to see what someone is doing when they are practicing the small frame. The movements are small and internal. Usually, someone that can do the small frame well can also fight. I personally have not learned small frame, although I have been adjusted into it a few times. Though the stance and movements were small I was quickly sweating with burning leg muscles.

Finding Flow

I use the tagline Find Your Flow for promoting my outdoor Tai Chi classes. This is because for me practicing TCC is largely about finding and synchronizing the flow of breath and movement.

What flow is not. Momentum could easily be confused with flow in Tai Chi practice. Momentum in moving goes against the principle of “when one part moves all parts move, when one part stops all parts stop.” The movement should come from the flow not the flow from the movement.

Moving slowly with the breath but without the principals of Tai Chi including no peng, no sinking, being double weighted and other postural mistakes. All of these things will impede flow.

Some concepts to help you find your flow.

Xian Tian. In the internal Chinese martial arts, there is a concept called Xian Tien. This is translated as “before heaven” or “pre-heaven” or “pre-natal” and it refers to one’s raw energy in a natural state, before anything is added to or taken from it. Xian Tien chi is something that we already have, the practice is first to removing blocks so it can flow freely.

Short Flows and Breathing

Short, repeating flows of movement, coordinated with the breath are a useful and enjoyable training practice. It can be fun to train along with a spotify playlist. In Vinyasa yoga practice a flow starts and ends in the same postion so that it can be repeated indefinitely, there is also room for variation to work on different techniques or areas of the body. In between the start and end of the flow there are repeating key points. The key is that the movement follows the breath.

This concept has always been a part many martial arts, in Xing Yi Chuan the wu xing quan is a series of five flows, while the linking or cascade forms are larger repeating cycles. In Yi Chuan Si Li is basically the same concept. In tai chi chuan the practice is not as widely used but it is there, the sequence of grasping the swallows tail is a flow that can be repeated. Most Bagua forms are very cyclical. A great basis for developing flows are the Tien Kan exercises found in the YiZong schools. This whole practice is a series of short cyclical motifs that are so elemental they can take on the forms of any of the three arts.

Hebei Style Xing Yi Form

In addition to Tai Chi, I practice the related art of Xing Yi Chuan. Xing Yi is a good compliment to Tai Chi and the two arts were once taught side by side in the Yi Zong school.

Wu Xing Sheng Ke – The Five Elements Transforming Ta Lu Set. This set teaches the ban bu – half step method to use distance to your advantage.

Stillness in Xing Yi training.

Xing Yi training requires a lot of stillness, holding a few postures for long periods is a big part of the training. A typical two-hour training session with Shifu Chao only required the space of a yoga mat to practice on. Forms were taught only after a lot of sweating and standing then only one at a time if we were lucky.

Stillness in Breath

Another example of stillness within Xing Yi is pausing the breath. While I was training at a seminar with the great Xing Yi Master Luo De Xiu we learned to pause breaths between one of the movements. At first, interrupting the breathing cycle seemed at odds with everything I had learned before in internal martial arts. All of my teachers emphasized linking movement with the breath. It took me a long time to realize that this is still true with pausing the breath, that is that it is the total stopping of all external and internal movement, to get next-level still the breath has to stop temporarily as well. From this stillness you can observe yourself and your opponent.

Tai Chi For for Free – The Four Energies

The Four Energies of Tai Chi are:

1. Peng – Ward Off
2. Lu – Roll-Back
3. Gi – Press
4. An – Push

These forces, energies or concepts form the basis for all movement in Tai chi. The outer shape of the movements are not difficult for a beginner to learn, but the internal structure is difficult.

The first energy is Peng, or ward off and it is a long-range, expansive usually upward-moving power.

The second energy is Lu or roll-back. It uses the energy of absorbing and leading. It is also used to coil force.

The third energy, Gi is press, it is usually horizontal straight out and is short-range penetrating power. It is difficult to learn.

The fourth energy, An or push is simple but powerful even for the beginning tai chi student.

Below Mr. Ang corrects and adds some insights.