The Practical Guide to Internal Power & Skill

The Practical Guide to Internal Power has moved!

We’ve moved all our online courses to a better system on a new site:

The new site includes forums for questions & feedback about this course along with a forum to help you find training partners.

Click here to check it out.

How to Hit Harder with Less Effort

Train Hard.

Table of Contents

power-hittingInternal Power is basically about training to hit harder and harder with less and less effort.

Internal Skill can mean a lot of things but for this course we’re mostly talking about the interesting things you can do with the power you develop.

This course will take around 6 months to complete.

You will learn the fundamentals of building a powerful internal engine that will greatly enhance your practice no matter what art you do (if you’re willing to do the work.)

  • Your movement will become more powerful.
  • Your hits will be harder and penetrate deeper.
  • Your throws will be stronger (and countering throws will be easier.)
  • and much more…
  • There are even a lot of health benefits that come from this practice.

If you’re new to the Internal Arts you may run into some funny words or descriptions. Don’t worry about it. There is nothing mystical or magical in what we do. We simply have a specialized lingo to help us better communicate about the skills and qualities we are working on building.

For those of you with previous internal arts experience here are some of the skills we are going to work on over the next 6 months.

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  • Listening skill – the ability to perceive what is happening inside your self and inside your opponent. This skill is absolutely critical to reaching intermediate and advanced levels of the arts and we’ll teach you some very effective ways to build it.
  • Rooting & ‘Sinking the Qi’ – These are body states / skills that are often talked about but very rarely trained in a functional way or to a moderate level of skill. With a little (lot) of hard work this will add a whole lot of power to everything you do and we’ll show you how to get there.
  • You’ll also learn neutralization skills and get a solid introduction to building skills and qualities like Internal Iron Body, The 3 powers, Steel wrapped in cotton, Fajing & dimmak, whole body breathing
  • and more…

Why the heck is this free?

We love the internal arts and we’d like to see a dramatic increase in the quality of instruction that’s available to the general public.

If enough people train the basics in this course that will happen.

Even though the training methods taught in this program will provide a lot of benefit they still only scratch the surface of what we have to offer.

…and once you’ve experienced the fun and addictive benefits of this training you’ll know exactly where to come for more. 😉

Week 1: The Basics of Power & Internal Skill

1) Align your body and fix your posture.

To hit hard you need to get as much of your mass into the strike as possible.

Because Mass times velocity = momentum. So greater mass means greater momentum which means a harder hit.

Even the advanced magical looking stuff you see in the internal arts is mostly just a highly skilled use of mass and velocity (when it’s not being faked.)

To get more mass involved in your strike your body needs to be connected.

If your shoulder is in a bad position then it doesn’t matter how much power you generate with your body. Because only a fraction of that power will make it to the end of your fist.

If you’re lower back is out of alignment then only the power of your upper body is being used.

Small improvements in your posture & alignment will have a very dramatic affect on how hard you can hit.

2) Relax & let go

Tension is also a problem.

Too much tension in your shoulder will have the same effect as a misalignment, cutting off the power from your body.

Too much tension in your lower back will do the same.

Tension will also slow you down. So the more relaxed you are the faster you can move AND more of your body will be in the strike. Which gives us more velocity & more mass to increase the power of our hit.

The better you get at relaxing as you strike the more powerful you will become.

3) Hit the Opponent (without getting hit in the process.)

Being able to hit the opponent without leaving yourself open is very very important.

This is also a gigantic topic that includes many different skills, methods and strategies. In fact it’s the major area of study in most martial arts but it’s well beyond the scope of this course. This course is focused on building Internal Power and Skill.

We highly recommend studying Clear’s Tai Chi Online along side this course. It will give you a deeper understanding of Internal Skill, Power and Tai Chi as a whole.

4) Get the energy of your hit to penetrate and do damage. (just plain old kinetic energy. Nothing magical)

This is like a car wreck.

Some cars have big strong steel frames so that the energy of the collision is dispersed around the frame.

Some cars have crumple zones. These areas are designed to get crushed so that the energy of the collision is used up in the destruction of the crumple zone and doesn’t affect the passengers. (your brain or internal organs.)

Your body is the same way. The connective tissue (when it’s trained properly,) the skull and your skeleton disperse energy around and through the body. spreading it out so it doesn’t damage anything important.

Your fat, muscles and other soft tissues act like crumple zones and airbags, absorbing the impact so you get surface bruises instead of ruptured organs.

[some arts, like Tai Chi, train these soft tissues so that the energy of a hit gets used up by movement inside the body and doesn’t leave bruises or do any damage.]

So to get a knockout you need the force of your hit to penetrate all that and affect the brain or other internal organs.

So if you hit someone and they get a smashed nose, busted teeth, bruised and broken skin…

…all that damage was caused by the energy of your hit that got used up doing surface damage instead of going inside their skull and affecting their brain.

They may not like it. And they may suffer later. But right now all that effort and power you put into your strike has only made them more mad.

How to get that strike to penetrate, so that it does very little damage on the surface but a lot of damage in side,  is going to be a major focus of the training in this course.

Advanced Skills

This kind of stuff can get very sophisticated and at higher level you will build skills that appear magical and will get you angry comments on youtube from skeptics and trolls.

Always remember to keep things practical.

Stay focused the real world application of the skills you are going to learn and NEVER underestimate an opponent or attacker.

For this course we will stay focused on simple exercises & drills that put you on the short path to a lot more power and internal skill…

…IF you are willing to work hard.

They call it Kung Fu (work skill) for reason. Skill will only come with lots of hard bitter training.

In the next lesson you’ll learn the primary training method we use to build the skills we’ve discussed and many others…

The Practical Guide to Internal Power has moved!

We’ve moved all our online courses to a better system on a new site:

The new site includes forums for questions & feedback about this course along with a forum to help you find training partners.

Click here to check it out.


  1. Tarik Sabie says

    How long should our Wu Chi standing sessions be?

    • In the beginning you could spend a minute or two in Wu Chi if you like.

      However, instead of spending time just standing in Wu Chi, focus on the following:

      1 – Use the different alignment and relaxation exercises in this course to continually make your Wu Chi more and more correct.

      2 – Practice getting into Wu Chi faster and faster. So, stand in Wu Chi and as soon as you get it as correct as you can, stop. Walk around for a couple seconds and do it again. Get faster and faster at going from nothing to fully correct Wu Chi.

      3 – Incorporate the Wu Chi alignment and relaxation into everything you do throughout the day. Build this until the vast majority of your day is spent in Wu Chi.

      • rich tiangco says

        I like the idea of incorporating Wu Chi throughout the day; 15 minutes here and there and within a week you’ll build up a ton of hours!

      • Brilliant instruction. I’ve been studying martial arts for 17 years and am finishing my second masters degree in oriental medicine (14 years later). There is way too much crap out there. I have stood in WuJi for an hour at the feet of a first class wushu judge and trainer of the Chinese special police among many other notable and accomplished martial artists. What is the benefit? Proprioceptive conditioning- your body learns what correct alignment and movement feels like. I emphatically agree that time spent repeatedly shifting into wu Ji is far more valuable (at least for the first few years) than standing alone, and is essential to a solid practice. This is the only resource I’ve ever seen to hand over the straight stuff. Thank you. This is awesome and as a newb to your site, I look forward to growing my skill set with you.

      • Greg Watkins says

        When do you start wu chi in this free program. The Tai Chi seminar was awesome!
        Will more material appear next week?

  2. Paul Wilson says

    I would like to thank you for the free lessons and I will buy the dvd’s when I get the money. I find this training fascinating and I am already noticing a difference in my well being and out look .

  3. James Sweet says


    TRS/Fightfast sells a DVD package called “Clear’s Combat Tai Chi” featuring Sigung Clear and the “Tai Chi Death Blow”. Also included is a pine breaking board. 4 hours of instruction for 97.00. Is this the same infomation that is in this
    free online course? Seems that the package claims to teach not only how to cultivate the heavy hand striking to break boards, but also tactics for practical usage.
    Is this a worthwhile purchase?


    • The package from TRS is quite different than what’s in this course. The TRS package is focused on skills and techniques that can be learned and used in a very short period of time.

      While you will certainly notice some fairly quick benefits from a lot of what’s in this free course, the bulk of the rewards will come after you’ve put in some time and effort working with this stuff.

  4. I haven’t started the introduction program yet…I was in a car accident and don’t have any use of my left hand , it has an ex-fix attached to it and although my right hand is my dominate , I am wondering how much benefit I can get while I have no use of one of my limbs ? I am willing to do the work n put in the time n I’m not whining …just wanted your opinion please n thanks

    • Of course you should consult a medical professional to make sure any physical activity won’t conflict with the healing process. Use good judgment when working though these exercises. Use very light amounts of force and don’t do anything that would put pressure on or through the injured area.

      Now, if I’m doing the Internal Push Hands method the way it’s taught in Week 2, I have 4 points of contact to work with. 2 where my hands make contact with my partner and 2 where my partners hands make contact with me.

      If I remove my left hand and don’t use it we both now have 3 points of contact. In the beginning if you are playing to win this will seem like a disadvantage, but with a little practice the game is still equal because we have 3 points of contact we can use.

      To build skill though, the games should be played in a very cooperative way the vast majority of the time so you can pinpoint and fix errors.

      …as long as you are careful and you have a training partner who is willing to go slow and easy you should be able to train a lot of this stuff without difficulty.

  5. Michael Villa says

    I have to say, usually I’m about as sensitive and responsive to energy as a bag of rocks. I actually seem to be improving and I think it’s the method of teaching: Finally lessons that are not riddles wrapped in enigmas, hidden inside mysteries!! THANK YOU, THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!

    • Thank you, it’s great to see you are getting a lot out of the program.

      The ability to feel and perceive what is happening inside yourself and in an opponent is one of the most important skills in the internal arts.

      …and everybody is born with different levels of sensitivity.

      Fortunately this is a skill just like any other. It can be taught and trained. (that’s a large part of what you will build from this program.)

      It’s no different than ear training in music school or any of the countless other professions that require developing specialized perception skills.

  6. elwin emery jr says

    In practicing the exercise, trying to align back against the wall, my buttocks prenents me frm getting back flat. Is there allowances for proper alignment when one cannot use this method?

    • Lay on your back on the floor and prop your feet up on a chair so that your hips and knees are at 90 degree angles.

      This will roll your hips and lower back into the position you are looking for. You should find that there is no space (or very little) between your lower back and the floor.

      Use this exercise to relax & loosen the lower back and to get a feel for what correct alignment should feel like.

  7. Robert Lamont says

    This doesn’t have much if anything to do with the training [or at least not from what I’ve read so far] but as my e-mail is messed up I was wanting to know if you could tell me how to see if one has good balance or not.

    • Stand with both feet on the floor. Close your eyes. Then raise one leg off the floor until your hip is at a 90 degree angle while keeping your eyes closed.

      Balance is a combination of skills. The most important one is your ability to perceive where your center of gravity is in relation to the rest of you.

      Most people their eyes to do this more than any other thing.

      As you work through this course you will get better and better at feeling what’s happening inside your body. One benefit of this is better balance. The stronger legs, relaxation, deep root and better posture you build from this training will also help.

      One way to practice the internal push hands is to feel for any lean or wobble in you partner (there will always be some, though it may be small and tough to find in skilled players.)

      That lean is an over-extension that can be used to move them.

      • Robert Lamont says

        Thanks. For me I’ve found that my eyes do most if not all of the balance control and when I close them I end up wobbling a little though now that I’ve started this training it has improved some.

  8. Justin Guerin says

    Hello, There isn’t a link to the seminar, am I missing it or is it missing from the page? Thanks.

    • It should appear at the bottom of week one just above the “required equipment / tools you’ll need” Make sure you are logged in or you’ll only see the first part of week 1.

  9. elwin emery jr says

    I’m trying to sink my root, but while I’m in Wu Chi, my legs and thighs are shaking. Am I not relaxing that area enough? I don’t have a training partner, can I still develope deep root?

    • This is common. Building root takes a lot of work. The deeper you root the more leg strength is required.

      As you get deeper and your legs get stronger you will be able to relax more and more.

      …and the more you relax the deeper you will be able to root and stronger your legs will get.

      A training partner or several will speed up the process however you can build root without one as long as you work at it.

  10. elwin emery jr says

    I’m still working through the weekly exercises, and yet having the challenged with leg strength. Some shaking and thighs vibrating, ( didn’t think something that looks so simple could be so physically challenging), can I still benefit continuing, or should I focus on proper Whu Chi until I can stand in this posture without legs shaking?

    • Yeah, this training is a lot more physically demanding than it appears at first glance.

      Yes, you can benefit by continuing. However I would put most of your training time into the beginning of the course until you have that down well.

  11. Christopher Black says

    Prior to finding your course I have been trying to teach myself combat tai chi from a (translated) Chinese text called “Chen Style Taijiquan” by Feng Zhiqiang, Feng Dabiao and Zhang Chundong. While I can practice the techniques, the still diagrams can’t really show how to move. A big “Eureka!” went up when I found this course (I also have Sigung Clear’s Combat Tai Chi DVD). My question is: The text refers frequently to “sticking the feet” and the picture looks a lot like the footwork in the introductory video at 22 min 40 sec. Could someone please tell me what the technique and purpose is for this?
    Chris Black

  12. Harold Golden says

    When is Whu Chi taught in the free coarse?
    Thank you,
    You have me very interested in what you are teaching.

  13. Christopher Black says

    Dear Friends,
    During the week 1 video, Sifu Clear demonstrates the Tai Chi walk around the 22:40 minute mark. Once the heel of the front foot is put down, and the heel then planted, are the soles of both feet to be momentarily flat on the ground together as the weight is transferred to the new front foot, or can the heel of the new back leg raise up immediately? To me it feels better to let both soles temporarily hold the ground together as the centre moves forward onto the front leg. However, week 2 lesson is about not practising mistakes!
    Thank you
    Chris Black

    • Either way is good as long as the transition is smooth and fluid. In our beginning and intermediate programs there are several different ways to do this depending on what you are working on.

  14. Christopher Black says

    Dear Ben,
    Thank you for your advice on fluidity. I think that was my key problem. After stepping I was remaining static for a few seconds. Together with the week 3 Wu Chi lesson, the issue disappeared as one state flowed into the next as a continual movement.

  15. Christopher Black says

    For those of you who are interested in testing their balance, I developed a “steadiness” test for my yoga postures some time ago. While the actual instruction is to sit still with a saucer of water on the head, this is very difficult to do if you are on your own, as most of the water ends up on you before you get it on your head! (Some say to use hydrochloric acid…) In place of this I have been using an empty, 1.25L PET bottle. While I can sit in the one position for an hour, I have yet to get beyond 10 minutes when using the bottle. I guarantee you will feel every tremor in your body, even the pulse on your scalp. I am only up to week 4 in this fabulous course, so I haven’t had much of a chance to try the same idea with Wu Chi or the heaviness exercise. I would be interested to see how others go with this practice. It may be easier to begin with a small amount of water in the bottle to begin with and gradually use less as you improve.

  16. Jacy Roberts says

    I put in the wrong email account how do I change it?

  17. Montana Venne says

    I understand that these moves can injure a person pretty bad but can it hurt me if I do them wrong?

    • Just like with any rigorous physical activity you should consult a physician before you begin and you should build into it slowly and carefully.

      If you use good judgment, follow the instructions, make sure to account for and make adjustments for any injuries or illness you may already have and start slow, you should have not trouble.

      The most common issue people run into with this training is they try to play hard and fast before they are ready and throw their back out or wake up the next day very very sore.

  18. Harold Golden says

    Is the rooting exercise in week 6 all mental or are you actually lowering your center of gravity?
    Thank You,

    • You should drop no more than an inch or two physically and your center of gravity should drop significantly farther.

      This exercise should be both mentally and physically demanding.

  19. Christopher Black says

    I only have two student/training partners at the moment, but I’m working on it!. One is a 13 year old boy who is already two inches taller and 3 kilos heavier than me. I was passing on the Sinking the Root techniques to him. I let him hit me before I began, and he gave me a timid slap. After preparing myself, he went again. This time he meant to knock me off my feet! His eyes went wide as he said “You didn’t move an inch!” Thanks guys. You have 2 converts here, now.

  20. Thomas Boggs says

    This is great. I used to practice Kuntao/Silat back in the mid 1990’s. Due to an injury and moving away from my school I stopped practicing it. I recently decided to do something to promote physical well being…as I’m out of shape. Can’t weight train for various reasons…and I have an elbow that is going to need another cortizone shot in it. I thought (soft) MA would be good to pick back up. I still live 3.5 hours from my school, so I turned to the internet. I prefer Kuntao, but explosive movements are out of the question for now. This Tai Chi Internal power system is a great place for me to start. Exactly what I needed and was hoping to find. Thanks for making these free classes & videos available and some youtube clips you put out. I have a good eye and I can see that Master Clear’s skill level is extraordinarily high, and for real. Thanks for teaching what most hold back, thanks for knowing to teach it right away instead of making one wait years for it. Thanks for knowing how to teach it in a way that it’s useful immediately. When I finish the free 6 month Internal Power course I’ll continue on with more courses. Now I just got to find someone to train with. THX

  21. I watched the week one video again, and think I must have fallen asleep or let my attention wonder the first time. The second time i blinked and had to rewind and watch parts again.
    Having read about but never really understood the meaning of “internal energy” I was blown away to see you able to strike without even touching the part and actually give me half an understanding of what actually happened and how you did it.
    That’s wk 1 progress.
    Thank you

    • Ben Sterling says

      Thank you! Glad you enjoyed it.

      As you work through this course you’ll find you can get more and more out of going back and reviewing the early lessons as well.

  22. Harold Golden says

    In the Whole Body Breathing lesson is Sigung Clear thinking of his partners arms,hands etc. to get the feeling of the breath going into them or can he feel it in his hands?

  23. R. K. Harvey says

    I notice the starter if this thread talks of a “strike without even touching the part”. Is this strictly true?

    • Ben Sterling says

      I’m not sure where in the thread you are referring to.

      It sounds like this is a reference to our advanced Dim Mak training and learning to direct the force of a strike inside the opponents body.

      To be clear, this is NOT talking about no contact work.

      You are making contact with the opponent. However your point of contact is different than where the force of the strike is being expressed and where the damage is being done.

      So for example: you hit them on the shoulder and they feel most of the force from the hit on their hip.

      The basic version of this skill is something people use everyday. Anytime you drive a care, open a door or push a shopping cart around the store. You’ll get a feel for how to do this with a basic push pretty quickly if you put some time into the pushhands method taught in week two.

      Of course, doing this with a strike, in a stressful situation, is more difficult. But the difference is simply matter of training.

  24. Ron Brooks says

    I have 2 questions. Is the week one meant as demo and info only? I didn’t see actual training tips or did i miss it? Also Is each week automatically available when previous week ends or how does that work?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Week 1 outlines some important principles and concepts we’ll be working with and the 50 minute seminar gives you several different things to play around with.

      Week 2 will give you a training method that we will use in various ways throughout this introduction.

      New lessons will appear below the old ones so eventually this will be one long page with all the lessons and you can use the table of contents at the top to quickly navigate between them.

  25. Ron Brooks says

    For those of us without a partner to train with or financial resources to buy heavy bags and other equipment, what type of breaking material would you recommend for week 2 training or any other suggestions would be helpful as well.
    Thank you

    • Ben Sterling says

      There is some training you can do without a partner.

      Our Iron Palm & Iron Body DVDs are good for solo training.

      However, there is a lot that will take much longer to develop without a partner and there are many important skills you simply cannot develop without one.

      I highly recommend that anyone who has less than 4 semi-regular training partners, dedicate some time every week to finding more.

      The training method taught in week 2 requires a partner. You can sort of make do with a heavy bag or a wall or tree, but what you can work on is very limited and it’s easy to make mistakes and build bad habits if you don’t have a partner to help you catch them.

      For equipment I recommend saving up for a heavy bag (keep in mind you’ll need something very solid to hang it from.) Getting boards to break will quickly add up to more than the cost of a heavy bag and they can’t give you the feed back that the weight of a heavy bag can.

  26. Harold Golden says

    Is Sigung Clear thinking of sections of the body like the shoulder or the lower back and in thinking he actually can feel the tension or lack of in these body parts and then he can affect them buy pushing while imagining the body part?

    • Ben Sterling says

      You can look for errors in specific areas of the body like the shoulder or lower back, but in the beginning I recommend you simply feel first and go after whatever you find wherever you find it.

      In the beginning a lot of people wont have the sensitivity to know exactly what they’re feeling or where it is. So you’ll have to spend a bunch of time pushing with a partner. Make sure to play the game excruciatingly slow as much as possible. There are different exercises throughout this course that will focus on different things including structure, relaxation and root.

      As for targeting an error, once you feel it you simply push it. (don’t tense when you push.) If you can feel it then pushing it will be fairly easy. If you cannot feel it then no amount of imagination will help.

      The key is lots of practice.

      You can speed up the learning curve with live instruction or the drills on our Internal Power DVD but you’ll still need to practice quite a bit as well.

  27. there is a week 6 on this page but week 7 and 8 is not on this page.
    is the power striking dvd the same, is, ore different from iron palm dvd?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Weeks 7, 8 and the rest will continue to appear on this page. You may need to hit refresh in your browser or clear your cache if a week should have appeared but has not.

      The Power Striking DVD and the Iron Palm DVD are quite different, though they would certainly compliment each other well if you trained them at simultaneously.

  28. Charles Clements says

    How does one “feel”? What am I feeling for? What does this feeling feel like? I replayed lesson 2 several times and it looks like you were safecracking the other person’s body.


    • Ben Sterling says

      The table of contents at the top of this page will give you an outline of when new lessons will appear. You may need to hit ‘refresh’ in your browser the first time you visit this page after a new lesson is available.

  30. Dr.Daniel Muffoletto ND says

    I have been teaching tai chi,and tai chi ruler system since 1972.i had my foot has been a long hardoad.howwever, as a naturopathic doc, I can tell you chi saved my life.
    My question is how does my missing foot effect the chi flow,and is there any way to compensate in the self defense aspect. Bruce Lee had one leg shorter then the other.thanks.
    Higher the handicapped!

    • My humble opinion: Chi flows through all things in the universe, therefore i don’t think a missing foot would be much of an issue. Your leg simply ends a little sooner than the other leg. The most important aspect of self defense is mental. I am smaller than most grown men and always have been. That has never been a problem for me though because i believe i am every bit as capable of defending myself as a 7 footer. In fighting the feet are best used as root, so if you root with the bottom of your leg, wherever that is you should get the same result. As Bruce Lee said” Kicking someone in the head makes as much sense as bending over to punch them in the toe” (paraphrase?) The only weakness is the one you place on your self. My opinion doesn’t matter and Sigung Clear may disagree so take this for what it is worth.

  31. Ian Prescott says

    Sigung Clear began to discuss the 8 types of jin in Tai Chi. He mentioned Wave force and spiraling force; what are the other 6?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Usually when someone refers to the 8 jin of Tai Chi the mean: Peng, Lu, Ji, An, pluck, split, shoulder & elbow.

      Tai Chi is usually considered to have 36 basic Jins though I don’t know if anyone has compiled a complete list anywhere. The 8 above and wave and spiraling would all be included in that.

      Tell me which lesson Sigung Clear began discussing this and I’ll be able to tell you more about what exactly he was referring to.

      • Austin Davies says

        I think there is a complete list in Dr.yang Jwing Ming’s book “advanced tai chi theory”. It has been many years since mine fell apart from repeated reading so I am unable to check. BE WARNED there is no practical training information or very little in this book certainly nothing to compare with the detail found in this course so far ( I am on week five.) Training techniques for “NORMAL” yang style push hands are given, tai chi ball, and silk realing in vol 2. so that would be £50.00 for two books that are in my opinion inferior to the free training we are receaving here. I have no doubt that my past training in yang and chen styles have alowed me to take in this course faster than a total beginer. (week 2 within ten min. of starting the closed door pushing hands (pushing bodies?) my one of my regular sparing partners who is both taller and heavier than myself was launched across the room too both our suprise.).

  32. preston stelly says

    how do I use the energy to push people away from me

    • Ben Sterling says

      If you mean to push people who you have made physical contact with then this program will build the body mechanics and internal skills to do this.

      If you’re wanting to push people without touching them you’ll need every bit of what’s covered here plus other training that’s beyond the scope of this program. (also I have yet to see someone who can stop determined attacker with no touch work.)

  33. Mathew Lindsey says

    Where is Sigung Clear’s school? Where are the live seminars usually held?

  34. Dan Eagen says

    I have been working on week one. I have watched the video several times and have been reviewing info on the internet. So far so good.

  35. Parnell Speed says

    I am truly amazed at the efficiency of the internal arts. The minimal energy required to create large amounts of power is the reason I have been interested in learning the internal arts vs. the external arts for some time. Will this course cover proper breathing during combat? It seems like it would be really important.

  36. Wahyu Hirapati says

    I have 2 questions for the week 4 lesson.
    Sigung Clear teach us to practice rooting from wuji position which is static. On a fight situation how can we utilize the rooting (especially for the offensive side/usage) as we are facing a dynamic situation which makes us on a dynamic movement?

    First we train to build root as deep as our body height then we progressively increase the root depth. Once we are proficient do we still need to do a repeatable “melting sinking feeling” to reach the depth that we had achieved or just one attempt would be enough?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Practice your rooting while doing your Tai Chi set and in push hands to begin learning how to move with it.

      As you build depth you will also build the speed at which you can drop.

  37. mark brewer says

    Have just watched the first video. It seems to be filling in the background to my training so far. I’m on the other side of the “pond” here in good old London so a trip to come and train with you is currently out of the question (shame).

    I have been learning Tai Chi (Yang style) for my health for just under two years. Learning the 24 form and having just got to the end of the 108 form has had a major impact on my health as I rehabilitate from heart failure and arthritis. I have put in around 100 hours of training and practice so far but I know I still have a lifetime of learning ahead…

    I am part of Chun Ming Dao martial arts academy and my Sifu teaches from a martial perspective. I have trained with people who are learning their Tai Chi primarily as a health choice. They are learning a somewhat “fluffy” style aimed at improving their well being. From what I have seen from their progress over the last two years this “fluffy” style doesn’t have as many health benefits as the correct martial forms and practices that I am being taught. Is this your experience too?

    It is refreshing to see someone teaching the “big picture” rather than focusing in on a “this way or no way” syllabus. I look forward to applying the full lessons that are “trailed” on youtube to my own practice.

  38. Michael MacLeod says

    I currently do half a hour of Wu Chi and half an hour of Cloud Hands, Dragon and Tiger, and Marriage of Heaven and Earth daily. I’ve been at it for 8 months and the benefits are astounding. I’m intrigued by the “Waterfall rooting” lesson, because the first time I tried to sung my chi after a half-hour stand my forearms and thighs seemed to fill with molten lead, and when I sat down I felt as if there was a huge river of water pouring from the crown of my head to my feet. The sensation lasted a good 15 minutes. By the way, I’m 62 years old and weigh 350 pounds, but I feel better than I did at 40!

  39. mark brewer says

    Have just received week 6. I am noticing a definate improvement in my rooting since starting this course. Thankyou. My Sifu has said as much and commented that it is nice to see a student taking an interest in the internal stuff rather than just learning to get the form correct.

    The basic “hands on torso” push hands exercise is a perfect introduction to listening jin, and is a lot of fun besides. Snails pace competitive is good at reducing two people to fits of the giggles, as well as having a healthy level of frustration when you can’t figure out what you’re doing wrong. I am now understanding the teaching that my Sifu is giving at a much deeper level after seeing things from a different perspective. Very refreshing.

    Weeks 5 and 6 have about 2 years worth of training in them so I guess I’ll be re-visiting them for a while yet…

  40. brent allen says

    I have not found anything about the wu chi position in the material I got on the internal power guide. I have only found one video (which had problems) called “1 Touch Ko;s of tai chi seminar”.
    Am I missing any material?

  41. Tristan Carruthers says

    I have to say, its nice finally having someone explain this all straight. Cleared up my understanding of Chi pretty fast. Thanks a heap!

  42. Andre Medina says

    Thank you for your teachings. My question is how will the wu chi help or accompany the style of wing chun

    • Ben Sterling says

      Every bit of the alignment from the Wu Chi should be happening while you do Wing Chun. Wing Chun doesn’t necessarily have to be as relaxed as the Wu Chi posture should be but I highly recommend working towards that.

  43. Thank you for this awesome course packed full of great content about this internal art. As a former instructor and 2nd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do I recognize the irreplaceable value of having a great instructor and training partners.

    Since I live too far away to train at your school, can you recommend a good combat Tai Chi school near me, to supplement what I’m learning from you?

    I live in an area in Los Angeles called the San Fernando Valley. More specifically I’m in Encino, 91316 zip code.

    I thought it would be easy to find such a school here, but it seems that most schools are emphasizing the health rather than the self-defense aspects of Tai Chi. We do have quite a few Kung Fu schools that include Tai Chi in their curriculum. Is it par for the course to have to learn Kung Fu in order to learn Tai Chi? Any leads would be appreciated. Thanks!

  44. Dave Brewster says

    Like many people practicing here, I lack a partner to practice with. I was planning on purchasing some videos to hasten my improvement and make more of my practice. But I was also wondering whether signing up for a local tai chi class would be a wise investment so that I could find like minded people who could practice push hands and an live instructor to correct my alignment and the such. Which option do you think would produce more results and do you have any advice in choosing a tai chi school (assuming that I would like to keep as close to “Clears Silat” as possible)?

    • Ben Sterling says

      I highly recommend making the search for training partners a regular part of your practice even once you have a few. Unfortunately Tai Chi schools can be pretty hit or miss. You’ll just have to visit them all to see what they’re about.

      The good news is there are lots of online tools like craigslist and meetup that you can use to find training partners as well.

  45. Thank you. I joined the FB group.

  46. This course is being very helpful. It approaches the subject from a content direction rather than from any one styles teaching. Fresh view = fresh insight.

    I’ve just watched the week 12 video. How is this “whole body breathing” related to the concept of song (or sung) that I find in Sun style Tai Chi? At first glance the “strength through relaxed, open joints and posture” seems similar to your teaching here. Sun style is not my main style so I would value your comments on this.

    • Ben Sterling says

      Tension & breaks in structure will cut off your ability to do Whole Body Breathing.

      So you’ll have to get a decent Sung quality going on before you will be able to do whole body breathing.

      • Thanks Ben. That makes sense. After playing with this for a couple of hours I’ve also found that the inverse is true. If you concentrate on whole body breathing then your “sung” becomes better. Kinda chicken and egg!

        I started Tai Chi for my health before circumstances moved me to a new teacher who is just as interested in the martial aspects. The lesson on blood pressure confirms what I have found. I also found that doing my 24 and 108 forms reeeaaly slowwlly and concentrating on the breathing is able to drop my blood pressure by about 10 points on both the top and bottom figures, as measured on my home bp machine. This effect lasts for around an hour. My GP was very impressed by this and has started recommending Tai Chi for his patients. Point it out to your local Doctors and see if it increases the numbers at your local Tai Chi practitioners!

  47. Dave Brewster says

    Which videos or any other information sources would you recommend for more tips and methods on improving rooting and wu chi?

  48. Michael MacLeod says

    I am one of the students who took this online course for developing internal power primarily for health reasons. I’m not so focused on martial arts, though I loved learning Serrada Escrima many years ago.

    I wanted to say that over 10 months I have worked up to standing Wu Chi for 30 minutes about 5 times a week, as well as doing 10-20 minutes of Qigong (Heaven and Earth, Energy Gates, Brocades, at least 4 versions of Cloud Hands, etc.) daily. The benefits of this have been nothing less than astounding, and I don’t say this lightly. My lifelong depression has lifted, my gout has disappeared, my libido is like that of a 30 year old (I’m 62), my knees have been repaired to let me use stairs again, my overall stamina, flexibility, and attitude toward life is that of a man at least 20 years younger. But you have to DO it! The information in this free course is literally beyond price, as western medicine has NO answer for the aging process. Take my advice; the younger you are the more function you can retain, and for longer. Don’t wait until you’re 61 like I was before taking the work seriously. (Oh, and I weigh 350 pounds. So don’t let being fat stop you either.)

  49. Juan de la Mar says

    Hi there, I think it’s an awesome course, but my questions are this: New lessons will be revealed here at the website every week after I subscribed, or is it always a specific day? The new content is unlocked here or is it sent via email? Do I have to write feedback in order for more lessons to be unlocked?
    I’m really looking forward for all the lessons.
    Thank you.

    • Ben Sterling says

      When new lessons appear is based on when you signed up. You’ll get email reminders when new lessons appear but all the content will appear here. You don’t have to write feed back or ask questions though it’s encouraged.

  50. mark brewer says

    Week 16 hs just answered a question that I didn’t realise I was asking! “How can all these seemingly different stances be correct?” I could see the difference in posture between Yang, Chen and Wu styles but couldn’t figure out how they could all be “correct” when they seem to be so different. The video has given me a simple answer to this puzzle. There are more ways to fix a particular issue than I realised.

    I love the way that the teaching in this program is all about the common ground, the simple principles that underly the various systems that are out there.

    Any chance of Richard Clear visiting England?…

  51. Tom Swiney says

    In the instructions it said that I would get 4 emails in four days. Have not seen yet?

  52. Johnny Foreigner says

    My chi returned after a long absence. Is this unusual?

  53. chris simpson says

    I have always wanted to know the proper way to charge the chi or root energy. I wish I had any money available so I could give donation, I understand how valuable what I have already learned is

    • Ben Sterling says

      Thank you, glad you’re getting a lot out of this course.

      To pay us back just keep working the material in this course and tell other folks who might be interested about this course.

  54. Ian McDonald says

    I do not have a partner to work we realizing this is a hindrance is there other ways I can check myself? I do like the simple way of checking though.
    Also do you have seminars in DC this year coming up? Or any workshops out west?

    • Ben Sterling says

      We leave for DC in a few hours. (sorry I didn’t get to this comment sooner.) workshop will be Feb 7 & 8 with a special session on the 6th.

      Working by yourself can’t give you the same feed back as a partner can. However, you can make do with heavy bags and trees and such. Just find a partner whenever you can, even if it’s not very often.

      …and don’t forget to check our instructors page occasionally to see if there’s someone near you:

  55. Samuel Brentnall says

    Oh here is the box the very very below. I am ‘un’clear as to what to do next. I understand wuchi but where is the instruction?

  56. Ralph Reagan says

    There isn’t a link where it says click here. ??


  57. David Hayes says

    Applying the principles shown up to this point while playing with some Karate Kata has increased my appreciation of their potential. What do you think?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Absolutely! Most forms from almost any style with a halfway decent used to contain some quality stuff.

      Unfortunately most practitioners, whether it’s Karate, TKD or Tai chi have no clue how to practice them correctly or what each form and each move is for.

  58. andrew de la font says

    First of all, thank you very much for your uploads, this course is quite amazing. I have been in China for a year training Sun martial arts. One of my masters could stand like a tree and not be moved, while the other one was just like a ghost. I saw your videos and your explanations and decided to give it a try. Find it really useful.

    I’ve got a question though, I When you talk about “Other Martial Uses of the Root”, what do you mean on learning to take the energy up to your body? Does it mean it’s different to root from using the root to strike or stand like a tree?


    • Ben Sterling says

      Simply sinking the energy down and having a deep root provides many martial benefits and this should be the primary focus of your root training.

      However, once you’ve built a significant volume and skill with root, you can do things other than simply sink it downwards.

  59. Javier Navarro says

    Hello. Sorry for my english, I am from Argentina.
    Thank you very much for this free course.
    I practiced Tai Chi “fluffy” style and I like your videos and explanations very much.
    I do not have any money to buy your dvds, but the youtube channel it is very useful to me.
    I wish to ask a question about the “rooting”:
    If someone practice “rooting” standing at second floor apartment or at eighth floor, is it the same that practicing at zero level floor (at ground level)?
    The question is because my Taichi academy is at eighth floor, and my house is at second floor.
    Thank you.

    • Ben Sterling says

      For training and in application it doesn’t matter. Just keep working on getting deeper and deeper and building your skill with root.

      As you build your skill with root and build your sensitivity you will begin noticing that different surfaces will feel slightly different.

    • Samuel Brentnall says


      It happens in your mind, regardless of your ‘floor’; gravity is everywhere.

  60. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    Dear Sigung Clear, Instructors, and martial arts brothers and sisters. A few things…

    1) Sigung Clear seems transported from MT. Wudan from about 1000 years ago, incredible!
    2) Thank you all so much for this free introduction, it is exactly what I need when I need it.
    3) Can anyone explain how the increased chi and internal power (chi?) translates into a stronger healthier immune system?
    4) I live in Italy and practice alone. I can not find anyone to do Tai Chi forms or Wing Chun with me. I restarted my martial practice mostly for the health benefits, but now I see I have to do things differently/smarter because I have heath problems and I want to improve overall. Is this the right place to start?

    • Ben Sterling says

      Thank you very much.

      Building chi helps your immune system in much the same way getting a good nights sleep does. The more energy you have the more resources your body can draw on to do what it needs to.

      Also, much of Chi Kung and a lot of the work in this program will help with circulation. Tension, blockages, stagnation etc… all limit your bodies ability to get rid of stuff that shouldn’t be there.

      For stuff you can work on by yourself I highly recommend Sigung Clear’s Chi Energy Book and DVD:

      as well as the breathing videos:

      • Samuel Brentnall says

        The short answer is that our immune system arises from the marrow / spleen and is embedded within a common fascial ‘trench’ with blood and nerve vessels / capillaries surrounded by a ‘tensegrity’ of connective tissue made out of neurofascia that is 10 times more enervated than muscle with free ending proprioceptive nerve endings that just collects information from the taiji ‘ chi-gung postures ‘triggers’ and sends it back to the brain that then stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system (sympathetic is the accelerator – parasympathetic is the brake) that then triggers a hypothalamic relaxation response and you get flooded with neurotransmitters such as dopamine and serotonin etc. Plus, all lymphatic and venous return to the heart is accomplished by squeezing the lymph and venous blood back to the core for refreshing / revitalising / renewing / reoxygenation and waste removal by trillions of micro non-return valves within the capillaries by chi-gung wu chi and taiji function and form movements – especially fajin explosive moves. Also, and most importantly, the collagen (ellastin and fibrinogen) soluble crystals that make up the neurofascia are priezo-pyro-electric (when distorted by pressure or heat they create a polarity current) and so acts as a myoneuronal electronic system (that the acupuncture system works through) throughout the whole body touching each and every pocket within its internal structure (tensegrity) that stimulates the meridians from potentiality into activity; flushing your meridians, washing your marrow; rebalancing your ‘chi’ disequilibrium; returning you to good health. Also, to help, please find and activate all your ting points on each meridian every morning and each night before sleep (our little death) so you can repair at night. Stay with these things until you see and feel results – different for everyone – no set time – persevere.

  61. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    Hello all.

    First off, thanks for the comprehensive answer to my question. I will save it for my reference.

    Question about Week2: I don’t have a training partner, so I have practiced the exercise against a wall and my home made Wooden Man – Muk Jung. I get a feeling inside myself of a slight imbalance in my posture, probably due to a chronic problem around my right trapezius/shoulder area. in any case I squeeze and compress myself trying not to lose my balance and when I get tired I stop. Does this sound correct? any pointers would be appreciated.


    • Ben Sterling says

      You can certainly do some work with walls, trees, heavy bags & the like. Use the pressure from these type of objects to help you feel inside your body to find and fix errors.

      Of course, Get with a training partner whenever you can. They’ll be able to spot errors you missed and you’ll need them to learn how to feel inside an opponent.

  62. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    Gentleman. Hello again. Question about the Internal Push Hands.

    While I am doing Internal Push Hands agains a wall I feel “weightier”. I relax down and push, and then relax down and push some more. I feel heavier. Does this mean the force is returning and being redirected down my legs? That is what it feels like. Also my stance becomes more solid and feels stronger. Does this what we are looking for here? Am I going in the right direction with this? Thanks.

    • Ben Sterling says

      It sounds like you’re headed in the right direction. At some point you’ll need to get with a partner so you can calibrate and see how what you’re feel now relates to what happens when you push with a partner.

  63. Chris Spencer says

    Training solo I have used the same method by pushing against a wall and then feeling the equal and opposite reaction that it generates back into my own body. It does not give a dynamic training as with a partner that moves and adjusts to counter-act, but at least I can start to feel if I am sinking my weight and basing the power correctly. Another method I use is with a swinging kick-punch bag. I notice that the basic hand positioning you used in the video for week 2 closely resembles that used in Judo.
    1. Do you practice also with one hand on or under the partners elbow?
    2. Can you suggest any other useful solo training methods?


    • Ben Sterling says

      Yes, you can practice in any hand position. Start with both hands on the body to make it as easy to feel inside your partner as possible. Eventually you should train to do everything from any position and any point of contact.

      A heavy bag, the biggest heaviest one you can find, is the best thing we’ve found for solo training.

  64. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    Hello again. I want to ask about a ” strange” experience I had with week 4 material. First off thank you so much for clearing up this sinking the chi. Indeed people make it sound like the force from Starwars. I recognize now that Ihad done it before sporadically mostly by accident, which is not a way to practice and improve.

    After I rooted I did a few tai chi forms instead of walking around. It felt so good I jumped in feet first. 1) My practice just jumped up a couple of levels because of the stability and strength feelings. Truely incredible. 2) It is easier to feel the chi flow in each individual movement and nuance. What a rush! 3) Does it make sense to say i felt more solid and dense and at the same time more fluid and graceful? 4) Is it normal and ok if my legs were trembling after I stopped and resumed a normal posture? 5) What is the corelation or what is happening internally as we are doing these super stable external movements?

    Thanks a million. After a long time of mostly making mistakecon my own I am finally putting internal with external and learning the true spirit of Tai Chi Quan.

    • Ben Sterling says

      Thank you, glad you’re getting a lot out of this course.

      3. Yes, the better your alignment and internal connections are the more solid you will be and the more fluid and coordinated you will be.

      4. Yes, this is normal. As your legs get stronger this will dissipate. (of course, at that point you should relax more and root more so your legs have to work even harder.)

      5. Any number of things could be happening. It depends on what you are working on. In the beginning of this course, we’re mostly just working on making your posture / alignment as correct as possible and getting rid of excess tension.

      Keep up the good work.

  65. NADAV ALON says

    Is the first week only reading and watching the 50 minute course or is there any training excercises as well?
    How do I move to week 2? I don’t seem to get the content of the 2nd week.

  66. Tim Bradley says

    Hi there,
    I agree with others about the quality of this material. I am only on week 2 but I am already finding many benefits. Two questions.
    1. I use Wu Chi as a relaxer before going to bed. I am finding that after about 5 mins I am getting lower and lower and I have to stand up and start again. Do you have an explanation and or remedy?
    2. Others on the web advocate cycling through several different positions in Wu Chi. I find this useful to refocus at each change. Do you see any benefit from this?
    Thanks for the material and for your thoughts.

    • Ben Sterling says

      Excellent! Glad you’re getting a lot out of it.

      1. Sinking lower as you relax into is ok and normal, as long as your structure is not collapsing. Eventually you could do this while standing in a low horse stance with your thighs parallel to the ground. However, for relaxing before bed and gentle energy building don’t sink that low. Use the upward connection, being pulled up by a string from the crown of your head principle, to pull the skeletal structure up even though all the soft tissue is sinking downward. (The 3 powers stuff later in this course will help with this as well as the structure training coming up in the next couple weeks.)

      2. Absolutely, the way we would do this by taking whatever Tai Chi set you have and performing the set while making sure all your Wu Chi connection stays on. (This is covered in level 1 of Clears Tai Chi.) Another thing we do is take each form in a Tai Chi set and use them individually as both stationary and moving Chi Kung postures (this is taught in Clear’s Tai Chi Level 2.)

  67. Tim Bradley says

    Thank you for the feedback in relation to Wu Chi – there is a whole lot of work there!
    I have a question in relation to the actual push whilst in Wu Chi in the drill shown in week 3. I hope I am not jumping the gun and pre empting future weeks work.

    Whilst doing this drill, my friend says he just feels a weight from me and I feel that all I am doing to still relaxing and use very little more to push. On the other hand when I get moved it feels like a very strong arm push, which I would describe as a Grrr push. Both of us describe ourselves as relaxed at this point and feel the push from the feet.

    You say this ‘feel’ push is one of the hardest bits to get and I wondered if you have any more comments/ideas/drills to explain the feel of this to us. We both have a good understanding of the front stance/rear stance type push hand drills and practice.

    When you do the simple feel push in this weeks video you appear just to lean forward a tiny little bit. We are struggling to get the sideways push you are doing but up/down/straight ahead we seem to be able to do without adding tension to the arms. The sideways one seems to end in tension in the arms/shoulders.

    • Ben Sterling says

      It sounds like you’re working on the right kind of things. Here’s a couple things to consider:

      1) Make sure you’re going slow enough. Everybody always pushes faster than they can perceive what’s happening inside the body.

      Building your ability to feel is hard but the slower you go the more you can sense and the faster this skill will grow.

      2) You want firm but soft contact with the other person. Keep your arms & hands relaxed and this will improve your ability to feel quite a bit.

      3) Don’t worry about how much tension our force your partner uses. Only how fast or slow they go.

      The more tense they are the easier it will be for you to deal with them. However, if they’re going to fast you wont be able to make adjustments and learn what needs to happen.

      Typically most of the Grrr forcefulness you feel is your own.

      4) If you find you have to tense your arms to push then you are pushing into an area or on a line where the opponent is stronger than you. Either because that line is strong for them or it’s weak for you. You’ll need to play with it to figure out if the error is in yourself or in where you are trying to push.

      Keep up the good work.

  68. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    Dear Sigung Clear and Associates,

    Hello again. I am writing because I am in a rut with week 7 and 8. Week 8 lessons help, but I have gone backwards in my practice. My root has weakened! Is weight training deleterious to Tai Chi somehow? At times my root feels pretty deep, but if I am distracted or start into a form of Tai Chi it breaks. I know because I feel light and get unbalanced. This has happened to me in the past and I could not get over this problem. I can now recognize thst in the past this was a major hindrance to my progress. I try to keep the waterfall going, but maybe i am concentrated too much on doing the forms very well. What should I be looking for or what should I do? Go back to earlier lessons? Thanks again.

    • Ben Sterling says

      Weight training is only detrimental to your Tai Chi if you use poor body mechanics while you do it. Make sure to study weight training from a skilled teacher and use as much of your Tai Chi principles as possible.

      Your root will fluctuate wildly in the beginning. The more your practice the deeper you’ll get and the more control you’ll gain.

      Practice with a partner as much as possible. This will give you reference that will help speed up your development.

      When you work on root in the form, focus on just root in the beginning. Don’t worry about weather anything else is correct. Just focus on root. Do this with every Tai Chi principle one at a time.

      Also, it’s always a good idea to go back and review previous lessons. As your skill improves you will be able to learn more and get new things from previous lessons.

      At the same time keep working on new stuff. You never know when something new will shed light on something you’ve been struggling with.

      • Gioacchino Inzirillo says

        Thanks for your response Ben. Will do. For those of you out there let me say a few things about what i did to help myself.

        I reviewed everything. I only practice when I can dedicate some time without distractions. Even if it is not much time – total relaxation and concentration.

        Next I rooted like a bear with water fall rooting for as long as it took. The first time took longer, until I could feel waves of relaxation traveling up my legs to my head. After that the rest was a snap. Doing the forms is going well again. Just have to mention I also concentrated on the yongquan and laogong cavities which helped. Could you comment on how the huiyin yongquan and laogong factor into the root and fa jin. Thanks.

        • Ben Sterling says

          The main thing for rooting at this stage is that they need to relax. The more relaxation the deeper you can root. Most people don’t realize how much tension they’re holding at the yongquan.

  69. Gioacchino Inzirillo says

    To Sigung Clear and associates

    Gentlemen several things. First is there a good way, visualization maybe, to expand the thickness of my root? I just realized today It is a problem since I have concentrated on depth so much.

    Second because of problemsregarding my lungs. I have a scared right lung and have problems filling them with air, at times this can greatly affect my training and life. Is there an exercise that I can do. The treadmill helped a little with this, but is there a specific exercise in our art? Please help as thisis blocking me on the whole body treating this week. Thanks.

    • Ben Sterling says

      Make sure the depth of your root is at least equal to 3 times your height before you work much on width. (So if you’re 6 feet tall, your first goal should be a root depth of 18 feet.)

      The first goal with width should be the circumference of your body. So if you were to stand with your feet shoulder width apart and draw a circle around them, make sure your filling that circle all the way down. Use visualization at first but ideally feel your root expand and fill that space.

      For breath, work it slow and soft. Relax and don’t force it. For the body breathing focus on relaxation and filling the body without expanding the lungs to the point where it becomes an issue.

  70. Hadi Suhadi says

    Can u guys help me to make the taichi 8 moves set become a video cause ….. Having a tough time to ss(screen shot)