Sunday, March 27, 2011

Not Taking the Advantage

There are times when you do not take an advantage on purpose. It happens a lot during pushing hands, because if you seize every advantage, it may take the fun out of learning. After all, in order to learn, you win some, you lose some. If all you are concerned about is winning, then that goal will cloud your senses and cause you to lose instead. And if you keep winning, your opponent will either lose interest, or become frustrated (and may even turn rough, for example).

It is known as 喂招 and it is something that is very much a part of Chinese martial arts training. You purposely do something for your opponent to respond to. An example is to give an advantage to your opponent so that he learns how to see an advantage and take it.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Temporary Break

I will be taking a temporary break from my taiji lessons in Singapore as I go to Japan for a year. And now I am faced with a dilemma.

If I don't practise pushing hands for a year, I will definitely drop back to square one after a year of not practising.

If I find a place to practise pushing hands while in Japan, it means learning from a new teacher. If I follow what the new teacher teaches, my current teacher in Singapore may not like it. If I continue to do what my current teacher taught me while under the new teacher, the new teacher may not like it.

It is between a rock and a hard place...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Uniform Force

On a circle, every point is the same. That should have given me a clue about how force should be like. My teacher was telling us the other day that force should be the same along my arm, ie. the force at my wrist should be the same as the force at my elbow. One cannot be heavier (or lighter) than the other. Also, when pushing an opponent using two arms, both arms must push with the same force.

In the first case, if a part of your arm is lighter than another, it is an opening for your opponent to move in.

In the latter, if the force from both arms are the same, there is no opening for the opponent to escape towards.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Inkling - Moving With Your Opponent

An inkling again, this time about how to move with your opponent. Taiji teaches us not to resist our opponent, to move with his force. I see two ways to do this.

One is to let him push you around. Once he overcomes inertia, you move. You continue moving as long as he can push harder than the force acting back against him (either friction or any additional force you may put on him). It is like pushing a wooden block. It is easier to move a wooden block on wheels (less friction) compared to the wooden block by itself on a flat surface. In this case, your opponent will feel whatever force that is resisting him (which, if you are not resisting him, is purely friction alone) since by the laws of physics, any force will have an equal and opposite force acting on it. He will feel less force if your kua is relaxed (due to less friction), and theoretically (meaning "impossible") he will feel like he is pushing nothing if there is no friction in your kua.

The other way is to sense his force, then on your own, move in his intended direction. This is like pushing a wooden block that seems to predict your force and moves away from you on its own. In this case, depending on how well you sense your opponent's force, your opponent will feel whatever left-over force after the two forces interact (if you move away with less force than him). If you use more force to move away, you end up losing contact. If you use exactly the same force as your opponent, he will feel like he is pushing nothing.

While the latter may feel like you are not resisting your opponent, my inkling is that that is actually the same as letting go (going limp). When taiji talks about "不丢不顶", it means not to intentionally use force, whether to resist your opponent or to run away from him. Being relaxed "松" and moving with your opponent's force "随" means letting him push you, then using your kua to change the direction of motion to achieve your intended effect.