The Tsai – Tui drill

The following was sent to us by one of our long distance students.

by Derick Rock

Following up on my recent post – I will try to clearly describe the drill.
Training starts extremely slow and moves on to full speed as you progress.

Stand in the traditional Yang Style push position – observing all aspects of traditional Yang posture except the right foot is about a half step behind the left. Shift weight 100% to left leg and sink an inch or 2 straight down.Then simultaneously = the left hand or fingers shoots to face or eyes – the right hand grasps the wrist of the imaginary opponent and pulls forward and down and the right foot (which was about an inch above the floor or ground when assuming the position) kicks the ankle, shin or knee. The kick is performed just like you were walking and taking your next step.(One old time teacher says this is the real Internal “Iron Foot” training)

Repeat this as many times desired then change legs.

As practice continues ones root improves dramatically, the weight becomes “seated” – from your hips down you will feel extremely heavy yet nimble. In time the body unity will reach it’s potential maximizing all kicks, strikes and pull downs.

To challenge yourself even further – stand on a brick, a wobble board, any uneven surface or as I seen a friend of mine do -put a bowling ball in the grass and stand on it.

As a side note – – From a fighting standpoint – I believe it is ridiculous to learn hundreds of “techniques'” – without getting into another topic here – When facing a competent adversary or you are jumped and blind sided there is not a man on the planet that has a mind that can work fast enough to “choose” a technique. It is strike and defend as best you can. Fights are fast and furious ending in seconds. The Tsai – Tui drill when practiced properly and continually will develop your Tai Chi fighting skills like no others and it can help relieve the unhealthy aspect of training that leads you to believe the more techniques you know the safer you are.

If you have an article you would like to see published here contact us at


  1. Dan Eidson, DCH, LMT says

    Hi Derek,

    Is this Iron foot training technique on any photos or

    in Waysun Liao books? You can generate lots of power kicking low to the ankle, shin, or knee cap with a front kick like that.
    Yet I think moving back out of the range of the opponent after doing so is important as well.

    I concur about learning hundreds of techniques, yet not knowing them all very well.
    Bruce Lee used to say, “If you know 10 techniques very well, then use the 12th technique during a fight that you don’t know as well–you may be beaten.”

    I have been in a fight on the streets that ended in seconds…
    Fine motor skills go out the window.. A simple block, kick, and punch may be all you get to do with the time you have to respond to automatically.
    Thanks for the information.

    • Sorry for the late reply – To my knowledge the Iron Foot aspect is not in a book.
      When using this kick – in a “perfect world” you would kick with the toes. The ball of the foot actually cushions the blow. And you are right – you would break a knee cap.
      If you are capable of moving out of range – and he is not knocked out I would run. Well truthfully my current physical condition prohibits running so I would do my best to make sure he does not get up.
      For what it is worth I do 9 reps with each leg every day I am capable and it has made a vast improvement with my body unity, balance and rooting.
      I have a question for you – If you can block most likely you can strike – so why block ? it is just a personal preference with me – – I think blocking is a waste of time and can cause unnecessary pain – So go for the KO.
      I am on my 2nd marriage – – I have had enough pain.(If she reads this post I have more pain in store for me)

  2. I too am late to the kind response you returned. I just noticed it while stumbling through some entries–sorry. The block, kick, punch was just a traditional response. Yes! I agree. Strike before the punch arrives or glide up the arm, deflect and strike simutaneously. I suppose if you are sinking your weight then all of your iron foot force will take care of business. Step slide, hop might get you there sooner to close the gap. (hard to get away from Wing Chun training).
    Do your know any single leg whip techniques? The more difficult the angle, the harder it is to defend against.
    (Bow) thank for sharing your knowledge..
    Good luck on number 2….(no ultimatums…be kind to one another). Amituofo…

Speak Your Mind