Sunday, July 29, 2012

Just Move Right In

After a few occasions in which one of my pushing hands partners kept playing rough, I got a bit of advice from my teacher. Basically, it is nothing new, he just reminded me that it is most important to continue to be relaxed, all the more so when your opponent is tensed up (like when he is playing rough). Then, once you sense his brute force, relax some more, then move right back in at him.

It was good advice. I tried it, and it worked. I could neutralise his force and use it again him. But it only made him more rough, and became even more tense. And the more tense he became, the easier it was for me to neutralise his force and use it against him. In the end, it was a vicious cycle, and I had to break off in order not for anyone to get hurt.

Lesson? Staying relaxed (mentally and physically) is key. Not overly focused on winning (and thus, not overly concerned about losing) is key.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Relax, Listen, Know, Follow, Use

Relaxing is important. Because only when you relax, then you can listen, and then you can know your opponent's force. Once you know the force, you can follow it, and ultimately use it against your opponent. It all starts with relaxing. Once you are tensed up, you cannot listen, and then nothing else can take place.

And relax is not just a physical state, it is a state of mind as well. Same as being tensed up. If you are mentally too focused on something, you are mentally tensed up... and then you cannot see things for what they are. Your judgment becomes clouded. So, let's go in relaxed, both physically and mentally.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Strong Push From Practising Correctly

One of my teacher's students has recently started pushing hands training as well. He has been with my teacher for a few years already, practising taiji. The other day, when we were practising pushing hands, I came to appreciate that his push is actually rooted, not like the floating push that beginners usually have. Even some people who claim to have practised taiji also has this "floating push". But not my fellow student. His push was rooted, and I attribute this to his effort in practising correctly. By being diligent in his taiji practice and making sure that he practises correctly, he is able to move as a whole instead of relying on muscular strength. So while he may be a beginner in sensing his opponent's force, he is no stranger to applying his own force. It makes me remember my experience pushing hands with my teacher's assistant and once again reaffirms the importance of practising correctly.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Why Paying Is Important

My teacher once shared with me why he doesn't like people to come and observe his taiji classes before they decide to join. Taiji is something that beginners can't really understand by just looking. By just looking, these people will not understand what is going on, and are unlikely to become interested enough to sign up. By making them pay for the classes, even if they cannot grasp much from the first lesson, because they have paid, they are unlikely to waste their money; they will thus continue to turn up at least for the remainder of the course run. Hopefully, by then, they would have grasp a bit more to become interested enough to continue the class. This is a bit of psychology that my teacher has picked up in the more than 40 years that he has been teaching taiji.

Anyway, the taiji classes at community centres are very competitively priced. The price for 10 lessons is similar to what you would actually pay for one session with a private taiji teacher. My suggestion? Just pay it, try it out for 10 lessons, and who knows, you may discover that taiji is what you have been looking for.