Portsmouth Square 1965 - 1985
A site honoring the teachings of

Kuo Lien Ying

and the magical time that we were able to learn from Si Fu

"Release the chi,
and let it penetrate like a sword
into the bones."








stretch was a prerequisite accomplishment (and one of the skills that our system is famous for)if you ever hoped to be invited to be in a Master Kuo demonstration. For the Shao-Lin students, training was strict and a high standard of excellence was expected if you wanted to represent his studio publicly.


Then each student would go through his own practice (either Guang Ping Yang Tai Chi or Shao-Lin), usually training many repetitions of the set they were learning at that time, being especially diligent in order to have Master Kuo teach them the next move. Progress was slow but the correction of movements was meticulous and your precision was expected to be exact. Correct posture, stable footwork and fluidity of movement were mandatory, and we all trained hard to meet Sifu Kuo’s standards and high expectations.


After individual practice, Master Kuo would often call group Shao-Lin drills, usually Cha Chuan. Cha Chuan drills were basically the complete set broken down into series of movements made up of the individual stances, kicks & punches, and were verbally called out [like a drill sergeant] by Master Kuo in Chinese. He would decide on the timing and rhythm of the drill and he would make us stop and hold the most difficult postures when we least expected it.  Sometimes the group held low postures, muscles aching, bodies shaking & dripping sweat while he “inspected the troops,” checking the stability of stances and correct body alignment of individual students, while the rest of us had to hold the posture without moving until he decided he was satisfied and called out the command for us to continue with the next move in the set. These drills could be grueling sessions of physical endurance, but more than physical, these drills were truly tests of mental focus & martial spirit and were really created to develop the student’s ability to transcend mere physical pain, strengthen mental resolve and, most importantly to Master Kuo, cultivate the Spirit!


Somehow, even though physically exhausted, when you completed the drill, you were spiritually elated and felt like your internal batteries were re-charged. Of particular importance was the fact that Sifu Kuo would make us do “Standing” meditation (Universal Post)in between two back-to-back drills and immediately after as well. He believed that after generating all that “juice” and putting it into external movement you needed to calm the mind, sink the “Chi” and then re-channel the energy inward, storing it and harmonizing the balance of Yin and Yang within yourself. After the drills were over each student would continue their own workout: completing their basic practice and then would begin their advanced practice or special training.

(*Special note: When a student started training at Master Kuo’s they had the chance to choose their general “path of study,” be it “Guang Ping Tai Chi” or  Northern Shao-Lin Gung Fu. After attaining the basic level of proficiency and skill in their practice, and with a solid foundation & the necessary progress to warrant further study at the next stage of training, a student can choose whether to stay on the same “path” or go on to new subject of study. If your choice was to stay on the same “path” then a Tai Chi student could learn “push hands” or possibly Tai Chi staff. If you were a Shao-Lin student you may go on to learn the next “open hand” set or choose to learn Shao-Lin sabre[broadsword]..and then there are those who, after reaching the next level of progress in their training, decide that they want to