Thursday, September 27, 2012

Getting Out of Tight Spots

I was pushing hands today with one of my fellow students when things got a bit too rough. I locked his arms and he try to struggle to break free, only making it easier for me to lock his arms even tighter. It got to a point in which I had to adjust my lock for fear of breaking his arm. When things got to such a rough stage, I quickly told him that the arm will break if he continues to use strength. He continued to struggle, but I was in a very good and forgiving mood today so I just tried my best not to hurt him. Eventually, I was able to adjust until I could release his arms without getting hurt myself (from his brute force struggling).

He came out of it saying that sometimes, even if it is dangerous, we should still try to see if we can get out of tight spots. To me, it is not worth it. I practise pushing hands not to see if I am better than others. I practise pushing hands not to see if I can get out of tight spots. I practise pushing hands to learn to relax, to learn to use my opponent's force against him, and thus, to avoid being in a tight spot in the first place.

The best way to get out of a tight spot is not to get in there in the first place.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Relax to Give Yourself Space

Another inkling of mine, while I was talking to another fellow student. In pushing hands, we are told to relax. Why? I think it is because only when you relax, can you actually move. A rigid person is locked in whatever posture he is in. Only when he relaxes, can he change his posture. So we are actually relaxing to give ourselves space to move.

Example: When two persons are locked together in a test of strength, if one suddenly relaxes, he is able to then divert his opponent's force to the side, causing his opponent to fall forward. This is what relaxing can do. Just that in taiji, we try not to get into this "test of strength" in the first place. We try to start off with the relaxed state, so that we are always ready to divert whatever force we encounter.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

No Stops aka Stopping Is Resisting

Just an inkling that came to mind while pushing hands today. When I peng, I stick to my opponent's force. Then I turn my forearm again to neutralise his force. In between the peng and the neutralising, if I stop, then I am using force to intentionally keep my arm in place. That is actually resisting. So this means that there is no stopping between peng and neutralising. In fact, in taiji, there should be no stops; one actions flows into the other, because once you stop, you are static, and that is resisting.

Saturday, September 08, 2012

Just Relax and You Can't Be Thrown

One of my pushing hands partners tried to throw me today. He closed in, grab hold of me, and tried to throw me. What did I do? I let him. I just relaxed. And it worked. It is not easy to try to lift up someone who weighs about 70kg. When he tried to do that, his centre of gravity shifted... and when that happened, he lost balance. And when he lost balance, I shifted my weight just a little to take advantage of that. In the end, he couldn't throw me, instead, we "danced around" as he tried to regain his balance while holding onto me.

Friday, September 07, 2012

Don't Push Too Much

When I push hands with others, once they lose their balance, I won't pursue anymore. I won't try to take advantage and continue to push and make then fall. To me, it is enough that they lose balance. But some of my fellow pushing hands students do not think the same way. Even when they have lost their balance, once I stop pursuing, they will instead take advantage and try to push me back. And that is usually when they will start becoming more rough. And then it becomes a vicious cycle: I use their brute force against them again, they lose their balance again, then they try to spring back, and the cycle continues. In the end, I either let them push me (if I know I won't get hurt), or I will use rougher methods (like arm locks, or really pushing them away) to get out of the situation.

One of them told me that I should not push too much, that once I have the advantage, I should stop pursuing. I was like, huh? That's what I did... just that he took advantage of my "void" to spring back and tried to push me instead. Things got rough not because I wanted it to be so, but because he didn't stop when he lost his balance. Well, I just smiled and shrugged it off. In the end, as long as I stick to my training philosophy, as long I stick to learning what I want to learn, as long as I benefit from the sessions, they can say what they want. If they don't learn, it is because their cup is full. I will continue to drink from my cup to make it empty for more to pour in.