The Thoughts of Chairman Steve

April 9, 2020




Aphorisms from various sources, with only the occasional snippet from the Tai Chi Classics.  (Internal consistency not guaranteed.)


  • A technique is only good if it works when you do it wrong.


  • When you have a bat, everything looks like a kneecap.      (Irish trad.)


  • If you cannot articulate a thing - if you can’t take it apart and put it together again - then you don’t really understand it.


  • You don’t have to understand something to use it, but understanding reveals opportunities.


  • The principle is not the thing.     (Peter Reist)


  • The simpler the technique, the harder it is to master.     (Ono no Jiro )


  • It is about making an effort and repeating the same thing every day.     (Ono no Jiro)


  • Ultimate simplicity leads to purity.     (Ono no Jiro)


  • (particularly for teachers)There are those who can see, there are those who can see when they are shown, and there are those who can never see.     (Leonardo da Vinci)


  • There’s always something else to relax!     (Ed Cooper)


  • Relax harder!     (Ian Sinclair)


  • The ability to successfully influence a situation is often inverse to the need to control it. The ability to have a successful outcome may depend upon surrendering control.


  • Move by letting go.Don’t force the issue.


  • Release the pressured point.     (Sam Masich)


  • Why hit someone only once?


  • Stick, adhere, connect and follow; don’t reach, skew (distort your shape), disconnect or fight.     (Tai Chi Classics)


  • Cultivate roundness and flatten out your opponent’s shape.     (Chen Pan-ling)


  • Figure out where this is going to end up, and then go there.     (“Fast Eddie” Goodman)


  • Every movement has an inner aspect; otherwise it’s just line-dancing.


  • In martial arts forms, good fighting applications are self-hidden from poor practitioners.




  • To understand a problem, start with the feet and work your way up.


  • When you stand on someone’s foot, you’ve stolen half their root.


  • Grab the head and the rest will follow.


  • Definition is necessary for understanding. But remember - every act of definition carries us one step further from the truth.     (E.M. Forster)


  • It’s true, if it’s true for you.     (Don Schule)


  • You can get to the mountain-top from many different directions.     (trad. Tibetan)


  • Move like a cat.     (Tai Chi Classics)


  • Be like a good burglar.Go in through the upper story or through the basement.Don’t knock on the front door.


  • Keep up the scare.      (Gen. N. Bedford-Forrest)


  • Hit ‘em where they ain’t!     (Gen. N. Bedford Forrest)


  • Don’t expect evil from others, but be prepared for it.     (Confucius)


  • When your technique goes to shit, your intention goes on.      (Song of Sparring - paraphrased)


  • Don’t play the other guy’s game. Change the rules!


  • When in doubt, move!


  • Focus on the opponent.Do not think about yourself or who is watching.


  • You never move in a vacuum; something is always being displaced.


  • Nature abhors a vacuum.     (Francois Rabelais)


  • Where does he want to fall?


  • Everything you do should be based on awareness.


  • Know neither yourself nor the opponent, how can you win?
    Knowing yourself and the opponent too, how can you lose?      (Sun Tze)


  • Lacking intention, do not move.      (trad. via Sam Masich)


  • Less is more.      (Ludwig Mies van der Rohe)


  • Learning comes from inside.


  • Never fixate on either the weapon or the technique.     (Takuan Soho, paraphrased)


  • Having a weapon does not necessarily mean you know how to use it.


  • He who hesitates is lost.       (Joseph Addison via A.J. Higgins)


  • Remain calm, cool and callous. Destroy them.Don’t feel sorry for them.     (Bill Underwood)


  • He travels fastest / farthest who travels alone.     (trad. via A.J. Higgins)


  • Why sew sequins on mink?Why mess up a Colt automatic with engraving?      (A.J. Higgins)


  • Mistakes are OK…as long as they are big.Nothing looks worse than a shitty, little mistake.


  • Send out the blue; bring back the red.      (Tai Chi trad.)


  • In the moment be predator… not prey.


  • We are the things that happen to other people.      (Terry Pratchett, paraphrased)


  • Do not sit back and let things happen to you. Instead go out and happen to things!      (Leonardo da Vinci)


  • Soft goes home to bed;
    hard is left for dead.        (R. Wiljer)


  • Softness endures.      (trad. via Sam Masich)


  • Fight quick and cold.      (A.J. Higgins)


  • Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.      (trad.)


  • Never draw your dirk when a blow will do it.     (trad. Scots)


  • So where are his brothers?      (trad. Irish via Glen Doyle)


  • There are no straight lines in nature.      (A.J. Higgins)


  • Make it beautiful and it will work.      (Dr. Shen Zaiwen)


  • Beauty is nice, but not necessary.


  • Mastery of one thing can be applied to anything.      (Miyamoto Musashi, paraphrased)


  • You will never have a greater or lesser dominion than that over yourself...   (Leonardo da Vinci)


  • Every day – a little practice.      (Jou Tsung Hwa)


  • Remember – when facing upstream you must row hard to not be swept backwards.      (Jou Tsung Hwa)


  • In the old days, with one good technique a man could walk across China.(Eddie Wu)


  • Protect the centreline.


  • You are the centre of the wheel; your opponent is on the rim.


  • When confronted by an irresistible force, turn.


  • If the opponent moves, get there first.       (Tai Chi trad.)


  • Watch for the signs.       (Jasper Friendly-Bear)


  • The soft overcomes the hard.      (Tai Chi Classics)


  • What cannot move is dead.


  • To advance is to live; to retreat is to die.       (Tai Chi trad.)


  • There is always tomorrow.


  • Every year, a little bit better.(Jou Tsung Hwa)

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