Saturday, June 20, 2009

Applying Taiji

I have written about the applying taiji before, as well as how to learn the application of taiji via sparring routines.

There are two ways to apply taiji, namely to apply the techniques of taiji (in terms of how to use the different movements that you can find in a routine) and how to apply the skills of taiji (like how to neutralise force and how to return force).

To learn how to apply taiji movements, you need to constantly think about application when practising your routine. That is one method. Another is to have a partner who feeds you with attacks, which you then use a specific taiji movement to counter. You keep practising how to use that movement to counter an attack until it becomes second nature.

To learn how to apply the skills of taiji, it must be done together with gaining those skills. To gain those skills, you practise pushing hands. You feel for your partner's force, and try to discern its direction and magnitude, and then you try to neutralise it and return it to your partner. There is no fixed move, just the basic moves (peng lyu ji an cai lie zhou kao 棚捋挤按采挒肘靠) of taiji.

Both methods are correct in how you apply taiji, yet there is a difference. If you only practise how to apply the movements, you will be able to handle attacks that comes in fixed patterns (those that you have practised with your partner). But when it comes to things outside your usual range of practice, you will be caught off guard without a solution. But if you were to instead be able to apply the skills of taiji, then you will be handle all situations, even if you have never met them before. That is what is meant by "无招胜有招" "No (fixed) movements winning against (fixed) movements".

At the end of the day, in order to master the application of taiji, I think we need to use both methods.

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