Monday, October 1, 2018

MMTCA Newsletter October 2018

“Spiritual practices help us move from identifying with the ego to identifying with the soul. Old age does that for you too. It spiritualizes people naturally. Then for those who don’t get it, death does it for them.”
-Ram Dass

Happy Fall!!! I love this time of year and am always surprised by the weather. I still get some outside practices when I can.

Our schedule remains the same now until mid-January. Let me know if you have any class requests.

My newest book, A.T.C. Pierson, Father of Minnesota Freemasonry, is now available on my Lulu page. I had lots of help, including photography help from David Brewster, and the lion's share was done by Julie Cisler and Sharon Nyberg, my experts!!

I have two items to inform you about tuition. One is that my bank only accepts checks made out to Ray Hayward Enterprises. They will not let me deposit those made out to the Academy. Also, my rent is on a monthly basis. Please consider that when you pay for a partial month or only attend a half month.

Book suggestion- Awakening Osiris by Normandi Ellis

Thank you to all my substitute teachers who make it possible for me to travel and spread the Tai-Chi message of Relax and Sink!

“In the quest of truth- seek truth, but remember that behind all the new knowledge the fundamental issues of life will remain veiled!”
-from the Temple of Music,
Tyringham Hall

My Blog: The Inspired Teacher (
Facebook: Ray Hayward, Ray Hayward Enterprises, Mindful Motion Tai-Chi Academy
My books:

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Twist-Step and Favorable-Step

The Question

One time I asked Master T.T. Liang if "Look to the Left" and "Gaze Right" from the Tai-Chi 5 Attitudes,were the same. He said "No they are different." Then he went on to say "It can also be Look to the Right and Gaze Left!" Now I was really confused, but as happened many times, the concepts that were difficult in the beginning became life-long guiding principles.

Twist-Step and Favorable-Step

Master Liang went on to explain and demonstrate that Look Left/Gaze Right meant you were in a right foot forward stance. In that position you can turn and look left easily, but only gaze or peek to the right.He went on to say that in other martial arts we use different terms, twist and favorable steps, Ao-Bu and Youli-Bu.

I always thought that the name "Brush Left Knee and Twist Step" referred to the twisting and turning of the foot when advancing from left to right and vice versa. Master Liang said that Ao meant twist, but really had the meaning of opposite. He said when the same character was translated from Japanese KanJi into English, they used the word "reverse" and that is the meaning of "reverse punch," a punch with the opposite hand and foot forward.

Reverse Punch, Karate's Twist-Step.

Youli means favorable, advantages, convenient, and non antagonistic. This is when you have the same and and foot forward. Karate calls this a "lunge punch." In favorable step you present a smaller target and can hit with the forward hand, elbow, and shoulder easily.

Lunge Punch, Karate's Favorable-Step.

Master Liang said when these two attributes are correct, your structure and whole-body power will be both rooted and able to issue intrinsic energy. I began researching these two stance variations in my forms and in the photos of the old masters. I noticed that in twist-step postures, I couldn't see the row of buttons on the front of their jackets. On favorable steps I could easily see their ties or buttons.

Yang Cheng-fu in Favorable-Step, you can easily see the buttons, they are on the side.

Yang Cheng-fu in Twist-Step, can't see the buttons, they are in the front.

Examples of Twist-Step

 Examples of Favorable-Step

From Solo Form to Pushing-Hands

Where I really learned and experienced twist and favorable was in pushing-hands. I noticed that if I had my waist and navel in the correct place when pushing or rooting, my structure was relaxed and firm and my energy and fa-ching were springy and powerful. My back leg supported and gave power to my waist and arm. When I did not have the proper alignment, I had to use lots of tension to make the power transfer from the ground through my body outwards.

I also found out the difference between pushing and punching. In pushing, if I turned my waist as I pushed, my partner would easily turn, or my push would turn them and make them neutralize. I found I had to have my navel in place to keep the pushing line in a true direction. For punching and striking, I could turn my waist as I issued and snap the hand into place and have alignment, structure, and rebound support from the floor.

Twist-Step and Favorable-Step in Sports and Life

As I became comfortable and successful with these two stances, I started to notice them consistently in my daily life as a truck driver and laborer, and in various sports. Twist-Step always seemed to be used in power and favorable always seemed to be used in speed.

Here are examples of twist-step in sports.

Here are examples of favorable-step in sports.

From Pushing-Hands back to Solo Form

Once I had these two attributes in my body when working with partners, I began to see them and work them in my solo practices. I developed teaching strategies to encourage my students to experience and gain these skills. Here is one for you to work on.

-Look at the end of any given posture. (This can apply to any martial art or style)

-Determine if the same hand and foot, or opposite hand and foot, are forward. This applies to any stance that has a front foot like a Bow and Arrow Stance, a Cat/Empty Stance, 7 Star/Heel Stance, etc.

-If it's a Twist-Step, the opposite hand and foot are forward, make sure your navel points to the front. Examples are: Parry and Punch, Fair Lady, High Pat on Horse, Embrace Tiger.

-If it's Favorable-Step, the same hand and foot are forward, make sure your navel is to the corner, or off center. Examples are: Ward-Off, Fan Through the Back, Kick Upward, Play the Guitar.

There are some postures that don't fit into these two categories, but that is beyond the scope of this introductory article. I hope this helps you as it did me!

Friday, August 31, 2018

My teacher, Dr. Leung Kay-chi, master of many styles.

                     At T.T. Liang's studio in Boston with Master Leung Kay-chi, 1979
On September 4th, my teacher, Dr. Leung Kay-chi turns 80! Times files! I remember him when he was a spry 41 year old amazing kung-fu master. Here is a short story of how I met Dr. Leung.

I was learning Tai-Chi from Master T.T. Liang in Boston. Many times he told me I should learn Hsing-Yi and Pa- Kua. I asked him to teach me. He said had had forgotten, but that he would find a teacher for me. A few weeks later Master Liang said he arranged some private lessons with a teacher, Master B.P. Chan, who was teaching at Master Liang's classmate, Master William C.C. Chen's school. I went down and took four hours of private classes and received my first introduction into these two internal martial arts. When I was making arrangements to go for more lessons, Master Liang said he had a surprise for me. Not only was I to study with Master Chan's teacher, but my lessons would be right in Boston!

              My first Hsing-Yi and Pa-Kua teacher, Master B.P. Chan, in New York, 1979.

Master Liang told me that his Shao-Lin teacher, Master Han Chin-tang's son in law,who was B.P. Chan's teacher, was coming to visit Liang in Boston to pay respects. Liang had arranged for me to study Hsing-Yi and Pa-Kua from his friend, Dr. Leung Kay-chi!

When I met Dr Leung ( Liang Chi-tze in Mandarin), he was a trim, gym-teacher looking, martial arts teacher who was the personal body-guard of the president of the Philippines, Ferdinand Marcos. He was in the United States visiting family and friends, and some students like Master B.P. Chan. I saw Leung demo Hsing-Yi for Master Liang, and then Liang had me demo Tai-Chi Sword and Saber. They talked in Chinese, laughed at me, and at the end set the time for my classes.
  Dr. Leung teaching P'i-Ch'uan of Hsing-Yi at New England School of Acupuncture, 1979.

At the basketball courts in Fenway, I learned the Splitting Fist/P"i-Ch'uan element of Hsing-Yi and began the first set of 8 Palm Changes, lien huan chang. Dr. Leung demonstrated two complete sets of changes on the circle in the middle of the court. I was hooked! I arranged for more classes and got some of my classmates involved. We learned all 5 Elements and a set of 8 Palm changes before he returned to the Philippines. Dr. Leung was staying with relatives in New York, and I traveled there to learn from him as well.

                                                         Dr. Leung in New York,1979.

Dr.Leung came back again for a visit the next year, and I arranged seminars, workshops, and many private classes for him. I got to learn a 2nd set of Pa-Kua Palm changes and began exploring Chen Style Tai-Chi, Northern Shao-Lin, ch'in-na, and weapons. I even got an introduction to the 9 Section Chain Whip.

                             Chen Style Tai-Chi in the Rose Gardens in the Fenway, 1982.

In 1981 two big changes happened to my martial arts training. First, Master T.T. Liang announced he was retiring and moving to Minnesota, and second, he told me that Leung Kay-chi told him he wanted to immigrate to the U.S. and could I help. I stayed in Boston and hired an immigration lawyer, became a "business" that needed the best kung-fu teacher in the world, and the rest is history!

When Dr. Leung  moved to the U.S. he came first and then his wife, Han Lin-lin, the daughter of the famous Han Chin-tang, and his two young daughters came later. I would travel to New York City with the Leung's on family visits, Lung-Chun Sword shopping expeditions, as well as dim sum and great Chinese food outings. I demonstrated with Dr Leung at Harvard, MIT, and many other locations around metro Boston. I also drove and assisted at seminars in Western Massachusetts at JR Roy's Martial Arts Academy in Greenfield.

                      Dr. Leung demonstrating Plum Flower Spear at Harvard University 1982.

                        Me as chin-na opponenet with Dr. Leung at MIT 1983.

One time Dr.Leung's teacher, Grandmaster Liu Yun-Ch'iao visited Boston and we got meet him and go to a banquet. Master Liu was the personal body guard of Chang Ching-kuo, the president of Taiwan. I got to meet with him privately and ask him questions. He told me, "Leung Shifu says you practice really hard." In those days I sure did!

                           Mrs. Liu, Grandmaster Liu, Dr. Leung, and me in 1982.

                          Grandmaster Liu with "The General," Dr. Leung's nickname for me.

I learned a lot from Dr. Leung Kay-chi. Here is a short list:

Chen Style Tai-Chi
Tai-Chi Sword
8 Linking Palms
8 Yin Fu Palms
5 Elements
Mai-Bu Ch'uan
San Lu Pao- Chui
Tan Tui
Lien Bu Ch;uan
Gung Li Ch'uan
Sze Lu Beng Da
General Yang Spear
Pa-Kua Saber
Tang-Lang Shou
Shih Tse Tan
Lo Han Shih Ba Shou
Monkey Staff Sing Jia Beng
Just to name a few! Dr. Leung studied with many famous masters. Here is another short list:
Han Chin-tang
Liu Yun-chiao
Chang Hsiang-san
Wei Shao-tang
Tu I-jai
Chao Lien-feng
Wang Shan-ting
Shang Tung-sheng

 Practicing Shao-lin stances I learned from Leung Kay-chi in the Fenway where Leung taught outside classes, 1983.

I also drank gallons of tea with Dr. Leung, talked about Chinese history, Outlaws of the Marsh, martial arts, Three Kingdoms, Lin Chong,and Chinese medicine. Some of my fondest memories are riding the subway to Chinatown on Saturdays after class, sipping coffee on the train with Dr. Leung, to go eat mountains of Chinese food!

                      HAPPY 80th BIRTHDAY to my teacher, Dr. Leung Kay-chi!!