Tai Chi chuan’s Ti-Fang with Stephen J. Goodson of www.fairtradetaichi.org

Ti-fang (Lift and Place) is a critical component in Tai Chi Chuan. The video and text below is an interview with Stephen and he and I discuss and give some samples of ti-Fang usage in Form, Push hands, Da Lu and San Shou.


Q: Moving step push hands is in the Yang, Chen, and Wu styles, but not practiced in the Cheng Man Ching branch, have you explored Ti-feng with moving step?

Stephen: I think Dalu is our moving step. Push Hands is fixed feet, that is why you have to do Rollback and Ward Off neutralization. If you could step away no pattern would exist. There is no moving step pattern in the form. It makes it seem like it was ‘made up’ to add material, a fun thing for beginners to see if they knew the choreography before they learned what it was about. Professor goal was to simplify, reduce in number and complexity, Tai Chi training (not just shorten the form). He trimmed lots of fat.

Book by Stephen J. Goodson and Billy Fox


“Wardoff, Rollback, Press, and Push must be known
Upper and lower follow one another; the other has difficulty advancing
Let him come and hit with great strength
Draw-in and touch, 4 ounces deflects 1,000 pounds
Attract into emptiness, join and discharge
Adhere, connect, stick, follow, no resistance nor letting go”

-Wang Zongyue

Q: T.T. Liang talks about 25 lines of attack, I believe that CMC taught 10 of them from push hands and da lu, however there are more in the two man san shou set. Have you explored these? I think TT is referring to Ti-feng.

Stephen: Again, we are not trying to add more. We are trying to simplify.
“CMC taught 10” lines of attack? Where? Not in any of his writings.
Not in the method he taught Mr. Smith or in NYC or to Ben Lo.
That is sooo missing the point of Professor’s teachings. There is a
single thread that runs through it all. Ti Fang—soft overcoming hard.
Matt, reread that first paragraph in that article. It does not know Ti Fang/Tai Chi.
We only care about a “hollows or projection” from four ounces. We only care about
that point of contact an if a “feather is added” or if a “fly drops off”. Lines, are useless.
Lines mean ‘I am trying to do something to my opponent’. We do not strive to DO
something to them, rather we evoke a response from them. A tiny falling response.
“12. ‘Use four ounces to deflect a thousand pounds.’ People do not believe that four ounces can deflect a thousand pounds. It means that you can use four ounces to offset a thousand pounds, after which you apply Push. So [offseting] and pushing are two different things. You are not really using four ounces to push a thousand pounds. We must separate ‘offset’ and ‘push.’ Then you can explain their marvelous functions.” (13T, Lo/Inn, p93) Do you see how Offset and Push are Ti and Fang?

Cheng man Ching Ti-fang on William CC Chen


Q: How would you train someone who would want to fight using ti-feng in a full contact fighting event?

Stephen: Have the contest take place in the stands not in the ring. Then when you toss the other
out he hits the chairs, falls down the steps, etc. “Fighting events” are artificial environments
that are designed for speed, strength and endurance testing. Artificial.
Remember the mental exercise I presented to you in the beginning of our visit: watch how
the rules of that environment fall apart, how its facade of “realness” melts away, if one of the
“fighters” has a bladed weapon.
The point is… well the TCClassics said it best:
There are many boxing arts.
Although they use different forms,
for the most part they don’t go beyond
the strong dominating the weak,
and the slow resigning to the swift.

Robert W. Smith Pushing Cheng man Ching

Q: How would you have them shadow box with it?
Stephen: Tai Chi has always been 13 Postures. There are three two man exercises. We learn them.

Q: heavy bag?
Stephen: Four ounces on a heavy bag?? That would be like trying to feel pulse diagnosis by using a heavy bag?!

Fleming Park where Robert W. Smith used to teach.


Q: What drills have you created for fighting or self-defense, ti-feng under pressure? As they say, 10,000 times to ingrain in the body memory to execute as a reflex.
Stephen: All of these questions are of the External. “How do I make this action a (conditioned) reflex based on a specific stimulus so it comes out at the appropriate time.” All good external questions. But, remember my opening question: “What happens to your boxing style if you suddenly have a superior technique”? We concluded that it would change, both tactically (how we box in the moment) and strategically (how we train in the future).
What you see in Tai Chi’s 13 Postures, its three two-man exercises, is a new way of training based on a superior, counter-intuitive technique where the soft really does overcome the hard. It is complete, it needs nothing else.

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Martial Arts and Medicine Talk: Justin Flinner, L.Ac., M.Ac. in Washington D.C.

Justin Flinner is a champion level martial artist, veteran competitor in both Modern Wushu and Traditional Fu Style Gong Fu. I caught up with him at Virginia University of Oriental Medicine where he was teaching Qigong. His practice of acupuncture and Oriental medicine is in Washington D.C.

Clinic: http://www.mymetromedicine.com


Our interview VIDEO here: (Pardon the air traffic: planes and helicopters)

Performance in China

1. Briefly list your martial arts history.
My martial arts career began with me practicing Taekwondo from Master Ron Mager in western PA. After going off to college, I began studying Chinese Wushu from Master Nick Gracenin. Sometime later, I became an indoor student (Tu Di) of his and was accepted into the Peng FeiWushu Association, for which he is the director. Under his tutelage, I studied Nan Quan, Chang Quan, Tai Ji Quan, Ba Ji Quan, Ba Gua Zhang, Xing Yi Quan, Ying Zhao Quan (Eagle Claw), Drunken Boxing &Sword, Tang Lang Quan (Praying Mantis), weapons training (staff, broadsword, straightsword, spear, double and single 9-section whips, three-section staff, rope dart, and several others), martial Qi Gong, and many other styles.

Justin doing Double Whip Chain, “World Tai Chi Day” at the Washington Mall.

2. What competition awards do you have/accomplishments.
2005 was a big year for me in the martial arts circuit: I was U.S. Men’s National Champion in Internal Martial Arts at the U.S. Wushu Union Nationals in Las Vegas; Grand Champion at the U.S.A. All-Taijiquan Championhips in Winchester, VA; and Grand Champion and Black Belt Champion at Midland Martial Arts Tournament in Midland, Michigan. Also, from 2005-2006, I was selected to be a team member of the U.S. Wushu Union National team. During my career as a martial artist, I have competed in numerous martial arts tournaments and have been fortunate enough to have received dozens of awards and medals over the years.

Fu Zhen Song: Creator of Fu style gong fu
more about Fu Zhen Song



3. List some of the teachers and favorite seminars/teachers you have attended.
I have been extremely fortunate to have such great martial arts teachers throughout the years. Undoubtedly, the teacher who has had the most impact on me to this day is my current teacher and Shi Fu; Master Nick Gracenin. While under his instruction, I have had the opportunity to learn from other great masters such as Master Liang Shou Yu, Master Yang Jwing Ming, Master An Tian Rong,
Master Tony Yang, Master Fu Sheng Long, Master Sun De Yao, in addition to many others.


4. Education background
My education began with learning Electrical Engineering, but I later switched and received my Bachelor of Science in Exercise and Rehabilitative Science. In 2013, I received my Master’s Degree in Acupuncture. Also, from 2005-2006, I lived in Nanjing, China studying Chinese language at Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University.

Justin trained in Oriental Medicine at Maryland School:
Maryland Institute of Health

Justin also teaches Oriental Medicine at Virginia University of Oriental Medicine


5. How do tai chi principles help you in daily life?
The principles of Tai Ji are embedded in every human being. We just have to awaken them. Studying the principles deeply (i.e. Yin and Yang) without ever assuming that I ever understand its full meaning has opened doors for me every single day of my life. I have been fortunate enough to be in good health most of my martial arts career, and I certainly can tell the difference physically and mentally when I am not practicing. Overall, my life has benefited greatly from practicing martial arts and from keeping an open mind when studying the theories and philosophies of which it is grounded in.


6. What do you like the most about chinese medicine and favorite techniques?
I particularly enjoy seeing patients thrive. Sometimes, I never have to insert a single needle because the conversation provides a lot of answers they are searching for already. In general, most people just want to be listened to. I usually spend up to one hour or more with each patient as they deserve my absolute attention during every visit. Every word can act like a needle, but when I do have to break out the “big guns”, I use techniques that depend on the patient’s condition as well as his or her character and constitution. I have studied a lot of Five Element Style acupuncture, and I have also studied techniques revolving around the eight principles, Korean Acupuncture (i.e. Saam, Hand Acupuncture), and various other methods as well. I would say that my favorite technique is whichever one I am using in the moment of treatment, even if it turns out to be ineffective.


A Fu Style Master: Liang Qiang Ya

Liang Qiang Ya: Fu style Bagua push hands

Coach Nick Gracenin: Liang I Quan

7. Last thoughts and message to your audience?
Martial Arts and Oriental Medicine are two practices that have shaped my life and led me to where I am today. I will always practice these arts and continue to keep an open mind in order to see what doors they allow me to open in the future. However, because these are two things that have worked for me, it does not mean they will, or should, work for anyone else. It is of utmost importance that you, martial artist or medicine practitioner, never assume that you know what is best or worst for another person. Do not force your thoughts and beliefs on another individual, especially Oriental Medicine. The first thing you should do is “listen”. (Especially to children!)If you want others to be interested in what you have to share or say, you must first be interested in them. Just as my Shi Fu always reminds me, “the teacher opens the door; the student is the one who must walk through it.” Live your life this way and you will thrive, without a doubt.

Justin Flinner’s Youtube Tai Chi playlist

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Pediatric Tui-Na Massage for Infants and Children


This is some notes I’ve gathered from school along with our text book and other special books of Traditional Chinese Medicine and helping infants. This is a very special topic as I have a infant son and find myself using massage as a useful mode to relieve problems. Acupuncture is not recommended for infants until the age of 5. the view is that the internal organs and elements of the body have not settles and are moving and active. Though I have also seen direct moxa and quick needling acupuncture used before. Most cases are for emergency as well like prick-bleeding Erjian on the ear to relieve fever.

Many of these points I was aware of from years as a massage therapist. Some are points specific children.

Infant Massage session should take 20 minutes to complete. While the method is called Tui-na (push and grasp), the actual way of doing the massage is more An-Mo in nature since it uses a more press/rubbing method.


Pediatric Tui-Na
Head and Neck Region

Tian Ma (Gate to Heaven) Technique: 30-60x massage UP ONLY from yintang to hairline with thumbs.
Indications: External invasion headache, fever, mental depression, anxiety, panic.

Kan Gong (Water palace) Technique: 20-30x Push with thumbs apart from medial eyebrow to lateral eyebrow.
Indications: Headache due to external invasion.

Tai Yang (Great yang) Technique: 30-50x kneading in circular motion at temples.
Indications: External invasion headache.

Standard: Above three must be done Reason: Calm spirit of infant to prep for other more specific points.


Shen Gen (Mountain Root) Technique: 3 to 5 taps with fingernail on bridge of nose below yin tang.
Indications: Infantile convulsions and spasms.

Ren zhong (Center of Man) Technique: Du 26, Not common point, only used for First aid.
Indications: Convulsions and Spasms.


Feng chi (wind Pond) Technique: 5-10x press GB 20 inferior to occiput.
Indications: Headache, Fever, neck rigidity.

Tian Zhu Gu (Heavenly pillar bone) Technique: 100-500x push with thumb massage down from C1 to C7
Indications: High fever, sore throat, vomiting.



Chest and Abdomen


Shan zhong (Penetrating Organ) Technique: Ren 17: On sternum between nipples: (3) 1. spread part 2. circular motion, or 3. pushing toward Xypoid process 50-100x
Indication: Asthma, infant phlegmy, stuffy chest, vomiting milk, bronchitis.

Zhong Wan (Middle of Abdomen) Technique: Ren 12: rubbing 100x or 5 minutes, between xyphoid process and umbilicus.
Indication: vomiting, diarrhea, invigorate SP/ST. (add Zusanli)

FU (abdomen) Technique: Rubbing 100-200x around abdomen counterclock wise (tonify) or clockwise (disperse).
Indication: Abdominal pain, Indigestion, vomiting. (add Zusanli).


Umblicius w/ ST25 Technique: 100-300x immediate area at navel, massage in circles around umblicus.
Indication: Abdomen pain, Diarrhea.

Dan tien (Elixer field) Technique: 50-100x or 5 minute circular kneading.
Indication: Abdominal pain, bedwetting, Yuan qi, diarrhea.

Du Jiao (corner of Abdomen) Technique: **Use if area feels Cold. 2 to 5 presses.
Indication: Abdominal pain, diarrhea.

Tian Tu (Heavenly Process) Technique: Ren 22: knead with middle finger 10x
Indication: Cough with difficult muscous, first aid to induce vomiting.


Back and Spine


Jain Jing (Shoulder Well) Technique: GB 21: 5-10x grasp/pinch or press
Indication: Improve Qi and Blood circulation.

Feng men (Wind gate) Technique: BL 12: 20-30x Kneading
Indication: Common cold, asthma, Repiratory disease.

Fei Shu (Lung shu) Technique: BL 13 at T-3: push apart 100-300x
Indication: Lung Deficiency, Cough, respiratory issues.

Pi shu (Spleen Shu) Technique: BL 20 at T-11: 50-100x Kneading
Indication: Vomit, diarrhea, infantile malnutrition, Spleen deficiency.


Shen Shu (Kidney shu) Technique: BL 23 at L2: 50-100x kneading
Indication: Enuresis, morning diarrhea, weak limbs.

Ji Zhu (spinal column) Technique: C-7 to Sacrum: Push down 100-300x, or pinch/roll up 3x
Indication: Fever, convulsions.

Qi Jie Gu (Sacrum) Technique: L-4 to sacrum: 100-300x push up: diarrhea or down: constipation
Indication: Diarrhea, constipation (see technique).


Legs, Feet, other special points



Bai Hui (meeting of 100) Technique: Du 20 at vertex: 100x kneading
Indication: Restlessness, crying, irritability, insomnia.

Da Zhui Technique: First aid: emergency prick with high fever
Indication: see above.

Qu Chi Technique: LI 11: kneading 100x
Indication: Skin issues, reduce high fevers.

He gu Technique: LI 4: kneading 100x
Indication: Strengthen weiqi, headache, Qi and blood circulation, face: jaw, teeth, allergy.

Kwei Wei (turtle Tail) Technique: Tip of coccyx: 100x kneading
Indication: diarrhea.

Zu San Li Technique: ST 36: 100x kneading (tonifying) pushing increases perstalisis.
Indication: Diarrhea, vomiting, food stagnation, loss of appetite.

San Yin Jiao Technique: SP 6: 100x kneading
Indication: Convulsion and bed wetting.

Yong Quan Technique: KD 1: kneading 100x
Indication: Tonfigy Kidney, sore throat, Cooling body temperature.


Infant hand: (Yin) Unilateral: Male: left hand, Female: right hand



Pi jing (Spleen) Technique: Palmar surface distal thumb. 100 to 500x distal to proximal pushing.
Indication: Reduce ST/LI fever, diarrhea, indigestion, constipation.

Gan jing (Liver) Technique: Palmar pad of distal index finger. 100 to 500x distal to proximal pushing.
Indication: Convulsion due to Liver wind, red eyes, sore thorat.

Xin jing (Heart) Technique: Palmar pad to distal middle finger: 100-500x distal to proximal pushing.
Indication: High fever, eruptions of mouth and tongue.

Fei Jing (Lung) Technique: Palmar pad distal ring finger. 100-500x distal to proximal pushing.
Indication: Asthma, cough, Cold, Fever, chest pain.

Shen Jing (Kidney) Technique: Palmar pad distal little finger. 100-500x distal to proximal pushing.
Indication: Euresis, KD def. diarrhea.


Other: Unilateral: Male: left hand, Female: right hand

Lao gong Technique: PC 8: center of palm 100-500x kneading.
Indication: Excess heat, heat in mouth.

Wei lao gong Technique: Finger knead 100-500x
Indication: Exogenous disease.

Er shan men (2 doors) Technique: 100-500x press/knead. Dorsal side of hand 1st knuckle middle finger.
Indication: Febrile disease without sweating, heat symptoms.

Wei Guan Technique: TB 5: 100-500x kneading massage
Indication: Headache, alternating fever and chills.


Infant hand (Yang) Unilateral: Male: left hand, Female: right hand


Da Chang Jing (Large Intestine) Technique: 100-500x massage from radial side of index finger to webbing.
Indication: Diarrhea, constipation.

Xiao chang jing (Small intestine) Technique: 100-300x massage from Ulnar side of little finger to webbing.
Indication: Scanty urine, Anuria, Enuresis.

Wei jing (Stomach) Technique: 100-300x massage proximal phlange on ventral surface of thumb.
Indication: Vomiting, hiccup, thirst, poor appetite, Stomach fire.

Dan Jin (Gall Bladder) Technique: 100x Second phlangne on index finger
Indication: Ear ache, Shao yang syndrome.

Ban men (Wood Gate) Technique: Kneading greater thenar eminence.
Indication: Vomiting, indigestion, shortness of breath, diarrhea.

Shi Xuan Technique: Digging method with finger nail 3-5x each finger.
Indication: High Fever.


San guan (3 gates) Technique: 100-300x massage from ventral surface of forearm, radial side wrist to elbow.
Indication: Def. of Qi and Blood, weak constitution, weakness after illness, yang Def, cold limbs.

Liu fu (6 bowels) Technique: 100-300x ventral surface of forewarm, ulnar side from elbow to wrist.
Indication: High Fever, irritability, sore throat, constipation, dry stool.

Tian he Shui (Celestrial River) Technique: 100-300x midline of ventral surce from wrist to elbow.
Indication: Yin Def. heat.

Xiao Tian Xin (Small heaven heart) Technique: 100x kneading Root of palm
Indication: Restlessness, Anxious, teething, night crying, nightmares.

Yin yang (LU9 and HT7) Technique: 100x towards or away from each other LU9 HT7 at wrist
Indication: Towards: Fever. Away: Open chest.


Text books:
Foundations of Chinese Medicine: Giovanni Maciocia

Chinese Nutritional Therapy: Joerg Kastner

Turtle Tail and other Tender Mercies: Bob Flaws

Chinese Acupuncture and Moxibustion: Cheng Xinnong

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Herbal Formulas of Traditional Chinese Medicine

This is the beginning of formula study for 2016 for students. Now that all the herbs have been covered, they are to be combined with other herbs to create balance and produce specific effects for the body to restore health. This is for students and licensed practitioners of TCM. WARNING: DO NOT SELF PRESCRIBE HERBAL FORMULAS WITHOUT GUIDANCE FROM QUALIFIED PRACTITIONER.


Got to know Diet first: 3 links are here: Our Dietary therapy Info

Herbs part 1 study guide

Herbs part 2 study guide

Study sheet: download . Right click “Save As”.


References/recommended reading: Chinese Herbal Medicine: Formulas and Strategies. Sneid, Bensky, Ellis, and Barolet.

8 Principles:






Formulas that Release Exterior: Wind-Cold, Wind-Heat










Formulas that Clear Heat:

Formulas that Clear Heat at Qi level



Formulas that clear heat at Ying level and cool blood:




Formulas that clear heat at Qi and Blood level simultaneously:




Formulas that Clear heat from Organs








Formulas that Clear Summer Heat





Formulas that Clear Heat from Deficiency





Formulas that Warm the Interior



to be continued (there are hundreds of herbal formulas to be added)

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Face Reading in Traditional Chinese Medicine

Face Diagnosis or Mien Shung is looking at the face as a method of diagnosis in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). In this method a practitioner can quickly observe the color, shape, and features that may indicate an imbalance or trait.
Various markings have a predisposition to an illness. They can indicate strengths and weaknesses of body, mind, and spirit.

5 elements

This diagnosis stems for the 5 element theory.


Let’s have a look at the 5 elements in this diagnosis process:

In oriental medicine, there are no “bad” elements. Everything is a gift and challenge.

Wood personality for instance: Anger is the challenge, but this kind of person actually has a lot of passion. Wood types are very focused, athletic, direct, competitive. suppressing their anger, also suppresses their passion. They are often enforcers of the truth.

Face: Wood types have a long rectangular face, long body like a tree, think of like a basketball player, strong jaw, threatening eyes. Determined.


Fire personality: Typically they say “Joy” is the challenge in TCM for this type of person, but what they really mean is excess joy, excess pleasure, to a point of even mania. The gift is the ability to disperse or dissipate. These are the type of people who love fun.

Face: oval shape, sparkly eyes, have slender body, points at eyebrows, nose, lips.


Earth personality: their challenge is one of worry. They have strong empathy for others. They are the ones who “feel”. You would want to ask them how they “feel” about something. They are very in touch with their feelings, and the feelings of others.

Face: square, they have short legs, thighs, and butt.


Metal personality: Their challenge is often grief, while the they carry the gift of sympathy. Metal types are practical, logical, mathematical, and often will use “I think” when asked about a opinion about something.

Face: Round, angular, high cheek bones, long slender nose, delicate, pale skin.


Water personality: are ruled by fear and often look around suspiciously. They typically have the ‘what if’ going on in their minds, but they have a gift of wisdom. These types are very sensual, dreamy, flowing, imaginative/creative people.

Face: cheeky, dreamy eyes, sensual body.

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