Greetings. This week has been hard on those of us who practice on the wharf. The air is very hazy – filled with smoke. Port Townsend hasn’t suffered from fire, but there are many fires in the surrounding areas. From the wharf, the mountains, usually in our view, have disappeared. It makes deep breathing exercises hazardous to our health. No relief in sight.

Conceal Your Strength

It is always a good idea to conceal your power. Don’t show that which you value and people will not want to take it away from you. Be simple and people will always want to help you.

In Push Hands, this idea is very important. If your opponent doesn’t know your strengths, he is more likely to fall into your trap. If he can see your strengths clearly, he will certainly avoid them and seek out your weakness. Be simple and open, yet keep your most valuable skills hidden until they are truly needed.

Practical Example

Stand facing your partner, directly in front, slightly less than an arms distance apart. Now offer your right hand, as if inviting to shake your partner’s hand. Almost all partners will reach the right hand to grasp yours. It is natural (Westerners shake hands – Asians don’t). You have now completed the first phase of movement number two of the Yang Style Form – Ward Off Left.

In Tai Chi, we often offer up a part of our body (usually our wrist or forearm). Most people will reach for it. We have now gotten them out of the safety of their well guarded“castle”, into the plains where they are vulnerable to counter-attack.

Now this is important. If you offer your hand slightly to the left of your center (partner’s right), you have closed yourself up, opened the partner’s left side for attacking you, and made it difficult for you to use your left arm and hand to do something. The partner is now more in position to attack your right side. Do this with a partner to see what I mean.

Next, when offering your right hand for a shake, bring it up slightly on your right side (partner’s left). The partner will reach across his body a bit and will cause his body to be closed up, while yours will be open for an attack using your open left arm.

If you examine the traditional Yang form, you will see this body positioning quite frequently. Take some time to work on this concept and I’m sure you will be rewarded with a clearer, more simple form

New Instructor

Ann Pollingue, who hails from Opelousas, LA, is the newest member of the Gilman Studio family of instructors. Ann has an interesting Tai Chi story. She started her studies with me in Tucson in the mid 1970’s. She studied the 54 Form, Long Form, and Saber. I hadn’t been in contact with her since then.

Then last year she showed up in Port Townsend, spending the day. We got reacquainted. When she returned to Opelousas, she started the online teachers training course, frequently sending me videos of her progress.

A year later (last week), she came to Port Townsend, spent a week with me and the other instructors of the Studio, and was certified to teach. A lovely person. We all wish her well.

For those of you who live in her area and are interested in Tai Chi and Qigong, contact her at