Friday, January 26, 2007

How Not to Resist

Today, during my weekly pushing hands session, two of my fellow pushing hands partners were up against one another. One of them (the squash player) decided to use brute force. The other, not being one to submit easily, decided to use brute force against brute force. The scene reminded me of two bulls with horns locked in a fight. In the end, the squash player was able to push the other away most of the time. The bottomline? When using brute force, the one with the stronger muscles win.

So how NOT to resist brute force? While the principle of taiji is to relax, the mental attitude is also very important. There is no use telling someone to try to relax if he is not willing to try. Just as the Chinese saying goes, "He who gambles must be willing to accept losses", the correct mental attitude for those learning pushing hands should be, "He who takes part in pushing hands should be willing to accept being pushed by his opponent." With this mental attitude, you can then go on to tell yourself, to remind yourself constantly, "When he pushes, I will not use brute force to resist, I will try to neutralise his attacks by relaxing."

While initially, you will probably find yourself being pushed around a lot, as you are unable to relax and use peng properly yet, after a while, you will realise how relaxing actually allows you to peng properly, and that is when you will start to have minor successes in neutralising attacks made using brute force. The more relaxed you are, the better you are able to sense your opponent's force, the better you are at knowing where to redirect that force to neutralise it and even attack back.

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