Friday, June 08, 2007

Peng Like Rubber

I was a bit frustrated today during my pushing hands session. Somehow, I was unable to use my opponent's brute force even though he was using a lot of force and I was trying my best to relax. Thinking back, I guess it is because I don't really understand how to relax and how to peng properly. My teacher always like to draw the analogy of peng to being a balloon. After today's session, I think I am finally getting a glimpse of understanding about what peng really is.

Think about a concrete ball. When you strike a hammer at it, it will crack. Then imagine a rubber ball, and when you strike the same hammer at it, instead of cracking, the hammer bounces back. This is how to peng properly. When you relax your arms, you are not letting your arms hang soft. When your opponent pushes, your arms absorb the force, then bounces back. Your arms and your body forms the rubber ball, while your waist (and kua) is used to turn the rubber ball to deflect away your opponent's force.

When your opponent pushes the rubber ball, your body must move as a whole, using your kua to absorb whatever force that your arms (the rubber ball) cannot, and then using your kua to direct his force back towards him. Not resisting his force doesn't mean you let him push in all the way. Your arms must still bounce back at some point in time. What I have been doing wrong is that I let him push in first, then when I cannot let him push in anymore, I start to shift my weight behind to absorb more of his force. What I should do is to absorb his force by moving my kua, at the same time trying to keep my arms (the rubber ball) as intact as possible, yet allowing for it to flatten a bit if need be. But when my arms flatten, there must be a point to bounce back.

I'll try this out and see if it works. Hopefully, my understanding is correct and this helps me to improve. But then, even if it is wrong, it is still a lesson, since I then know what I shouldn't do.

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