Saturday, July 04, 2009

Thoughts on Peng

I just wrote about why we need to practise single-hand pushing hands. This post is about additional thoughts on peng related to that article.

As mentioned, the most important thing about single-hand pushing hands is to learn about peng and other basic skills of taiji. So what exactly is peng all about? I think peng is wrongly translated in English when we use "ward off". Because peng is not just about warding off. Rather, the most important thing about peng is learning where to meet an opponent's force. It is about where to make contact, and that is why it is the most important move in taiji. Because only after making contact, can you continue to perform other things, like leading your opponent's force away and thus neutralise it, and then return it to your opponent.

For example, a common mistake is to make contact with your opponent's hand (when he pushes) using the back of your hand. Why? Because when you make contact with the back of your hand, your wrist will become stiff, thus allowing your opponent to make use of your stiff wrist (aka brute force) against you. If instead you make contact with your forearm (near the wrist), your wrist can remain relaxed.

Is peng just about making contact with your hand? No. Any part of your body that makes contact with an opponent can be peng. Peng is about how and where to make contact, and is not limited to the hand/arm. It can be the shoulder that makes contact, or the back, or the shin. Peng is about shifting the point of contact to that which is most advantageous to you, so that you can then make use of your opponent's force against him.

No comments: