Saturday, April 21, 2012

Step By Step

I have yet to learn moving stance pushing hands. Instead, all my pushing hands lessons are fixed stance pushing hands. It is because my teacher has yet to teach moving stance pushing hands, even though I have been learning from him for years. Not because he cannot teach it, but because he feels we are not ready.

To him, fixed stance pushing hands is the fundamental. If you can't even get the fundamental right, there is no point moving to moving stance pushing hands, which is more about application. Why? Because why moving stance pushing hands allow you to escape (by moving away) if you are unable to neutralise your opponent's force, you do not have that luxury in fixed stance pushing hands. In fixed stance, you really need to be able to neutralise your opponent's force.

So he feels that if he teaches moving stance pushing hands now, people who are unable to truly neutralise force will never be able to pick it up. They can just run away. They end up learning the wrong thing. They end up learning how to push, but not how to neutralise. Against a true taiji practitioner, they will not be able to hold their ground. That is why he continues to stress on fixed stance pushing hands, so that we get our fundamentals right, so that we learn how to truly neutralise force, before we learn more on application.

It is step-by-step, but that is the only way we will get anywhere. If you try to move on to the next step without properly taking the current one, you just lose your balance and fall.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Low Stance, Correct Stance

My teacher advocates us to use a low stance when pushing hands. I try to do as low a stance as I can, because it helps to train up the strength in my legs and because a firm base is important. But one must not forget that the low stance is a method to train a firm base, yet it is still important to be correct in your stance. You must be able to turn your kua, and you must be facing your opponent. If your stance is low but incorrect, you are just training your legs to be strong; it is like stance training, you are better off just standing in a horse stance and not moving. Your stance must be low and correct, in order for you to be able to translate your force from the legs up through the body to the arms.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Turning the Force Away

Coming back to practise after a long break is very rewarding. Back in Japan, I could only practise by myself, without a teacher to guide me or an partner to practise pushing hands. Now, it is time for me to recognise my problems again, with the advice of my teacher, as well as the issues that surface when pushing hands.

I have recently written about the basics of peng, turn and push. Today, I again realise the importance of the kua in turning away my opponent's force (that is to say, neutralising his force). After peng, if I just turn my forearm, I am only able to divert away my opponent's force if he is using brute force. And I somehow feel it is using my own force. Today, I realised that the kua has a very important part to play. If I link the turning of my kua to the turning of my forearm, I am able to divert away my opponent's force, no matter how big or small it is. It is a basic principle that I am rediscovering after the long break, and a very important principle too.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Peng, Turn, Push 棚转按

It is very basic, but something that we tend to forget after a while. Yet it is the basic that is important. It has always been peng, turn and push. Peng to contact the opponent's force and stick to it, turn to neutralise it, push to change its direction. Miss or overlook any step, and it becomes brute force. Sometimes we forget to peng properly, and then we cannot stick to his force. Sometimes we forget to turn, and we end up pulling. However, we usually remember the pushing part... but without the first two, it just becomes brute force.

Sunday, April 08, 2012

Drawing Circles With the Knees

After a year away from Singapore, I am finally back and going to Mr Kwek's classes again. Due to insufficient practice over the last year, my legs are no longer as strong and I am a bit raw when pushing hands. But with hard work, I think I should be able to get back to where I was before I left.

One point that Mr Kwek brought up that still left me a bit confused. He mentioned that in silk reeling, the legs (best seen in the movement of the knees) turn in circles, 180 degrees out of phase. For example, both knees should be turning out, one after the other. And vice versa. I can understand this for certain silk reeling movements, but I wonder how it coordinates with two-hands silk reeling. For example, while the right hand may be turning out, the left hand is actually coming in. So should the knees still be drawing outward circles? It then becomes awkward for the left hand. But getting the knees to draw opposite circles seem weird too.

Back to basics as I try to regain strength in my legs, and it should give me time to try and figure this out.